Spring is (almost) here; so, too, are the days where we can finally take our leisurely reading outdoors and away from the nearest fireplace. Whether you're jet-setting to a tropical locale or simply relishing the newfound warm weather, we've got six rock-solid recommendations. From Elizabeth Poliner's stirring debut about an observant Jewish family combating tradition to Owen Gleiberman's fascinating memoir about his life as a cinephile and film critic, here are the best new titles out this month.
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1. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben's page-turning thrillers never fail to leave us at the edge of our seat, anxiously awaiting the next plot point, and his latest is no exception. It follows a war vet and working mom named Maya, whose life transforms into a glorified horror story when she flips on her nanny cam and sees her 2-year-old daughter playing with her husband, who was brutally murdered two weeks earlier.
Available at Amazon | $18
2. As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner
Told from the POV of a 12-year-old girl, Amazon's March Spotlight pick, set in 1948, follows a group of sisters who summer on a traditionally Jewish stretch of beach (belovedly known as "Bagel Beach") on the Connecticut shoreline and are joined by their husbands each Friday for the Sabbath. They spend the bulk of their week occupied by decidedly less kosher pursuits (cavorting with townspeople and engaging in secret affairs), until the narrator's brother is suddenly killed in an accident.
Available at Amazon | $17
3. Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies by Owen Gleiberman
Your first movie was likely something lighthearted and upbeat, like The Wizard of Oz. Owen Gleiberman's was Rosemary's Baby, and he saw it at the ripe age of nine. The former Entertainment Weekly lead critic shares similar personal anecdotes along with an in-depth cultural history of cinema in this engaging memoir, which catalogues his life from his beginnings as a shy Midwesterner to one of the most controversial voices in the biz.
Available at Amazon | $22
4. AN ENTICING BOOK
An alluring read is crucial (especially if you've already seen the majority of in-flight movies). This trip, I began digging into The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, which follows an affluent yet troubled Manhattan family whose four adult siblings reunite after years of estrangement to squabble over the fate of their joint trust fund. So far, it's worth the hype.
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, $17; amazon.com
5. Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald
Siobhán MacDonald's gripping novel commands your attention from the very beginning, opening with the highly suspicious scene of a rental car, an unidentified woman's corpse, and two children questioning the whereabouts of their mother. N.Y.C. dentist Oscar Harvey encounters the aforementioned bloodbath immediately upon opening the trunk of his hosts' car, an Irish couple with whom he and his wife entered into a home exchange program. Suffice it to say, the property swap is fraught with problems. Expect to finish this one seriously debating your next Airbnb reservation.
Available at Amazon | $14
6. Two if by Sea by Jacquelyn Mitchard
This thoughtful family drama tells the story of American expat and former police office Frank Mercy, who miraculously rescues a young boy shortly after losing his wife and entire family in a deadly tsunami in Australia. Wishing to offer the child endless protection, Frank escorts him to the Midwestern farm where he grew up and soon discovers that he's preternaturally gifted. Unfortunately, other people become aware of his unforeseen talents, and want a piece of the child, too.
Available at Amazon | $18