Today's releases include, well, a late May release: the story of two families whose lives are upended by a shocking act of violence; a tale of two sisters that traces how far women have come, and how far we have yet to go, and a propulsive, sci-fi thriller that makes a great summer read.
Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Mary Beth Keane is a fantastic writer. She has the kind of authorial magic that makes her characters appear in the imagination as complete, fully realized human beings. They are alive—and Ask Again, Yes is about the entirety of those characters’ lives. Told in alternating chapters, the book is a domestic novel about two families who wind up living next door to one another in the 70s. Both of the fathers are cops working in the same precinct. They aren’t that close, but two of their children—Peter and Kate—develop a relationship. Peter and Kate provide the through line to the story, a line that is broken by a violent act. When they do reconnect they will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the fallout from their early years, as will their family members—as readers we will watch as their lives move from promise to actual experience to finally examining and understanding how it all happened. —Chris Schluep
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Spanning sixty-five years, Jo and Bethie Kaufman are sisters whose story begins in 1951. They’re polar opposites—Jo, the intrepid jock, has an eye for adventure (and, as it so happens, women), and Bethie is the girlie-girl whose aspirations skew more on the conventional side. When tragedy befalls one of them, dreams get deferred, threatening to irreparably change not only the course of their lives, but who they fundamentally are. Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything is sweeping in its personal and political scope, chronicling Jo’s and Bethie’s fumbling attempts to right their respective ships against the backdrop of an America experiencing its own growing pains. It’s a multi-layered and very moving story for the #MeToo era, one that traces how far women have come, and how far we have yet to go. While Mrs. Everything will surely resonate with Weiner’s legion of female fans, I hope it does for more than a few good men, too. --Erin Kodicek
Recursion by Blake Crouch
The mind-bending thrillers of Blake Crouch (Dark Matter, Pines) remind me of Michael Crichton at the top of his game, but peopled with more complex characters. After New York City detective Barry Sutton sees a woman jump off a ledge because she’s a victim of FMS—False Memory Syndrome—he decides to track down her story of suddenly remembering a whole life she apparently lived instead of her “real” one. The strangest aspect of FMS is that friends and family of the afflicted also remember portions of the false lives. Motivated by a tragedy in his own past he wishes he could change, Sutton is determined to find out whether FMS is truly false or the gate to a new, better life. Alternate-reality stories are tough to maintain while suspending the reader’s disbelief, but Crouch’s cinematic style makes every moment vibrant, suspenseful, and convincing as his heroes struggle to untangle an impossible solution. —Adrian Liang
Subscribe to the Amazon Book Review, featuring picks for the best books of the month, author interviews, reading recommendations, and more from the Amazon Books editors.