Wondering which book to read next? In this month’s Books On Your Radar, BookSparks’ founder Crystal Patriarche raves about the books (shows and movies, too) that she loved this month. As an ultimate bookworm who reads across all genres, and devours all kinds of content across platforms, she definitely knows how to spot a great story. Here are the newest books (and shows) she says should definitely be on your radar.
Feature Image Credit: @thebookishfiiasco
He Gets That From Me by Jacqueline Friedland (out in September but a must-read for fall!)
Maggie Fisher just wanted to go to college and become a teacher, but her job at a checkout counter in downtown Phoenix doesn’t afford her much financial flexibility. As a young mother with a toddler and a live-in boyfriend, she laughs at the ad offering thousands of dollars to women who are willing to gestate other people’s babies. The extra money would do wonders for her life, though, and before she knows it Chip and Donovan Rigsdale, a married couple from New York, have chosen Maggie as their gestational carrier. One labor and two babies later, Maggie hands over twins to the Rigsdale, and gets her life on a more positive track. So, why is it 10 years later that the fertility clinic is calling her and asking her for a follow-up DNA test?
The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller
Cottonwood Estates is the perfect place to live, have a family, and raise children. No evil exists in such lovely cul-de-sacs, which is why The Cottonwood Book Club doesn’t mind reading twisty thrillers and salacious murder mysteries while they serve as the subdivision’s eyes and ears, meeting once a month for discussion, gossip, and cocktails. The wives and mothers of the neighborhood have secrets, though, and their shadowed pasts will be forced out when late-night acts of vandalism target the women of the book club in increasingly violent and personal ways. No matter what, the women agree that they must protect their children at all costs … even if it means someone has to die.
Litani by Jess Lourey
Fourteen-year-old Frankie is sent to live with her estranged mother in Litani, Minnesota in the summer of 1984. Between the warnings from her mother about avoiding the woods and rumors swirling the town, Frankie’s curiosity gets the best of her when a group of girls invite her to participate in The Game. Shortly after, the community ends up erupting in panic as secrets rise to the surface and Frankie realizes that this town could be full of evil.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Marigold is more than happy to trade California beach life for a new beginning in the Midwestern city of Cedarville. Making the move with her family will give her a clean slate to wipe away the past and begin again. Luckily, her mom’s new job includes housing but unfortunately, that means Mari has to share a room with her little sister Piper. It doesn’t take long to realize that this house is haunted, with doors closing on their own, things disappearing, and unexplained shadows. When Piper reveals that someone wants Mari gone, she is petrified that the ghosts from the past have followed her into the future.
After Perfect by Maan Gabriel
Gabriella Stevens is content living as a devoted, 36-year-old housewife—just as her traditional Filipino mother has always told her to do—when, after sixteen years of marriage and twenty years together, he tells her he wants a divorce. Gabby finds herself single for the first time since she was a teenager and decides to go back to school, get her first real job, and face unfamiliar reality with determination. But when she unexpectedly falls in love with her mysterious but utterly beautiful creative writing professor, Colt, she learns he is battling demons of his own: a tragic past that may have made him incapable of love. Is Gabby destined for another heartbreak—or will her connection with Colt be what unbreaks her?
Trashlands by Alison Stine
In a future where trash is currency and children are forced to work in recycling factories, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She is trying to make enough money to save her own child from the factories and in her few free hours she makes art, a forgotten and seemingly impossible skill for the world that exists. When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself? This is a parent’s journey, a story of humanity, and a changed world.
After fleeing an abusive relationship, Alex seeks help from social services and finds a job with Value Maids. Cleaning houses and fighting to provide for her daughter, Alex wants to have a better life. Struggles, hard work, and a will to survive plague her, but she must persevere. Based on Stephanie Land’s Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive, this ten-part Netflix series covers topics like abuse, dicy rules, prejudiced mindsets, and dedication against all odds to make a good life for her daughter and herself.
Now streaming on Peacock, this series is based on One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus. A thrilling YA whodunnit about five high school students walk into detention and before the end of the day, one is dead and four are suspects. The series follows Addy is the most popular girl in school; Cooper who is so close to signing with a major league team; Bronwyn, who is admired for her smarts more than she’s liked; and Nate, the most notorious drug dealer in school. Everyone has secrets but which one’s dark truth is deadly?