Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99 (ebook £9.99)
What begins as a family crime novel with themes of trust, betrayal, abuse and fear, quickly becomes a poignant note on what it is to love someone, and the beautiful ways individuals choose to live authentically. When Asher Fields is accused of killing his girlfriend Lily, the teenager’s world is turned upside down, as he and his mother Olivia set about clearing his name – while also mourning the loss of a beautiful young woman. Commentary about identity and motherhood is cleverly woven throughout, making for an honest and interesting tale about gender and violence. Flawlessly written, incredibly engaging and a source of vital dialogue in a world where trans voices aren’t always championed. If you read only one more book this year, make it this one.
The Coming Darkness
Moonflower Publishing, £18.99 (ebook £5.99)
The Coming Darkness is a clever, fast-paced thriller with incredible world building. While a big chunk of the book is used to introduce various characters and set the scene, author Greg Mosse skilfully ties everything together into an immersive dystopian world full of spies and danger. The reader follows main character Alexandre Lamarque, who works for the French security services and has many different identities he seamlessly switches into. He is tracing eco-terrorists, chasing them all over the world in the wake of chaotic events. Their ideology is strikingly similar to conspiracy theories that emerged when the Covid pandemic first started. The novel, set in a post-pandemic 2037, takes some time to get into, but is worth the patience as Mosse presents an impressive debut with a cinematic narrative style waiting to be adapted for the screen.
My Soul Twin
Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins
Scribe, £16.99 (ebook £18.99)
My Soul Twin is a love story about the forbidden desire between two adoptive siblings. The main character, Stella, lives in Hamburg with her husband Mark and her son, Theo, but her life is turned upside down when her long lost lover and childhood friend Ivo returns. The story follows Stella’s tumultuous fight against her resurfaced feelings for Ivo and the guilt accompanied with it, as well as memories of a dark secret in their past. Her stubborn desire to be with Ivo at the expense of others’ feelings means she’s not always a likable character. The writing is engaging and emotional, however, at times the story moves along quite slowly. While beautifully written, it can be hard to sympathise with the ambivalent heroine.
W&N, £25 (ebook 10.99)
From Reservoir Dogs to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino is responsible for directing some of the most wild and bloodthirsty movies of the last three decades. In Cinema Speculation, he unveils the inspirations behind his trademark oeuvre, and the heroes who helped shape him into a master of his craft. Over more than a dozen chapters, each of which nominally revolves around a favourite film, Tarantino paints an engrossing and lurid picture of Hollywood in the Seventies. He describes a cinematic upbringing that began when he accompanied his mother and stepfather to films from the age of seven, affording him a unique and encyclopedic knowledge of the period and the larger-than-life characters that sustained it. The oblique nature of some of his subjects hardly matters, given Tarantino writes as he directs – in a fast-paced and florid style, that makes him one of the most irresistible auteurs of the modern era.
Children’s book of the week
Little Tiger, £7.99 (ebook £7.31).
This is the perfect book for any child who might be struggling with confidence. It follows Timmy (who uses the prononuns they/them) – a young person who loves to perform, but just can’t work up the courage to do so in front of anyone else. In fact, Timmy’s shyness – which takes the form of a massive lion – gets in the way of a lot of things, and it really comes to a head when the school play comes around. Luckily, Timmy’s friend Nia is there to help them through – and what follows is particularly heartwarming. With colourful and eye-catching illustrations, this is a sweet story about finding your voice and overcoming your fears – something a lot of young children will benefit from reading.