Hot Springs Driveby Lindsay Hunter
Jackie Stinson’s best friend is dead, and everyone knows who killed her.
Jackie wants to be many things, but a martyr has never been one of them. She is an ex-emotional eater and mother of four, who has finally lost the weight she long yearned to be free of. In her new, sharp-edged body, she goes by Jacqueline. But leaving her old self behind proves harder than she ever imagined. And while she believes she should be happier, misery still chases her, and motherhood threatens to subsume what little is left of her.
Her only salve is her best friend Theresa, whose seemingly perfect life she desperately covets. Since they met in the maternity ward 15 years earlier, the two have survived the trials of motherhood side by side – Theresa with her quiet, cherubic daughter, and Jacqueline with her rambunctious, unruly boys. Their bond is tight, but it is not enough to keep Jacqueline, finally moving through the world in the body she has always wanted, from stealing a bit of Theresa’s perfect life.
Hot Springs Drive is a dark, heart-pounding exploration of one woman’s deepest desires, and how the consequences of betrayal can ripple outward beyond the initial strike point. In her third and fiercest novel, acclaimed literary voice Lindsay Hunter deftly peels back the fragile veneer of two suburban families and the secrets roiling between them.
Lush Livesby J. Vanessa Lyon
An unabashedly charged love story set in the evocative and high-stakes world of art and auction in New York City, Roxane Gay Books’ second title is a crowd-pleaser in the vein of Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date and Helen Wan’s The Partner Track.
For Glory Hopkins, inheriting her Aunt Lucille’s Harlem brownstone feels more like a curse than a blessing. As a restless artist struggling to find gallery representation, Glory doesn’t have the money, time, or patience to look after the aging house of an aunt she barely knew. But when she stumbles into Parkie de Groot, a savvy, ambitious auction house appraiser on the verge of a coveted promotion, her unexpected inheritance begins to look more promising. Glory and Parkie form an unlikely alliance and work to unearth the origins of a rare manuscript hidden in the brownstone’s attic. In doing so, they uncover not only the well-kept secrets of Lucille’s life but also the complex relationships between Harlem and its distinguished residents.
Undeniable as their connection may be, complications arise that threaten to tear apart their newly forged relationship. Between Parkie’s struggle to overcome the heartache of past romances and professional problems that threaten to end her rising career, and Glory’s unbridled and all-consuming ambition, they begin to keep secrets from each other. The deeper they dig into the mysteries of the Harlem brownstone, the more fraught their relationship becomes.
Lush Lives is an unforgettable novel of queer love, ambition, and the forgotten histories that define us.
And Then He Sang a Lullabyby Ani Kayode Somtochukwu
The inaugural title from Roxane Gay Books, And Then He Sang a Lullaby is a powerful, luminous debut that establishes its young author as a masterful talent.
August is a God-fearing track star who leaves Enugu City to attend university and escape his overbearing sisters. He carries the weight of their lofty expectations, the shame of facing himself, and the haunting memory of a mother he never knew. It’s his first semester and pressures aside, August is making friends and doing well in his classes. He even almost has a girlfriend. There’s only one problem: he can’t stop thinking about Segun, an openly gay student who works at a local cybercafé. Segun carries his own burdens and has been wounded in too many ways. When he meets August, their connection is undeniable, but Segun is reluctant to open himself up to August. He wants to love and be loved by a man who is comfortable in his own skin, who will see and hold and love Segun, exactly as he is.
Despite their differences, August and Segun forge a tender intimacy that defies the violence around them. But there is only so long Segun can stand being loved behind closed doors, while August lives a life beyond the world they’ve created together.
And when a new, sweeping anti-gay law is passed, August and Segun must find a way for their love to survive in a Nigeria that was always determined to eradicate them. A tale of rare bravery and profound beauty, And Then He Sang a Lullaby is an extraordinary debut that marks Ani Kayode Somtochukwu as a voice to watch.