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In five linked novellas hopscotching forward through time, Peevyhouse imagines the effects on humanity of the discovery of a parallel world lying just beyond our own.As earth’s atmosphere sickens, and social media sharing advances to the point that privacy is a relic and transient online stardom the best way to make a buck, her characters dream of the Other Place, intersect with its people, and grapple with the mystery of its existence.It’s the happiest, hardest day in the bookish calendar, when all the past year’s most glorious reads are winnowed down into a list of the best of the best books to cross my desk in 2016.Here there be magnificent debuts, swoony, promise-keeping series finales, and bolts from the blue; books that enchant, provoke, and break hearts.The two meet in a record store and have an epic stop-and-go romance all stuffed into a single day that might be Natasha’s last in New York.Told in alternating narration, the book also makes room for a whole chorus of other voices and perspectives, transforming it into a big compassionate tapestry of New York City, life, and everything. (See our full review here.) White’s meticulously researched, gorgeously transporting historical fiction, the first (hallelujah!Her characters are fighting to build good lives amid harsh circumstances—Ruth is an almost-orphan grappling with a terrible secret, Dora is terrified she’ll be forced back under her violent father’s roof, Hank and his brothers have no choice but to escape, and Alyce doesn’t know how to claim her future without losing her past.
In the park where refugees gather, Lee evokes a place out of time, a tiny, hard-won idyll in the midst of a broken city. Clare’s School reject panic and base survivalism in favor of compassion and collaboration.
Reviled because of the dark stars she was born under, Maya lives like a leper among the poison-tongued women of her raja father’s harem.
On what is supposed to be her wedding day, she’s saved from politically motivated self-sacrifice by a mysterious stranger, who takes her away to his lonely palace.
It runs on its heroine’s white-hot rage, complicated but never quenched by her love for her gentle younger brother and for Mehmed, the sultan’s heir.
Lada must balance her political aspirations, hunger for vengeance, and the desires of her heart to thrive in a brutal, high-intrigue world she has spent her whole life learning to navigate.