The Betches Winter 2020-2021 Reading List

I don’t care what the calendar says (I feel like all my book roundups start this way), it is winter. And you know what that means: a winter reading list, because it’s that time of year again where we just cozy up with a good book. Or at least, that’s what I do. In honor of that, I’ve compiled my winter reading list. Please note that this is not a comprehensive 2021 reading list, which will be coming ASAP. (In more realistic terms, probably like, January.) But for now, here are 14 books you can dive into, from spicy romance to twisty thrillers to poignant historical fiction. 

‘A Princess For Christmas’ by Jenny Holiday (October 13, 2020)

I could have included this in a fall roundup, but given that Christmas is in the title, it didn’t feel right. If you already watched The Princess Switch: Switched Again and all the other Christmas movies on Netflix but still need your holiday romance fix, pick up a copy of A Princess for Christmas. It’s basically got everything you loved from Princess Switch or Princess Diaries: a fictional kingdom called Eldovia, a princess who’s in way over her head, finding love in unexpected places. Leo, a cab driver in New York City, picks up Princess Marie of Eldovia and ends up with more than he bargained for—namely, a gig driving Princess Marie around for the remainder of her NYC trip. He doesn’t expect to fall for the princess, or that he will end up in Eldovia for Christmas.

‘Every Last Secret’ by A.R. Torre (December 1, 2020)

What would you do for the “perfect” life? That’s what Cat and Neena, two neighbors in Silicon Valley, are duking it out over. Cat Winthorpe seems to have it all: a beautiful house, social standing, and William, her dreamy husband. And that’s precisely what Neena Ryder wants: Cat’s husband. Neena tries to scheme her way into William’s life; meanwhile, Cat has a secret of her own that could blow up her charmed life. While the ending may not completely take you by surprise, Every Last Secret is a fun and fast ride.

‘Heiress Apparently’ by Diana Ma (December 1, 2020)

If you, like me, are still sad you finished Last Tang Standing, Diana Ma’s latest novel serves up a similar dose of fun, relatable, hot mess fiction, with a Lizzie McGuire Movie-esque twist. Really doesn’t get more fun than that. Gemma Huang disappointed her parents by foregoing college to pursue an acting career, which is how she finds herself living in LA with three roommates, barely scraping by. Things start looking up when she takes a gig in a production of M. Butterfly in Beijing, only to realize she apparently is the doppelgänger of one of Beijing’s most notorious socialites. And there might be a reason for that…

‘How To Catch A Queen’ by Alyssa Cole (December 1, 2020)

If the name Alyssa Cole sounds familiar, good—it should! I’ve been raving about her new thriller, When No One Is Watching, and she also has a romance novel coming out. And I can’t even figure out how to do my job plus one hobby and still have a somewhat normal sleep schedule. SMH, some people can really do it all. Anyway, How To Catch a Queen is the first book in the new Runaway Royals series. Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, and with it, her dreams of becoming a queen finally come true. What she hadn’t imagined since she was a little girl? Nobody in the kingdom respects her. The King is equally perplexed, since Shanti has all the answers to solve Njaza’s problems… except nobody will listen to her.

‘This Time Next Year’ by Sophie Cousens (December 1, 2020)

If you want Love, Actually but in book form, this is basically it. It’s about Minnie Cooper, whose New Year’s birthday has always been a source of woe in her life—especially because her mother missed out on winning the cash prize for giving birth to the first baby of the year born in London, thanks to a guy named Quinn Hamilton, who was born just moments earlier. Even worse, he stole her name! When Minnie runs into Quinn at, where else, a New Year’s party, she’s surprised to find herself wanting more.

‘White Feminism’ by Koa Beck (January 5, 2021)

We didn’t stop reading antiracist books in the summer, and Koa Beck, former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel, has a new book out that is a necessary read. Beck explores how feminism has been commodified, and how it excludes women of color, from the suffragettes to corporate feminism, and how we can fix it for future generations.

‘You Have A Match’ by Emma Lord (January 5, 2021)

Protagonist Abby signs up for a DNA test and gets more than she bargained for: she finds out she has an older sister. But not just any sister: Savannah Tully, an Instagram model. Abby’s plan to find out how tf this happened? Meet up with Savannah at summer camp and find out the truth. But there are a few problems, or else this would be a sentence and not a book: Savannah is a total narc, so getting the truth isn’t as simple as it seems. Plus, Abby’s crush works at the camp. Oh, and Abby’s parents are hiding a secret that could blow everything up.

‘Lana’s War’ by Anita Abriel (January 12, 2021)

Ok, so. I think we’ve maybe reached a point where WWII fiction is an escape again and not a harbinger of things to come? Fingers crossed it stays that way. With that said, Lana’s War is set in 1943 Paris, where Lana Antanova witnesses her husband being executed by the Gestapo—right when she was about to tell him she was pregnant. A few months later, Lana is approached to join the resistance, putting her face to face with the man who killed her husband. Taking up residence with a wealthy Swiss industrialist in a villa, Lana helps Jews escape. Obviously, the Nazis want to stop her, and Lana has to try to protect herself, everything she’s worked for, and the people she’s beginning to love. 

‘The Perfect Guests’ by Emma Rous (January 12, 2021)

From the author of The Au Pair comes another suspenseful read set in a creepy Gothic manor. Raven Hall is a sprawling manor in a coastal plain in eastern England. In 1988, 14-year-old Beth Soames is taken there by her aunt to stay with the Averell family. Beth quickly becomes like one of the family, until the Averells ask her to play a twisted game, and nothing is the same after that. Cut to 2019, when Sadie Lawson, a struggling actress, shows up with a suitcase and a dossier of the role she’s meant to play: a weekend guest. Can’t be too hard, right? Right, except the house feels haunted, the party guests feel off, and the host is not what they seem.

‘Waiting For The Night Song’ by Julie Carrick Dalton (January 12, 2021)

Julie Carrick Dalton’s debut gives me serious Where The Crawdad Sings vibes. Its protagonist is forestry researcher Cadie Kessler, who’s on the verge of a breakthrough that could help prevent serious damage to the wilderness. But then she gets a message from her estranged childhood best friend, and the two have to face a dark secret that they’ve kept hidden for over 25 years. As drought, foreclosures, and wildfires spark tensions between locals and displaced migrant farm workers, Cadie has to decide how far she’ll go to protect herself and the forest she loves.

‘Your Corner Dark’ by Desmond Hall (January 19, 2021)

Hall’s debut tackles gang life in Jamaica and pushes the limits of how far a teen will go for his family. Frankie Green gets a coveted scholarship letter, which should be his ticket out. Until his father gets shot, and he finds himself joining his uncle’s gang to pay for his father’s medical bills. Is there such thing as a point of no return? And is it too late for Frankie to build the life he’s always wanted?

‘The Obsession’ by Jesse Q. Sutano (February 2, 2021)

Think of The Obsession like the YA book version of You. Instead of Joe, we have Logan. Instead of Beck, we have Delilah. Some might call Logan a stalker, but he just thinks he’s romantic. Besides, nobody likes Delilah like he does, and they’re meant to be together. All he needs is the right moment to convince her they’re meant to be. When Logan witnesses Delilah kill her abusive stepfather, she may not have much of a choice but to be with Logan.

‘Wild Rain’ by Beverly Jenkins (February 2, 2021)

A little bit of romance, a little bit of historical fiction, Wild Rain tackles women’s rights, suffrage, and Black American history in Reconstruction-Era Wyoming. Did you know Wyoming was a pioneer in women’s rights and women’s suffrage? I didn’t either, but its territorial legislature passed a law in 1869 that gave women the right to vote. So with that in mind, Spring Lee, a property-owning Black female rancher, moves to Paradise, Wyoming. She has one rule: she does not need a man. Until she meets Garrett McCray, a Washington reporter who escaped slavery. When a dark spot from Spring’s past comes back to light, her ranch, her safety, and her newfound love are all on the line.

First Comes Like’ by Alisha Rai (February 16, 2020)

The third book in Rai’s Modern Love series, First Comes Like is about Jia Ahmed, a 29-year-old beauty influencer who doesn’t have time for love. But when a Bollywood legend slides into her DMs… well, that only happens once in a lifetime. Meanwhile, Dev Dixit grew up as Bollywood royalty, but his world was rocked by his brother’s unexpected death, and Dev finds himself as the guardian for his teen niece. Unable to deal with the constant public scrutiny, Dev sets off for America, where, one night in Hollywood, he meets a beautiful Instagram influencer. He’s surprised that he’s intrigued by her, and all the more surprised to find out someone has been catfishing her, posing as Dev. Who tf is catfishing Jia? And is Jia and Dev’s relationship doomed from the start?

‘Honey Girl’ by Morgan Rogers (February 23, 2021)

Twentysomething Grace Porter is a straight-laced overachiever who just got her PhD. Which is why it’s totally out of character when she goes to Vegas, gets hammered, and gets married to a woman whose name she doesn’t even know. After that trip, Grace does yet another unexpected thing and goes to New York for the summer to spend time with her new wife. But you can’t run from your problems forever, and soon, Grace’s come knocking at her door.

Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; Bookshop

10 Books To Read During Quarantine When You’ve Watched All Of Netflix

Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there. It’s me, your friendly Betches Vanderpump Rules recapper and occasional book reviewer, here to talk about what I’ve been reading. Now, truthfully, I’ve been reading a lot less since quarantine started, since I’m one of those psychos who gets all her reading in during her daily subway commute. Now that I have to actually make time to sit down and read a book, I usually end up accidentally watching true crime documentaries instead. Oops!

Anyway, I’ve heard that reading is making a comeback—only took a little pandemic to get people to read things other than their phone screens. So in the spirit of books being a thing again, and also us not really having a summer so I don’t want this to be my summer reading list, here are the best books that came out during quarantine that you should read while in quarantine.

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (March 3, 2020) 

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

This is a thriller, but it’s not a typical thriller. It is a cool thriller, but really, I would describe it more as a writer’s thriller. The focus is more on the striking prose and crafting vivid scenes than about having a fast-paced, action-packed read. Picture this: it’s Atlantic City, circa whatever year Atlantic City went to sh*t (I could Google it, but I’m not a historian). Two unlikely women meet and become friends: Clara Voyant, a teenage psychic, and Lily, an aspiring art curator who moves back to her hometown after being chewed up and spit out by the Manhattan art scene. Throughout all this, sex workers are being murdered and dumped in AC, and no one even notices. Told through multiple perspectives, including the “Janes” who are murdered, it’s an extremely compelling read.

BLACK WIDOW: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title by Leslie Gray Streeter (March 10, 2020)

Black Widow Leslie Gray Streeter

We’re all going through a sort of grief right now, and this “sad-funny journey through grief” just might be what we all need. Leslie Gray Streeter lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, and finds herself slapped with a label she doesn’t want: a widow. She doesn’t want pitying looks or whispered sympathies, she doesn’t want to wear a black dress and a big hat to her husband’s funeral. Black Widow takes readers through the more unexpected aspects of grief, “from coffin shopping to day-drinking, to being a grown-ass woman crying for your mommy, to breaking up and making up with God.”

The Herd by Andrea Bartz (March 24, 2020)

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

Yes, I know I’ve written about The Herd before, but I’m covering it again because it’s just that good. (But actually, if you remembered that I have covered it before, DM me @sarafcarter because you deserve recognition for your photographic memory of useless facts.) This thriller takes place in a famed all-female coworking space… no, not the one you’re thinking of, this one’s fictional. When the beloved founder is found dead, her best friends have to figure out who killed her, without compromising the future of the coworking space. And if you can’t get enough of Andrea Bartz’s writing, check out her articles for Betches.

A Mother’s Lie by Sarah Zettel (April 7, 2020)

A Mother's Lie by Sarah Zettel

Beth has spent her entire adult life running away from her past, ever since she narrowly saved her daughter from being abducted. But the thing about the past is that it, and the people from it, don’t really like to stay buried. And when those people from Beth’s past include her two grifter parents, whom she never told her daughter about, let’s just say, sh*t goes off the rails. Just a warning if you do buy this book: you may finish it in a day (speaking for myself).

The Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (April 7, 2020)

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

It’s the adult debut from the author of the Divergent series, and if that didn’t sell you right there, I don’t know what to tell you. Okay, I do. An evil force called the Dark One tried to end humanity as we know it, and a group of elite teenagers called the Chosen Ones were called into battle to save the world. (Tbh, would be great if we oculd get a couple of supernatural teens to save us right about now.) Fast-forward 10 years, and the Chosen Ones are trying to resume normal lives—that is, until one of their own winds up dead, and they quickly realize the world still needs saving. Told through narrative and enhanced with magazine articles, government briefs, scholarly papers, and even stand-up comedy routine transcripts, the format is really fun and inventive.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (April 7, 2020)

You Deserve Each Other

Need something lighthearted? You Deserve Each Other is like Bride Wars meets How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. In it, Naomi Westfield is about to get married to her picture-perfect fiancé, Nicholas Rose. The only problem? She can’t stand him. Oh, and that they have an agreement that whoever calls off the engagement has to foot the entire bill. So when Naomi finds out that Nicholas wants out too, they are forced to go head-to-head in a battle of wits, emotional warfare, and pranks to see who will crack first.

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan (April 14, 2020)

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Tilly was a bright, carefree little girl, and when her father suddenly disappeared, she and her mom moved into Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel in Brighton. She eventually falls in love with all the other quirky people there, including Queenie. But when Tilly’s mom sends her away to boarding school without warning or explanation, Tilly is betrayed and heartbroken to leave her makeshift family. As a woman, and after her mother’s death, she returns to the Paradise Hotel, determined to find out what really happened to make her leave the hotel, and the type of person her mother really was.

The House Of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland (April 21, 2020)

The House of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland

While most residents of River Bend, Michigan, never imagine leaving, it’s precisely the place three women were desperate to escape. Linda Williams is perpetually dissatisfied. Her mother, Paula, is the opposite—always too sure. Beth DeWitt is one of the town’s only black daughters, now a mother of two. Linda, Paula, and Beth’s paths collide and a scandal forces Beth to deal with her past. If you just binged Little Fires Everywhere, you’ll want to pick up this debut that examines family ties, racial microaggressions, and the power of intergenerational trauma.

Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster (May 5, 2020)

Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster

Heddy Winsome is a working class girl from Brooklyn who wants nothing more than to live among the wealthy. She gets a taste of that life in the summer of 1962 when she lands a gig as a nanny for a rich family out on Martha’s Vineyard. But as she falls in love with someone on the island, she’s forced to reckon with the fact that what you see on the outside (glitz, glamour, nice houses, perfectly coiffed hair) isn’t always what’s going on on the inside.  

The Paris Hours by Alex George (May 5, 2020)

the Paris hours Alex George

Picture this: Sicily, 1912 Paris, 1927, between the two World Wars. While the city teems with artists and creatives, four regular people are searching for what they’ve lost. Camille, Marcel Proust’s maid, who was supposed to burn all his notebooks but hid one for herself. Souren, an Armenian refugee, who performs puppet shows for children. Guillaume, a lovesick artist who’s hounded by debt until Gertrude Stein walks into his studio. And Jean-Paul, a journalist who tells others’ stories so he can avoid telling his own. The Paris Hours is told over the course of one day in 1927, when all four characters’ stories collide.

Images: David Lezcano / Unsplash; Amazon (10)
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10 Thrillers With An Ending You Won’t Predict

At a certain point, you start to feel like if you’ve read one thriller, you’ve read them all. The characters bleed together, even the most “shocking” of twists can be seen from 200 pages away, and if you have to read one more word in the first person narrative, you’ll scream. I know because I’ve thought this many a time. Even the titles of every thriller are the same. The ____ Girl. The _____ Wife. Are we as a society just out of new ideas? Fortunately, no. I’ve rounded up the best thrillers I’ve read this year with an ending you actually won’t see coming. And I promise, no spoilers. Stock up just in time for Halloween, because these reads will seriously haunt you.

‘The Starter Wife’ by Nina Lauren

I know, I know The ____ Wife. I was suspicious myself because the title is so overdone, but let me tell you, this is nothing like the Debra Messing USA original series of the same name. It’s kind of like Gone Girl but not (you’ll see why once you read it). But, even though the ending of this book was one I’ve read before, the ride was not predictable. This one’s about Claire, who marries hot English professor Byron. Claire is seemingly happy with her husband, but finds reminders of his late first wife, Colleen, everywhere. When she suddenly gets a call from Colleen, she tries to find out what exactly happened and how deeply implicated her husband is.

‘I Know Everything’ by Matthew Farrell

I Know Everything was seriously haunting, and even though the twist itself has been done before, I promise you haven’t seen it done in this way. Also, there were so many twists that even if you predicted one of them, there’s no way you figured out every single one. When a rich woman dies in a car accident, it seems like an open-and-shut case for Detective Susan Adler. But then details start emerging about the accident, and the woman’s husband, who stands to gain everything from her death—and suddenly, things aren’t so simple. I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t solve the murder before Detective Adler. Warning, though: do not finish this book at night, or else you will not be able to sleep. 

‘A Stranger on the Beach’ by Michele Campbell

In this tale of alternating perspectives, you’ll be constantly questioning who’s telling the truth and who’s an unreliable narrator. In this novel, rich Caroline hooks up with blue-collar Aidan after finding out her husband is lying to her, and possibly having an affair. To Caroline, her affair with Aidan is just physical, an escape from her marital problems. But Aidan falls hard and fast—and doesn’t want to let go, either. How hard will he hold on?

‘The Perfect Wife’ by JP Delaney

the perfect wife by jp delaney

So I read on the back that this was about A.I. and I was like “ugh, pass,” but then I gave it a try and was really pleasantly surprised. The book opens with Abby Cullen-Scott waking up in the hospital—only to quickly learn that she’s not actually Abby Cullen-Scott, but a robot made in her likeness to replace the real Abby Cullen-Scott, who died in a mysterious accident. Or did she? A.I. Abby has to race against the clock to find out what happened to Human Abby before the same thing maybe happens to her.

‘The Runaway’ by Hollie Overton

If you want a thriller that feels more grounded in reality than others, pick up The Runaway by Hollie Overton. Taking place in LA, it toggles between the POV of Ash, a formerly homeless foster teen, and Becca, her soon-to-be-adoptive mother who also works as a psychiatrist for the LAPD. All seems to be going well until Ash up and disappears, and it’s up to Becca to find her, with or without the LAPD’s approval or help. What at first seems to be a normal expression of teenage angst quickly reveals the dark underbelly of life on the streets.

‘Tell Me Everything’ by Cambria Brockman

Tell Me Everything Cambria Brockman

Protagonist/narrator Malin starts college at an elite private school, and finds herself friends with a pretty diverse group of kids who all seem fun, but they all have their secrets. At the end of the book, someone will wind up dead. Throughout the book, you’ll discover what everyone in this group that seems to have it all is hiding. There are so many surprises in Tell Me Everything that I’m pretty sure it’s mathematically impossible for anyone to get them all.

‘The Perfect Son’ by Lauren North

 

Following her husband’s tragic death, Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital after her son Jamie’s 8th birthday. She knows he’s gone missing, but nobody believes her. Nobody is there for Tess except her best friend Shelly, who suspiciously became a huge part of her life right after her husband’s death. Alternating between the past and the days leading up to Jamie’s fateful 8th birthday, Lauren North takes the reader on a race against the clock. 

‘Lost You’ by Haylen Beck

lost you by Hayley beck

Libby has wanted a baby for as long as she can remember. Her dreams finally come true when Ethan arrives, even though it’s at the expense of her marriage. A hardworking and dedicated mother, Libby never gives herself a break. But when her friends convince her she deserves a vacation, she thinks “why not?” and books a trip with Ethan to a resort. The first few days of the trip go great, until the end of the third day, when Ethan is kidnapped. Libby’s worst fear has officially come to life. But she can’t find Ethan without confronting her past and risking losing him forever.

‘The Swallows’ by Lisa Lutz

the swallows by Lisa lutz

This isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense, but there is mystery and intrigue and by the end of the novel, someone ends up dead. Also, Lisa Lutz is one of my favorite writers and wrote one of my favorite thrillers, The Passenger, so I’m going to show her some love here regardless. Anyway. The Swallows takes place at a New England prep school that has a secret underground subculture fueled by misogyny. Sound familiar? But the girls at the school are getting tired of this system. When a new teacher comes, she gives the women hope that they can finally end this gross culture once and for all. But where there’s a boy’s club, there are generations of men who have benefited from a system of misogyny, and they don’t want to give that up without a fight. And boy, is there a fight—and, like I said, someone winds up dead.

‘Take It Back’ by Kia Abdullah

take it back kia abdullah

Take It Back is more of a legal thriller than a true thriller with, like, murder, but there’s plenty of suspense and mystery nonetheless. In this classic tale of she-said-they-said, the victim is a teenage girl with facial deformities, and the accused are four good Muslim boys from hardworking immigrant families. The quest for justice becomes the trial of the decade. As the accuser’s story unravels, readers are left trying to figure out what the truth is.

Images: Clever Visuals / Unsplash; Amazon (10)
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Already Miss ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’? 5 Chilling Dystopian Novels By Women

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels, The Barter and The Completionist. Her short fiction has been published in Triquarterly and The Massachusetts Review, and her essays and humor writing have appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn.

You’ve devoured all three seasons of Hulu’s award-winning drama. You’ve read the classic Margaret Atwood novel on which it’s based. You’ve surfed the wide, exciting wave of feminist dystopian fiction that has flooded bookstores, from justly praised bestsellers like Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks to lesser-known but powerful examples like The End We Start From by Megan Hunter, The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh, and Mother of Invention by Caeli Wolfson Widger. (Maybe you’ve even read my own feminist dystopian novel, The Completionist.)

And you’ve still got that itch to scratch, that need, that fever…and not for more cowbell. No. What you want are even more scorching feminist visions of the hideous, inescapable future that seems to be hurtling us toward, if we’re not there already, with every day of rising maternal mortality, normalized sexual violence, curtailed reproductive freedoms, and toxic masculinity.

Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, women continue to face violence, discrimination, predation, and the rollback of basic freedoms while earning 50 to 70 cents on the dollar compared to men. The good news is, all of this seems to be producing some incredible works of speculative fiction. Ya win some, ya lose some, I guess.

For better or for worse—but mostly, it seems, for the better—the wave that started with the 2016 election shows no sign of slowing down. Here are a few of the new and upcoming books by women writers presenting an unflinching, often enraging vision of a future that, at times, can bear an unsettling resemblance to our present. Read these while you wait for season four of The Handmaid’s Tale, and the long-awaited release of Atwood’s sequel, The Testaments, this fall.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Imagine a future in which surrogate motherhood becomes a luxury capitalist enterprise, a kind of Gilead driven by dollars rather than Bible verses, and you’ll have taken a first step into Ramos’s novel. Women willing to serve as surrogates (many of them low-income or women of color) are offered the handsomely paid opportunity to live in a posh “gestational retreat,” but the catch is, their every move, morsel, and emotion are monitored in order to produce perfect babies. The novel’s heroine, a Filipina single mother named Jane, is a worthy successor to Offred.

Oval by Elvia Wilk

In a near-future Berlin, a young scientist, Anja, lives with her artist/influencer boyfriend, Louis, in a disintegrating house on an artificial mountain, part of an experimental corporate-owned “sustainable” community that is manifestly anything but sustainable. The same corporation that employs Anja and owns their house also acquires the rights to a new drug Louis is working on, called Oval, that may improve humankind’s capacity for kindness…or inspire a collapse. Wryly funny, dark, and smart, Oval is squarely in the tradition of Margaret Atwood’s other dystopian masterpiece, the Madaddam trilogy.

Tentacle by Rita Indiana

This thrilling dystopian/historical mashup of a novel by a Dominican author begins in a post-apocalypse Caribbean, where income inequality fostered by environmental disaster has run to its most rampant extremes. Acilde, a former sex worker turned housekeeper who is saving up for an injection that will reassign her gender to male, is unexpectedly thrown back in time to the colonial Caribbean, with the opportunity to save the ocean from devastation. But to dismiss this as a time travel novel is to diminish its exhilarating blend of post-colonial criticism, queer politics, humor, and pop culture (including emojis) as artistic expression.

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

Purely by coincidence, yes, this is another feminist time travel novel, due out in September 2019. But Newitz, an award-winning author of speculative fiction and nonfiction, steers this traditional sci-fi trope in an exciting direction: A young woman living in a dangerous near-future, determined to fix the injustices of the past and protect other young women like herself, must fight for the power to create positive change that actually lasts. (If that sounds familiar, you might have been reading AOC’s Twitter feed.)

Motherland by Lauren Beukes

The new novel by bestselling author Beukes, coming in May 2020, takes place after a global pandemic has almost wiped out the global male population. Cole, a single mother of a young boy, is on the run through an America cruelly transformed by shifts in power, where men are a protected class. Like Naomi Alderman’s bestselling feminist dystopian novel The Power, in which women develop the ability to wield a mysterious electromagnetic force that has startling effects on men—and the power they wield—this novel looks to be set in a world in which gender dynamics have flipped, but not necessarily for the good.

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels, The Barter and The Completionist. Her short fiction has been published in Triquarterly and The Massachusetts Review, and her essays and humor writing have appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn.

Imags: Hulu