In a culture where new motherhood is either treated as intensely joyful or comically hapless, Elisa Albert's After Birth provides a necessary and fascinating corrective, exploring the loneliness and loss of self that having a child can engender.
It's technically a young-adult novel, but I can't imagine any adult not being sucked in by the premise of Katie Coyle's debut, Vivian Apple at the End of the World. The eponymous heroine is the freethinking teenage daughter of two extremely devout parents who are convinced the rapture is on its way—
Aside from Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman might be the most famous caped crusader around, and she's certainly the most famous superheroine. But as Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman reveals, her origins might be even more interesting than her travails on the comic-book page.
Dark, witty, and intense, Merritt Tierce's Love Me Back has been earning acclaim for its penetrating insight into the life of a complicated woman. Marie, its protagonist, is a young single mom who's scored a waitressing job at a high-end Dallas steakhouse, but instead of rising high, she self-destructs, falling into a tangle of casual sex, cocaine, drinking, and other bad habits.
Truth is stranger than fiction, as Alexis Coe's Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis proves. It's the 100 percent true story, sourced from hundreds of original letters and documents, of 19-year-old Alice Mitchell, who planned to pass as a man to marry her girlfriend, 17-year-old Freda Ward, in 1890s Memphis.
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