By MELISSA D. SULLIVAN
For Montclair Local
All Write Now” reflects the writing life. Melissa D. Sullivan is an attorney by day, writer by night, mother of two and recipient of the 2016 Parent-Writer Fellowship in Fiction from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Melissa splits her time between Montclair and Bucks County, PA. You can learn more at melissadsullivan.wordpress.com.
Let’s face it; 2018 was a tough year. With the California wildfires, the endless political news cycle and the deaths of Stan Lee and the man who invented Sponge Bob, the world seems to be a dark and foreboding place. But 2019 is a brand new year, and with it comes a brand new crop of fiction, worthy of slipping out of our Avenger’s footie pajamas and into our local indie bookstore. Here are the six fiction books I am looking forward to in 2019.
- “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood (September 2019) – Dystopian Fiction
Margaret Atwood practically broke the internet with the announcement that she was writing a sequel to her revolutionary bestseller “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Sure to be a controversial read, “The Testaments” will pick up 15 years after the final scene in the barely-fictional fundamentalist regime of Gilead. Atwood has already promised readers that “The Testaments” will present a new storyline and not follow the immensely popular television adaptation. Put this on your list if you want to know what everyone will be talking about in September.
- “The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang (May 2019) – Rom-Com
For those that would prefer their fiction with a heavy dose of romance, Helen Hoang’s “The Bride Test” seems to be the perfect combination of swoon and giggle. Take two unlikely protagonists: Khai Diep, an accountant whose autism makes it difficult for him to form connections, and Esme Tran, a poor girl from the slums Ho Chi Min City looking for her big break. Throw in one mother, determined to find her son the perfect bride even if she has to take her search international, and mix well to come out with this charming rom-com. Place a hold on “The Bride Test” if you are into unlikely lovers, smart romances and adorably happy endings.
- “The Fever King” by Victoria Lee (February 2019) – Dystopian Sci-Fi
While it sometimes feels like we’re all living in a real dystopia, I am not through enjoying well writing dystopian YA fiction, and Victoria Lee’s debut novel, “The Fever King,” looks like an exciting new addition to the genre. In “The Fever King,” Noam Alvaro has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees displaced by magical viruses sweeping the former United States. When Noam himself is infected, he finds himself in possession of new magical powers, which may give him a tool against the heartless government ministe. Put “The Fever King” on your wish-list if you like science-based magic, diverse casts and politically aware science fiction.
- “The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern (Late 2019) – Dark Fantasy
Erin Morgenstein has been keeping the world waiting for seven years since her smash debut “The Night Circus.” Now we will all get the chance to return to her dark and electric imagination with her latest, “The Starless Sea.” The description for this one is almost too good to be true: one late night, a graduate student finds a magical book that leads him to a mysterious subterranean library that features lost cities, lost seas and lost souls. Put this on your list if you are into books about books, fantastic romances and bees.
- “Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout (September 2019) – Literary Fiction
In “Olive Kitteridge,” Elizabeth Strout created one of the most lovable curmudgeons in all of literature (and anyone who feels differently can arm wrestle Olive for it). Luckily for us, Strout wasn’t quite done with Olive, and her new book, “Olive, Again” will take Olive through the next 10 years of her life. Check it out if you are a fan of Hemingway-esque prose, complex female characters and Maine.
- “American Spy: A Novel” by Lauren Wilkinson (February 2019) – Spy Thriller
If you were one of the millions of viewers who mourned the last episode of “The Americans,” here’s another Cold War spy thriller that will bring it all back and then some. In her debut novel “American Spy,” Lauren Wilkinson follows the career of FBI agent Marie Mitchell, a young black woman in the old white boys club, as she infiltrates the inner circle of the Marxist revolutionary Thomas Sankara. Place a hold on this one if you are into femme fatales, smart thrillers, and the overlooked role of black Americans in Cold War history.