It’s October, it’s coming towards the end of the year, but it’s not too late to start living your truth and making sure that you’re growing and improving every day. The real change comes from within, after all, and we’ve got five wonderful novels about personal growth to help you on your journey towards the new and improved you.
1. Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King
Kerry Anne King’s new tear-jerker Everything You Are is guaranteed to give you a new lease on life!
Everything You Are has been described by Barbara O’Neal, author of The Art of Inheriting, as “a fresh, imaginative story about the power of dreams and our hunger to be who we really are.” Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) calls Everything You Are “real and raw… a gorgeous tale of life told between those lines too often blurred.”
Whisper Me This author King explores promises, redemption, forgiveness, art, love and personal growth in her stunning new novel. Julianne MacLean, USA TODAY bestselling author, notes that “Writing sensitively about characters struggling to overcome tragedy and loss, Kerry Anne King has delivered a beautiful, soulful novel that hits all the right notes—especially for music lovers. It will leave you with tears in your eyes and sighs of contentment when you reach the satisfying, emotional conclusion.”
I’m already welling up!
One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.
When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?
Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win your very own copy of Everything You Are, amazing headphones and other cute prizes!
2. Normal People by Sally Rooney
In her Man Booker-longlisted sophomore novel, internationally acclaimed Irish author Sally Rooney returns with a searing and intimate examination of two young people and their relationship as they grow from teenagers into college students, in mid-2000s Ireland. With a TV mini-series adaptation from Oscar-winning Room director Lenny Abrahamson in production, and countless awards and accolades under it’s belt, this novel is one of the finest novels about personal growth published in the last decade.
The Number One Sunday Times Bestseller. Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2018. Winner of the an Post Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year. Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards International Author of the Year. Longlisted for the Booker Prize
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.
3. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
In his debut novel, award-winning poet Ocean Vuong explores immigrant identity, generational trauma, love, life and growing up. Bearing what is potentially the most beautiful book title of all time, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is written from the point of view of a young Vietnamese-American man addressing his mother as he examines the experiences and situations that defined their life together, from her life as the child of a traumatized war victim, to the family’s move from post-war Vietnam to suburban Connecticut and their lives there as immigrants.
He tenderly recounts emotional, sometimes disturbing, often beautiful scenes from throughout their shared lives, and, as he grows older, his own secret life, through a stunning series of metaphors, vignettes, and stories.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
4. Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Elizabeth Gilbert calls this New York Times Bestseller “Just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women).” In Fleishman Is In Trouble, Brodesser-Akner explores relationships, marriage, and what happens when it all falls apart.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest says Brodesser-Akner’s novel is “Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true…an essential read for anyone who’s wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose.”
Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.
As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.
A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope.
5. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
The Girl He Used to Know is a neurodiverse story about love, growth and life on the spectrum.
Kirkus has this to say of Garvis Grave’s beautiful novel: “Careful to balance the emotional and intellectual power between Annika and Jonathan, Graves creates a believable love affair in which Annika is not infantilized but rather fully realized as simply different. And her differences become her strengths when catastrophe strikes, compelling Annika to take the lead for the first time in her life. A heartwarming, neurodiverse love story.”
Kaira Rouda, bestselling author, Best Day Ever and What Comes Around notes that “This wonderful novel deals with life and love on the spectrum with captivating and heart-warming characters who will stay with you long after you’ve finished. Memorable, and remarkable, Tracey Garvis Graves has written another winner.”
Annika Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game—and his heart—to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.