Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup; from Terry McMillan to Debut Novelists Allen, Crawford, Daly, & More

Allen, Lisa Van. The Wishing Thread. Ballantine. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780345538550. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345537829. WOMEN’S FICTION
Owners of the Stitchery Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, NY, the Van Ripper women can reputedly grant wishes by stitching them into their knitted goods. But the Stitchery’s matriarch has just died, leaving a will that could unravel everything. A big book club push, and great for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman; you know it’s whimsical when you learn that debut author Allen owns a pet hedgehog.

Crawford, Lacy. Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy. Morrow. Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780062240613. $25.99. ebk. ISBN 9780062240705. COMING OF AGE
Once an independent college admissions counselor to children of privilege, Crawford has seen enough to write this telling debut starring an “application whisperer” who can get students into the best colleges. But as their essays reveal, the emotional cost is horrendous, as is many parents’ overweening ambition and greed. Having just run the college application gauntlet, I say, Amen!

Daly, Paula. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? Grove. Sept. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780802121622. $24. SUSPENSE
Working mother Lisa Kallisto has too many balls in the air, and during an inattentive moment she drops one—her best friend’s 13-year-old daughter is now missing. Seeking to rectify this horrible mistake, especially when another girl who has vanished is recovered after a terrible ordeal, Lisa investigates—and discovers that appearances are deceptive. A debut about a nightmare haunting every parent.

Loyd, Amy Grace. The Affairs of Others. Picador. Sept. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781250041296. $24. LITERARY FICTION
After her husband’s death, youngish Celia finds herself involved in the affairs of others; her husband has left her enough money to buy a neglected apartment building in Brooklyn, NY, refurbish it gently, and rent out three places. We see the tenants from the reserved Celia’s perspective, giving the book a meditative feel. From former Playboy literary editor Loyd, currently executive editor at Byliner; watch this one.

McMillan, Terry. Who Asked You? Viking. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780670785698. $27.95. POP FICTION
When daughter Trinetta vanishes after dropping off her two young sons with mom Betty Jean, BJ is already dealing with an ailing husband, an adult son just getting paroled, two impossible sisters, and her back-breaking work as a hotel maid. Interesting to see Mcmillan in this groove; with a 15-city tour.

Manning, Kate. My Notorious Life. Scribner. Sept. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9781451698060. $26. LITERARY/HISTORICAL
In the dark underbelly of late 1800s New York, orphaned Axie Muldoon makes her way, first as a doctor’s apprentice, then as a midwife who builds a business with her husband based on the sale of “lunar tonic for female complaints.” Unfortunately, she finds herself up against Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. Based on real-life events; New Yorker advertising suggests something deeper than colorful saga.

Maynard, Joyce. After Her. Morrow. Sept. 2013. ISBN 9780062257390. $25.95; ebk ISBN 9780062257413. lrg. prnt. SUSPENSE
During a parched California summer in 1979, the Sunset Strangler is haunting the hills of Northern California, and Rachel’s womanizing father is the detective on the case. Rachel’s misguided efforts to help by setting herself up as bait destroy his career and reverberate decades later. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Moyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. Pamela Dorman Bks: Viking. Sept. 2013. ISBN 9780670026616. $27.95. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL
When her French village falls to the Germans in 1916, Sophie learns that her artist husband’s portrait of her has caught the eye of the Kommandant. Almost a century later, the portrait is the focus of a huge battle concerning its rightful owner. A best-selling author with Indie Next and Amazon Book of the Month credentials, British author Moyes is nicely preparing us for the centenary of World War I.

Zuravleff, Mary Kay. Man Alive! Farrar. Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780374202316. $27. LITERARY FICTION
Struck by lightning while adding coins to a parking meter, pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Owen Lerner survives unscathed—except that now he is completely obsessed with barbequing, which has grave consequences for his family life. A witty change of pace for the author of the lovely The Bowl Is Already Broken; watch this one.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.