1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is the story of two star-crossed 16-year-olds living in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1986. One is Eleanor Douglas, an overweight, red-haired girl. And the other is Park Sheridan, a half white, half Korean guy. The two fall in love over comic books and mixed tapes during the course of one school year. Both are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
2. The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
The Matchmaker follows the story of the 48-year-old Dabney Kimball Beech, the director of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, who has had a great lifelong matchmaking record. With 42 happy couples to her credit, all of them still together, her matchmaking decisions have never went wrong. But, her life takes a big turn when she discovers that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So, she sets out to find matches for her loved ones: her husband, the famous economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist, Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong guy. The drama heightens when a past-flame returns in her life. So, in a race against time, will she be able to find the perfect matches for her loved ones, and most importantly, for herself?
3. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
The first book from the Southern Reach Trilogy is based in the fictional ‘Area X’ which has been cut off from the rest of the civilization for decades. The twelfth expedition, which consists of four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist (the leader) and a biologist (the narrator), are on a mission to map the terrain and collect specimens. But, most importantly, they have to save themselves from not being contaminated by Area X, unlike the previous expeditions whose members either committed suicide, died of aggressive cancer or killed each other.
4. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Half a King is the story of Prince Yarvi, a mild-mannered intelligent boy born with a deformed hand, because of which he is considered a weakling in the eyes of his ‘King’ father. He is forced to sit on the throne, which he never wanted, when his father and brother are murdered on the battlefield. But with huge power comes the enemy’s huge jealousy, who fills Yarvi’s path with cruelty and tragedy. Now, he has to overcome all his struggles with just one good hand. In search for vengeance, he swears an oath to avenge the death of his father: “I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
5. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Called a “hard-boiled detective book” by King himself, Mr. Mercedes begins in a distressed Midwestern city where hundreds of unemployed people are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without any warning, a man runs through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. After killing eight people and wounding fifteen, the man escapes. Months later, retired detective Bill Hodges, haunted by the unsolved crime, decides to stop ‘Mr. Mercedes’ after receiving a threatening letter from him, in which he talks about his intentions of killing thousands of other people. So, with no time to lose, Hodges and his allies have to stop this man, who loves the feel of death under the wheels of a Mercedes, from completing his next insane mission.
6. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
One Plus One is the story of Jess, a house cleaner, whose life totally sucks. Her husband does a vanishing act, so she has to support her two children on her meager income. Her teenage stepson is being bullied and her daughter, a math whiz, has got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of getting a partial scholarship to an elite private school. But she can’t afford to pay for it. Enters Geeky Ed, an unpleasant tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. He is awaiting prosecution on an insider-trading scandal. Meanwhile, Jess has come to know about a Math Olympiad trial in Scotland that could get her daughter the scholarship. So, all of five of them: two teenagers, a scared man, a tired, overworked woman and a big, stinky dog head to Scotland in Ed’s car. What follows is laughter, laughter and laughter.
7. The Painter by Peter Heller
Jim Stegner, a well-known expressionist painter, has come across a lot of violence and loss in his life. Years ago he shot a man in a bar and his marriage disintegrated. As a result of this tragedy, he left the art scene of Santa Fe to start afresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. He is now trying to find a way to live a better life by painting and fly-fishing, but his dark part, at times, takes control over him. One afternoon, a brutal encounter rips his peaceful life apart and he flees Colorado, being chased by men set on retribution. He returns to New Mexico tormented by his own relentless conscience. The Painter is the story of a man intent on using his past losses to create a new meaningful life.