The end of January brings with it four evocative new books by women — all of which take readers to dark, sinister places. Two are fiction; two are not. All four demand that readers take a long, hard look at the way society treats women.
The two fiction books to watch this week are both young adult novels. In The Hazel Wood, a young girl travels into a ruthless, terrifying land in an attempt to find her mother, who has been kidnapped by the eerie creatures of her grandmother's fairy tales. In S.T.A.G.S., English boarding school students take their preoccupation with elitism and popularity to disturbing levels in a game that bears strong resemblance to The Hunger Games.
But if you're looking for nonfiction this month, two phenomenal memoirs are hitting bookstores on Jan. 30: BRAVE by Rose McGowan and This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins. In BRAVE, actress and activist McGowan shares the story of her own sexual assault and dives deep into the Hollywood culture that allows men like Harvey Weinstein to get away with sexual assault without reprimand. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins also examines rape culture — among plenty of other issues — but through the lens of someone who has experience double subjugation as a black woman.
As January closes, make sure you have these four books on your shelves:
'The Hazel Wood' by Melissa Albert
Melissa Albert, the founding editor of the B&N Teen Blog, knows YA better than almost anyone, a fact made abundantly clear in her lush, haunting debut The Hazel Wood. Seventeen-year-old Alice has spent most of her life on the road with her mother. But when her elusive grandmother, the author of a cult-classic collection of creepy fairy tales set in the "fictional" world of Hinterland, dies and her mother goes missing, Alice is launched into a dark adventure that takes her straight into the heart of her grandmother's stories and straight into The Hazel Wood.
'BRAVE' by Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan has long been the voice of irreverent, unscripted rebellion in Hollywood. On the heels of the #MeToo movements comes her first book, BRAVE, a memoir about her rise, fall, and resurgence in Hollywood in the wake of her own sexual assault.
'This Will Be My Undoing' by Morgan Jerkins
In her debut release, Morgan Jerkins takes readers through life as a black woman on the street, in foreign countries, on dates, at the workplace, in the beauty parlor — everywhere, anywhere. An essential and vital read, This Will Be My Undoing is destined to become a classic essay collection on race and feminism.
'S.T.A.G.S.' by M.A. Bennett
Already in the process of being adapted for film, S.T.A.G.S is basically Gossip Girl meets The Hunger Games. Greer, a new student at an elite English boarding school, is surprised — and thrilled — when she's invited to spend an exclusive weekend of "huntin' shootin' fishin'" at the private family estate of one of the school's elite, Henry de Warlencourt. But when she arrives, she learns that huntin' shootin' fishin' has a darker meaning than she realized.