Five new books to read this week

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Five New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell and Conversations On Love by Natasha Lunn
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By Prudence Wade, PA

A mysterious thriller or a meditation on love – what new book do you want to pick up this week?

Fiction

1. Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder is published in hardback by Harvill Secker. Available now

In her debut, Rachel Yoder has written a novel unabashedly peculiar and truly unique. In its simplest form, Nightbitch is a whip-smart story of early motherhood – but describing it as such is an enormous injustice to Yoder’s torrent of mind-bending prose.

Read almost as a stream of consciousness, a nameless ‘Mother’ grapples with losing her sense of self amongst the constant demands of caring for a toddler. In doing so, she turns into a dog known as Nightbitch. This metamorphosis is darkly funny and terrifyingly visceral, yet underscored with piercing truth.

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Yoder candidly captures the mental, emotional and physical challenges of becoming a mother, along with the unwarranted weight of social expectations. A searing portrayal of art and motherhood, Nightbitch is strange, unsettling and wonderful to read.
9/10
(Review by Rebecca Wilcock)

2. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell is published in hardback by Century. Available now

The latest thriller from former chick lit favourite Lisa Jewell tells the stories of 19-year-old Tallulah, who goes missing after a pool party at a country mansion, and author Sophie, who finds herself discovering clues to the teenage mother’s disappearance when she moves to the area more than a year later. As Sophie becomes more entangled in uncovering the truth, we learn that Tallulah’s life wasn’t all it initially seems.

Amateur sleuth Sophie seems more of a means to an end than an engaging character, but the urge to find out what has happened to troubled Tallulah is enough to make this a page-turner. The only thing predictable about the ending is how totally unpredictable it is. For fans of the genre, this ticks all the right boxes.
7/10
(Review by Eleanor Barlow)

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3. Jane Is Trying by Isy Suttie is published in hardback by W&N. Available now

Jane Is Trying is Isy Suttie’s debut novel – you might recognise the comedian and actress as Dobby from Peep Show. Jane really is trying for a whole manner of things; a baby, to deal with a break-up, to re-establish her life back home, to get over her many fears. The backdrop to it all, making everything that bit harder, is her OCD – although she’s not quite ready to call it that. Some of Jane’s musings are so relatable you’ll catch yourself laughing out loud, slightly alarmed by the accuracy.

While you want to root for her to land on her feet, the amount of support she does in fact have around her makes this feel less urgent. Nevertheless, Suttie portrays the more honest aspects of what are usually regarded as the best parts of life – family, relationships, friends, career – with the perfect concoction of warmth and grit.
7/10
(Review by Hannah Millington)

Non-fiction

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4. Conversations On Love by Natasha Lunn is published by Viking. Available now

Conversations On Love is a mix of memoir and interviews exploring the subject of love in all its forms – from parenting and friendship, to romance and long-term commitment. The book moves from Lunn’s own experiences – of teenage crushes, first dates, marriage and struggles to conceive – to discussions on topics from the power of friendship and being alone, to grief, desire and the idea of soulmates.

As a journalist, Lunn conducts thoughtful interviews with a wide-ranging series of experts, from thinkers Philippa Perry, Susie Orbach and Alain de Botton, to writers Dolly Alderton, Roxane Gay and Lisa Taddeo. The book flows naturally between profound topics, avoids cliche, and the broad scope of interviewees allows for a range of perspectives to influence Lunn’s thinking – on a subject so complex, yet universal.
8/10
(Review by Jessica Frank-Keyes)

Children’s book of the week

5. Girl (In Real Life) by Tamsin Winter is published in paperback by Usborne Publishing. Available now

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Girl (In Real Life) centres around Eva, a 13-year-old girl and star of a YouTube channel her parents set up before she was even born. Over the years, fans have followed her first tantrum, winced at her adolescent spots and giggled at her funny outfits, but it’s all got a bit much. As Eva decides she’s fed up with having zero privacy, she sets about sabotage. What unravels is a story of betrayal, loyalty, love and loss. Encouraging parents and kids to talk to each other about social media, vlogging, right and wrong, this story is everything a kids’ book should be.

Brilliantly written, Tamsin Winter’s third novel is genuinely hard to put down, funny and also heartbreakingly sad in places. The storyline tackles modern teenage issues and stirs up a huge amount of emotion, making it a must-have addition to adolescent bookshelves.
9/10
(Review by Claire Spreadbury)

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