Reads for every occasion this month.
THE DAYTIME READ
Katie Khan’s emotive debut novel, Hold Back the Stars (Doubleday, approx €11.99, out January 26) is anything but a run-of-the-mill love story. Carys, an over-achieving space pilot, and Max, an aspiring chef running the family food business, meet and fall in love, but their universe, Europa, forbids them to be together. Set between space and a new earth formed after a disastrous nuclear war, this story sees the pair try to push back against the strict rules of their utopia while trying to salvage their relationship. They have to fight to stay together and later, to stay alive as they drift, alone in space with only 90 minutes of air remaining. To say more would only spoil it, but this is a stirring, unique and beautifully crafted story on the complexities of first love that will stay with you long after reading. This is going to be huge in 2017.
THE BEDSIDE READ
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks likes to write notes. On her arm, on her hands, on hundreds of scraps of paper. But Flora isn’t an ordinary teenager. She has anterograde amnesia and can’t remember anything day-to- day – not the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is. This is the basis of Emily Barr’s YA debut The One Memory of Flora Banks (Penguin Random House, approx €9.99, out now). Then Flora kisses a boy – it’s her first, and from a boy she shouldn’t have kissed. The next day, she remembers it – it’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten. Knowing that this could change her life forever, she sets off to the Arctic to find Drake, the one person who could help her hold on to her memories. He becomes her obsession – why can she only remember him? This is a beautiful, coming-of-age story.
THE ALL- NIGHTER READ
Karl Geary’s Montpelier Parade (Vintage, approx €15.99, out now), a tender, real tale of love between two people from completely different worlds, is a captivating debut from the Dublin-born author. The story begins and ends in a gloomy, rain-sodden Dublin, but the vivid characters keep the setting bright. Sonny is just 16 years old and lives a lonely life in a difficult, working-class home, but he’s hungry for the world, and a bigger, better future. Everything changes when he meets the beautiful Vera, so much older and wiser than he is. Her house is on Montpelier Parade, just across town, but to Sonny, she represents a different world. A chance encounter leads to first-time love for Sonny, but all isn’t as it seems – what exactly is Vera hiding? A luminous, moving story that is full of heart.