PAX

Sara Pennypacker, author of the light-hearted Clementine series, proves with her new novel that she’s capable of writing stories with more heft and just as much heart. Peter and his fox, Pax, have been close companions for five years. After his mother’s death, Peter adopted Pax as a kit, and caring for his fox has…

PIECE OF MIND

From John Wray’s Lowboy to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, contemporary authors have boldly chronicled the minds, trials and tribulations of characters facing a range of cognitive and neurological challenges. Michelle Adelman’s debut, Piece of Mind, fits neatly into this genre. Adelman’s protagonist, Lucy, was struck by a car…

SMARTER FASTER BETTER

It’s been a few weeks since our New Year’s resolutions faded into obscurity, but most of us harbor a lingering hope that we can become more productive. In Smarter Faster Better, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg breaks productivity into eight parts that improve performance in surprising ways. As in his bestseller The Power of…

BRAMBLEHEART

Henry Cole’s Brambleheart is an enchanting coming-of-age adventure with an unlikely hero: a chipmunk named Twig who just can’t seem to find his place in the world. Twig lives in the Hill—a towering heap of metal, glass and plastic bric-a-brac discarded by humans—and, like the other animals there, he’s expected to find a trade. At…

YOUNGBLOOD

The occupation of Iraq was as nebulous as the reasons for the original invasion. Indeed, the war’s raisons d’être multiplied as the years progressed. In Matt Gallagher’s important debut novel,Youngblood, a lieutenant stationed in Iraq asks the trillion-dollar question: “Just what . . . were we doing?” The ephemerality and pointlessness of this postmodern war…

THE WIDOW

Fiona Barton’s slippery debut is a top-notch addition to the growing field of psychological thrillers starring untrustworthy female characters, such as The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. In the first chapter, readers learn a possible kidnapper and child molester is dead. Four years earlier, he was accused and tried for the disappearance of 2-year-old…