When Beartown's amateur hockey team has a winning streak that may allow them to reach the junior ice hockey championship, their star player is embroiled in a scandal involving the hockey coach's 15-year-old daughter. The town can't survive without the financial success that a winning team will bring them, but will morality overpower the desperation of Beartown's most vulnerable citizens? Backman returns with another set of unforgettable characters and his signature empathetic look at humanity, flaws and all.
In a follow-up to My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge) returns to her signature short stories, examining how the people in the town that Lucy fled continue on with their own struggles, and how Lucy herself is faring. Strout's latest is beautifully written, and her ability to tap in to the hearts and minds of her characters is more present than ever before.
Anita Shreve returns with a story set during the Great Fires of Maine in 1947. Housewife and mother, Grace Holland, is stuck in a loveless marriage. Her husband, Gene, survived the war, but remains distant and uncommunicative, and Grace has resigned herself to the drudgery of housework and a life of dependency. But when the fires reach her coastal Maine community, Grace is left homeless and her husband is declared missing. She soon experiences the thrills of self reliance, until something much worse occurs.
Set during the latter part of the 21st century, Omar El Akkad's American War examines the effects of climate change in a not-so-distant future. As the south attempts to secede due to its opposition to the Sustainable Future Act, the United States is pulled into a second Civil War, while rising sea levels, severe storms and droughts across the country cause refugees to migrate inland to the Midwest. El Akkad crafts a brutal family saga set in a world that has been destroyed by the very people who inhabit it.
American-born Alexandra has decided to start anew in Sofia, Bulgaria, but when she discovers unfamiliar luggage among her own, she finds within an urn containing the ashes of violinist, Stoyan Lazarov. Alexandra embarks on a journey to track down Lazarov's family, and devastating truths are revealed along the way.