Jersey Pride Overflowing Summer Books

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Artwork by Kotryna Zukauskaite

By Ian O’Connor
Mariner Books, February 22

Longtime New Jersey resident and acclaimed sportscaster Ian O’Connor examines the career and legacy of Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary Duke men’s basketball coach who retired at the end of this year’s NCAA Tournament. O’Connor – whose other books have profiled Derek Jeter (a New Jersey native), Bill Belichick, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, among others – seeks to paint a defining portrait of one of the most most iconic in college basketball through interviews with those closest to Krzyzewski. —Gary Phillips

By Laurie Zaleski
St. Martin’s Press, February 22

In these memoirs, Laurie Zaleski recounts her mother’s escape from an abusive marriage and her own upbringing in a dilapidated house in Turnersville, where she learned a tireless work ethic and a love for animals. This leads Zaleski to establish the Funny Farm in Mays Landing, where she gives refuge to unwanted and abused animals and fulfills her mother’s dream of running a rescue farm. Sprinkled throughout the book are stories of farm residents, from Emily the emu to Lorenzo the llama. —Tom Wilk

By Donna Leon
Atlantic Grove, March 15

For Donna Leon, the author of the hit detective series Commissario Brunetti set in Venice, her journey to writing novels with an Italian setting was fortuitous. Born in Montclair, she grew up in Bloomfield, attending Mount St. Dominic Academy High School in Caldwell. After earning her undergraduate degree in English at Caldwell College, she was deciding what to do next when a former classmate invited Leon to join her in Italy, where she planned to study painting. They landed in Venice and, arriving in this beautiful city, she fell in love. This began his journey to writing mystery novels. Léon, 79, has just published his 31st book in the series: give to others, a mystery that begins with a seemingly innocent request from a friend and puts Commissioner Brunetti in danger. —Jacqueline Mroz

By Jason Rekulak
Iron, May 10

Nanny Mallory Quinn sets out to solve a mystery when the drawings of the five-year-old boy she cares for turn from happy bunnies to much more sinister depictions. Trying to figure out what’s driving the artwork in order to protect the youngster takes over Mallory’s life. Fast-paced and engaging, this first-person tale is a page-turner with just enough suspense to keep you guessing until the end. Set, as Rekulak’s award-winning debut novel impossible fortressset in a fictional Garden State town, the author conjures up authentic vibes from his childhood in Metuchen. —Deborah P. Carter

By Mary-Beth Hughes
Atlantic Grove, May 17

In this collection of related short stories, Mary-Beth Hughes weaves a world of complicated family tales set on the Jersey Shore. They all focus on Faith’s family, including her rebellious daughter, Cece, and her mother, Irene, who is slipping into dementia. The title story is set in a large oceanfront beach house in Long Branch and the nearby beach club. The characters explore the consequences of loss over the generations of a family. Exit in pocket. —JM

By Katie Runde
Scribner, May 24

A captivating escape set in a semi-fictional Jersey Shore town, The shore is the epitome of beach reading. Follow the Dunne family – Brian, Margot and teenage daughters Liz and Evy – as they grapple with an unfathomable diagnosis amid summer jobs, family tensions and romance. Author Katie Runde, whose family ran boardwalk businesses on the Shore, weaves poetry and poignant questions into her debut novel. It’s an empathy-fueled exploration of the struggles of care and coming of age. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen, you might be tempted to read it in one go. —Jennifer Finn

By David K. Randall
Norton, June 7

Montclair author and journalist David K. Randall takes dinosaur enthusiasts back in time, explaining how prehistoric beasts became such an important part of our culture. With a tale centered on a fearless paleontologist, the rise of America’s beloved museums, and the competition that surrounded the search for the largest dinosaur on record, Monster bones shines a light on the beasts of bygone eras and the equally dangerous humans who have followed and pursued their massive footprints. —GP

By Tom Perrotta
Scribner, June 7

In this sequel to Tom Perrotta’s brilliant novel Election (which became a popular film starring Reese Witherspoon), Tracy is now a hard-working high school vice principal in a New Jersey suburb who feels stuck and underappreciated. When she learns that the headmaster is retiring, she is eager to get her job and will do anything to make it happen. Perrotta, originally from Garwood, is also the author of Mrs Fletcher, Small children and Leftovers, all of which have been adapted for television or film. —JM

By Marcy Dermansky
Knopf, June 14

The fifth novel by best-selling Montclair author Marcy Dermansky, this book is a propulsive story about a woman who flees disaster and returns home in search of love, a pool, and comfort. After her North Carolina home is swept away by a hurricane, Allison Brody meets a man who invites her into his home, then unexpectedly smashes a vase over her head. When she returns to New Jersey to recuperate and stay with her mother, she ends up falling in love with her surgeon. But does she use it just for her swimming pool? And will she stay in New Jersey with her new love or go back to rebuilding her beach house? —JM

By Kerri Sullivan
Rutgers University Press, June 17

New Jersey pride runs deep. So does our desire to share it with anyone who wants to listen to it, sometimes even more so when they’d rather not hear it. Kerri Sullivan, a Monmouth County native and public librarian in Somerset County, understands that this unique state pride is only part of the Jersey experience. It’s something she wanted to capture in her new anthology, New Jersey Fan Club. The eclectic collection of essays, comics, illustrations, photographs, and even a recipe for the book comes from over 60 contributors. Familiar places like the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Cape May, Tastee Sub Shop and Asbury Lanes pop up. —Shelby Vittek

By Riley Sager
Duton, June 21

What better setting for a thriller than an out-of-season secluded lakeside home? This is where Riley Sager, a former Star Ledger journalist who lives in Princeton, plants his latest characters, including leading lady Casey Fletcher, a Broadway actress. After her husband’s death – and subsequent drunken antics that garner more attention than her acting roles – Casey flees to her family’s vacation home in Vermont. She soon meets and becomes fascinated with her supermodel neighbor, Katherine Royce. When Katherine mysteriously disappears one night, Casey immediately suspects her pal’s tech-savvy husband. sage (final girls) offers constant twists, including a very surprising one, that will keep you turning the pages until the end. —Julie Gordon

By Margarita Montimore
Iron, July 5

When popular magician Violet Volk goes missing in the act, she kicks off a 10-year investigative saga that uncovers a strained sibling relationship, a nosy podcaster obsessed with the mysterious disappearance, and a nosy niece who’s also trying to get to the bottom of it. she. where is the missing aunt. Alternating between sister Sasha’s first-person account and podcast transcripts about Violet’s disappearance, Glendora resident Margarita Montimore’s modern epistolary novel blends mystery and emotional family drama for satisfying reading. This is Montimore’s third novel, of Ukrainian origin, after Oona out of order (2020), which was a hello america Choice of book club, and The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart (2021). —CPD

By Alice Elliott Dark
Scribner, July 5

In this long-awaited novel, Alice Elliott Dark brilliantly contemplates aging, the environment and feminism, as well as the deep and long-standing friendship between two women: a single children’s author and a well-to-do married woman with children. . The book reads like a 19th century novel, with its twists and layers of narrative. Dark, who lives in Montclair and teaches in the MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark, took ten years to write this novel, his first since his famous book. Think of England. —JM

By Sona Charaipotra
Feiwel & Friends, July 12

Jersey City reporter and young adult writer Sona Charaipotra is back with a new book billed as “The fat guy meets Younger.” It follows a Native American teenager named Maya who lands her dream job at a fashion magazine at age 17. The novel, aimed at readers aged 12 to 18, draws on the author’s experiences in the industry when she was in her twenties, when she was often mistaken for a teenager. Spoiler alert: Maya writes to a publication criticizing her decision to feature an Indian fashion designer without hiring Indian models for the shoot (which Charaipotra did in real life). Doing this surely made Maya fierce. —Falyn Stempler

By Megan Miranda
Scribner, July 26

Megan Miranda, who grew up in East Windsor and Manalapan, may now live in North Carolina, but the thrills of her new romance can be felt in her native New Jersey. In The last to disappearMiranda (All the missing girls, The perfect stranger) weaves a story in the fictional location of Cutter’s Pass, dubbed “the most dangerous town in North Carolina” after several people have disappeared without a trace over a 30-year period. After the brother of the most recent missing person shows up in town, local inn manager Abby Lockett, 20, is deep in mystery, trying to figure out exactly what is going on at Cutter’s. pass. we. Will the city’s dark secrets be revealed? —JG

By Jillian Medoff
Harper Collins, August 2

The best-selling author of It could hurt returns with a family drama set on Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side, about a young woman from a wealthy family who struggles to help her younger brother, Billy, a junior at Princeton, who has been charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Their parents hire the best lawyers money can buy, but Billy is the classic, privileged white man, and the case makes headlines. Cassie will do whatever it takes to help her, but that could mean revealing her own secrets. In her search for a way to help Billy, Cassie discovers the price of truth and the dark side of love. Medoff, who lives in Montclair, has another definite hit with this fast-paced, immersive novel about consent, justice, and wealth. An exciting, engaging read. —JM

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