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Oddly Normal

by John Schwartz |

MEMOIR

After Joseph Schwartz attempted suicide at age 13, his journalist father decided to write this memoir about Joseph’s troubles as a gay teen. The goal: to encourage other parents whose kids feel hopelessly different. Interweaving his family’s story with reporting, Schwartz affectingly demonstrates that desperate children can be helped. It really can get better-as it did for Joseph when he found a support system, hit high school and dyed his hair a triumphant purple.

Magnificence

by Lydia Millet |

NOVEL

In the final book of a trilogy that began with her 2008 novel How the Dead Dream, Pulitzer Prize finalist Millet reintroduces Susan Lindley, a self-absorbed woman who compulsively cheats on her husband, then loses him in a grisly murder. Besieged by guilt, she floats numbly from room to room in her new home-a taxidermy-filled mansion willed to her by a long-forgotten, now-dead uncle. Susan’s solipsism limits our ability to root for her. Still, Millet’s lovely prose alone makes this worth a read.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com