People Staff
March 20, 2014 05:15 PM

It’s spring! Time to strip off some layers (if the weather would just cooperate) and appreciate what’s new in the world. Our staffers have found some debut novels that fit the mood – let us know what you think, and what you’re reading.

Acts of Contrition by Jennifer Handford

Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, Washington Correspondent
Her Pick: Acts of Contrition by Jennifer Hanford

One perk of my job is sometimes getting advance copies of books. And this swift, satisfying read (out next month) is like perching at the kitchen counter with your best girlfriend and best bottle of red – provided your BFF is a D.C.-area mom who’s a riveting storyteller and can’t escape her ex (or their shared secrets, which I haven’t gotten to yet) because he’s running for Senate and all over TV. With an ex or two of my own in TV news, I’m finding that curling up with Contrition is like trying on a tight, sexy dress from my 20s. I’ll never wear it again, but it’s fun to look back.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Saryn Chorney, Senior Editor
Her Pick: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Trailer park teen Amy Gumm isn’t in Kansas anymore. When this pink-haired outcast and her pet rat get caught in a twister, they land in Oz – but it s no longer the magical place from the beloved movie. Munchkins have gone goth, the Good Witch has a Joker-esque perma-grin, and Dorothy’s turned dark and demented. Paige’s first book (out April 1) of an upcoming trilogy is a fun – and frightening – spin on a familiar tale.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Roxanne Flores, Human Resources Vice President
Her Pick: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was drawn to this novel because of the similar struggles experienced by the fictionalized historical characters Hetty “Handful” Grimke and her young owner, Sarah Grimke. Handful, a 17th century slave, and Sarah, who along with her sister Nina was at the forefront of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements, each fought hard to live the life she felt she was meant to have. Though slavery was a far grimmer fate, just being a woman meant facing oppression as well. Seeing how the two women tackled their lots is truly inspiring.

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out our Oscars edition and more great book finds here.

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