Josie is bored. Her marriage has soured and she’s ready for something different and better. Her best friend, Raquel, is a recovering addict and has-been rock-star whose relationship with a man half her age has exploded all over the blogosphere. Fragile and devastated, Raquel persuades Josie to escape to Mexico City with her for a week of relaxation, tequila, and lurid sexual encounters. In Trouble (Anchor, $15), Kate Christensen’s women find freedom South of the border as they redefine themselves in their middle age. Not content to sit back with tea and a bad novel as their bosoms and bottoms sag, these women absolutely love their mid-life crisis.
In Brooklyn (Scribner, $15), Irish novelist Colm Tóibín quietly, but with rising intensity, tells the coming-of-age story of a rather plain Irish girl. Eilis attains adulthood in the 1950s, a time of spiking unemployment, and her colorful older sister arranges for her to emigrate to a close-knit Irish community in Brooklyn. Once there, Eilis experiences terrible homesickness, but eventually falls in love with an outgoing immigrant Italian plumber. After a trip back to her Irish parish and the sudden appearance of a conventional, old-world suitor, Eilis must choose, not only with her heart but also in keeping with her nagging sense of family responsibility, between her tremendously likeable Italian and the Irish suitor from her childhood. Tóibín masterfully builds the emotional pitch so that readers come to care deeply abouts Eilis’s decision.
In The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet (Penguin, $16), Reif Larsen leads us on a grand rail adventure that would have made Kerouac jealous. T.S., a brilliant child who focuses his energy on cartography of the most bizarre and unique kind, is coping with the recent death of his older brother when he wins a prize that requires him to travel from Montana to D.C. T.S. sneaks onto a train and hopes for the best. Along the way, he discovers the truth about his mother, becomes involved with multiple underground societies, and redefines the word “precocious.” Larsen has created a fantastically detailed version of a reality that is quite beguiling. Enjoy the ride.