Sarra Man­ning picks Septem­ber’s best pulse-quick­en­ing page-turn­ers

Red - - READS -

Things A Bright Girl

Can Do by Sally Ni­cholls (An­der­sen Press, £12.99; out 7th Septem­ber)

A cap­ti­vat­ing YA novel fol­low­ing three girls who take up the Suf­fragette cause. Eve­lyn craves ex­cite­ment, May wants a fairer life for all and work­ing­class Nell longs for a free­dom that is about more than just suf­frage. Things A Bright Girl Can Do ex­plores sex­ual iden­tity, the grim re­al­i­ties of poverty and war and the fraught na­ture of first love. It’s ap­peal will reach read­ers of any age.

Home Fire by Kamila Sham­sie (Blooms­bury, £16.99; out 7th Septem­ber)

Home Fire is about two Bri­tish Mus­lim fam­i­lies: or­phaned sib­lings Isma, Aneeka and Par­vaiz, and pow­er­ful politi­cian Kara­mat and his son Ea­monn. When Par­vaiz fol­lows in the foot­steps of his late ji­hadist fa­ther, Aneeka will do any­thing to save him. The ties of fa­mil­ial love are pulled taut in this beau­ti­ful book, which takes the story of Antigone and puts it in a mod­ern set­ting where the po­lit­i­cal out­weighs the per­sonal. See

page 114 for our in­ter­view with Sham­sie.

This Is Go­ing To Hurt: Se­cret Diaries Of A Ju­nior Doc­tor by Adam Kay (Pi­cador, £16.99; out 7th Septem­ber)

All of hu­man life is con­tained in th­ese diaries from a for­mer ju­nior doc­tor. Kay de­scribes a gru­elling cy­cle of 97-hour weeks, min­i­mal pay and peo­ple stick­ing ran­dom ob­jects up their bot­toms. It’s hi­lar­i­ous, hor­ri­fy­ing and there’s an in­ci­dent with a pe­nis and a lamp­post, which has guar­an­teed that I will never eat spaghetti again.

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech

(Orenda Books, £8.99; out 30th Septem­ber)

Some­thing so ter­ri­ble hap­pened to Maria when she was nine that she can’t re­mem­ber the first nine years of her life. The not-know­ing has made her an acer­bic, de­fen­sive char­ac­ter who spurns love, but when she vol­un­teers at a call cen­tre for flood vic­tims, her softer side and a mem­ory of what hap­pened start to emerge. Maria In The Moon is part psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, part love story and fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Com­pletely Fine will love it.

The Break by Mar­ian Keyes (Michael Joseph, £20; out 7th Septem­ber)

Amy and Hugh have been to­gether for 20 years when Hugh de­cides to go on a six-month jour­ney of ‘self actualisation’ to south-east Asia. Amy is left to deal with fam­ily crises, hold down a de­mand­ing job in PR and per­form many acts of mi­nor DIY, un­til she re­alises that she’s on a break, too. Full of wit and warmth and a huge cast of skil­fully drawn char­ac­ters, The Break is

Mar­ian Keyes at her most clas­sic and bril­liant best.

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