A BLOG ABOUT BOOKS & THE LITERARY LIFESTYLE

The FictionMatters Blog

Subscribe

holiday

lifestyle

recommendations

book lists

Categories

Read With Me!

Search

Follow Along

Hello! I’m Sara Hildreth: a reader, writer, and lifelong learner dedicated to putting great books into the hands of great people.

 But around here, the reading life goes beyond books! So grab a cup of something cozy & find the resources, products, and recommendations you need to live your best literary life.

April 10, 2021

Book Lists

8 books about new beginnings to read this Spring

There’s something about Spring that evokes the desire for renewal. Whether we’re cleaning out our closets, reemerging from a (particularly brutal) winter hibernation, or recommitting to our yearly intentions, the spring season is all about fresh starts. Here are 8 books featuring characters who are starting over, reinventing themselves, or trying something new to help you channel that feeling of Spring rejuvenation.

Colorful Tulips Flower Field

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

When Aviva Grossman is caught up in a viral political scandal, she is in desperate need of a fresh start. Her decision to abandon life as she knew it and reinvent herself has far-reaching ramifications not just for Aviva, but for the other women her story intersects with. This book is charming, warm-hearted, and witty. It’s also a sharp examination of the difference between how men and women are treated by the media and just how interconnected human lives are.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

This one has a fresh start right in the title, and while it begins in a dark place, it is, in many ways, the definition of an effervescent spring read. A year after losing her husband, Evvie Drake is still keeping a major secret from everyone in her life and feeling overwhelmed by her empty house and the possibilities of what comes next. When she decides to sublet a room to a Major League pitcher who’s lost his talent for pitching, she starts to feel like she can finally open up. This book is sweet without foregoing the hard stuff, and it’s a wonderful romance that celebrates the human capacity for growth.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson 

ZJ’s family is forced to contemplate the possibility of a totally different life when his dad, a beloved pro football player, starts to change. At first no one really knows what’s happening to Zachariah, but they soon begin to understand that years of head injuries are going to alther not just his career, but the man he was. This is a heartbreaking middle grade story about family and friends who band together to get through a living nightmare. It’s also a story of fresh starts and redemption told with Woodson’s trademark warmth and lyricism.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson 

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Kara is a traverser--someone sent to parallel universes to explore and bring back invaluable data. In some ways, it’s an enviable job, but the dark reality is she’s only able to travel between worlds because she’s already died in so many alternate realities. It would constitute a bit of a spoiler to explain exactly how The Space Between Worlds is about fresh starts, but trust me when I say this riveting sci-fi novel includes one of the most epic new beginnings I’ve ever encountered. It also features a sassy, no-nonsense heroine, a slow-burning Sapphic romance, and inventive social commentary.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol

Josephine Cortes’ life is upended when her husband runs off with his mistress to start a crocodile farm in Kenya. Josephine is left trying to balance life in Paris with two daughters and her demanding, but not particularly lucrative, career as a Medieval scholar. When Josephine’s sister Iris proposes Josephine write a Medieval romance novel (under Iris’ name), life for both families is catapulted into the spotlight and far from normal. This book is fun, flirty, and very French--a perfect spring escape.

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

The House of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland

This is a breathtaking book about returning home to begin again. It follows three women who all thought they’d escape their small Michigan town, but find themselves back again when life just doesn’t go as anticipated. Through their friendship with each other and a scandal that forces them to relieve past trauma, Linda, Paula, and Beth find purpose, healing, and home. The House of Deep Water is a challenging book exploring motherhood, family, and childhood trauma, but while it’s not a light or effervescent spring read, it is a stunning depiction of regeneration.

The House of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

Thirty Names by Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Thirty Names for Night is a lyrical and layered novel about a Syrian American transgender boy searching for a sense of self and a new name. When he stumbles upon the journal of Laila Z, a mysterious Syrian artist, he uncovers a history of queerness and a sense of community he never imagined. Interwoven with lush descriptions of art and ornithology and the unraveling of Laila’s disappearance, this is an intricately textured novel about reinvention and self-discovery.

Thirty Names by Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

 

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perotta

Eve Fletcher is a 46-year-old single mom sending her son off to college and discovering that for the first time in years, she gets to think about herself. Through her Gender and Society night class and an intensifying fascination with a porn site (yes, this book is very much for adults and very much not for sensitive readers), Eve rediscovers her sexuality and herself. Perotta’s writing is warm and humorous, but he does not shy away from tricky subject matter surrounding sex, so be ready!

Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perotta

Buy from Amazon | Buy from Bookshop

Leave a comment and share your favorite books featuring fresh starts.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission from any purchases made. Thanks for using these links to help support my passion for sharing books that matter!

share this post:

  1. Catherine says:

    Sara,
    Your site is stunning! I love your graphics- just beautiful. I’m so happy to have found another book review blog from a reviewer I trust!
    I tried Thirty Names of Night, but stalled on it because I didn’t get a sense of where it was going. Now I feel as if I should try it again.
    The fresh start example that comes to mind from my recent reading is Good Company. It may be based on the discovery of a lost ring, but in re-opening the past, it felt like it was forging a new future for the characters.

    • Sara Hildreth says:

      Thank you so much, Catherine! I’m really enjoying having a virtual space to share longer, more thoughtful reviews. Your blog is one of my go-to’s so your compliment means a lot to me!

      I have to admit Thirty Names of Night was slow for me. It was “required reading” for me because it was submitted for the Aspen Words prize. Ultimately I’m very glad I finished it, and it’s a gorgeous example of a new beginning, but it’s not a must-read in my book.

      I’m really looking forward to Good Company! I plan to bring it with me next week–we rented an Airbnb in Palm Springs and are going to lounge by the pool for a week. It seems like the perfect book for this trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

holiday

lifestyle

recommendations

book lists

Categories

Read With Me!

Search

Follow Along

Hello! I’m Sara Hildreth: a reader, writer, and lifelong learner dedicated to putting great books into the hands of great people.

 But around here, the reading life goes beyond books! So grab a cup of something cozy & find the resources, products, and recommendations you need to live your best literary life.