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FIRST Book Club: ‘One Last Word’ and ‘How to Solve Your Own Murder’ Are Must-Read New Releases

This week's titles include new romantic comedies and fresh mysteries to indulge in

With so many compelling and must-read recent book releases, it’s tricky to know which title to pick up. Luckily, FIRST Book Club is here to guide you for the week of May 31 to June 6!

Join the club as Suzanne Park enthralls readers in her new book, One Last Word, a romantic-comedy that had FIRST’s Assistant Digital Editor Carissa Mosness hooked from the first chapter. For the true crime among the group, Kristen Perrin’s new title, How to Solve Your Own Murder, captured the attention of “BookTok” and had Senior Associate Editor Maggie Dillard “stunned.”

With favorites from Stanley Tucci to indulge in, fan-favorites such as Sophie Jordan’s The Duchess to check out, and other new titles eagerly awaiting readers, here are the FIRST Book Club recommendations for May 31 to June 6.

Romantic Comedy: One Last Word

by Suzanne Park

One Last Word by Suzanne Park
Avon

“While at the airport, I was initially drawn in by this bright, eye-catching cover,” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “But it was the laugh-out-loud moments and fun romantic storyline that kept me hooked.” Sara Chae is the founder of One Last Word, a quirky futuristic app that lets you prep mes­sages to be sent to anyone after you pass away. But when Sara finds out drafted notes she had drunkenly uploaded were released — including one to her unrequited high school crush Harry Shim — she’s mortified. What follows is a run-in with Harry and a series of events that force Sara to reconcile with the past, the present and to forge a path forward. “Jenny Han or Alisha Rai fans will delight over this tale!” (Avon, 2024)

Historical Romance: The Duchess

by Sophie Jordan

The Duchess by Sophie Jordan
Avon

“While waiting on the finale of Bridgerton’s third season, I grabbed this book to tide me over,” says Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “And this Regency-era love story was a perfect fit.” In the second installment of The Scandalous Ladies of London, it’s one year after Valencia, the Dowager Duchess of Dedham, lost her wretched husband, and she loves her new life of freedom. That all changes when the new Duke of Dedham, Rhain, and his six sisters move into Valencia’s home. They strike a deal: Valencia will introduce Rhain’s sisters to all the eligible bachelors, and Rhain will help Valencia financially, ensuring her independence. “I enjoyed the strong female lead and the swoony love story.” (Avon, 2024)

Historical Fiction: The Exiles

by Christina Baker Kline

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
Mariner Books

“I have long loved Christina Baker Kline’s beautiful, captivating writing,” says Diane Herbst, FIRST Senior Features Writer. “From Orphan Train to A Piece of The World, her stories stay with me for a while. Somehow, I hadn’t read this one yet — as soon as I opened it, I devoured it in a single weekend.” The Exiles, set in mid-1800s Britain and Australia, tells the haunting stories of Evangeline, a young London governess falsely accused of a crime, and Hazel, a convicted small-time thief, who are both sent on a former slave ship to an Australian penal colony. Through Mathinna, an orphaned Aboriginal girl taken from her tribe to live in the home of the colonial governor’s wife as a social experiment, readers also learn about the tragic history of Down Under’s Indigenous people. “The tale’s vivid descriptions, dramatic scenes and complex characters made me feel like I was right there — it was one of Baker Kline’s most powerful stories to date!” (Mariner, 2021)

Memior: Taste: My Life Through Food

by Stanley Tucci

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
Gallery Books

“A trip to the bookstore led me to this food memoir,” says Alexandria Brooks, FIRST Digital Editor. “I have so many fond memories around the dinner table, so I relate to Tucci’s passion for bringing the stories behind dishes to life.” In his memoir, he unveils the connection between food and life that has influenced pivotal moments — such as preparing for food films like Julie & Julia and falling in love with his wife, Felicity Blunt, over a meal. Smiles Alexandria, “It shows that the kitchen isn’t just the heart of the home — it’s also a source of comfort.” (Gallery, 2021)

Chick Lit: From the Jump

by Lacie Waldon

From the Jump  by Lacie Waldon
G.P. Putnam's Sons

“There’s nothing like letting go and taking a risk,” says Julianne MacNeill, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “And this story was a fun exploration of that freedom.” When Liv Bakersfield realizes her responsibilities are about to make her miss another vacation with her friends, including Lucas Deiss, she takes a leap of faith. But a bump in the road makes her question it all, and she’ll have to decide if “living in the moment” is worth it. Says Julianne: “I really related to Liv’s character — reading it felt cathartic!” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2022)

Mystery: How to Solve Your Own Murder

by Kristen Perrin

How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin
Dutton

“I got sucked into a rabbit hole of true crime videos on social media, and I couldn’t stop scrolling,”confesses Maggie Dillard, FIRST Senior Associate Editor. “I jumped into this twisty mystery to satisfy my craving for another heart-racing tale.” It’s 1965, and teenage Frances Adams receives a prophecy that she will be murdered. Frances spends her life trying to prevent her own demise, but 60 years later, she is indeed found murdered. Now, her niece Annie Adams is determined to find the killer. Says Maggie, “I was left stunned as this whodunit unfolded!” (Dutton, 2024)

Nonfiction: The Other Significant Others

by Rhaina Cohen

The Other Significant Others by Rhaina Cohen
St. Martin's Press

“This book deepened my appreciation for my best friends and their impact on my life,” says Sienna Sullivan, FIRST Editorial Assistant. Rhaina Cohen reports on the shifting narrative of the ‘significant other’ and explores how people forge platonic bonds to find renewed purpose in their non-romantic relationships. “Cohen demonstrates how underrated platonic love is in our culture,” says Sienna. “In the midst of the U.S.’s loneliness epidemic, this guide is evidence-based proof that investing in our friendships yields more joy.” (Macmillan, 2024)


For more FIRST Book Club picks:

FIRST Book Club: Ruth Ware’s New ‘One Perfect Couple’ Release Will Thrill You! Plus More Titles

FIRST Book Club: ‘The Paradise Problem,’ ‘Good Material’ and More Recommended Reads for May 10 to May 16

FIRST Book Club: Kristan Higgins’ New ‘Look on the Bright Side’ Is ‘Compelling’ Plus More Book Releases

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