Friendships, Relationships, and Connection

Connecting with other other people, in a myriad of ways and through many different modes, is one of life's joys. Let's celebrate the new year with this list of books that focus on friendships, families, and loved ones.

Compiled by:
Maggie H
The Authenticity Project

Clare Pooley
Adult Fiction - Pooley

Julian, a once-famous painter, leaves his notebook in Monica’s cafe. Once Monica reads the notebook and leaves her own contribution, the notebook passes through multiple hands, each person leaving their own entry. The reader will find themselves in a fact-pasted, amusing, and reflective journey through numerous lives, struggles, and points of happiness, and even see some of the characters create relationships with each other.

The Big Finish

Brooke Fossey
Adult Fiction - Fossey

Duffy and Carl are roommates at Centennial Assisted Living Home. When Carl’s alcoholic and abused granddaughter falls through the window one night, Duffy sees someone he can connect with and help, if their hostile administrator does not catch them hiding her. This is a moving, funny, and hopeful narrative about finding and creating family.

Bird Summons

Leila Aboulela
electronic resource

Three members of the Arabic Speaking Muslim Women’s Group in Scotland travel to the Scottish Highlands, each confronting their own truths. This author uses magical realism to paint a diverse tale of faith, friendship, and self.

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

Jayne Allen
Adult Fiction - Allen

When Tabitha receives an unexpected diagnosis about her reproductive capabilities, her perfect life plans start to fall apart. She works through the obstacles in her path with the help of her two best friends and the wisdom of her grandmother.

The Cactus

Sarah Haywood
Adult Fiction - Haywood

Susan’s life is organized, methodical, and detached. This is all thrown into chaos when her mother dies and she finds out she is pregnant. Readers will be moved and engaged by the story of Susan letting go of her routine, giving into the often messy business of emotional connection, and finding love and family.

Detransition, Baby

Torrey Peters
Adult Fiction - Peters

Ames, who has detransitioned, faces what it means to be a parent when his partner Katrina gets pregnant. He asks his ex-partner, Reese, a trans woman, to co-mother. The three main characters explore and discover what “family” might mean in this heartwarming and witty character-driven story.

Grease Bats

Archie Bongiovanni
Graphic Novels - GN Bongiov Grease Bats

Dive into the lives of Andy and Scout, two queer best friends in their 20s. This engaging graphic novel has short, witty stories, but isn’t afraid to confront serious topics. The art captures the character’s emotions beautifully.

The Guncle

Steven Rowley
Adult Fiction - Rowley

Patrick, a retired sitcom star, navigates the ins and outs of becoming the caregiver to his niece and nephew with help from a cast of supporting characters. This is a heartwarming and witty tale about family, friends, and coming to terms with feelings.

House in the Cerulean Sea

TJ Klune
Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Klune

Linus Baker, a case worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, is satisfied with his routine life. Then he’s given an assignment to travel to an island orphanage and report back on the six dangerous children who live there along with their enigmatic caretaker. This is an engaging and touching story about leaving your comfort zone, thinking for yourself, and finding out what family really means.

It’s Not All Downhill From Here

Terry McMillan
Adult Fiction - Mcmilla

With the help of her close-knit group of friends, Loretha navigates several life issues after the unexpected loss of her husband. This is an engaging, funny, and moving novel about the trials of aging, loss, family, and relationships.

Leonard and Hungry Paul

Rónán Hession
Adult Fiction - Hession

Leonard and Hungry Paul are best friends who don’t necessarily fit into society’s definition of “normal”. A series of events push each character out of their comfort zone in this amusing and heartwarming story of their friendship and connection with the world around them.

My Brother’s Husband

Gengoroh Tagame
Manga - MANGA Mybroth v. 1 Tagame

Yaichi is thrown for a loop when, after his estranged twin Ryoji dies, Ryoji’s husband Mike shows up for a visit. Yaichi confronts his own homophobia as he and his daughter learn to love Mike in this thoughtful and heartwarming graphic novel.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Roselle Lim
Adult Fiction - Lim

Natalie returns home after her agoraphobic mother dies, and discovers an economically declining neighborhood. As she gets to know her neighbors, a fortune-teller advises her that she needs to make three of her grandmother’s traditional recipes in order to help the neighborhood and the people around her. This engaging read gives readers a delicious combination of family, food, and finding one’s own path.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Marianne Cronin
Adult Fiction - Cronin

17-year-old Lenni and 83-year-old Margot meet at a Glasgow hospital. When they realize their combined age adds up to 100, they decide to create paintings for every year of their lives. A novel about facing life and death, this story is upbeat, whimsical, and engaging.

Redhead by the Side of the Road

Anne Tyler
Adult Fiction - Tyler

Micah’s neat and orderly life is upended when his girlfriend faces eviction and teen Brink shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his son. Micah needs to learn to adjust to chaos and the unpredictable in this moving and character-driven narrative.

Rules for Visiting

Jessica Francis Kane
Adult Fiction - Kane

May Attaway is a solitary person, and she knows it. In an attempt to practice building social relationships, she decides to visit and reconnect with four childhood friends, and begins to face up to some of her own issues. This novel is a witty and reflective story of friendship and self-discovery.

Stone Fruit

Lee Lai
Graphic Novels - GN Lai Stone Fruit

This award-winning graphic novel focuses on the relationships of Ray, her partner Bron, and both of their families. The author writes a compelling story about coming to terms with change.

Of Women and Salt

Gabriela Garcia
Adult Fiction - Garcia

This nonlinear tale follows generations of a Cuban immigrant family. Mother-daughter relationships are the focus of this atmospheric and haunting saga.