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10 Books You Need for a Mental Escape

books you need spring break books you need spring break

Spring break — and just about everything else — has been canceled. And with school shutdowns, most parents would say their hands are pretty full. But books can provide a serious escape, and right now seems like the right time for that. So why let your surroundings limit your imagination? All of these new releases will let you really travel. (In your mind. 😉)


North Carolina…

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This incredibly fast-paced novel from New York Time bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and A Well-Behaved Woman tackles issues of race, class, and young love. When a white family with a 17-year-old daughter moves in next door to a single African-American woman and her half-black son, an affair ensues that leads to calamitous consequences.


Massachusetts…

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman

Laura Zigman roars back onto the literary scene after a decade away with this heartfelt, first-person story about a woman coping with her unsatisfying marriage to an anxiety-ridden, pot-smoking man while raising a teenage son who is getting ready to flee the suburban nest. She starts wearing her dog in a sling rather accidentally, but then finds it incredibly therapeutic as she navigates the changes facing her.


Greenwich, CT & New York, NY…

books you need spring break

Anna K by Jenny Lee

In this Gossip Girl meets Big Little Lies YA book, grown-ups can relive their first time reading Anna Karenina (on which this story is based) by enjoying this version which is set in modern-day New York City and tony Greenwich, CT. Brand references and celebrities make timely appearances in this so-good-you-can’t-stop-reading-it pseudo-literary tale that will make you want to strap on your Jimmy Choos and start partying.


Paris and New York, NY…

As Needed for Pain by Dan Peres

This addiction memoir will take you from Paris to New York, from a rooftop with Mike Tyson to an interview with magician David Copperfield, as Dan Peres, the former editor-in-chief of Details magazine, shares his tale of being an opiod addict in plain sight. A nod to the magazine world of old, this story examines how one little misguided attempt to impress a date led to a life-threatening, shame-inducing dependency that threatened to topple everything else.


Los Angeles…

books you need spring break

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Wander the halls of one of L.A.’s most lavish fictitious homes in this satirical novel that follows Agnes Murphy as she interacts with screen-writing Uber drivers, her jailbird sister, a Hollywood psychic and her frenemies all while trying to raise Pep, her teenage daughter. Laugh at the way her home is overrun by household staff — and experience a true “lifestyles of the rich and famous” dramedy.


Arizona…

The Cactus League by Emily Nemens

Experience Spring Training in Arizona like never before in this literary novel by the editor-in-chief of The Paris Review. Told from various points-of-view — a sports agent, a cougar desperate to ensnare a younger ball-player, a retired couple, a hot-shot baseball star, a PT nurse and others — this novel traverses the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired landscape to investigate behind-the-scenes moments in baseball – and fame.


Maine…

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Prepare to feel disturbed by this “love story” about a professor and his underage student. Unable to see the relationship for the abusive one that it is, Vanessa seeks to understand her middle-aged teacher as he enmeshes her in his issues, his bedsheets and his classroom teaching.


Vietnam…

The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalain

Go on a bike tour to Vietnam with #1 bestselling author Chris Bohjalian but prepare to carry a sense of dread with you. When Alexis’s boyfriend, Austin, disappears one afternoon on their trip, she has to uncover what really happened to him and ends up finding out who he really is while saving herself. Told over the course of a week, this heart-pounding thriller is sensationally written.


China…

Little Gods by Meng Jin

From the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square to a tiny apartment on the second floor of a complex in a small village, Meng Jin will take you on a ride around China through the lens of a brilliant scientist who is a widow — and a new mother. Altars abound in this otherworldly tale of love, loss, tradition and motherhood in Asia.


London…

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

This collection of short “Sex and the City”-ish essays tracks Dolly through the wild ride of her 20s as she attempts to find herself. A coming-of-age story with a British accent, this book reminds us about the importance of girlfriends and family — and of having enough cash to get through a terrible date.

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Zibby Owens is a mom of 4 in NYC and the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don't Have Time To Read Books. She has contributed to Marie Claire, Redbook, and Shape, among other publications. @zibbyowens