Marrying the Ketchups
By Jennifer Close
Close, who grew up on the North Shore, has a knack for writing novels that capture families at their worst. Marrying the Ketchups follows Oak Park’s Sullivan clan in the aftermath of three earth-shattering events: a Cubs World Series win, Donald Trump’s election, and the death of Bud, the family’s patriarch and a beloved burger-joint founder.
A Worthy Piece of Work
By Michael Hines
The Stanford professor traces 1940s Chicago educator Madeline Morgan’s “supplementary units,” which taught public school students about the Black diaspora, the Middle Passage, and slave revolts. The fate of her curricula, scuttled thanks to Cold War conservatism, is especially relevant today amid the moral panic over critical race theory.
A Proposal They Can’t Refuse
By Natalie Caña
Fast-gentrifying Humboldt Park is the backdrop for this debut novel, the enemies-to-lovers tale of a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish American whiskey distiller forced into a fake engagement by their meddling abuelo and granda. Chaos — and, unsurprisingly, romance — ensues. Fans will be glad to hear it’s the first in a planned trilogy Caña describes as “tropetastic.”
Last Summer on State Street
By Toya Wolfe
The South Side’s Robert Taylor Homes, where Wolfe was raised, feature in her debut novel. Set in 1999, it follows teenage Fe Fe as the public housing high-rise her family calls home faces demolition. This introspective, careful work probes the point where government policy and lives touch.
By David Hanna
Subtitled The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism, this book by a New York high school history teacher digs into the exposition that brought Italian and German experts here to praise zeppelins and airplanes as technology that would change humanity. It soon did: Hanna chronicles fascism’s flight-spurred rise in the United States and abroad.
Crying in the Bathroom
By Erika L. Sánchez
The Cicero native and DePaul professor continues her burgeoning writing career with this memoir in essays about sex, depression, and her ’90s childhood as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. It’s the spiritual follow-up to her 2017 YA novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, which is in the works as a Netflix feature and America Ferrera’s directorial debut.
By Adam Levin
Set in a postapocalyptic Chicago, Levin’s third novel weds natural disaster, Judaism, and standup comedy in an unsettling, timely romp. Fans of The Instructions and Bubblegum will recognize the off-kilter Illinois that often serves as the backdrop for his fiction. (The author, who now lives in Florida, grew up in Buffalo Grove and Highland Park.) Levin’s sci-fi sensibility brings an alternative version of Chicago to life.
No More Police: A Case For Abolition
By Mariame Kaba and Andrea J. Ritchie
Kaba, an activist, joins forces with Ritchie, a police misconduct lawyer, to call for police abolition and to lay out a plan for what comes next. Kaba moved to Chicago in 1995 and spent the next two decades organizing in the city, founding advocacy groups like Survived and Punished and the Chicago Freedom School, experiences that shape No More Police.