8 February Reads for the Different Relationships in Your Life

February has come to be synonymous with the romance of Valentine’s Day, but a holiday for “love” can refer to all different types of relationships in your life.

Here are eight new reads — published or publishing this month — that highlight connections between significant others, friends, families and, most importantly: yourself.

On Romantic Partners

Credit to Penguin Random House.

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

It’d be naive to think that family and culture don’t play a role in love, and Raina Anand in The Matchmaker’s List is constantly trying to find that balance. Her grandmother has always been supportive when she’s tried to carve her own, more progressive path separate from her traditional Indian-immigrant community. But, when it comes to marriage, Raina gives in and lets her grandmother play matchmaker. Figuring out a way to appease her family while following her heart makes for multicultural rom-com magic — perfect if you’re in the mood to embrace V-Day and get romantic this month.

Out Feb 5

Credit to Grand Central Publishing.

Willa & Hesper by Amy Feltman

Hear both Willa and Hesper’s points of view in this coming-of-age queer novel that follows the before, during and after of their romance through the most vulnerable time of their lives. When independent Hesper feels Willa is getting too close, she runs away — literally, by trying to learn about her grandfather’s life story in Tbilisi, Georgia. Willa does the same after the breakup, embarking with a group of fellow Jewish young adults to visit Holocaust sites. Taking readers through their tender relationship and subsequent journeys of self-discovery, Willa & Hesper is a deeply felt and intellectual love story for the time.

Out Feb. 5

On Friendships

Credit to Harlequin.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

The Lost Girls of Paris will remind you of the sheer strength of women and the tightly bound friendships that can form between them, in even the most fraught of experiences. Based on a true story and following historically accurate detail, this novel tells the tale of a network of female secret agents during World War II who aided the resistance, but never returned home. Part mystery, part history, these accounts of women’s bravery will having you hugging your girl gang in no time.

Out Jan 29

Credit to Penguin Random House.

The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

Okay, this isn’t quite a feel-good friendship book, but if you’re in the mood to curl up with more of an unreliable narrator/thriller read, The Lost Night is the best pick for you. It centers on a group of friends who experience a shared tragedy and then separate for years to come. But, a chance reunion and discovery of a video from the night in question leads the main character, Lindsay, to wonder if everything she thought about what happened — and her past self — has been wrong.

Out Feb 26

On Family

Credit to Penguin Random House.

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

A particularly timely novel, Lost Children Archive follows one family who is traveling from New York to Arizona in the middle of summer, at the same time as an immigration crisis is taking place on the southwestern border of the country. As tensions rise between the parents in the car and the situation outside escalates, readers hear an adventure unfold through multiple voices, ultimately leaving us to wonder exactly how we remember and document what we hold dear, and how we make sense of the past along with the present.

Out Feb 12

Credit to Penguin Random House.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

Compared to both An American Marriage and The Mothers, this “absorbing commentary on love, family and forgiveness” follows the three sisters of the Butler family: Althea, Viola and Lillian. Althea is the matriarch of the family, but when she and her husband are arrested abruptly, it throws the entire family into shambles. Painting the powerful story of an American family, Gray allows readers to reflect on the meaning of family — and the distraught circumstances forgiveness can emerge from.

Out Feb 19

On Yourself

Credit to Harper Collins.

Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance by Emily Fletcher

Information on the benefits of meditation is everywhere, but if you’ve still managed to refrain from giving it a try, let former actress and Ziva Meditation founder Emily Fletcher get you on board. Fletcher has created her own “Z Technique” which combines mindfulness, meditation and manifesting in a simple but impactful way. Celebs (and former meditation skeptics) like Jenna Dewan, Stacy London and Allison Janney have been flocking to Fletcher’s method and have found success from her clear instruction. Plus, she understands the neuroscience behind the process and has been backed by MDs, so it’s not all just spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

Out Feb 19

Credit to St. Martin’s Press.

The Warrior Code: 11 Principles to Unleash the Badass Inside of You by Tee Marie Hanible

If you’re someone who needs a bit of tough love, American Grit star Tee Marie Hanible’s book is right for you. Hanible is determined to help other women become unbreakable badasses — by first realizing their own inner strength. Honestly expressing her life experiences — from her father’s death to going through the foster care system to joining military school to being the only woman to deploy with her unit in Iraq in 2003 — Hanible shared how she learned first-hand in extreme situations to thrive in the face of adversity. And she’ll teach you how, too.

Out Feb 5



NYC food and culture journalist with bylines in NPR The Salt, The Everygirl, AM New York and others. Read more of my work at www.claireleaden.com.

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Claire Leaden

NYC food and culture journalist with bylines in NPR The Salt, The Everygirl, AM New York and others. Read more of my work at www.claireleaden.com.