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10 New Books We Recommend This Week

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA, by Alexis Daria. (Avon, paper, $15.99.) This romantic tale of two actors who meet cute on the set of a Latinx series — after her messy breakup and his career setback — is a solid 7.5 on the angst scale, and an absolutely pitch-perfect summer escape. “The buildup here is exquisite,” our romance columnist, Olivia Waite, writes in her review. “Jasmine and Ashton slowly grow closer until the reader is aching for them to just go for it already.”

THE VAPORS: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and the Rise and Fall of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital of Vice, by David Hill. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.) Hill grew up in Hot Springs, Ark., decades after its 20th-century heyday as the boozy, freewheeling hangout of choice for gamblers, mobsters and crooked politicians; his book recreates the giddy era with a delightfully light touch and a focus on the nightclub of the title. It also tells the story of his paternal grandmother — whose life, in the words of our reviewer, Jonathan Miles, “provides the emotional ballast, the counterweight to all the good-timey glitz, the darkness behind the neon signs. It gives the book its heft, and its warmth.”

KINGS COUNTY, by David Goodwillie. (Avid Reader, $28.) Goodwillie’s novel about a group of youngish friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, depicts its thoughtful, appealing characters with genuine sympathy and good-fellowship. Spanning a decade, the story goes deep on friendship and the basic decency of humanity. Goodwillie is “a stylish writer, smart and witty without being a show-off,” Adelle Waldman writes in her review. “He’s great at minor moments,” and imbues his hipster characters with “a willingness to go all-in that transcends where they live or how they dress.”

THE BEAUTY OF LIVING: E.E. Cummings in the Great War, by J. Alison Rosenblitt. (Norton, $35.) This biography zeros in on the poet’s formative years, first at Harvard, where he fell under the spell of the European avant-garde, and then, during World War I, in France, where he spent time in prison and fell in love with a prostitute. “On the intensity of his feelings,” David Bromwich writes in his review,” and his later self-reproach for ‘cruel’ treatment of her (the details of which remain obscure), Rosenblitt writes some of her most original and interesting pages.”

RAISING A RARE GIRL: A Memoir, by Heather Lanier. (Penguin Press, $27.) What happens when your baby isn’t who you expected? Lanier writes movingly and honestly of discovering her newborn has a genetic disorder — and what it has been like to adore and advocate for a child who isn’t (as she tells her sister) what she signed up for. “Lanier’s memoir is now on the short list of books I’ll give, when the time comes, to my own pregnant daughters,” our reviewer, Kate Braestrup, writes. “It’s not just because a wise woman ought, in this as in all else, to be prepared for disaster even as she hopes for delight. It’s not even because Lanier’s writing is clean and beautiful. In this story of her rare girl, Lanier shines a clear light on what we sign up for when we allow a human soul to come through us and into the world, in whatever ‘interesting and beautiful package’ that soul might find.”

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