Maile Meloy's Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
reads like a Bruce Springsteen album sounds: raw with a tender wildness and loaded with adolescent ache. The nuanced depictions of small-town life in some of these stories ("He could have told her that her father was the first person he had ever seen falling down drunk, but that seemed unfriendly") make for a rich tableau of lovelorn cowboys, provincial lawyers, and renegade women. Don't miss this sleeper hit of 2009, due out in paperback this month.
— Kristy Davis