Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

9 of 9
496 pages; Knopf
In a hair-braiding salon in Trenton, New Jersey, Ifemelu— the articulate, lovely and blisteringly frank protagonist of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's masterful novel Americanah (Knopf)—tosses off an e-mail to her first lover, the bookish Obinze, in Nigeria, where, after 13 years of living in the States, she plans to return to start life anew. Though successful as a blogger and on fellowship at Princeton, she feels "cement in her soul" and ditches the privileged life she's clawed her way toward to follow her passion back to Africa. An expansive, epic love story set in three countries, Adichie's fourth book pulls no punches with regard to race, class and the high-risk, heart-tearing struggle for belonging in a fractured world.
— Kristy Davis