She Loves Me Not, by Ron Hansen

Reviewer: Lauren Pinchin; age 28; married; Eugene, Oregon.

Lauren’s assessment: Covering an awe-inspiring range of history, geography, and individual experience, this short-story collection is filled with themes of dreaming and resignation, yearning and failure. The stories that resonated with me the most were those in which the settings were so vivid and complex that they nearly became characters themselves. (“Wickedness” and “Nebraska”—in which the state of Nebraska assumes a form that is both human and godlike—are two such tales.) I enjoyed being able to pop into a different point of view or theme every few pages. And it was a delicious challenge to draw connections between the stories’ at times oblique but compelling conclusions.

To buy: $25, amazon.com.