Abroad by Katie Crouch (Knopf Canada, $23)
Tabitha Deacon is a pretty undergrad living in Italy on exchange. She falls in with a fast crowd and winds up dead; her comely roommate stands accused of her murder. Sound familiar? Abroad is inspired by the death of British student Meredith Kercher and the Amanda Knox trials. Told from the dead girl’s perspective, Crouch reinvents the tragedy as a rich character study in the vein of the thriller writer Patricia Highsmith, Tabitha’s favourite author. —Flannery Dean
Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti (House of Anansi, $20)
The Globe and Mail columnist’s debut novel crackles with contrarian flair, thanks to pathologically self-absorbed protagonist Augusta Price, a washed-up British soap star trying to stage a comeback that includes reconnecting with her estranged son and sabotaging a former lover. Vain, reckless and witty, Augusta is a real character. She doesn’t change or redeem herself, making her journey less an arc than a straight line—and deliciously refreshing for it. —F.D.
Friendship by Emily Gould (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $29)
Thirty-two-year-old Gould recently confessed that Lena Dunham is living the life she once envisioned for herself, and witnessing her rise has been excruciating. She needn’t be so envious. With humour, honesty and stomach-punching #realtalk insight, the former Gawker editor’s first solo work of fiction taps into the same zeitgeist as Girls, tracing the faltering BFF-ship of struggling New York transplants Bev and Amy—and proving Gould is also an important voice of her generation. —Michelle Higgins