The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (Bantam Press, $32.99)
Julian Jessop, a lonely, elderly artist, writes in a notebook: “Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead?” He then leaves this notebook in a cafe, where it begins its journey through the lives of six people who all struggle to find balance between their public persona and their true selves. The perfect balance of warmth and wit, the authenticity project will make you laugh out loud in lots of places and feel all warm and fuzzy in others.
The Drop-Off by Fiona Harris and Mike McLeish (Echo Publishing, $29.99)
The Drop-Off is a lighthearted depiction of parenting, told through the points of view of three polar opposite parents in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. An effortless but satisfying read, its characters live a fortunate existence where insignificant concerns about getting older and still not having it together are mended with a wine night or three and pose no real danger to the broader context of their lives. First World problems at their finest.
The Adversary by Ronnie Scott (Penguin Random House Australia, $29.99)
Thick summer heat permeates our nameless protagonist’s Brunswick share house as he spends his days inside reading books, staring at Grindr and navigating an ambiguous, one-sided relationship with his housemate Dan. It would be easy to dismiss Scott’s boy-meets-boy debut as a hilarious ride through queer Melbourne, and yet bubbling under the surface are moments that will provoke deep thought, exploring in gritty detail the excitement and terror of being young and confused, caught up in the heat of summer.
In the spirit of if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, Potter’s flawed and fabulous heroine Nell is a fictional breath of fresh, relatable air. Exploring the harsh reality of returning to a life you thought you had left behind, Nell must find joy where she thinks it does not exist. For anyone who feels like they’re failing at being an adult or wonders why things aren’t working out quite how they’d imagined, let this be a beacon of hope and happiness.
This article originally appeared in the April issue of marie claire.