In his first children's book, former International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield (author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth) revisits his childhood desire to become an astronaut. In the story, nine-year-old Chris spends all his time pretending to travel to space—but he's actually terrified of the dark. Moody and magical illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this inspiring tale about overcoming your fears and accomplishing your goals. — Andrea Karr
The Darkest Dark (Tundra Books) by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by The Fan Brothers, $23.
An unreal thriller
This fascinating new novel from the author of Atonement and The Children Act is written from the point of view of a hyperintelligent fetus who, on the cusp of birth, overhears his mother's schemes to commit murder. It's subtly hilarious (the fetus's voice is endearingly akin to that of a pedantic professor) and a little slapstick in its absurdity. Guaranteed, it's like nothing you've ever read. — AK
Nutshell (Knopf Canada) by Ian McEwan, $30.
A murder mystery
Equal parts meditative and suspenseful, this murder mystery follows the Nows, a Newfoundland family plagued by everyday tragedies—a broken economy, a deceased son and a cancer diagnosis. But when the abusive husband of matriarch Addie's best friend drowns after being assaulted, leaving behind only his shirt and a smear of blood on the Nows' dock as evidence, the family must put grief aside and band together—even though one of their own may have committed the crime. — Stacy Lee Kong
The Fortunate Brother (Viking Canada) by Donna Morrissey, $25.
An alternate reality
Imagine there are infinite versions of your reality: In one, you never met the love of your life; in another, climate change has turned your city into a frozen wasteland. That's the premise of this page-turner by Blake Crouch, author of the popular Wayward Pines trilogy. Protagonist Jason Dessen is a husband and father with a middling career as a physics professor at the local community college. But one day, he wakes up in a life he doesn't recognize. His address is the same, but the house is not; expensive appliances and minimalist furniture have taken the place of his cozy, familiar belongings. His wife and son are nowhere to be found. And, apparently, he has a flashy, well-paid job at a scientific research firm—the key to these strange circumstances. Desperate to find his way back to his family, Jason must unravel a mystery with roots in his own past. A smart, fast-moving thriller, Dark Matter delves into themes of identity, second chances and love, without sacrificing a single twist or turn. — SLK