November 14, 2022 7:53 AM EST

Motherhood, for all of its merits, can still be terrifying, a tension that’s explored to maximum effect in Jessamine Chan’s chilling debut novel The School for Good Mothers. The dystopian story centers on Frida, a 39-year-old academic and single mother to a toddler named Harriet. When a sleep-deprived Frida makes one unwise and ill-fated decision, her daughter is taken into custody and Frida is sent to a reform school for mothers, where she is surrounded by women who have also made life-altering mistakes. With biting satire and sharp insight, Chan raises big questions about the modern state of not only parenthood, but also surveillance and personhood. —Cady Lang

Buy Now: The School for Good Mothers on Bookshop | Amazon

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