BECOMING NICOLE:The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt. Jonas and Wyatt Maines were adopted identical twins with one big difference between them: From a very young age, Wyatt felt he was female. This story of a family grappling with and learning to accept a transgender child could not be more timely or educational. (Random House, $27)

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LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES, by Sarah Vowell. The author, known to audiences from her guest spots on "The Daily Show" and "This American Life," continues her cockeyed re-examination of American history with the story of the Marquis de Lafayette, the 19-year-old French nobleman who traveled to these shores to fight alongside his new BFF George Washington. (Riverhead, $27.95)

THE MARK AND THE VOID, by Paul Murray. From the author of "Skippy Dies" -- a wonderful 2010 cult novel set in an Irish Catholic boys' boarding school; read it -- comes a novel about the collapse of the Irish economy (among other subjects), featuring a struggling novelist, a shadowy French investment banker and multiple financial schemes and scams. (FSG, $27)