New Book Releases: April 20, 2021

Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.

THREE-MARTINI AFTERNOONS AT THE RITZ: THE REBELLION OF SYLVIA PLATH & ANNE SEXTON, Gail Crowther. The true story of the friendship — and eventual rivalry — between the two legendary poets. “Deliriously fast-paced and erudite, this is highly recommended,” writes Library Journal in a starred review. Bookshop.

UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY, Kristy Woodson Harvey. A journalist discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her friend and his late wife have been deemed “abandoned” — but telling him would dredge up old wounds. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls it “a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss.” Bookshop.

THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD, Alena Dillon. When her best friend reports an acclaimed gymnastics doctor for sexual abuse, a gymnast denies knowledge of the allegations and is forced to grapple with the aftermath. “Dillon’s nuanced treatment makes for a stirring and complicated picture… [this] excellent psychological drama will stay with readers,” says Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

THE GALAXY, AND THE GROUND WITHIN, Becky Chambers. Three strangers come together in unexpected ways when a technological failure halts all traffic to the planet on which they’re temporarily stationed. “There are some real moments of anxiety to keep the pages turning, but the highlights are the characters’ meaty debates and Chambers’s delightful exploration of cultural difference,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

CRYING IN H MART, Michelle Zauner. A memoir about growing up Korean American in Eugene, Oregon, working in the restaurant industry, and finding love, by the musician known as Japanese Breakfast. “In writing a memoir that will ultimately thrill Japanese Breakfast fans and provide comfort to those in the throes of loss while brilliantly detailing the colorful panorama of Korean culture, traditions and — yes — food, Michelle Zauner has accomplished the unthinkable: a book that caters to all appetites and doesn’t skimp on the kimchi,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

POPISHO, Leone Ross. On an island in which every citizen is born with a distinct magical power, a sudden blast of magic affects all the island’s women at once, uniting several characters in ways they never foresaw. In a starred review, Kirkus says it’s “a novel that suffuses the senses.” Bookshop.

KATE IN WAITING, Becky Albertalli. Two co-dependent best friends find their friendship in trouble when they both fall for the same guy. “Flips the script on battling over a boy in the best way possible,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

PAINTING TIME, Maylis de Kerangal. The story of a trompe-l’œil painter in Brussels that Kirkus says is “a curiosity as introspective, finely wrought, and devotedly crafted as the art form it traces.” Bookshop.

MAGGIE FINDS HER MUSE, Dee Ernst. A newly-single middle-aged romance novelist lucks into a gorgeous Parisian apartment in which she’ll attempt to finish her manuscript, but a series of visitors make her task nearly impossible. Bookshop.

MY RIDE OR DIE, Leslie Cohen. Two best friends, tired of the demands romantic relationships with men place on their lives, decide to devote themselves to each other, but their lives together in the brownstone they’re renovating gets complicated when one of them falls in love with a man who’s supposed to be a casual crush. Bookshop.

HOT STEW, Fiona Mozley. The inhabitants of a Soho brothel refuse to go quietly when a millionaire attempts to buy the building and convert it into luxury condos. “In an age when so many novelists of Mozley’s generation take refuge in the dystopian, she has reinvigorated large-scale social realism for our times,” writes The Guardian. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MIRRORLAND, Carole Johnstone. A twin returns to her imposing, gothic childhood home when her estranged sister disappears on a sailboat. Stephen King says it’s “beautifully written and plotted with a watchmaker’s precision.” Bookshop.

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I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.

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