New Book Releases: April 6, 2021

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

PARADISE, NEVADA, Dario Diofebi. Disparate characters converge in Las Vegas in the lead-up to a bombing at a luxury resort and casino. The Los Angeles Times says Diofebi “recalls David Foster Wallace… Trick by trick and hand after hand, Diofebi proves a gifted young maximalist.” Bookshop.

FIRST, BECOME ASHES, K.M. Szpara. Members of an abusive cult must venture back out into the world they fear after their leader is arrested. “Szpara mixes trauma and magic to mesmerizing results,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

PEACES, Helen Oyeyemi. A young couple and their pet mongoose take a long journey on a bizarre train, where they seem to be the only passengers. Vulture calls it “a deeply, intoxicatingly romantic novel interrupted by occasional scenes of Benny Hill farce.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE WIDOW QUEEN, Elzbieta Cherezinska. Maya Zakrzewska-Pim (Translator). April 6. An epic novel about Świętosława of Poland, the first queen of Bohemia, who ruled from 1062–1092. Olga Tokarczuk says “Elżbieta Cherezińska writes with great depth and imagination, bringing to life seductive and detailed worlds.” Bookshop.

GOLD DIGGERS, Sanjena Sathian. An exceptional, genre-bending novel about two Atlanta teens who become obsessed with drinking lemonade made from pilfered gold that captures the original owner’s ambition. One of my favorite novels of 2021; it’s already been picked up for an adaptation by Mindy Kaling. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “dazzling.” Bookshop.

ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE, Sabina Khan. After her bully leaves her a threatening note and is suspended, a young Pakistani immigrant in Texas begins to question whether the place where she grew up and loves could ever be a haven of safety. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “a vivid account exploring issues many immigrant teens face.” Bookshop.

THE MADMAN’S LIBRARY: THE STRANGEST BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS, AND OTHER LITERARY CURIOSITIES FROM HISTORY, Edward Brooke-Hitching. A delightful, beautiful overview of strange books and other literary objects throughout history. Bookshop.

YOU BELONG HERE NOW, Dianna Rostad. In 1925, three orphaned New Yorkers journey to Montana in search of a better life. Bookshop.

MOTHER MAY I, Joshilyn Jackson. A mother who married into wealth and privilege sees a mysterious older woman appear in her window days before her infant son vanishes. “Jackson knows how to ratchet up the suspense,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

AFTER HAPPILY EVER AFTER, Leslie A. Rasmussen. When her daughter goes to college, a woman who gave up her career in publishing to raise her daughter must make big decisions about what she truly wants and deserves in her life. Bookshop.

OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN, R.J. Hoffman. A woman desperate to be a mother agrees to adopt a pregnant teenager’s baby, but the teenager’s mom has her own plans for the child. “This sharp tale of heartache, loss, and redemption resonates,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

FINDING NAPOLEON, Margaret Rodenberg. Napoleon Bonaparte’s lover tells the story of their attempt to escape their exile on the island of Saint Helena. “A well-written tale brings to life the twilight years of a captivating historical figure,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

ASTRID SEES ALL, Natalie Standiford. A propulsive story about the adventures of a college graduate who moves to NYC in the 1980s, attending parties, telling fortunes, and rubbing elbows with artists and celebrities. An excellent read for dedicated lovers of New York. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “infectious.” Bookshop.

A RIVER CALLED TIME, Courttia Newland. In a world in which slavery never existed, a man tries to find a way into the Ark, a sanctuary from a dangerous London to which only the most privileged citizens are allowed access. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

FIRST PERSON SINGULAR, Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (translator). A new collection of short stories from the literary great. Kirkus calls it “essential” in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

I’LL BE STRONG FOR YOU, Nasim Marashi, Poupeh Missaghi (Translator). Three college graduates follow their dreams over the course of two years in Tehran. Bookshop.

LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT, Michaela Carter. Surrealist artist legend Leonora Carrington and her partner, the painter Max Ernst, struggle to survive in a Europe ravaged by war. “Carter meditates beautifully on the unique difficulties of being a woman artist,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

SUBDIVISION, J. Robert Lennon. A woman checks into a guesthouse in the mysterious neighborhood known only as the “subdivision,” where her attempts to find a job and an apartment are thwarted by a series of bizarre occurrences. “Sharp, inventive — and disorienting in all the good ways,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

HUMMINGBIRD SALAMANDER, Jeff Vandermeer. A security consultant investigates why she received a letter from a dead ecoterrorist containing the key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird. “VanderMeer is a marvelous craftsman… Switching genres with aplomb, VanderMeer knocks his conspiracy thriller out of the park,” writes Booklist in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

CHATEAU LAUX, David Loux. In 18th century Pennsylvania, a young brewer gets lost in a storm and finds refuge at the home of a former French aristocrat and falls in love with his eldest daughter. “A haunting, eloquent, and engaging historical drama,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS, Corey Anderson. Desperate to save his young brother from foster care, a teenager goes on the hunt for the drug money that sent his own father to prison. “Intense, brutal, and searingly honest, Anderson’s debut features intricate plotting and action that hold up against the best thriller novels, yet it is all the more remarkable for its tender, multidimensional characterization and sharp, crystalline prose,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

LIFE’S TOO SHORT, Abby Jimenez. When her half-sister abandons her baby on her doorstep, a travel influencer struggles with motherhood but receives help from her hot next door neighbor. “Jimenez masterfully blends heavy issues and humor, lacing the tear-jerking heartache with sass and sarcasm,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

NORTHERN SPY, Flynn Berry. A BBC correspondent discovers her younger sister may have been involved in a bank robbery orchestrated by the IRA. “Berry remains a writer to watch,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

YOU LOVE ME, Caroline Kepnes. Book three in Kepnes’ popular You series, in which Joe moves to the Pacific Northwest and gets a job in a library. Bookshop.

THE NINE LIVES OF ROSE NAPOLITANO, Donna Freitas. A woman experiences nine different scenarios in which a married woman has an argument with her husband following his discovery that she isn’t taking the prenatal vitamins she promised him she would. “Highly literate escapism,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

GOOD COMPANY, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. A happily married actor discovers in an envelope her husband’s wedding ring that he claimed he lost years ago. Read an excerpt here. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE DROWNING KIND, Jennifer McMahon. After her unstable sister is found drowned in the pool of their grandmother’s estate, a woman learns that her sister had been investigating the estate’s mysterious, and troubled, past. “For best results, read it on a dark and stormy night — in a well-lit room, far away from the water,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS, Pip Williams. A female lexicographer working on the Oxford English Dictionary discovers a series of words — often rooted in women’s experiences — that her male colleagues decline to include in the Oxford, so she decides to create her own dictionary. The Historical Novel Society calls it “ a masterfully written, beautiful first novel.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES, Willy Vlautin. A young, overworked mother goes on a desperate two-day hunt for the funds to buy a house for herself and her developmentally disabled brother. “Stunning, heartbreaking… This gritty page-turner sings with pitch-perfect prose, and Lynette’s desperation is palpable. Vlautin has achieved a brilliant synthesis of Raymond Carver and Jim Thompson,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

ANYWHERE FOR YOU, Abbie Greaves. A journalist investigates the disappearance of a man whose wife has waited at the train station for him every single day for years. Bookshop.

THE BOHEMIANS, Jasmin Darznik. A young Dorothea Lange opens a successful photography studio with a friend in San Francisco until a betrayal threatens to tear them apart. “A powerful novel about a woman who shuns convention to follow her passion,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

CAUL BABY, Morgan Jerkins. When a young woman gives up her newborn to the enigmatic and powerful Melancons, a Harlem family who possess healing powers, it sets in motion a series of events that will forever change the lives of the Melancons, the young mother, and her mysterious child. From the acclaimed author of Wandering in Strange Lands and This Will Be My Undoing. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

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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