New Book Releases: August 18, 2020

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

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BETTY, Tiffany McDaniel. In 1960s rural Appalachia, a young girl discovers family secrets that will haunt her forever. Read an excerpt here. Bookshop.

THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS, Ursula Hegi. In late 19th-century, three mothers grapple with the traumatic aftermath of a tidal wave that claims several children. The Boston Globe calls it “a lyrical meditation on motherhood and mourning.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

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THE HEAT WAVE, Kate Riordan. After a fire at her childhood home, a woman returns with her younger teen daughter to inspect the damage and ready it for sale, only to be forced to confront the secrets of her older daughter before it destroys the small family she has left. This is far from an average dead-girl thriller, and I liked it a lot; you can read my mini-review here. Bookshop.

THE NEW AMERICAN, Micheline Aharonian Marcom. After finding out he’s undocumented, a Guatemalan immigrant gets in a car accident and is deported to Guatemala, from which he tries to make his way back home to California. Bookshop.

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HOW TO RULE AN EMPIRE AND GET AWAY WITH IT, K.J. Parker. An actor is offered an exciting role that could grant him immortality —if he can survive it. Bookshop.

THE VANISHED QUEEN, Lisbeth Campbell. After she finds the diary of a queen who went missing years before, a woman joins a resistance group dedicated to liberating their kingdom from their tyrannical king. Bookshop.

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THE LESS DEAD, Denise Mina. From the author of the acclaimed Conviction. When her adoptive mother dies, a woman goes in search of her birth mother, only to discover she was murdered years ago. In a starred review, Kirkus says “Mina is matchless at building suspicion and creeping dread.” Bookshop.

BLACK BOTTOM SAINTS, Alice Randall. As he lies on his death bed, a former gossip columnist curates a list of 52 “saints” from his neighborhood of Black Bottom, Detroit. Bookpage says it’s “an intriguing and beguiling look at the storied city at the height of its pomp.” Bookshop.

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ATOMIC LOVE, Jennie Fields. A physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project is called back by the FBI, which requests her to spy on her former colleague and lover that, they think, may be passing on information to the Soviets. Bookshop.

NORTHERNMOST, Peter Geye. A woman in an unhappy marriage travels to her ancestral home at the top of Norway. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “a memorable, powerful tale of endurance and ancestral connection.” Bookshop.

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GROWN UPS, Emma Jane Unsworth. Told via texts, script dialogue, social media posts, and emails, a 30-something columnist whose life is falling apart invites her mother to move in with her. The Guardian says “Unsworth’s prose is jaunty, witty, sexy and funny.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

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