New Book Releases: February 2, 2021

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

ANNIE AND THE WOLVES, Andromeda Romano-Lax. A historian obsessed with Annie Oakley uncovers secrets about the sharpshooter when she discovers what she believes may be her journals. A beautiful, riveting novel about trauma, revenge, and justice. I loved this book. “The dual storylines dovetail perfectly for a winning anthem of female power sustained across a century,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THIS GOLDEN FLAME, Emily Victoria. As she searches for her brother, an orphaned scribe awakens a hidden automaton whose father once tried to destroy all the kingdom’s automatons. Bookshop.

THE KINDEST LIE, Nancy Johnson. In this moving, tender novel, a chemical engineer returns home to small town Indiana to uncover what happened to the baby she secretly gave up as a teenager. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly writes that “Johnson’s clear-eyed saga hits hard.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

BENEATH THE KEEP, Erika Johansen. The captivating prequel to the Queen of the Tearling series, in which an idealistic princess, a fighter from the kingdom’s lowest social class, and a teenaged farmer work to repair their broken country amid income inequality, drought, and rampant child abuse. I devoured this book over a weekend, despite having never read the others. Bookshop.

MY YEAR ABROAD, Chang-Rae Lee. A riotously funny, bizarre, brilliant novel about an aimless 20-something who embarks on a trip to China with a charismatic Chinese-American businessman. From the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Surrendered. “An extraordinary book, acrobatic on the level of the sentence, symphonic across its many movements,” writes Vogue. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

CITY OF A THOUSAND GATES, Rebecca Sacks. After a 14-year-old Israeli girl is murdered in the West Bank, a diverse cast of characters collide as they cope with the aftermath in the midst of a decades-long conflict. An “ambitious and panoramic debut,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

GOOD NEIGHBORS, Sarah Langan. When a sinkhole swallows a young resident of a supposedly idyllic Long Island neighborhood, the ensuing divide between families in the area culminates in tragedy. “This sharp, propulsive novel pulls off a maximalist variation on suburban gossip gone wrong,” says Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT, Elle Cosimano. When a struggling single mother of two is overheard discussing her next novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and gets roped into a real life of crime. Bookshop.

THIS IS NOT THE JESS SHOW, Anna Carey. In 1998, as a strange fever begins to overtake her town, an iPhone falls out of the sky and into a high school junior’s life, years before its public introduction. Bookshop.

LANDSLIDE, Susan Conley. In Maine, a mother’s tenuous life begins to crumble when her husband is in a fishing accident in Canada. “A compelling portrait of a family trying to stay afloat and weather every storm life throws at them,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

FAKE ACCOUNTS, Lauren Oyler. When she discovers her boyfriend is secretly an alt-right conspiracy theorist, a young New Yorker flees to Berlin and begins a life of deception there. “Sure to resonate with the multitasking Millennials and Gen Z digerati,” writes Booklist in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MILK BLOOD HEAT, Dantiel W. Moniz. A collection of short stories about Floridians. Bookpage calls these stories “ as profound as they are unnerving, as moving as they are surprising” in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

GIRL A, Abigail Dean. A woman who was severely abused alongside her siblings as a child inherits the family home when her mother dies in prison. “A tour de force, beautifully written, richly imagined, and compulsively readable,” writes Booklist in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

SURVIVING THE WHITE GAZE, Rebecca Carroll. A memoir by a popular cultural critique about growing up as the adopted child of two white parents in New Hampshire. Bookshop.

HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE, Cherie Jones. A portrait of a woman and her small beach town in Barbados after her husband’s attempted robbery goes horribly wrong. “A compelling and terribly sad story of lives defined by trauma generation after generation,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

THE FOUR WINDS, Kristin Hannah. A Texan woman must make difficult decisions as the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl devastate her home. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “riveting story of love, courage, and sacrifice.” From the author of The Nightingale. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MILK FED, Melissa Broder. A 24-year-old with an eating disorder meets an Orthodox Jewish frozen yogurt shop employee who changes her life. “This poignant exploration of desire, religion, and daughterhood is hard to resist,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS, Susan Meissner. An Irish-American mail order bride finds her already uneasy life in disarray when a stranger appears on her doorstep, and the 1906 earthquake devastates her new home of San Francisco. “Ingeniously plotted and perfectly structured, this captivates from beginning to end,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

SEND FOR ME, Lauren Fox. A young woman stumbles upon a trove of letters from her grandmother, a German baker who fled Europe during the war and was forced to leave her parents behind. “An artfully constructed and richly absorbing novel,” writes the Star Tribune. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

TRULY LIKE LIGHTNING, David Duchovny. A former Hollywood stuntman and newly-converted Mormon lives an isolated life with his wife and children in the California desert. But when a developer decides she wants his land, she threatens to throw their entire existence into chaos. “An engrossing story about a clash of cultures and the extremities of faith,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

THE BAD MUSLIM DISCOUNT, Syed M. Masood. A Pakistani teenager copes with new life in California, while in Baghdad, a young girl attempts a dangerous journey to America. Bookshop.

THE SURVIVORS, Jane Harper. Secrets are revealed when a body is discovered on a Tasmanian beach. Bookshop.

THE SANATORIUM, Sarah Pearse. A detective on leave visits her estranged brother and his new fiancée at a sanatorium-turned-luxury-resort, where things begin to rapidly unravel. Bookshop.

WINTER’S ORBIT, Everina Maxwell. A minor prince enters an arranged marriage with a recent widower who suspects that his deceased spouse did not die by accident. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THIS CLOSE TO OKAY, Leesa Cross-Smith. A therapist spends a weekend with a man she rescued as he stood on the edge of a bridge, ready to jump. Bookshop.

THE POETRY OF SECRETS, Cambria Gordon. As the Inquisition sweeps Spain, a recently-converted Jewish family who still practice Judaism in secret find their fragile lives in danger. Bookshop.

ON FRAGILE WAVES, E. Lily Yu. An Afghan family immigrates to Australia, only to find treachery and danger there, too. “In flowing, lyrical prose, Yu showcases the power of folklore and the pain of displacement. This is a knockout,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

THE PROJECT, Courtney Summers. A young journalist investigates the Unity Project, a sinister cult that ensnared her sister, when a woman approaches her claiming they killed her son. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “a powerful, suspenseful, and heartbreaking thriller about identity, sisterhood, and belonging.” Bookshop.

WE CAN ONLY SAVE OURSELVES, Alison Wisdom. A high school homecoming queen joins an intoxicating cult. Bookshop.

BAD HABITS, Amy Gentry. Two college students go to dangerous lengths to achieve academic success in their cutthroat grad program. Bookshop.

THE REMOVED, Brandon Hobson. Fifteen years after their son was murdered in a police shooting, a Cherokee family discovers the boundaries between the physical and spirit worlds blurring at their annual bonfire. “ Spare, strange, bird-haunted, and mediated by grief,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Aggregated critical reviews, 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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