New Book Releases: March 2, 2021

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

VERA, Carol Edgarian. A stunning novel about a 15-year-old during and after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Read my thoughts on the immense hopefulness of this book here. “A stirring testament to a resilient city that never knew the meaning of the word quit,” says Publisher’s Weekly. Read an excerpt here. Bookshop.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, Carola Lovering. A successful woman who’s struggled with relationships in the past discovers her supposedly perfect fiancé isn’t who he appears to be. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “a nifty cat-and-mouse thriller that doesn’t stint when it comes to twists, turns, and ‘gotcha!’ surprises.” Bookshop.

YOLK, Mary H.K. Choi. A spectacular, beautiful novel about two estranged sisters who are forced to reconcile when one of them is diagnosed with cancer. From the acclaimed author of Permanent Record. Bookshop.

WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS, Naima Coster. Two families on opposite sides of a school integration debate form close, but messy, ties over the course of two decades. “Coster is an exacting observer but also an endlessly generous one, approaching her cast with a sharp eye and deep warmth,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. From the author of Halsey Street, a Kirkus Prize finalist. Bookshop.

JUSTINE, Forsyth Harmon. On Long Island in 1999, a bored teenager becomes obsessed with a cashier at a local grocery store. “A propulsive depiction of what a summer in the New York suburbs felt like before iPhones,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

BURNING GIRLS AND OTHER STORIES, Veronica Schanoes. Fantasist short stories about women at the margins of society. Bookshop.

FLOAT PLAN, Trish Doller. In this charming, uplifting romance, a young waitress, beset with grief a year after the suicide of her fiancé, embarks on a sailing trip and falls in love with her first mate. “Doller’s expert balance of the sweet and the serious make this touching romance a sure success,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

THE SCAPEGOAT, Sara Davis. After his estranged father dies, a university employee begins to have vivid hallucinations, while a shadowy group of academics with mysterious connections to his father suddenly appears. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it an “unnervingly good debut.” Bookshop.

FORGET ME NOT, Alexandra Oliva. A woman who infamously survived a childhood spent in isolation remains lonely despite her new life in Seattle, but everything changes when she meets a neighbor who shows her the possibility of a safe new life in virtual reality. A “riveting, moving masterpiece of both character and plot,” writes Shelf Awareness. Bookshop.

FOREGONE, Russell Banks. On his deathbed, a draft evader and leftist filmmaker is ready to tell his story in one final interview. In a starred review, Booklist calls it a “masterful depiction of a psyche under siege by disease, age, and guilt.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

DOWN COMES THE NIGHT, Allison Saft. In this gothic YA novel, a healer in the Queen’s Guard is called to a reclusive lord’s manor to care for his servant — who ends up being the sworn enemy of the kingdom. Read an excerpt here. Bookshop.

I THINK I LOVE YOU, Auriane Desombre. Two arch nemeses compete to win an all-expenses paid trip to a film festival in Los Angeles, but find they have more in common than they think. Bookshop.

RHAPSODY, Mitchell James Kaplan. The story of the love affair between composer George Gershwin and a married young pianist named Katherine “Kay” Swift. “This spellbinding and luminous tale will linger in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

BAND OF SISTERS, Lauren Willig. A Smith College student heads to World War I France as part of a relief unit with other Smithies. Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “seamless, well-plotted tale.” Bookshop.

SPARKS LIKE STARS, Nadia Hashimi. Forty years after she fled Afghanistan during a coup, a surgeon and the daughter of a prominent family meets the soldier who saved her — but may have murdered her family. Bookshop.

DEAD SPACE, Kali Wallace. Years after surviving a terrorist attack, a woman working a dead end job hears from a friend who claims to have knowledge about the event that injured them both. But before she can learn more, her friend turns up dead, sending her on a journey to uncover the killer and discover what really happened years ago. “A gripping, cinematic sci-fi thriller that readers won’t want to put down,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

WE BEGIN AT THE END, Chris Whitaker. A chief of police of a small coastal California town strives to protect a thirteen-year-old “self-proclaimed outlaw” and her five-year-old brother as their mother drifts towards irredeemable self-destruction. An “impressive, often lyrical thriller,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

MACHINEHOOD, S.B. Divya. In a future in which humans take pills to compete with AI, a bodyguard is tasked with fighting a rebel group that wants to force the government to halt all pill production. “Divya keeps the pace rapid, and her crack worldbuilding and vivid characters make for a memorable, page-turning adventure, while the thematic inquiries into human and AI labor rights offer plenty to chew on for fans of big idea sci-fi,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

INFINITE COUNTRY, Patricia Engel. Thrown into a Catholic juvenile detention facility for a possibly-warranted violent crime, a teenager strategizes escape so she can be reunited with her father, who is waiting for her with a plane ticket to the United States. Book of the Month calls it “lyrical and poignant.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE NORTHERN REACH, W.S. Winslow. A group of families struggle to survive the brutal Maine landscape over the course of the 20th century. Bookshop.

THE COMMITTED, Viet Thanh Nguyen. In this follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Sympathizer, a Vietnamese man moves to Paris to escape his traumatic past, and begins to sell drugs. Writes Dwight Garner in the New York Times: “I’ll put my feelings this way, borrowing something the English writer Jonathan Coe said about Fedora, Billy Wilder’s penultimate film: ‘Flawed and bonkers, but I like it.’” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

ABUNDANCE, Jakob Guanzon. When they’re kicked out of their trailer, an ex-con and his 8-year-old son spend the kid’s birthday at a motel, where things quickly turn sour. “This one hits hard,” says Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

KLARA AND THE SUN, Kazuo Ishiguro. The story of an “artificial friend” who waits in a store window, hopeful she’ll one day be chosen. “People will absolutely love this book, in part because it enacts the way we learn how to love,” writes The Guardian. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE LOST APOTHECARY, Sarah Penner. An aspiring historian discovers a clue to a series of apothecary murders that plagued London two centuries earlier. Bookshop.

IN THE QUICK, Kate Hope Day. An engineer at a space station investigates a missing space craft that disappeared when she was twelve. Bookshop.

THE HIGH-RISE DIVER, Julia von Lucadou, Sharmila Cohen (translator). In a dystopian future, a talented athlete with millions of fans suddenly refuses to train, not realizing her every move is overseen by a psychologist tasked with reining her back in. Kirkus says it’s “a searing work of speculative fiction.” Bookshop.

WHO IS MAUD DIXON?, Alexandra Andrews. After a terrible accident, the assistant to a famous writer decides to step into her missing boss’s shoes. “By the end of the book you’ll start wondering if author Alexandra Andrews might be a murderer herself,” says James Patterson. Bookshop.

ANTONIO, Beatriz Bracher. A soon-to-be father discovers a family secret about fatherhood in his own family. “An elegant and nuanced meditation on family, class, perception, illness, and death,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

ZABOR, OR THE PSALMS, Kamel Daoud, Emma Ramadan (translator). Despite his father’s abandonment, a gifted writer attempts to save his dying father through the magic of his stories. Bookshop.

AN I-NOVEL, Minae Mizumura. A Japanese ex-patriate and grad student in the United States reflects on the two decades she’s spent in America, contemplating how she’ll tell her mother she’s planning to move back to Japan and become a writer there. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE STOLEN KINGDOM, Jillian Boehme. A vintner’s daughter discovers she has a hidden magical bloodline that renders her an heir to the throne, and soon becomes embroiled in a plot to murder her country’s tyrannical royal family. Read an excerpt here. Bookshop.

GOOD EGGS, Rebecca Hardiman. An unemployed man, taking over caretaking duties after his 83-year-old mother is discovered shoplifting, receives help from a home health aid who catapults the family into yet another crisis. Bookshop.

BROTHER, SISTER, MOTHER, EXPLORER, Jamie Figueroa. In the aftermath of their mother’s death, a sister challenges her wayward brother to a contest: if they can make enough money performing music for tourists to afford a plane ticket, her brother must commit to living. 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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