New Book Releases: May 11, 2021

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

MARY JANE, Jessica Anya Blau. A teenager gets a summer job as a nanny in the house of a respectable local family, but that perception is quickly upended when a famous rock star moves in. “I dare you to find a more winning novel,” says Kevin Wilson. Bookshop.

ILLUSIONARY, Zoraida Córdova. Following a betrayal, a girl on the run joins forces with her enemy the prince to kill the king and save their kingdom. Bookshop.

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, Emily Henry. A delightful, clever romantic comedy about a travel writer attempting to reconcile with her best friend, with whom she used to go on a yearly summer vacation. “A warm and winning ‘When Harry Met Sally…’ update that hits all the perfect notes,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

PRESS RESET, Jason Schreier. From Bloomberg’s video game reporter, an account of the events that led to the shocking closures of some of the industry’s most beloved game studios. “Both seasoned gamers and neophytes will learn a great amount of history, insight, and insider detail about an ever evolving business,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

COMPETITIVE GRIEVING, Nora Zelevansky. Tasked with disseminating his possessions after her best friend dies, a woman confronts the identity of who her friend appeared to be versus who he actually was. Bookshop.

MEETING IN POSITANO, Goliarda Sapienza, Brian Robert Moore (translator). While working on a film in Southern Italy, an actress and writer forms an intimate friendship with a beautiful widow known locally as “Princess.” “The insights on the relationship between love and money give this elegantly slender novel a nice bit of heft,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN, Laura Hankin. A struggling journalist investigates a mysterious women-only social club that she thinks is hiding a huge secret. The Nerd Daily says it’s “an atmospheric, sharp read, perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Taylor Jenkins Reid.” Bookshop.

ATTACHMENTS, Jeff Arch. A deathbed request from their former boarding school dean brings three best friends back to their childhood home, where emerging secrets threaten to tear them apart. In a starred review, Kirkus writes that it contains “fine writing, memorable characters, depth of feeling, and gripping drama — a real keeper.” Bookshop.

A THEATER FOR DREAMERS, Polly Samson. In the 1960s, an eighteen year old shows up on a Greek island that’s home to artists, writers, and musicians including Leonard Cohen, hoping to find herself in the wake of her mother’s death. “Brilliant people in a beautiful setting add up to seductive time travel, with an edge,” writes Kirkus in a starred review. Bookshop.

HOW LUCKY, Will Leitch. A man in a wheelchair witnesses a disappearance of a young woman. For Book of the Month, Kevin Wilson writes that “in a story that knows how bad this world can be, How Lucky offers a hard-earned hopefulness.” Bookshop.

THE ANATOMY OF DESIRE, L.R. Dorn. A woman is found dead while her companion, a social media fitness influencer, goes missing in this fictional investigative docuseries. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls it “remarkable… With no witnesses to the murder, readers will breathlessly await the verdict.” Bookshop.

THE SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND, Mary Alice Monroe. A family quarantines in their east coast beach house during early Spring 2020 after their matriarch is laid off from her job at the aquarium. Bookshop.

COOL FOR THE SUMMER, Dahlia Adler. A high school student must choose between the football player she’s been infatuated with for years, and a girl she met over the summer. “A welcome addition to the small but growing canon of questioning queer fiction,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

WE ARE SATELLITES, Sarah Pinsker. As a brain implant known as the Pilot becomes increasingly necessary at school and in the workplace, a woman joins a movement opposed to the chip, pitting her against a powerful company — and her own family. Bookshop.

SWIMMING BACK TO TROUT RIVER, Linda Rui Feng. In 1986 in China, a ten-year-old longs to join her parents who left for America, not knowing that they’re newly estranged from each other. “Filled with tragedy yet touched with life-affirming passion,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.

CHINA: THE NOVEL, Edward Rutherford. A story of the country from the early 19th century to the present day, told through the rise and fall of several families over the years. “Readers unfamiliar with the history will learn something from this action-packed saga,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

BLACK WATER SISTER, Zen Cho. After moving back to Malaysia, a recent college graduate joins forces with the ghost of her dead grandmother who’s determined to settle a score against a business magnate who offended her god. “Unpredictable twists keep the pages turning while the comic but endearing relationship between Jess and her sassy grandmother provides the story’s heart. This is must-read fantasy,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.

WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, Stacey Abrams. The first legal thriller from the celebrated politician, about a young law clerk whose life is thrown into upheaval when she discovers her boss, a legendary judge, has been secretly investigating a huge and controversial case. “The buzz is loud and wholly deserved for this shrewd and exciting legal thriller,” writes Booklist. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

A GOOD MOTHER, Lara Bazelon. A public defender takes on a case defending a young mother who’s clearly guilty of the murder of her soldier husband, but as the evidence stacks up, the lawyer realizes the task is considerably more complex and difficult than she ever anticipated. “A taut, nail-biting courtroom drama,” writes Kirkus. 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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