New Book Releases: May 12, 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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CATHERINE HOUSE, Elisabeth Thomas. A riveting, unsettling novel about a traumatized young woman who attends an elite university where students aren’t allowed to leave, and a secretive department appears to be performing experiments on students. “Fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History will devour this philosophical fever dream,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.

THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU, Sajni Patel. A successful engineer is chagrined when she falls in love with a lawyer her parents tried to set her up with. Bookshop.

THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS, Janie Chang. A teenage university student is tasked alongside her classmates to protect a 500-year-old book of legends as they flee the bombing of Nanking. Bookshop.

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A CHILDREN’S BIBLE, Lydia Millet. From the Pulitzer Prize finalist author of Love in Infant Monkeys. As a massive storm approaches the lakeside mansion where several families are spending their vacation, the children decide to run away. But when events begin to mimic those in the Bible her little brother carries with him, one child must devote herself to keep him safe from ever-encroaching harm. “This generation is starting to notice and get angry, and I think the rage is long overdue, and I think it’s the only rational response to the threats we face. So this novel is about that kind of righteous anger of the young, anger over the looming emergencies of extinction and runaway climate change,” Millet said in a podcast interview. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE LAST HIGH, Daniel Kalla. When a group of overdosing partygoers on the verge of death show up at the emergency room, an ER doctor and a detective go on the hunt to find out what they took, and uncover sinister criminal activity even worse than fentanyl-dealing. Bookshop.

THE HENNA WARS, Adiba Jaigirdar. In this YA novel, a young henna artist in love with a childhood friend must decide when, and how, to come out to her family. Bookshop.

PRIVATE LESSONS, Cynthia Salaysay. In this YA novel, a burgeoning pianist desperately attempts to impress her mercurial piano teacher. Bookshop.

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THE ANTHILL, Julianne Pachico. One of my most anticipated books of early 2020! After being sent away from Colombia to England after her mother’s death, a woman returns two decades later to find her childhood best friend who now runs a daycare called The Anthill. When strange, ghostly occurrences begin to plague The Anthill, the woman begins to wonder if she brought these disturbances with her. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

HOUSE OF DRAGONS, Jessica Cluess. When an emperor dies, the noble houses typically send their eldest child to compete for the throne. This time, though, five outcasts will throw their hats in the ring. Bookshop.

QUOTIENTS, Tracy O’Neill. A former intelligence operative during the Troubles and a woman who manages PR for countries go to great lengths to protect themselves and each other when the woman’s brother, who disappeared years earlier, suddenly reappears. The New York Times calls it a “stylish, impressive novel.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, Francesca Momplaisir. A Haitian immigrants flees with his family to New York and purchases a house — a house that’s watching him, and judging him, for his innumerable sins. Library Journal calls it “a tour de force.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MY KIND OF PEOPLE, Lisa Duffy. A group of oftentimes at-odds community members come together to care for a ten year old who has just been orphaned for the second time. Bookshop.

DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE, Ava Homa. An aspiring Kurdish filmmaker goes on a hunt to find and save her activist brother, who disappeared in Tehran. Bookshop.

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GROWN UPS, Emma Jane Unsworth. Told through texts, emails, and social media posts, the story of a 30-something whose life is falling apart and whose mother has just moved back in with her. “Like the very best of her kind, [Unsworth] creates a world complex enough that in the echoes of our laughter are also relatability, wistfulness, even hope,” writes The Observer. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

BOOK OF THE LITTLE AXE, Lauren Francis-Sharma. A novel spanning centuries and nations, about a young woman in 18th century Trinidad who dreams of running her family’s farm, and a mother-son duo in Montana with a secret that threatens to come between them. “ In this masterly epic, the pleasure lies in piecing everything together,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

I use affiliate links! This doesn’t affect what I include on these lists, which are already entirely subjective anyway.

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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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