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This bestselling novel about students who attend the River Valley School for the Deaf highlights the regular lives and challenges people with disabilities have. The teens want everything teens want: to find a date, get through school, and have all the adults leave them alone and stop pushing their own ideas onto their bodies. You’ll follow different characters throughout the school as their lives intersect and change in surprising ways. —Cassie Gutman
Inspired by Robert Mugabe’s fall from power in 2017 and George Orwell’s classic fable Animal Farm, Bulawayo satirizes the dysfunctional politics that curse so many African nations in this long-awaited sophomore effort after her 2013 Booker finalist debut, We Need New Names. —Tomi Obaro (from 26 Books to Get Excited About This Year)
When a newspaper photograph resurfaces in Isobel’s life, she’s instantly taken back to her time as a student at The Schoolhouse, an experimental school where students were encouraged to have adventures and not follow the rules. But it was also a feeding ground for violence and danger as the students were allowed to have free rein. As her past life begins to collide with her present, Isobel knows the carefully constructed protections she’s put in place will start to crumble as dark secrets return to the surface. —C.G.
This novel follows an end-of-life doula and a musician who meet by chance and fight to overcome the odds against them. Nova is used to assisting people with terminal illnesses who are about to die and being there for them no matter what. But Mason is a different case altogether. He’s a musician with a deteriorating condition and is struggling to keep playing. Nova doesn’t know how to help him but is determined to try. —C.G.
A companion to Green's podcast of the same name, The Anthropocene Reviewed comprises personal essays "review[ing] different facets of the human-centered planet — from the QWERTY keyboard to Staphylococcus aureus — on a five-star scale." This nonfiction debut from Green (also the author of YA powerhouse The Fault in Our Stars, among others) gives readers plenty to think about when reading about the history of Diet Dr. Pepper, sunsets, and whispering. —C.G.
This narrative follows Vivian who, from the outside, looks like the definition of a strong, successful woman. She’s a lawyer who advocates for patients with mental illnesses, but she’s still reeling from her own past. Combined with the challenges of existing in New York City as a Black Latine woman, she feels like she’s constantly on edge. When a family reunion shakes things up in her life, she finds all the walls and protections she’s put up start tumbling down, and she’ll have to face her own trauma sooner rather than later. —C.G.
Yanagihara is a master of articulating the impossible. One of the greatest literary voices — period — of the last five years, the A Little Life author does it again with To Paradise, a sweeping tale of three alternative universes: 1893 America, where people are supposed to be able to choose how they live and love, 1993 Manhattan during the AIDS epidemic, and 2093 under a totalitarian regime. —Clara Wang (from 15 Must-Read New Books by AAPI Authors)
Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” by Kim Todd (Harper Perennial; March 21)
At the end of the 19th century, women journalists often took their reputations and sometimes their lives into their own hands as they worked to expose the terrible conditions in which people lived and worked. Nellie Bly famously got herself admitted to an asylum to report from the inside, but she wasn’t the only stunt reporter who did this. Others broke into sewing factories to report on child labor, some faked illnesses to learn about hospital treatment, and others worked to get inside capitol buildings to expose corrupt politicians. As the women began to publish their stories, they faced serious backlash from the public, but their work had its intended effect as more and more people began to see just how people were being treated in the institutions they had always been told to trust. —C.G.
It's 1954, and 18-year-old Emmett Watson is being driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the farm where he just spent a year working off an involuntary manslaughter charge. With his parents dead and the family farm foreclosed upon, Emmett just wants to pick up his young brother and head west for a new life. But it turns out that two of Emmett's friends have stowed away in the warden's trunk and have hatched a very different plan for Emmett's future. With multiple POVs only taking place over 10 days, this novel is a wild ride through Americana land. —Kirby Beaton (from All the Books We Read and Loved Being Released This October)
You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Arce (Flatiron; March 21)
Too often immigrants in the US hear they have to follow the rules and be the best to achieve the “American dream.” Arce experienced that firsthand. Moving from Mexico as a young girl, she learned English quickly and fought to climb her way up the career ladder as an adult. But in doing so, she lost her own culture and roots. Now, in this memoir, she urges new immigrants to fight the pressure to assimilate and blend in, instead embracing their own origins, heritage, accents, food, and more that make up this diverse country. —C.G.
Stuart’s debut novel, 2020’s Shuggie Bain, was an immersive, deeply compelling story about a working-class Scottish family and the matriarch Agnes’s debilitating alcohol addiction. In his second novel, Stuart explores similar themes. Mungo Hamilton is 15, the youngest of three children; older brother Hamish is a local gangster who terrorizes Catholic adolescents, while sister Jodie is sleeping with her older teacher and dreaming of a life away from their council estate. Their mother, Mo-Maw, meanwhile, has an alcohol addiction and is in and out of the house trying to date again after the death of her husband when Mungo was small. Mungo strikes up a friendship with a fellow loner named James, who happens to be Catholic. As their intimacy deepens, the ramifications of their love converge in painful, inevitably violent ways. —T.O. (from So Many Fantastic Books Are Releasing in April, and Here Are Our Top Picks)
This story follows Nell Young, whose entire family, career, and existence revolves around maps. Her father is an infamous cartographer at the New York Public Library, and she longs to be taken seriously as a cartographer in her own right. When her father unexpectedly dies with a mysterious map in his possession, Nell begins to follow clues he left behind, learning more about his past and her own past than she ever knew existed. The well-rounded and diverse cast of characters plus the hunt spurred on by the strange map make this an excellent literary adventure for just about anyone. —C.G.
In 2018, Michelle Zauner, the indie musician behind Japanese Breakfast, published a beautiful and heartbreaking essay in the New Yorker titled "Crying in H Mart" about growing up Korean American, coping with loss, and the connection between food and identity. Her memoir, which shares its title with the essay, expands on the original piece, following Zauner through her childhood as one of the only Asian American kids in her predominantly white Pacific Northwest town, her move to the East Coast in early adulthood, the continual negotiation of complicated family relationships and dynamics throughout her life, and the navigation of grief following the death of her mother. With lyrical prose and honest storytelling, this one will hit you right in the heart and stick with you. —Lucia Peters (from 31 Books You Can Get at Target that Are Absolutely Worth Reading)
Alex has sacrificed everything — his marriage, his relationships with his kids, and his reputation in his professional field — studying and manipulating genetics of his superalgae, in order to help fight climate change, even though some don’t believe it’s possible and he’s wasting his time. When he finally gets the opportunity to complete his research, he jumps at the chance, but his new lab is on Parallaxis, the luxury residential space station. But once he arrives on the station, he realizes it’s not quite what he was told it would be. Meanwhile, on Earth, his family struggles with severe storms and a deteriorating atmosphere, trying to get through the days while missing their husband and father and wishing they could join him. This all-too-real sci-fi novel is about taking risks for the people you love the most. —C.G.
The friendships between the women in this story would not be what they are without competition, secrets, over-the-top drama, and an ultimate scandal. Jenny owns an exclusive salon in Buckhead and knows all of her wealthy, snobby clients’ deepest secrets. When one of them ends up dead, she applies her knowledge of everyone’s gossip and joins forces with the police to help solve this scandalous murder. —Jatelia Lewis (from If You Love Jaw-Dropping Twists and Turns, Read These Gripping Books)
In this coming-of-age novel set in 1946 North Carolina, we meet Maddie, an aspiring tailor who has just arrived in Bright Leaf — the tobacco capital — to work in her aunt's shop. But when her aunt falls sick, Maddie suddenly becomes the tailor to Big Tobacco's wealthiest wives, who generously take her in. Maddie is transfixed by the glitz and glam of this bustling city — until she discovers a dark and unsettling truth about Big Tobacco's latest initiative. Maddie has to decide whether to reveal what she knows and risk the town's livelihood, or keep this secret and risk their lives. —K.B. (from 16 Historical Fiction Books Coming Out in 2022 That Are 100% Worth Picking Up)