It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today worth reading. This is a very small percentage of the books out today, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for new releases, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet, the day she arrives she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.
The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.
Reasons to read it: This is from the same author as The Paris Wife, but it seems to have a very different tone. It has elements pulled from real missing persons cases and also uses trauma theory. It promises to include a “hint of the metaphysical,” so it will be interesting to see what that turns out to be. This is supposed to be a powerful, intense read, with Paula McLain’s signature lyrical writing style.
Victories Greater Than Death (Universal Expansion #1) by Charlie Jane Anders
Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm — after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies (even if the rest of the world is still deciding whether aliens exist). But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin.
And then it does — and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. At least she has a crew around her that she can trust — and her best friend at her side. Now, they just have to save the world.
Reasons to read it: This is Charlie Jane Anders’s first YA novel. You might recognize her previous adult title, All the Birds in the Sky! This is supposed to be a thrilling space adventure about in intergalactic war: “think Star Wars meets Doctor Who.” It’s also is set in a queernormative society and has an F/F romance with a trans girl love interest. Found family in space! It should appeal to fans of Once & Future by A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy.
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening her mother’s restaurant.
When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighborhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant — who might not be a complete stranger after all.
As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
Reasons to read it: This is a romcom that is meant to appeal to fans of You’ve Got Mail. Although this is a fun rivals-to-lovers romance, it also tackles racism and Islamophobia. Hana has to deal with how Muslims are represented in her media job while trying to break into the industry. This is part light romance, part political commentary.
Malice by Heather Walter
Once upon a time there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she…cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating — and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
Reasons to read it: This is the first volume in a YA fantasy duology that is an angsty romance between a sorceress and a princess. It’s a dark, queer retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” giving Aurora an actual personality and depth, as well as having the added layer of a unique magic system. If you like fairytale retellings and YA fantasy romances with some angst, you’ll want to pick this one up.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
In a crowded London pub, two young people meet. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists — he a photographer, she a dancer — and both are trying to make their mark in a world that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence, and over the course of a year they find their relationship tested by forces beyond their control.
Reasons to read it: This is both a love story and an exploration of race as well as masculinity. It’s a novella written in second person (addressed to “you”), which is always a divisive choice. Open Water is a short read, but it is dense with discussions about racism and the complexities of coming together in a romantic relationship, all written in a beautiful, poetic style.
What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins
In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses — until an unfamiliar 16-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.
Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
Reasons to read it: This is a story about loss and anger, but it is also centered on a mystery. It’s a kind of found family story about coming together after tragedy through forgiveness. Browse through the Goodreads reviews and you’ll see many accounts of being completely emotionally destroyed by this book, so be prepared to ugly cry reading this one.
- Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve: a closeted trans guy plays Romeo in his high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet.
- Love in Color by Bolu Babalola: a collection of love stories inspired by mythology from around the world.
- Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne: a romance about Ruthie, an ambitious woman aiming for a promotion, and Teddy, a rich boy she needs to keep out of her hair to get it. So she signs him up to play assistant to a pair of demanding and eccentric elderly sisters.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
This is only scratching the surface of the books out this week! If you want to keep up with all the latest new releases, check out:
- Book Riot’s YouTube channel, where I discuss the most exciting books out every Tuesday!
- All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts (including me!) talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!