It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are six books out today worth reading, as well as some honorary picks, because I just couldn’t help myself. 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.
Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins
Laila desperately wants to become a mother, but each of her previous pregnancies has ended in heartbreak. This time has to be different, so she turns to the Melancons, an old and powerful Harlem family known for their caul, a precious layer of skin that is the secret source of their healing power.
When a deal for Laila to acquire a piece of caul falls through, she is heartbroken, but when the child is stillborn, she is overcome with grief and rage. What she doesn’t know is that a baby will soon be delivered in her family — by her niece, Amara, an ambitious college student — and delivered to the Melancons to raise as one of their own. Hallow is special: she’s born with a caul, and their matriarch, Maman, predicts the girl will restore the family’s prosperity.
Growing up, Hallow feels that something in her life is not right. Did Josephine, the woman she calls mother, really bring her into the world? Why does her cousin Helena get to go to school and roam the streets of New York freely while she’s confined to the family’s decrepit brownstone?
As the Melancons’ thirst to maintain their status grows, Amara, now a successful lawyer running for district attorney, looks for a way to avenge her longstanding grudge against the family. When mother and daughter cross paths, Hallow will be forced to decide where she truly belongs.
Reasons to read it: I started listening to the audiobook of this one to talk about on the All the Books podcast and was completely enthralled, but then I saw that Liberty had already claimed it! The narration is excellent, so I highly recommend the audiobook version. This follows generations of Black women in Harlem with almost a dozen point of view characters. It’s about familial connection, tradition, secrets, and betrayal and tackles generational trauma as well as gentrification. This is one that’s getting a lot of buzz, and rightly so.
Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan
Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant Zara Hossain has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.
But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
Reasons to read it: This is a captivating story about the complexity of immigration and the impossible hurdles families have to overcome. An author’s note explains Khan’s own family’s immigration process was derailed by a clerical error, making them have to abandon the possibility entirely, so she understands how your life can be upended by something outside of your control. There is also a romance with her and a white girl, and it explores white privilege in an interracial relationship. This is a great addition to books that start conversations about immigration in the U.S., with the added layer of being an out queer immigrant from a country that is not accepting of queer people. I highly recommend it.
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp
Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.
Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.
Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.
Reasons to read it: I loved the audiobook, which has two different narrators for the two point of view characters. This is a really interesting story about community, especially Chicanx community. Pen’s father takes care of everyone in their community, trying to shield them from a predatory loan shark. Pen and Xander’s love story is sweet and supportive, and this also has anxiety representation. Don’t try to read this book while hungry! The food descriptions will leave you drooling.
Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.
With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor ― the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball ― is present throughout.
A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.
Reasons to read it: I don’t feel like I have to fight for this one: Jenny Lawson has a huge fanbase. She began writing The Bloggess and her previous books Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy were very popular. Though it deals with mental health, this is supposed to be a hopeful read. And, of course, it has Jenny Lawson’s signature off the wall humor, complete with bizarre photos and illustrations.
Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than 20 years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring — the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.
Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company — Good Company — afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?
Reasons to read it: You probably know this author from her bestselling (that’s an understatement!) book The Nest. This is a novel about the complexities of marriage, and it’s supposed to be an uplifting read. I’m sure this will be a popular book club pick!
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer
Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.
Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out ― for her and possibly for the world.
Reasons to read it: You probably know Jeff VanderMeer from the Annihilation series! He writes a lot of weird fiction that is compelling and completely unique. This one looks at questions about climate change, but within the framework of a fast-paced thriller with a conspiracy element.
There are so many great books out today that I had a lot of trouble narrowing it down! So also check out:
- First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami, a new collection of short stories
- Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose
- Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
- Pride and Premeditation by fellow Book Rioter Tirzah Price
- The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
- and so many more!
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!