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The Best New Book Releases Out April 23, 2024

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

In exciting adaptation news, Elliot Page is developing the queer science fiction novel The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer.

In the realm of new books, there’s the middle grade short story collection The Door Is Open, edited by Hena Khan. It looks to be a wonderful celebration of Desi voices. In addition to the the YA book I feature below, there’s another I’m excited about: Kill Her Twice by Stacey Lee is a historical mystery that takes place in 1930s Hollywood.

Adult fantasy fans are also eating well this week, with epic fantasy Dragon Rider by Taran Matharu; and dark fantasy graphic novel The Cull Volume 1 by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Mattia de Iulis. And, if literary fiction is more your speed, Sweetness in the Skin by Ishi Robinson is a Jamaica-set coming-of-age novel.

Nonfiction-wise, there are the memoirs Water on Fire: A Memoir of War by Tarek El-Ariss, about the trauma of a war-torn childhood and queerness; and Undiplomatic: How My Attitude Created the Best Kind of Trouble by Deesha Dyer, which follows the author as she becomes a White House intern and deals with imposter syndrome. Finally, there’s I Just Keep Talking: A Life in Essays by Nell Irvin Painter, a collection of some of the author’s greatest writings on race and politics.

Below, there is a thoughtful look at nature, a messy fake-dating scenario, a multi-faceted space opera, and more.

cover of The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan

In 2016, when things online felt especially hateful and soul-crushing, Amy Tan turned to nature. The world right outside her window gave her solace, but this peacefulness turned to something more — she started imagining the lives of the birds she watched, and here, she shares her thoughts, sketches, and daily entries as she took her birding to a new level.

cover of Funny Story by Emily Henry

Funny Story by Emily Henry

In this opposites-attract, fake-dating story, we get a side of mess with our romance. Daphne’s fiancé Peter leaves her for Petra, and Petra leaves her fiancé Miles for Peter. Then, these two Messy Melindas invite both their exes to their wedding. So, naturally, Daphne and Miles decide to fake date and attend the wedding. But, practical children’s librarian Daphne may find more than she bargained for in the chaotic Miles.

cover of Ocean's Godori by Elaine U. Cho

Ocean’s Godori by Elaine U. Cho

First off, gorgeous cover is gorgeous. Secondly, this debut is part action-packed mystery, part romantic space opera, and sounds like a swashbuckling good time. Ocean Yoon is a descendant of a long line of highly revered female divers in a futuristic and united Korea. Despite this, she’s currently on the Alliance’s trash list since her flub on a mission gained her a bad reputation. When her wealthy bestie Teo is accused of murdering his family, she and each member of her motley crew of shipmates will have to decide on which side of politics they lie. I’ve seen this book and its adventure, slow-burn romance, and political intrigue likened to Firefly and Bladerunner, which are the highest compliments in my book.

cover of Bad Habit by Alana S. Portero, translated by Mara Faye Lethem

Bad Habit by Alana S. Portero, translated by Mara Faye Lethem

Portero’s unnamed protagonist is a trans woman who comes of age in a fun but troubled time in Madrid. Once she realizes her hometown has nothing for her, she travels to downtown ’80s Madrid, with its party animals, divas, and raging heroin epidemic. As she comes to know herself more, making sense of things with a poet’s verve, she finds herself closer and closer to potential devastation.

cover of Off With Their Heads by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Off With Their Heads by Zoe Hana Mikuta

The author of Gearbreakers is back with another queer science fiction and fantasy YA novel, this time in the form of a Korean-inspired Alice in Wonderland retelling. Young witches and lovers Caro Rabbit and Iccadora Alice Sickle were both sentenced to Wonderland, a dark forest full of monsters, for a crime they didn’t commit. To get out, both of them were willing to risk it all, which included each other. Now, Icca is set on getting revenge for Caro’s betrayal. And while Caro lives a somewhat privileged life as a royal monster killer, she doesn’t know of the secrets the Queen holds about the monsters, nor the plans she has for Icca and Caro.

cover of Prairie, Dresses, Art, Other by Danielle Dutton

Prairie, Dresses, Art, Other by Danielle Dutton

In this experimental fiction and nonfiction essay collection, Dutton explores the relationship between literature and each of the categories in the title. For example, in the “Prairie” section, there are five stories that juxtapose the beauty of nature with its destruction. In the “Dresses” section, Dutton weaves together literary excerpts that center dresses and examine gender and class.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts 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’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!