It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton
Gala, a young trans woman, works at a hostel in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. She is obsessed with the Get Happies, the quintessential 1960s Californian band, helmed by its resident genius, B—-. Why did the band stop making music? Why did they never release their rumored album, Summer Fun?
Gala writes letters to B—- that shed light not only on the Get Happies, but paint an extraordinary portrait of Gala. The parallel narratives of B—- and Gala form a dialogue bout creation—of music, identity, self, culture, and counterculture.
Reasons to read it: This is being called a “brilliant and magical work” about creativity, fandom, and trans identity. It’s a non-linear epistolary exploration of a friendship between two trans women who came out at very different times and the ways they’ve found to survive in a world that is often hostile to them.
The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Girls have been going missing in the woods…
When Natasha’s sister disappears, Natasha desperately turns to Della, a local girl rumored to be a witch, in the hopes that magic will bring her sister home.
But Della has her own secrets to hide. She thinks the beast who’s responsible for the disappearances is her own mother—who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.
Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. Both are each other’s only hope.
Reasons to read it: This is supposed to be “lush and chilling,” about two girls fighting back against a violent world. This is from the author of Ghost Wood Song, and it’s being compared to Wilder Girls and Bone Gap.
Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
In this family, everyone is keeping secrets – especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Merton. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after an Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.
Reasons to read it: This is a domestic suspense novel from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door. It’s a fast-paced whodunit between unlikable siblings who all had the motivation to kill their parents, both out of revenge and for their inheritance. Part murder mystery, part psychological thriller, it’s sure to keep you flipping pages until the very last one.
A Song Everlasting by Ha Jin
After popular singer Yao Tian takes a private gig in New York at the end of a tour with his state-supported choir, expecting to pick up some extra cash for his daughter’s tuition fund, the consequences of his choice spiral out of control. On his return to China, he is informed that the sponsors of the event were in support of Taiwan’s secession and that he must deliver a formal self-criticism. When he is asked to forfeit his passport to his employer, he impulsively decides instead to return to New York to protest the government’s threat to his artistic integrity. With the help of his old friend, Yabin, Tian’s career begins to flourish in the United States. Soon placed on a government blacklist and thwarted by the State at every turn, it becomes increasingly clear that he may never return to China unless he denounces the freedoms that have made his new life possible. But Tian nevertheless insists on his identity as a performer, refusing to give up his art.
Reasons to read it: This is the newest book from the National Book Award–winning, bestselling author of Waiting. It’s a reflective story about art, censorship, and freedom, told in accessible prose. It’s a character-driven story with a timely political message.
Edith Widder’s childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist was almost derailed in college, when complications from a surgery gone wrong caused temporary blindness. A new reality of shifting shadows drew her fascination to the power of light — as well as the importance of optimism.
As her vision cleared, Widder found the intersection of her two passions in oceanic bioluminescence, a little-explored scientific field within Earth’s last great unknown frontier: the deep ocean. With little promise of funding or employment, she leaped at the first opportunity to train as a submersible pilot and dove into the darkness.
Widder’s first journey into the deep ocean, in a diving suit that resembled a suit of armor, took her to a depth of eight hundred feet. She turned off the lights and witnessed breathtaking underwater fireworks: explosions of bioluminescent activity. Concerns about her future career vanished. She only wanted to know one thing: Why was there so much light down there?
Below the Edge of Darkness takes readers deep into our planet’s oceans as Widder pursues her questions about one of the most important and widely used forms of communication in nature. In the process, she reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of behaviors and animals, from microbes to leviathans, many never before seen or, like the legendary giant squid, never before filmed in their deep-sea lairs. Alongside Widder, we experience life-and-death equipment malfunctions and witness breakthroughs in technology and understanding, all set against a growing awareness of the deteriorating health of our largest and least understood ecosystem.
A thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation, Below the Edge of Darkness reckons with the complicated and sometimes dangerous realities of exploration. Widder shows us how when we push our boundaries and expand our worlds, discovery and wonder follow. These are the ultimate keys to the ocean’s salvation—and thus to our future on this planet.
Reasons to read it: This is supposed to be both a “thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation,” told from a pioneering marine biologist. She also discusses the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field, as well as the vulnerability and importance of this ecosystem and why we should care about protecting it.
I am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani
Seventeen-year-old Mandy, daughter of Starfire, is NOT like her mother. Starfire is gorgeous, tall, sparkly, and a hero. Mandy is NOT a sparkly superhero. Mandy has no powers, is a kid who dyes her hair black and hates everyone but her best friend Lincoln. To Starfire, who is from another planet, Mandy seems like an alien, like some distant angry light years away moon.
And it’s possible Mandy is even more distant lately, ever since she walked out on her S.A.T.s. Which, yeah, her mom doesn’t know.
Everyone thinks Mandy needs to go to college and become whoever you become at college, but Mandy has other plans. Mandy’s big plan is that she’s going to move to France and…do whatever people do in France. But then everything changes when she gets partnered with Claire for a school project. Mandy likes Claire (even if she denies it, heartily and intensely). A lot.
How do you become the person you’re supposed to be when you don’t know what that is? How do you become the person you’re supposed to be when the only thing you’re sure of is what you’re not?
When someone from Starfire’s past arrives, Mandy must make a choice: give up before the battle has even begun, or step into the unknown and risk everything to save her mom. I am Not Starfire is a story about teenagers and/as aliens; about knowing where you come from and where you are going; and about mothers.
Reasons to read it: This is a new YA graphic novel from Mariko Tamaki, New York Times bestselling author of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. It’s is an AU graphic novel that is sure to bring some new teenage fans in, just like Tamaki’s earlier title, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. It also has a fat queer girl main character! Check out the trailer for it on YouTube.
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!