Always books. Never boring.

Here are our top picks for the most exciting books of 2018! What are you most looking forward to this year?



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A Girl Like That

by Tanaz Bhathena
Young Adult

Beth O'Brien

Staff Writer

Beth is an east coast Canadian, born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is (unsurprisingly) obsessed with books and is a public library assistant and book blogger. When she’s not convincing all her friends to be friends with each other, she’s trying to convince them to read YA. She likes poetry and coffee and the ocean, but her true love is her cat Edith.

There’s always one of them in your school. The one you’re warned about. The troublemaker whose love life is always up for discussion: “You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that.” Here, Zarin Wadia is that girl. From the start, we know that she and an eighteen-year-old boy named Porus die in a terrible car accident. In the aftermath, we learn that there was much more to Zarin than just a troublemaker. With an interesting take on high school ostracism, class, and religion, this debut sounds totally thrilling. I’ve never read a book set in Saudi Arabia and I can’t wait to start with this one! (And have you seen that gorgeous cover?!)

An American Marriage

by Tayari Jones

Mya Nunnally

Staff Writer

Having loved books since the age of four, Mya is a writer and poet who looks to explore the complexities of life through language. They attend Barnard College of Columbia University with their kitten, Ramen. Their reviews of independent literature can be found at Foreword Reviews. When they aren't writing or reading, they're playing video games with strong female characters. Twitter: @literallymya Blog:

Roy and Celestial’s new marriage is put to the test when Roy is wrongfully imprisoned for twelve years and Celestial is left grieving for a life that can never be spent together. To put it frankly, An American Marriage explores what happens when racism forces itself into your life and upends it completely. Tayari Jones lets us know she is a master of writing with this enchanting novel. This book is what literary fiction should aspire to be: timely, elegant, and powerful. Jones’ masterful prose and gripping characters makes An American Marriage an instant classic.

placeholder cover of Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Bruja Born

by Zoraida Córdova
FantasyYoung Adult

Jenn Northington

Director, Editorial Operations

Jenn Northington has worked in the publishing industry wearing various hats since 2004, including bookseller and events director, and is currently Director of Editorial Operations at Riot New Media Group. You can hear her on the SFF Yeah! podcast nerding out about sci-fi and fantasy. When she’s not working, she’s most likely gardening, running, or (obviously) reading. Find her on Tumblr at jennIRL and Instagram at iamjennIRL.

Labyrinth Lost was a book I didn’t know I’d been craving: a new take on the Magically Gifted Teen trope, a beautifully imagined magical system and world, an LGBTQ love triangle, and a Latina main character. While the main plot wrapped up nicely, Córdova threw in a surprise at the end that had me pacing my apartment, ready for the next installment immediately. And when I found out that the new book follows a supporting character from the first book? All the grabby hands! Secondary characters getting their own book is my jam. So I’ll just be over here until June, waiting waiting waiting for the next adventure of the Mortiz sisters.

children of blood and bone

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi
FantasyYoung Adult

Adiba Jaigirdar

Staff Writer

Adiba Jaigirdar is an Irish-Bangladeshi writer, poet, and teacher. She resides in Dublin, Ireland and has an MA in postcolonial studies. She is currently working on her own postcolonial novel and hopes that someday it will see the light of day outside of her computer screen. Twitter: @adiba_j

Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel sounds like nothing we have seen before, in the best way possible. It’s a fantasy that promises to be enthralling and to totally ensnare you within its world, plot, and characters. I’ll be honest – as a reader of colour who devoured popular fantasy books with a slight annoyance at never seeing herself represented, I could not be more excited about this book featuring black characters, being steeped in Nigerian culture, and being set in an African-inspired world. It’s not something us readers of colour get every day.

circe by madeline miller


by Madeline Miller

Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

Circe is Madeline Miller’s long-waited sophomore novel after her doozy of a debut. The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the Iliad, broke my heart into a million pieces and made me a fan of Miller for life. I was so thrilled to find out that her second book is also a Greek mythology retelling, this time tackling the origins of the sorceress, Circe. As a child, Circe is banished to a deserted island after her magic begins to reveal itself and Zeus feels threatened. She turns to companionship from the mortal world—creating a unique set of problems: who does she protect when push comes to shove and how will she survive against vengeful Olympians?

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation

by Justina Ireland
FantasyYoung Adult

Jessica Yang

Staff Writer

Jessica grew up in Silicon Valley, yet somehow ended up rather inept at technology. She dreams of reading luxurious novels all day in a greenhouse, and is guilty of writing puns for money. Majoring in Japanese and English literature made her both wary and weary of the Western canon. She can be bribed with milk tea. Follow her on Twitter @jamteayang.

I’ve been a fan of Justina Ireland’s writing ever since I first read Promise of Shadows in 2014. Dread Nation promises to be as awesome as its incredible cover. Set in post-Reconstruction America, Dread Nation follows Jane McKeene, who attends a combat school for black and Native children where she learns to fight the undead. Though zombies plague the country, Jane just wants to return home, but when families start to disappear, she’s drawn into something bigger. While I love a good zombie story, it’s clear that Dread Nation isn’t going to be just that, but a book that deals with survival, racism, and so much more.

feel free

Feel Free

by Zadie Smith

Tajja Isen

Staff Writer

Tajja Isen is a Toronto-based writer and voice actor. Her work has appeared in BuzzFeed, Electric Literature, The Globe and Mail, Bitch Media, Shondaland, and Catapult, where she is also a contributing editor.

February 6th will see the release of Feel Free, Zadie Smith’s second collection of nonfiction (following 2009’s Changing My Mind). Collecting essays that have previously appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, as well as previously unpublished pieces, the book takes on subjects as wide-ranging as the real purpose of Facebook, the importance of local libraries, and the slippery distinction between pleasure and joy. As in her novels, most recently 2016’s Swing Time, Smith brings to her nonfiction her impassioned close reading, comic sensibility, and incisive analytical capacity. She’s one of our keenest critics, and we are lucky to have her perspective as we orient ourselves to the cultural and political landscape of 2018.

Fire Sermon

by Jamie Quatro

Ilana Masad

Staff Writer

Israeli American, queer, chronically ill, and forever reading, Ilana Masad is a book critic and fiction writer. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Tin House, McSweeney's, Joyland Magazine, and more. She is the founder and host of The Other Stories, a podcast that features new, emerging, and established fiction writers. Twitter: @ilanaslightly Blog: Slightly Ignorant

I first heard of this novel from Garth Greenwell. Since I love his work, I figured I’d probably enjoy a book he recommends. When I saw that Jacqueline Woodson also blurbed the book, I was totally sold. The novel is about Maggie, a fiercely intelligent writer who believes herself to be unwaveringly devoted to her family and to God. But she meets a poet, James, and the two begin exchanging emails about philosophy and faith, which are some of the most intimate things two people can discuss. Their relationship develops into something… more. With short chapters, each packing an emotional and linguistic punch, this book is intensely beautiful.

FLORIDA by Lauren Groff


by Lauren Groff

Leah Rachel von Essen

Senior Contributor

By day, Leah Rachel von Essen is the editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Magazine at the University of Chicago. By night, she reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

Long before the critical acclaim and Obama mention of Fates and Furies, I was enchanted by Lauren Groff’s surrealist The Monsters of Templeton, which was also a sort-of love letter to one of the places that has made Groff who she is. Now, she’s releasing this short story collection about the state where she’s lived for 12 years, writing in her unstoppable prose about the sunshine, the animals, and the people. I find that often writers with gorgeous prose with novels I’ve loved perfect that style in their short stories, and I’m excited to see what Groff will do.

From Twinkle, with Love

by Sandhya Menon
Young Adult

Angel Cruz

Staff Writer

Angel Cruz is a professional enthusiast, living and writing in Toronto. She has been blogging about books since May 2011–her favourite genres are magic realism, contemporary fiction, and historical fiction. You can also find her at Women Write About Comics, reviewing front/backlist books and manga, as well as critically examining Asian representation in both Western and Asian media. Her copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker is paged through more often than is probably healthy. Ice cream, Broadway musicals, and Arashi are her lifeblood. Blog: Angel Cruz Writes Twitter: @angelcwrites

Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my favourite romcom YA novels of 2017, and her next book, From Twinkle, with Love promises to give readers another delicious helping of adorable and romantic hijinks. Twinkle Mehra is an aspiring filmmaker, and we learn about her dreams through her letters to famous female directors. When she gets the chance to make a real film, through the help of fellow classmate Sahil Roy, it’s almost everything Twinkle has ever wanted—at least, it will be if it brings her secret crush Neil Roy, Sahil’s twin, closer to her. I can’t wait to see how Menon works her magic for Twinkle in this book, and if my reaction to seeing Dimple on shelves is any indication, even seeing the cover for Twinkle in bookstores will make my day.

give me your hand

Give Me Your Hand

by Megan Abbott

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Abbott uses the haunting of an unsolicited past secret to create a smart, sharp, and electric novel with a research lab as the backdrop. Kit Owens may be about to grab the future she’s always envisioned by being selected for a research team about PMDD, but a childhood friend she’d prefer to forget may bump her out of the running–and that’s the least of Kit’s problems… Abbott, an excellent writer with an impressive catalog, has managed to outdo herself with this page-turner.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel- Essays by Alexander Chee

Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

These essays are exactly the hope we need during our present garbage fire. When we look back on the next few years – if we make it through the next few years – Chee will undoubtedly stand out as one our most important voices. His novels, Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, are beautiful marvels, but it is when he speaks in his own voice that his brilliance really shines. Ranging in subject from his own writing, past jobs, his father’s passing, the current administration, and more, Chee is a concise thinker who examines his personal choices, as well as our public issues, with a level head, wry insight, and heaps of compassion.

Leah on the Offbeat

by Becky Albertalli
Young Adult

Alison Doherty

Senior Contributor

Alison Doherty is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on the subway, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.

I first met and fell in love with Leah Burke in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Despite being loved by her friends, by the end of the book it seemed very clear to me that Simon and the whole group mis-imagined Leah. That’s why I’m so excited the spotlight will be shined on her as a main character in this oh so swoon-worthy follow up. I’m sure this sarcastic, hard edge drummer girl will have a soft, emotional center to explore with insecurities about her appearance, not being out as bisexual to her friends, and a secret love of drawing. I would read (and probably love) Becky Albertalli’s grocery lists, but I’m beyond thrilled that instead I’ll get the chance to immerse myself in the high stakes drama of senior year, complete with college applications, first love, and prom.

Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate & Other Filters

by Samira Ahmed
Young Adult

Ashley Holstrom

Staff Writer

Ashley Holstrom helps make books at Sourcebooks. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color. Newsletter: Crooked Reads. Twitter: @alholstrom.

Maya Aziz, a 17-year-old Indian-American Muslim, is figuring out this whole life thing — choosing between what her parents want for her and what she wants for herself, choosing a college, choosing how to go about romance — with the addition of Islamophobia. It’s an #ownvoices portrayal of hatred and bigotry, and sounds like just the book we need to kick off 2018. Somewhere on the internet, someone said this is Angie Thomas meets Jenny Han, and, just, yes. Give me it now.

Michelle Hart

Staff Writer

Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, Michelle Hart was once profiled in her hometown newspaper for being in the process of writing a novel--a novel she is still in the process of writing. After graduating from college with High Honors in English--for her very upbeat thesis on the relationship between trauma and gender--Michelle went on to graduate school to write buoyantly depressing stories, which landed her a gig as a reader for the New Yorker. She spends an inordinate amount of time thinking of ways to casually begin a conversation with Emily Nussbaum. Michelle has been awarded a fiction fellowship by the New York State Writers Institute and was granted the Feminist Killjoy Award by most of her friends. Twitter: @mhmhart42 Blog:

The first volume of Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing is Monsters is nothing less than an absolute game-changer, a boundary-pushing, awe-inspiring work of art destined to enter the pantheon of all-time great graphic novels. At once harrowing and boisterous, the story of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, a girl whose obsession with pulp fiction propels her to solve the murder of her Holocaust-surviving neighbor, is also the story of American itself: an ecstatic and agonizing reconciliation of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Even if the second volume is only half as good as the first, it will still be a monumental achievement.

cover of Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

Not That Bad

by Roxane Gay

Steph Auteri

Senior Contributor

Steph Auteri is a journalist who has written for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, VICE, and elsewhere. Her more creative work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, under the gum tree, Poets & Writers, and other publications, and she is the Essays Editor for Hippocampus Magazine. Her essay, "The Fear That Lives Next to My Heart," published in Southwest Review, was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2021. She also writes bookish stuff here and at the Feminist Book Club, is the author of A Dirty Word, and is the founder of Guerrilla Sex Ed. When not working, she enjoys yoga, embroidery, singing, cat snuggling, and staring at the birds in her backyard feeder. You can learn more at and follow her on Insta/Threads at @stephauteri.

When it comes to topics like sexual violence and rape culture, there’s no one I trust more to handle them with grace than Roxane Gay. After all, Gay is the one who ably analyzed this aspect of our culture in Bad Feminist. She stared it down unflinchingly in An Untamed State. She gutted me with Hunger. In Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, she brings together a collection of writers who have been touched by rape culture, including Amy Jo Burns and Lyz Lenz, and even actors like Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union. What does it mean to live in this world as a woman? This book is undoubtedly the answer.

Record of a Spaceborn Few

by Becky Chambers
Science Fiction

Rachel Brittain

Contributing Editor

Rachel is a writer from Arkansas, most at home surrounded by forests and animals much like a Disney Princess. She spends most of her time writing stories and playing around in imaginary worlds. You can follow her writing at Twitter and Instagram: @rachelsbrittain

The Exadans—humans immigrants from Earth—are well known throughout the Galactic Commons. Their descendants wear their Exadan heritage with pride and have been welcomed throughout the galaxy. But for the few left on the Exadan fleet, one looming question remains: what happens after a ship reaches its destination?

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the third Wayfarers book since falling head first into the series last year. Wayfarers is the most imaginative and compelling space opera I’ve read in years. The worldbuilding is unbelievably intricate, and—though the science is well written and prominent—the characters are always at the heart of the story. If you love good sci-fi, you absolutely have to read this series!

Red Clocks cover

Red Clocks

by Leni Zumas
Science Fiction

Kate Scott

Staff Writer

Kate Scott is a bookstagrammer and strategic web designer serving women business owners and creative entrepreneurs. Follow her on Instagram @parchmentgirl and visit her website at

In this Atwoodesque dystopia, abortion is illegal, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and only married couples are allowed to adopt. The novel follows five women–a single teacher desperate for a child, a pregnant high school student, a polar explorer, a frustrated mother of two, and an herbalist living on the fringes of society–as they navigate these new restrictions. Their lives converge when the herbalist becomes the target of a modern day witch-hunt. Red Clocks hits close to home and serves as an urgent reminder that we must continually fight not only to advance women’s rights, but also to preserve the rights we’ve already won.

The Astonishing Color of After

by Emily X.R. Pan
Young Adult

Rincey Abraham


Rincey is a writer and editor who always has a reaction gif ready to go. Rincey spends her free time reading (obviously), and wandering the streets of Chicago in search of good food and possibly not as good music. (She does have an affinity for pop music. Don't hold that against her.) She is also often busy taking notes on how to be more like Leslie Knope. YouTube: Rincey Reads Twitter: @rinceya

In Emily X.R. Pan’s debut young adult novel, you follow Leigh Chen Sanders, who is convinced that when her mother committed suicide, she turned into a bird. She then travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time and find her mother, the bird. While she is searching, she uncovers family secrets and forming a relationship with her grandparents. This novel explores the depths of love and grief and trying to find who you are through all of that. I can’t wait until I can read this book and have it completely break my heart and then heal it.

The Belles

by Dhonielle Clayton
FantasyYoung Adult

Katie McLain

Contributing Editor

Katie's parents never told her "no" when she asked for a book, which was the start of most of her problems. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is working towards a master's degree in library science at U of I. She works full time at a public library reference desk in northern IL, specializing in readers’ advisory and general book enthusiasm, and she has a deep-rooted love of all things disturbing, twisted, and terrifying. (She takes enormous pleasure in creeping out her coworkers.) When she's not spending every waking hour at the library, she's at home watching Cubs baseball with her cats and her cardigan collection, and when she's not at home, she's spending too much money on concert tickets. Her hobbies include debating the finer points of Harry Potter canon, hitting people upside the head who haven’t read The Martian, and convincing her boyfriend that she can, in fact, fit more books onto her shelves. Twitter: @kt_librarylady

Dhonielle Clayton, one half of the author team that created Tiny Pretty Things, is out with a new YA fantasy series! Camellia Beauregard is a revered Belle in the damned city of Orléans, where people are born gray and can only be made beautiful with the help of a Belle. But Camellia isn’t satisfied with just being a Belle…she wants to be the favorite Belle — the one who tends to the royal family and their court. But when she and her Belle sisters arrive at court, she soon realizes that being the favorite Belle is nothing like what she’s been led to believe. And if that cover is any indication, this book is going to be gorgeous, glamorous, and fierce as hell.

The Comedown

by Rebekah Frumkin

Christina Orlando

Staff Writer

Christina is a champion for diversity in the lit community, and is dedicated to supporting marginalized voices across the publishing industry. She lives in New York, sports seven literary tattoos, loves all media, and is a Slytherin forever. Follow her on Twitter @cxorlando

I first started to hear whispers about this book during the summer of 2017 and immediately started hunting down an ARC. The beautiful cover caught my eye, and what I found inside was a dark and intricate story about race, religion, and family. The book deals with some adult themes (drugs, mass shootings, mental illness, sexual assault) but is told so expertly that you’ll find yourself taken by the whirlwind. If you want something intense and exciting, this is definitely a book to pick up.

The Comfort Zone

by Sally Thorne

Tasha Brandstatter

Staff Writer

Tasha is the least practical person you will ever meet. She grew up reading historical romance novels, painting watercolors like a 19th century debutant, and wanting to be Indiana Jones--or at the very least Indiana Jones's girlfriend. All this led her to pursue a career in the field of art history. After spending ten years in academia without a single adventure in Mesoamerica, however, Tasha decided to change her career and be a freelance writer (although she's still waiting on that adventure). In addition to writing for Book Riot, she's a regular contributor to History Colorado, the Pueblo PULP, and Opposing Views. She also runs two book blogs: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books (title inspired by Moulin Rouge, best movie ever) and The Project Gutenberg Project, dedicated to finding forgotten classics. Tasha also likes to have a drink or two and blogs about cocktails at Liquid Persuasion, as well as small town restaurants on Nowhere Bites. Blog: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books and The Project Gutenberg Project Twitter: @heidenkind

Thorne’s 2016 office place romcom debut, The Hating Game, was by far the best contemporary romance I read that year, and arguably one of the best I’d *ever* read. It was a hilarious, intense, unputdownable book whose two main characters inhabited a fully realized world and had insane chemistry. If there’s one thing I took away from that book, it’s that Thorne is a woman who knows how to tell a good story. At this point I don’t even care what her long-awaited second novel is about: if The Comfort Zone is half as good as The Hating Game, I will enjoy the heck out of it. Please take my money, kthnx.

The Cruel Prince

by Holly Black
FantasyYoung Adult

Yash Kesanakurthy

Staff Writer

Somewhere between starting her schooling in Saudi Arabia and finishing high school in Singapore, Yash Kesanakurthy realized that she disliked school. It was the fateful move to Vancouver, Canada for a BA in Economics (which, surprise, didn't pan out) that led her to the MA program in Children's Literature at UBC. She had fun immersing herself into the academia of children's literature but nothing beat the joy of writing for The Book Wars, being able to set aside classics and pay attention to the culture of contemporary YA. And now, everything is PB/MG/YA and nothing hurts. Well, some things hurt but nothing her bookshelf can't fix. Currently, she is working on her own YA fantasy novel and an all-ages picturebook. Her life goals include: getting a pet dog, getting published, and presenting you dear readers and Rioters with posts that engage and entertain. (Maybe not in that order?) Blog: The Book Wars Twitter: @SeeYashTweet

Coldest Girl in Coldtown and The Darkest Part of the Forest have cemented my belief that no one writes the tension between mortality and the lure of immortality like Holly Black. From what I gather from early reviews, The Cruel Prince has truly instated Black as the queen of the fey. The novel follows a mortal girl, kidnapped by and raised among the faeries. Her quest to belong among the people she so admires and loathes forces her down a murky path of violence and royal politics. Girls being powerful players in a world that constantly belittles and victimizes them is everything I need right now. I can’t wait to dig into this world.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

The Female Persuasion

by Meg Wolitzer

Elizabeth Allen

Staff Writer

Lifelong book lover, Elizabeth Allen managed to get a degree in something completely unrelated that she never intends to use. She’s a proud Connecticut native who lives in a picturesque small town with her black olive-obsessed toddler daughter, her prom date-turned-husband, and her two dim-witted cats Penny Lane and Gretchen Wieners. She spends her days trying to find a way to be paid to read while drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching episodes of Gilmore girls until the DVDs fail, waiting for her husband to feed her, and being obnoxiously vain about her hair. Elizabeth’s work can be found at, where she is currently reading and reviewing all of the books referenced in Gilmore girls. She is also the cohost of two podcasts discussing the work of Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Under the Floorboards” and “Stumbling Ballerinas”). Basically, her entire goal in life is to be a bookish Lorelai Gilmore. She clearly dreams big. Twitter: @BWRBooks

As we look more toward feminist role models, The Female Persuasion reigns. Wolitzer’s ability to write nuanced female relationships makes her the perfect author to take on this topical-yet-eternal tale. Greer Kadetsky’s story is set against her initial waking to a new wave of feminism, incorporating the passion and hope in the discovery of that first cause that so fully captures your attention. The intensity of that moment and the people with which we experience it become crucial to our story, an idea that Wolitzer not only embraces but celebrates. As the author described herself, “I wanted to write about the people you meet who change your life forever.” She accomplished that in her popular work The Interestings, and pushed that theme even harder in her latest work.

The Immortalists

by Chloe Benjamin

Kristen McQuinn

Staff Writer

Kristen McQuinn is a medievalist who dreams of reading more, writing more, and traveling more while being the best single mama by choice she possibly can be. By day, she can be found working with English teachers at the University of Phoenix, where she also teaches the occasional class on mythology, Shakespeare, or Brit lit. Sometimes she updates even her own blog. Follow her on Twitter:@KristenMcQuinn or  Twitter: @KristenMcQuinn

Not gonna lie — I was initially drawn to the gorgeous cover of this novel. But then I read the blurb and was enthralled by the thought of “what if?” What if we know the date we will die? Would I live a meaningful life? Would I try to find a way to cheat death? What would I do differently with my time if I knew when it would end? Why would it be any different than living my life without knowing the date of my death? The Immortalists looks at all these questions and more, through the experiences of four siblings over the course of 50ish years. This novel attracted me because I’ve been missing my grandad a lot lately, and my grandmother died just past Christmas. Death and life are on my mind and it is a timely novel for me right now. I want to think about it but have a little distance to breathe…

The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg cover

The Merry Spinster

by Mallory Ortberg

Kathleen Keenan

Staff Writer

Kathleen Keenan is a writer and children's book editor in Toronto. In addition to Book Riot, she has written for Reel Honey, The Billfold, and The Canadian Press. She also edits a monthly newsletter for the indie bookstore A Novel Spot. Kathleen has an MA in English with a focus on nineteenth-century fiction, and there is nothing she loves more than a very long Victorian novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @KathleenMKeenan or find her writing even more about books at

Fans of creepy tales and The Toast can all rejoice, because Mallory Ortberg is gracing us with another book in 2018! The Merry Spinster is described as “collection of darkly playful stories based on classic folk and fairy tales (but with a feminist spin).” The stories are based on Ortberg’s popular series of posts, “Children’s Stories Made Horrific,” for The Toast (RIP). Ortberg’s irreverent humor, feminist perspective, and unerring ability to find the most unnerving details in familiar stories are all sure to make this collection a winner. Plus, what could be better than curling up and waiting out the rest of winter with a scary book?

this will be my undoing by morgan jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing

by Morgan Jerkins

Rebecca Hussey

Staff Writer

Rebecca holds a PhD in English and is a professor at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. She teaches courses in composition, literature, and the arts. When she’s not reading or grading papers, she’s hanging out with her husband and son and/or riding her bike and/or buying books. She can't get enough of reading and writing about books, so she writes the bookish newsletter "Reading Indie," focusing on small press books and translations. Newsletter: Reading Indie Twitter: @ofbooksandbikes

Now is the time (it’s always the time) to listen to the voices of black women, and Morgan Jerkins’ collection of linked essays This Will Be My Undoing is essential reading for 2018. The essays cover pop culture, feminism, racism, life as a black woman in the U.S., and more. They are both personal and political, centering the experience of being a black woman in a way that not many books do. People will come to this collection for different reasons, but everyone who reads it will find much that illuminates, provokes, entertains, and challenges. Morgan Jerkins is a young writer to watch. This is her debut book, a powerful start that promises great work to come.

Transcription Kate Atkinson cover


by Kate Atkinson

Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

I thought Kate Atkinson’s writing in Life After Life was gorgeous, and I’m also a fan of slightly shorter books – so Transcription seems like it’s going to be right up my street. Secret Service? BBC? The consequences of idealism? These are all things that fit squarely in my reading wheelhouse, along with the Blitz Spirit of London’s World War II.

What Are We Doing Here? Essays

by Marilynne Robinson

Teresa Preston

Staff Writer

Since 2008, Teresa Preston has been blogging about all the books she reads at Shelf Love. She supports her book habit by working as a magazine editor at a professional association in the Washington, DC, area, which is (in)conveniently located just a few steps from a used bookstore. When she’s not reading or editing, she’s likely to be attending theatre, practicing yoga, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, or doting on her toothless orange cat, Anya. Twitter: @teresareads

Marilynne Robinson’s novels are among my all-time favorites, but I love her essays as well. So her new collection, coming on February 20th, is most definitely something to look forward to! In her nonfiction, Robinson writes with clarity and passion about America and its values. She digs into historical texts to consider how ideas from the past apply to our lives today—and how those ideas get misinterpreted and misused. Her words on these topics always feel fresh and original, as she challenges me to think beyond the sound bites and stereotypes that too often pass for discourse today.


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