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The Best New Book Releases Out April 9, 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_.

If you, like me, have fallen for the Yeehaw Agenda (or the Bey-haw Agenda, if you’re nasty), then the release of My Black Country by Alice Randall is right on time. In it, award-winning professor and songwriter Randall documents her search for the most influential Black family in country music.

If you’re down to celebrate Poetry Month through your reading, Anne Mai Yee Jansen has a great list of suggestions to read for the month. And, if you like to follow literary awards, the latest winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction has been announced.

Now for new things: Annell López writes stories centered around race, identity, and the American Dream in her collection I’ll Give You a Reason, and, in Bones Worth Breaking, David Martínez writes about his experiences growing up in a Mormon community — which had only just stopped considering Black people to be inherently evil right before he was born — and his and his brother’s struggles with addiction and the legal system of Brazil.

As for the featured new releases below, they include a new historical fantasy by Leigh Bardugo, more space horror from S.A. Barnes, a trans YA romance, New Zealand poetry, and more.

cover of The Familiar  by  Leigh Bardugo

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

I love Bardugo’s particular brand of adult fantasy, with its complex characters and darkness, and her latest seems to employ these same engaging elements. It’s the 16th century, and the Golden Age of Spain, and Luzia is a lowly kitchen servant who can perform light magic. When her mistress realizes her talent, she tries to exploit her to the benefit of bored nobility. But, this leads to Luzia gaining the attention of Antonio Pérez, who is trying to get back in good with the king after a disgrace. As Luzia gets deeper into the world of miracle workers, seers, and alchemists, she becomes more known, and therefore more in danger if the fact of her Jewish heritage were to get out. But there is a familiar, Guillén Santangel, who could help secure her future…even if their secrets may be worse than hers.

cover of Ghost Station  S.A. Barnes

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

If you like your horror out in space, Barnes’ latest is right up your alley. Dr. Ophelia Bray is a psychologist who is determined to find a cure for ERS, a condition that develops out in space that makes those afflicted murderous. As her and the small crew she’s been assigned to start to settle in on an abandoned planet, she realizes they’re keeping secrets from her. When the pilot of the ship is found brutally murdered, Ophelia has to work with the crew she distrusts to find out if it’s ERS rearing its ugly head, or if the killing is connected to why the planet’s former colonizers left in a hurry.

cover of Canto Contigo  by Jonny Garza Villa

Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa

In this contemporary YA romance, we meet high schooler Rafael Alvarez at his lowest point. His grandfather’s just passed away, and he still has to lead his school’s mariachi band in a big competition. They win first place — and he makes out with a cute guy at a party to relieve some stress — but a few months later, Rafie is forced to move with his family to a whole different city, which means leaving his band behind. He just knows that because of his track record as mariachi lead, he’ll be assigned the lead of his new school’s mariachi band — except he isn’t. Instead, the lead is none other than the cute trans boy he made out with months ago. Rafie’s ego sees to it that the hottest of rivalries develops between the two boys, but they will have to find a way to work together if they’re to win any competitions. Let me just say that this had some legit funny moments, and what I felt like were some pretty realistic characters.

cover of How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

Yulin Kuang wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation, and directed the upcoming Beach Read adaptation. Suffice to say, she’s knee-deep in her contemporary romance bag. Here, she gets a little meta with the story of Helen Zhang, a bestselling author who’s earned the position of writer for an adaptation of a popular YA novel. Everything is going well until she finds out Grant is a screenwriter on the show as well. Now, the two will have to confront the horrible accident that connected them 13 years ago, even as they’re reminded of why they liked each other in the first place.

cover of Rangikura

Rangikura: Poems by Tayi Tibble

Tibble’s newest collection wrestles with colonization and exploitation, vulnerability, and loss. With a unique and fresh perspective, she looks at the damage done to her Māori community, just as she looks at pop culture, politics, and beauty.

cover of The Sleepwalkers by Scarlett Thomas

The Sleepwalkers by Scarlett Thomas

If you’re down for a little gothic mystery and domestic discontent, this Greek island-set epistolary novel is it. In it, Evelyn and Richard have arrived on a small Greek island for their honeymoon, following a bit of a tumultuous wedding. There, certain insecurities are heightened — by the “beautiful people” Evelyn sees, and a hotel owner who is paying a little too much attention to Richard. The story of “the sleepwalkers” — guests that stayed at the hotel and drowned — starts the newly married couple down a path of dark secrets, confessions, and generational woes that all come to light.

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!