It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new books! 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, as well as a few others you may have missed from recent weeks. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic — including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power — and limitations — of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.
Reasons to read it: This is definitely one people will be talking about. Ng brings her beautiful writing to this page-turning story. The themes present in this dystopian will feel not too far off from real life and the characters are complex and interesting.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
In this prequel to They Both Die at the End, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera tells the story of new star-crossed lovers facing down Death-Cast’s first day.
Society is divided by a new technology that claims to be able to alert people on the day of their death — Death-Cast. There’s one question on everyone’s mind: Does Death-Cast really work or is it just an elaborate hoax? Still, thousands signed up for Death-Cast, and on day one, dozens receive their calls.
This book follows two boys who seem destined for love — until one receives the first End Day call.
In this prequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon They Both Die at the End, acclaimed author Adam Silvera has crafted a story that is heartbreakingly beautiful, completely captivating, and utterly unforgettable.
Reasons to read it: The first book, technically the second in chronological order, was so popular that this one is bound to be, too. If you’ve read the first book — and even going by the title — this is one you’ll want to get if you need a good, ugly cry as Silvera will have you falling for characters who you know will have sad ends.
Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala
When her long-lost cousin comes back to town just in time for the holidays, Lila Macapagal knows that big trouble can’t be far behind in this new mystery by Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic and Adobo.
It’s Christmastime in Shady Palms, but things are far from jolly for Lila Macapagal. Sure, her new business, the Brew-ha Cafe, is looking to turn a profit in its first year. And yes, she’s taken the first step in a new romance with her good friend Jae Park. But her cousin Ronnie is back in town after ghosting the family fifteen years ago, claiming that his recent purchase of a local winery shows that he’s back on his feet and ready to contribute to the Shady Palms community. Tita Rosie is thrilled with the return of her prodigal son, but Lila knows that wherever Ronnie goes, trouble follows.
She’s soon proven right when Ronnie is suspected of murder, and secrets surrounding her shady cousin and those involved with the winery start piling up. Now Lila has to put away years of resentment and distrust to prove her cousin’s innocence. He may be a jerk, but he’s still family. And there’s no way her flesh and blood could actually be a murderer…right?
Reasons to read it: If you’re into books that take place during holidays, the fact that this takes place around Christmas just makes this cozy mystery that much more cozy. Lila’s relationship with her fun family is precious, and it’s nice getting a look at Filipine culture (especially the food!). The mystery is engaging and the romance cute. This is altogether a fun read!
A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo
Award-winning author Malinda Lo returns to the Bay Area with another masterful coming-of-queer-age story, this time set against the backdrop of the first major Supreme Court decisions legalizing gay marriage. And almost sixty years after the end of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Lo’s new novel also offers a glimpse into Lily and Kath’s lives since 1955.
Aria Tang West was looking forward to a summer on Martha’s Vineyard with her best friends — one last round of sand and sun before college. But after a graduation party goes wrong, Aria’s parents exile her to California to stay with her grandmother, artist Joan West. Aria expects boredom, but what she finds is Steph Nichols, her grandmother’s gardener. Soon, Aria is second-guessing who she is and what she wants to be, and a summer that once seemed lost becomes unforgettable — for Aria, her family, and the working-class queer community Steph introduces her to. It’s the kind of summer that changes a life forever.
Reasons to read it: If you liked Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club, this one is seemingly different but has many of the same, core themes, like issues surrounding queer identity as well as racism. Overall, both books center self discovery, but this one looks at the current climate as opposed to almost 60 years in the past.
A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt
A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.
In the stark expanse of Northern Alberta, a queer Indigenous doctoral student steps away from his dissertation to write a novel, informed by a series of poignant encounters: a heart-to-heart with fellow doctoral student River over the mounting pressure placed on marginalized scholars; a meeting with Michael, a closeted man from his hometown whose vulnerability and loneliness punctuate the realities of queer life on the fringe. Woven throughout these conversations are memories of Jack, a cousin caught in the cycle of police violence, drugs, and survival. Jack’s life parallels the narrator’s own; the possibilities of escape and imprisonment are left to chance with colonialism stacking the odds. A Minor Chorus introduces a dazzling new literary voice whose vision and fearlessness shine much-needed light on the realities of Indigenous survival.
Reasons to read it: This is less plot-driven and more focused on character development. It’s a deeply personal and poetic look at how colonialism continues to influence things like identity, academia, and sexuality. As academia-centric as this is, it can be just as raw.
Jackal by Erin E. Adams
Liz Rocher is coming home…reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward, passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the couple’s daughter, Caroline, disappears — and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: A summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in Liz’s high school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart removed. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.
It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.
Reasons to read it: The connection between things like racism, sexism, and horror aren’t a stretch, but Adams does such an excellent job of drawing in terror from actual history. Because of that — and its mix of genres like horror, thriller, and mystery — this is a uniquely scary story.
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 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!