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, 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.
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
A Taiwanese American woman’s coming-of-consciousness ignites eye-opening revelations and chaos on a college campus in this outrageously hilarious and startlingly tender debut novel
Twenty-nine-year-old PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to finish her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou and never read about “Chinese-y” things again. But after four years of grueling research, she has nothing but anxiety and stomach pain to show for her efforts. When she accidentally stumbles upon a strange and curious note in the Chou archives, she convinces herself it’s her ticket out of academic hell.
But Ingrid’s in much deeper than she thinks. Her clumsy exploits to unravel the note’s message lead to an explosive discovery, one that upends her entire life and the lives of those around her. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from campus protests and OTC drug hallucinations, to book burnings and a movement that stinks of “Yellow Peril” propaganda.
In the aftermath, nothing looks quite the same to Ingrid—including her gentle and doting fiancé, Stephen Greene. When he embarks on a book tour with the “super kawaii” Japanese author he’s translated, doubts and insecurities creep in. At the same time, she finds herself drawn to the cool and aloof Alex Kim (even though she swears he’s not her type). As the events Ingrid instigated keep spiraling, she’ll have to confront her sticky relationship to white men and white institutions—and, most of all, herself.
An uproarious and bighearted satire, alive with sharp edges, immense warmth, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Disorientation is a blistering send-up of white supremacy in academia and a profound reckoning of individual complicity and unspoken rage. In this electrifying debut novel from a provocative new voice, Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.
Reasons to read it: Pick this up if you’re ready for your dark academia to come with a side of humor and be a little extra. While the main character Ingrid comes to some great revelations regarding race and gender in her road to self discovery, the overall tone of the book is fairly light-hearted, with some likening the dialogue to being like a sitcom. Author Alexander Chee has said of the book: “Disorientation is a multivalent pleasure, a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit, in which the murder victim might be your idea of yourself — no matter how you identify. I often held my breath until I laughed and I wouldn’t dare compare it or Chou to anyone writing now.”
Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library by Amanda Oliver
Who are libraries for, how have they evolved, and why do they fill so many roles in our society today?
Based on firsthand experiences from six years of professional work as a public librarian in high-poverty neighborhoods of Washington, DC, as well as interviews and research, Overdue begins with Oliver’s first day at an “unusual” branch: Northwest One.
Using her experience at this branch allows Oliver to highlight the national problems that have existed in libraries since they were founded: racism, segregation, and class inequalities. These age-old problems have evolved into police violence, the opioid epidemic, rampant houselessness, and lack of mental health care nationwide—all of which come to a head in public library spaces.
Can public librarians continue to play the many roles they are tasked with? Can American society sustain one of its most noble institutions?
Pushing against hundreds of years of stereotypes, romanticization, and discomfort with a call to reckoning, Overdue will change the way you think about libraries forever.
Reasons to read it: I’ve also worked in libraries in the DMV area as the author has and have also seen firsthand the inequalities that run rampant. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the particular library I worked at was socially conscious, but I know that isn’t always the case. Read this book to get a better idea of what libraries and library workers contend with (hint: there’s more to the job than just reading books all day), and see just how much it matters to have an inclusive, welcoming library.
The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
Set in a gorgeous world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, The City of Dusk is the first in a dark epic fantasy trilogy that follows the four heirs of four noble houses—each gifted with a divine power—as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war.
The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.
But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.
Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.
But their defiance will cost them dearly.
Reasons to read it: Lovers of epic, dark fantasies, rejoice! There’s literally a lot here to love at 512 pages, including immersive writing that excellently builds this magical world, badass queer characters, and an interesting plot. Fans of A Darker Shade of Magic and All of Us Villains will want to pick this up sooner rather than later.
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
Sara A. Mueller’s The Bone Orchard is a fascinating whodunit set in a lush, gothic world of secrets and magic–where a dying emperor charges his favorite concubine with solving his own murder, and preventing the culprit, which undoubtedly is one of his three terrible sons, from taking control of an empire.
Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.
Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.
Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.
Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.
But now–Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.
If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil ― her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.
Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.
Reasons to read it: Another dark fantasy! This one is from the perspective of a sex worker, which we don’t often see, and explores things like the trauma that comes with assault. This standalone has twists for days, necromancy, interesting world building, and a complex main character trying her best to survive. In other words, if you’re a lover of dark fantasy, you should read this!
Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram
A smart, sexy YA novel about a boy band star, his first breakup, his first rebound, and what it means to be queer in the public eye, from award-winning author Adib Khorram.
Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful breakup with his first boyfriend–leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all–and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens.
But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the drummer for the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble—for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself.
Reasons to read it: Khorram takes us and plops us right in the middle of boy band life. And, surprise, it’s messy! Hunter comes to terms with what it means to feel like the sole representative of a marginalized identity against the backdrop of the fantabulous setting of being in a boy band. Things like fan fiction, interviews, and song lyrics throughout the book help to really immerse you in the world of boy bandom. And there are sweet, romantic moments to keep you going.
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy
A delicious debut rom-com about a plus-size sweetheart who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup—with the help of an irresistible cast of friends and family, a kitchen reno and a devastatingly handsome contractor.
Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around the cracks in her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma—who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. But when Savvy’s world starts to crash down around her, she knows it’s time for some renovations.
Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her relationship with her body, her work–life balance (or lack thereof) and, last but not least, her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of friends. But as any home-reno-show lover can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations. First, Savvy passes out during hot yoga. Then it turns out that the contractor she hires is the same sexy stranger she unintentionally offended by judging based on appearances. Worst of all, Savvy can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over her ex and his latest “upgrade.” Savvy begins to realize that maybe she should’ve started her renovations the other way around: beginning with how she sees herself before building a love that lasts.
Reasons to read it: Does the Lizzo song “Good As Hell” start playing in my head when I read the title? Yes. Does this book give similar love yourself/sexy vibes as Lizzo’s song? Also yes. Will you have fun reading about Savvy’s bomb cooking, her excellent support system, and how she repositions how she views and cares for herself? Yes, yes, and yes!
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new 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!