It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new 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.
How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann
A darkly funny and provocative debut novel that reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma.
In present-day New York City, five women meet in a basement support group to process their traumas. Bernice grapples with the fallout of dating a psychopathic, blue-bearded billionaire. Ruby, once devoured by a wolf, now wears him as a coat. Gretel questions her memory of being held captive in a house made of candy. Ashlee, the winner of a Bachelor-esque dating show, wonders if she really got her promised fairy tale ending. And Raina’s love story will shock them all.
Though the women start out wary of one another, judging each other’s stories, gradually they begin to realize that they may have more in common than they supposed…What really brought them here? What secrets will they reveal? And is it too late for them to rescue each other?
Dark, edgy, and wickedly funny, this debut for readers of Carmen Maria Machado, Kristen Arnett, and Kelly Link takes our coziest, most beloved childhood stories, exposes them as anti-feminist nightmares, and transforms them into a new kind of myth for grown-up women.
Reasons to read it: I’m loving this trend I’m seeing of fairy tales being rewritten with a modern setting that explore our relationships with them. It’s especially fitting since many the original fairy tales westerners are familiar with were tied in some way to everyday living in the time they were conceived. Our tendency to judge others and victim blame is put on blast here to brilliant effect.
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.
Neither here nor there, but long ago…
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
Reasons to read it: For more retellings! This borrows some themes from “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “Aladdin” but makes them its own with a fully realized world of blackmail, magic, and even sociopolitical turmoil. If you loved P. Djèlí Clark’s fantastical mystery A Master of Djinn, you’ll find The Stardust Thief to be an excellently written adventure story with great character development.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
What if you could take a vacation to your past?
With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story.
On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?
Reasons to read it: Time Travel! The ’90s! Both are great reasons to pick this up, especially if you’ve read and love Straub other books. It’s another book that makes great observations about the nature of people and life that is as insightful as it is endearing. This has also been likened to the show Russian Doll if you’re looking for comparisons.
Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel
A girl would be such a blessing…
The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything―and everyone―at a safe distance.
When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry―baby fever comes with the territory.
The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…
Reasons to read it: Cults have been a fascination in America for a while and this explores the effect they have on young women who grow up in them through trauma that seems to be portrayed well. The well-built atmosphere and centering of a lack of female bodily autonomy will make you squirm, in the way that horror should. Rachel Harrison, author of The Return and Cackle , says it’s “A fierce, frightening novel.”
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
A sharply funny and moving debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self. Perfect for fans of Erika L. Sánchez, Leah Johnson, and Gabby Rivera.
Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.
After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.
The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?
Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.
Reasons to read it: First of all, the title and cover are perfect. Secondly, this is a real look at how it can be hard to be yourself, especially when you take on responsibility for other people as well as other’s expectations. There is heaviness in the form of homophobia, mental illness stigma, and being the only one of few people of color. But there is also levity found in found family, Yamilet’s sense of humor, and the outspoken and brilliant Chinese American lesbian Bo Taylor that she befriends.
The Island by Adrian McKinty
IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.
A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.
After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.
When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.
But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.
When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.
Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.
Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.
Reasons to read it: To get taken on a thrilling ride as Heather does her best to survive the Australian wilderness with children who don’t care much for her and a family that wants to get twisted revenge. All she’s got are her wits and a penknife, which she has to use to constantly run and hide until she’s able to somehow contact the police. The suspense will keep you glued to the page.
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!