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.
Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen
Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake.
Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home — she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.
Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, 20 years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business — someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.
Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.
Reasons to read it: This is a clever and fun novel that manages to work in more serious themes. Stereotypes surrounding Asian women and the realities of the fashion industry are examined just as readers get to experience all the fun twists of a good caper. The first half details Ava’s perspective of being used by Winnie, as told to a detective. The second half features Winnie’s account, which describes a manipulative Ava. You’ll still be trying to figure out who to believe up until the last page.
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are barely scraping by in a squalid East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent — which has more than doubled — and to keep the 9-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed.
One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. And her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.
Full of edge, raw beauty, electrifying intensity, and piercing vulnerability, Nightcrawling marks the stunning arrival of a voice unlike any we have heard before.
Reasons to read it: Leila Mottley is Oakland’s former Youth Poet Laureate, so expect immersive and beautiful writing. Kiara’s story of trying to keep her and those she cares for afloat even as she contends with being at the intersection of racism, sexism, and poverty can be heartbreaking. Despite this, there is still joy in this novel of immense resilience.
Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley
One night in Chinatown: Our heroine, Lola, is at a work reunion dinner with her former colleagues when she ducks out to buy cigarettes and runs into an ex-boyfriend. And then . . . another. And another. The city is suddenly awash with ghosts of heartbreaks past, and what would normally pass for a coincidence becomes something much stranger. The soon-to-be-married Lola must contend not only with the viability of her current relationship but with the fact that both her best friend and her former boss, a magazine editor turned guru, might have an unhealthy, ahem, investment in the outcome. Memories of the past swirl and converge in mystical ways both comic and eerie as Lola is forced to decide if she will buy into romance, and possibly into a weird startup-slash-cult.
Both suspenseful and delightfully funny, this new novel from Sloane Crosley combines the breathtaking twists and turns of a psychological thriller with the will-she-won’t-she of a romantic comedy. Cult Classic is an original: a masterfully crafted, surrealist meditation on love in an age when the past is ever at your fingertips and sanity is for sale.
Reasons to read it: Cult Classic is a unique combination of different genres that asks some very real questions about relationships and regret. The presence of things like the pitfalls of online dating help to ground this in the modern day, even while the novel’s premise is centered on a fantastical psychological experiment. Overall, this is a funny novel of witty observations that people who loved Netflix’s Russian Doll will appreciate.
For the Throne by Hannah Whitten
Red’s sister Neve is trapped in a mysterious land of twisted roots, lost gods, and mountains made of bone, and the only clues to her rescue are a magic mirror and a dark prince who wants to bring the whole thing crumbling down.
The First Daughter is for the Throne
The Second Daughter is for the Wolf…
Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally — though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again — the rogue king Solmir.
Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.
Reasons to read it: Fans of the For the Wolf will love this return to the world of Wilderwood. It’s a dark fantasy full of familiar fairy tale elements that has lots of action and twists. The sisterly bond that’s at the center of the story provides some heart as the main characters contend with a world with ancient gods and the kings and dark magic that threaten to end them.
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
A dazzling epic of betrayal, love, and fate that spans five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West, from the author of the National Book Award Finalist Sabrina & Corina .
“There is one every generation — a seer who keeps the stories.”
Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver on her own, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.
Written in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s singular voice, the wildly entertaining and complex lives of the Lopez family fill the pages of this multigenerational western saga. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets, and love, filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, all of whom are just as special, memorable, and complicated as our beloved heroine, Luz.
Reasons to read it: For a historical view of the American West that isn’t often seen. The novel really shines as it brings to life the Lost Territory and Luz’s Indigenous ancestors’ experiences with land stealing, racism, and sexism. There are also moments — like the case that Luz’s attorney boss tries involving the murder of a Mexican man by police — that feel like they could have happened today.
God’s Children Are Little Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu
In nine exhilarating stories of queer love in contemporary Nigeria, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things announces the arrival of a daring new voice in fiction.
A man revisits the university campus where he lost his first love, aware now of what he couldn’t understand then. A young musician rises to fame at the price of pieces of himself, and the man who loves him. Arinze Ifeakandu explores with tenderness and grace the fundamental question of the heart: can deep love and hope be sustained in spite of the dominant expectations of society and great adversity?
Reasons to read it: Arinze Ifeakandu brings to life the stories of queer men in Nigeria with nuance and lush prose. Characters struggle as inner lives that encapsulate queer relationships and desires clash with the crushing expectations of society and tradition. The structure of the stories here varies, but each is satisfyingly complex. Ifeakandu’s clever use of language involves both presence and absence: the addition of Igbo phrases to English firmly plant the reader in modern-day Nigeria, while the habit to refrain from speaking directly about queer relationships shows readers how careful queer people have to be in navigating their survive in a country hostile to their very existence.
Other Book Riot Resources for New Book Releases
- 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!