New Releases Tuesday: The Best Books Out This Week
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.
The Burning Season by Alison Wisdom
“Here comes trouble,” Rosemary’s high school English teacher used to say whenever he saw her. Rosemary has often felt like trouble, and now at 32, her marriage to her college sweetheart, Paul, is crumbling. In a last-ditch attempt to restore it, she agrees to give herself over to a newly formed Christian sect in central Texas, run by charismatic young pastor Papa Jake.
While Paul acclimates quickly to the small town of Dawson and the church’s insistence on a strict set of puritanical rules, Rosemary struggles to fit in. She finds purpose only when she’s called upon to help Julie, a new mother in the community, who is feeling isolated and lost.
Then the community is rocked by a series of fires which take some church members’ homes and nearly take their lives, but which Papa Jake says are holy and a representation of God’s will.
As the fires spread, and Julie is betrayed in a terrible way, Rosemary begins to question the reality of her life, and wonders if trouble will always find her — or if she’ll ever be able to outrun it.
Reasons to read it: It’s a cult book! In an era of continued religious fanaticism, it’s worth reading a story set in a world that is…really not unlike our contemporary reality (and to be clear, that’s not to say all religion is a cult because it is not, but certain facets are actively damaging). Bonus? This is an original paperback, perfect for your beach reading.
Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Katherine J. Chen
1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.
In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.
With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable — and remarkably real — woman who left an indelible mark on history.
Reasons to read it: It’s a novelization of Joan of Arc, giving her a fuller, more fleshed out story. Is there more reason than that?
NSFW by Isabel Kaplan
From the outside, the unnamed protagonist in NSFW appears to be the vision of success. She has landed an entry-level position at a leading TV network that thousands of college grads would kill for. And sure, she has much to learn. The daughter of a prominent feminist attorney, she grew up outside the industry. But she’s resourceful and hardworking. What could go wrong?
At first, the high adrenaline work environment motivates her. Yet as she climbs the ranks, she confronts the reality of creating change from the inside. Her points only get attention when echoed by male colleagues; she hears whispers of abuse and sexual misconduct. Her mother says to keep her head down until she’s the one in charge — a scenario that seems idealistic at best, morally questionable at worst. When her personal and professional lives collide, threatening both the network and her future, she must decide what to protect: the career she’s given everything for or the empowered woman she claims to be.
Fusing page-turning prose with dark humor and riveting commentary on the truths of starting out professionally, Isabel Kaplan’s NSFW is an unflinching exploration of the gray area between empowerment and complicity. The result is a stunning portrait of what success costs in today’s patriarchal world, asking us: Is it ever worth it?
Reasons to read it: We need more books about just getting one’s feet on the ground in a career, and this one does that, with tons of dark humor. This is a novel that captures the contemporary moment of work culture and more.
Our Gen by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
The Gen — short for Sexagenarian — is an upscale 55+ community located in the bucolic suburbs of Philadelphia. Main character Cynthia befriends the Gen’s two other Black residents, Bloc and Tish, as well as Lavia, who everyone assumes is from India. They regularly convene to smoke weed, line dance, and debate politics and philosophy as the wine goes down like silk. Their camaraderie is exhilarating.
But beneath the fun and froth, storms gather. With its walls of windows gushing light and air, the Gen becomes the catalyst for secrets to be exposed.
Shifting the narrative between the characters’ pasts and the present day, Diane McKinney-Whetstone deftly builds suspense as she captures with insight, poignancy, and humor, the scars, tenderness, and swagger of those not yet old, but no longer young, coming to the mean acceptance that life is finite after all, who knew.
Reasons to read it: Just as we need more books about just beginning adulthood, so, too, do we need more books that capture stories and realities (and fun and secrets and truths) of what it is to be an older adult. This one is special in capturing a group of 55+ Black folks and the secrets and stories of their lives.
The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay
What if the coolest girl you’ve ever met decided to be your friend?
Art Barbara was so not cool. He was a 17-year-old high school loner in the late 1980s who listened to hair metal, had to wear a monstrous back-brace at night for his scoliosis, and started an extracurricular club for volunteer pallbearers at poorly attended funerals. But his new friend thought the Pallbearers Club was cool. And she brought along her Polaroid camera to take pictures of the corpses.
Okay, that part was a little weird.
So was her obsessive knowledge of a notorious bit of New England folklore that involved digging up the dead. And there were other strange things — terrifying things — that happened when she was around, usually at night. But she was his friend, so it was okay, right?
Decades later, Art tries to make sense of it all by writing The Pallbearers Club: A Memoir. But somehow this friend got her hands on the manuscript and, well, she has some issues with it. And now she’s making cuts.
Seamlessly blurring the lines between fiction and memory, the supernatural and the mundane, The Pallbearers Club is an immersive, suspenseful portrait of an unusual and disconcerting relationship.
Reasons to read it: Tremblay is doing some of the most interesting thriller/horror/mystery work out there.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even 25 years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning 30 years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.
Reasons to read it: Books that span generations are fascinating, and not only does this one sound like it’ll deliver, but it’s been getting a lot of great buzz, and Zevin is a reliable author through, and through, and through.
What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri
Sometimes, lost things find their way home…
Yorkshire, North of England, 1786. As the abandoned son of a lascar — a sailor from India — Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Now he’s been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father’s language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.
Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that’s all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.
As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.
But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other — and indeed, loving themselves — is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?
Reasons to read it: It’s a fresh spin on Wuthering Heights!
OTHER BOOK RIOT RESOURCES FOR NEW BOOK RELEASES
- 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!