This year will bring several notable new books from first-time authors — but debut books aren’t the only buzzworthy titles hitting shelves in 2021. Several talented writers are also releasing their highly anticipated second novels this spring. These stunning new reads span a multitude of genres, from twisty thrillers to historical fiction, and are so compelling, they’ll have you seriously questioning that whole “sophomore slump” myth.
Check out the best and brightest sophomore novels to add to your TBR list ASAP:
Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering (March 2)
Skye Starling is a wealthy young woman struggling to cope with the OCD that she developed after her mother’s death. After years of fearing that the condition will hold her back in relationships, she’s overjoyed when she meets a successful, 40-something businessman, Burke Michaels. But is their whirlwind romance too good to be true?
Covering dual timelines and told from three differing perspectives, this exceptional psychological thriller is full of twists that will have you wondering which characters to trust and who to root for.
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster (March 2)
This sweeping, multigenerational novel takes place in a North Carolina community that finds itself divided after an integration plan brings students from the predominantly Black east side into the mostly white high school on the west side. Students Gee and Noelle become embroiled in the controversy when their families find themselves on opposite sides of the argument, setting off a chain reaction that will continue to have an impact for years to come.
Spanning three decades and multiple cities, What’s Mine and Yours offers a rich and empathetic portrait of race, identity, family, and the legacy parents leave to their children.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue (March 9)
The best-selling author of Behold the Dreamers returns with this powerful and timely novel about a small African village facing severe environmental degradation brought about by an American oil company. Told from varying perspectives, including that of a young, budding revolutionary named Thula, the stunning tale tackles the devastating effects of colonialism and corporate greed and those brave enough to take a stand against it.
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (March 30)
Inspired by the life of Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first Black woman to become a doctor in New York State, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s captivating second novel centers on Libertie Sampson, the daughter of a Reconstruction-era Black female physician. Though her mom wants her to follow in her footsteps and enter the medical field, Libertie has more artistic dreams, leading her to grapple with what it means to be truly free.
Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (April 6)
Five years after her splashy debut The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is back with this tender and absorbing tale of a marriage that’s upended after protagonist Flora Mancini stumbles on an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring — the one he claimed he lost over a decade ago. The discovery forces her to confront doubts about their relationship and the life they’ve built over more than 20 years. Filled with humor and insight, Good Company is a warm and incisive novel about loyalty and the bonds of marriage and friendship.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (June 15)
Alex Michaelides follows up with his bestselling novel The Silent Patient with another engrossing psychological thriller centering on a charismatic professor at Cambridge University who gets enmeshed in a series of murders on campus. Combining Greek mythology with propulsive suspense, this gripping, twisty tale is the perfect way to start off your summer reading with a bang.