Publishing puts out very few new releases at the end of the year, so today, I will highlight a few upcoming titles that I have enjoyed. 2021 may seem like a long way away to some, but it’s already practically the end of November, so just hang tight! (TL;DR: Do not despair, there are still good books coming this year.)
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg (Dec. 29)
Set in a mildly steampunky alternative London in the 1950s, Marion Lane follows Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries, a secret organization of anonymous detectives who work in the old hidden tunnels under the city. No one knows who the detectives are, just that if you have a problem or a tip about a crime, you write it on a piece of paper and slip it into one of the many pneumatic tube drop-off slots around the city, and it gets taken care of somehow.
Marion Lane is a young woman who has been working for Miss Brickett’s for four months when something dreadful happens: an employee is found murdered. And since strangers from aboveground can’t come down into the agency’s tunnels, the killer must be someone at Miss Brickett’s. When Marion’s friend and colleague is accused of the crime, Marion takes it upon herself to solve it—even if it means breaking rules and losing her job and possibly her life. With the help of a couple of other agents—who she may or may not be able to trust—she attempts to escape detection as she detects around the detective agency. (Detect, detect, detect!)
(Content warning for mentions of murder, violence, chemical use, description of suicide on page, and gore.)
Backlist bump: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi (March 2, 2021)
And this one just gutted me! It’s listed as YA but it is very adult in themes, so it’s recommended for older teens. Jayne and June Baek are two Korean American sisters with nothing in common. While June is the perfect daughter with the prestigious career and enviable bank account, younger Jayne is untethered and caught in a downward spiral professionally and personally. The sisters haven’t spoken in some time, but then June reaches out to Jayne to tell her she has cancer, and suddenly everything changes for both sisters. Together, they will work to help Jayne get the treatment she needs and in the process, begin to both heal. This book was so sharp and frighteningly realistic, it felt at times like I knew these characters. It broke my heart so many times, but at the end, I felt healed.
(Content warning for mentions of racism, eating disorders, chemical abuse, cancer, mental illness, and child death.)
Backlist bump: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Jan 26, 2021)
And last, but not least: I am sure you have already heard a few other Rioters raving about this book, and I would like to throw my hat in the ring. This book is a nonstop thrill ride about a bank robbery in California. Three of the people taken hostage in the robbery are Nora; her girlfriend, Iris; and her best friend/ex-boyfriend, Wes. But what seems like a bungled bank heist with volatile criminals is going to turn out to be a multi-layered game of cat-and-mouse with a young woman who has already been several girls in her short lifetime, and has experienced enough to help her turn the tables.
This book is so INTENSE. It jumps back and forth from the robbery in progress to Nora’s earlier life with her mother, a con woman married to a dangerous man. It’s so well done, extremely cinematic. I can’t wait to see the Netflix adaptation with Millie Bobby Brown!
(Content warning for descriptions of chemical use, physical violence, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, murder, torture, and gore.)
Backlist bump: Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe
And you can hear about a few of today’s new releases on this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed Ruinsong, Barely Functional Adult, Escape Pod, and more great new books. Happy reading!