This Week’s Hottest Releases: 3/13 – 3/19

This Week’s Hottest Releases: 3/13 – 3/19

Happy To Read Tuesday! Here we’re highlighting the 10 titles that our editors are most excited to add to their TBR shelves. For even more hot new releases, check out our Spring Previews for the best books coming out this season.

Margaret the First

Fans of historical fiction, you’re in for quite the treat. Flavorwire named Danielle Dutton’s second novel a “must-read” for March, and we have to agree. The book follows the life of Margaret Cavendish, a 17th-century duchess and writer who was way ahead of her time. She was penning feminist plays and science fiction years before it was socially acceptable for women to be writers. Respected and despised in equal measure, Margaret (or “Mad Madge” as she was often called) was a fascinating, creative, and bold woman. This book will leave readers wanting more.

An Unrestored Woman

In August 1947, the Indian subcontinent was split into two countries, India and Pakistan, forcing the mass migration of more than 15 million people. This collection of 12 short stories explores the real ramifications of that event through fictional characters. In one, a 13-year-old widow believes that she’s escaped her loveless marriage when her husband, who had been reported dead, comes back for her. In another a Hindu woman and a Muslim boy work together to escape from an attack in Pakistan. Though the divide between the countries happened in 1947, the stories show how the impact continues to be felt even today. In a starred review, Kirkus called Shobha Rao’s debut collection “stunning and relentless.” You don’t want to miss this one.

The Hourglass Factory

Lucy Ribchester’s debut novel transports readers to London in 1912, at the height of the suffragette movement. Frances “Frankie” George has dreams of becoming a serious journalist, but her boss continues to assign her fluff pieces. When she’s given the opportunity to profile a trapeze artist named Ebony Diamond, Frankie sees it as an opportunity to write something more original. And when it becomes clear that a murderer is hunting Ebony, Frankie knows that she’s truly stumbled onto a story bigger than she ever could’ve imagined. Frankie is a suit-wearing feminist who readers will love rooting for as she works with Detective Inspector Frederick Primrose to catch the killer.

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As Close to Us as Breathing

In a book that Publishers Weekly called “exquisitely written,” a Jewish family attempts to find solace and healing after the tragic death of a child. Narrated by 12-year-old Molly, the story focuses on three sisters (Ada, Vivie, and Bec) and their family members who gather at a cottage in Connecticut in the summer of 1948. Lovely Ada takes the weekdays to relax while her husband Mort is away. Vivie cooks for the entire brood and focuses on keeping the peace. Bec, the only unmarried sister, tries to act normal and hide the secret of her affair with a married man from her family. Their fragile paradise collapses in the blink of an eye when Davy, Ada and Mort’s youngest child, dies. Through Molly’s young eyes, the reader sees how this event affects each member of the family.

The North Water

Ian McGuire delivers a gripping historical fiction novel set on the high seas during the 19th century. Ex-army surgeon Patrick Sumner is looking to outrun a dark secret from his past and jumps at the chance to join the crew of the whaling ship Volunteer. Bound for the Article Circle, the ship promises to take him far away from the rest of the world. Little does he know that this choice could cost him his life, because a murderer is also onboard. When a cabin boy’s disfigured body is found below deck, Sumner realizes that he can’t trust any of his fellow crew members and sets out to find the killer before he strikes again. Readers be warned: This is a violent and gruesome tale, so if you’re squeamish, move along to the next book. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the extreme conditions and risk of danger in The Revenant, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too.

So Sad Today

When poet Melissa Broder found herself overwhelmed with anxiety and panic attacks in 2012, she decided to use Twitter as an outlet for the dark thoughts that plagued her. Her account, @sosadtoday, quickly gained a following of users who related to her honest and often humorous take on mental health, sex, addiction, and love. This slim volume is a collection of 18 essays where Broder explores these same topics in more detail without losing any of the raw emotion or self-deprecating humor that first drew readers to the account.

The First Time She Drowned

Many teenagers look forward to turning 18 because it means they can get a tattoo, buy lottery tickets, and vote. But for Cassie O’Malley, it means so much more. She can finally emancipate herself from the psychiatric hospital where her mother had her committed three years before. Leaving the comfort of her routine is terrifying though, and at college Cassie finds herself falling back into old coping mechanisms that helped her survive in both her unstable home and the institution. But with the help of her warm roommate Zoey and a supportive school therapist, Cassie starts to recall repressed memories of her manipulative mother and begins to understand that so many of the terrible things that happened in her life were not her fault. Kerry Kletter weaves a heartbreaking tale about learning to stand on your own two feet and how to let go of abusive and toxic relationships.

Playing for the Devil’s Fire

Photojournalist Phillippe Diederich takes readers to a tiny village called Izayoc, just west of Mexico City. Thirteen-year-old Boli’s world is turned upside down when a teacher’s severed head is found in his town. As dangerous men begin to overtake the city, his parents go to alert the police and never return. Alone and frightened, Boli turns to El Chicano Estrada, an apathetic luchador who is past his prime. Together, Boli believes that they can find his parents and bring them back home. This is an emotional and powerful tale about the way narco-violence affects communities and the loss of innocence.

The Storyteller

Children are missing all over the world and Alistair Cleary is the only one who knows where they’ve gone and how to get them back. His older sister Keri isn’t sure if she believes him when he begins to tell her about a magical world called Aquavania and the all-powerful Riverman. But Alistair says he needs her help to get his best friend Fiona, one of the missing, back and Keri can’t refuse. Told through Keri’s diary entries, the story follows her as she turns to writing her own stories to deal with the pressures of helping her brother. Aaron Starmer’s Riverman trilogy asks the reader to think about the origins of myths, creativity, and ideas. It’s a dark and philosophical series that will appeal not only to middle graders but to adult readers as well. Don’t believe us? Our editor raved about it last week.

A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals

Lucy Ruth Cummins’ charming picture book is sure to delight children and adults alike. The premise is simple: A hungry lion sits surrounded by a variety of other animals (everything from an adorable penguin to a smiling frog). The narrator lists off the animals, but when the reader turns the page they find that some of them have disappeared! With each turn of the page, more and more animals disappear until all that is left is one perhaps-no-longer-hungry lion.

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