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.
When Clare Mackintosh tells a story involving the police, you know it’s the real deal. That’s because Mackintosh herself served as a police officer in England for more than a decade. In her debut novel, Jacob, a young boy of five, dies after a car hits him on his walk home after school. Jacob’s mother was with him at the time, and she struggles to cope with the loss as well as the fact that her son’s killer just kept driving. Will the police be able to find the driver who killed Jacob? You’ll have to read this powerful debut to find out.
Anna Smaill’s dystopian world is a reader’s worst nightmare: The written word is illegal and all memory of past works have been lost. Instead, stories have been replaced by songs. This reimagined London traps people in the present. They live each day just as they did the one before, and they retain no memories of the way that things used to be. There is peace, but is there true happiness? Simon Wythern lost his parents but cannot remember how. He sets out to uncover the past, and along the way changes the world. This is an enchanting novel about music and memory.
You probably know Chris Cleave’s name from Little Bee, a staff favorite here at Bookish. Now, Cleave is back with a new novel about London during World War II. The lives of two privileged young women, Hilda and Mary, are changed forever when the war begins. Suddenly, their quiet and comfortable lives are turned upside down. These women must navigate love, class differences, and the very real danger that is present all around them during the Blitz. Lovers of historical fiction (and Chris Cleave, of course) won’t want to miss this.
Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club series comes to a sweet and satisfying close in Only Beloved. Eight years ago, seven survivors of the Napoleonic Wars met and formed an everlasting friendship. As the years passed, George Crabbe, Duke of Stanbrook, watched as each of his friends found happiness and love. After spending a decade as a widower, the 48-year-old duke finds himself ready to marry once again. His eyes are set on Dora Debbins, a spinster he met over a year ago who left a lasting impression on his heart. But a member of his first wife’s family is determined that he remain unhappy, and is willing to do whatever it takes to tear him and Dora apart.
In this memoir, Matti Friedman takes his readers to the Middle East to observe what happened there—both to himself and his peers—in the late 1990s. Friedman’s narrative takes on the escalating fight between Israelis and Hezbollah near the southern border of Lebanon. The prose in this work is vivid and will transport readers to the fort known the Pumpkin. Kirkus wrote warmly of Pumpkinflowers that the book “can stand alongside the best narrative nonfiction coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq,” and we think you’ll agree.
For those of you who aren’t sure whether you prefer novels or short stories, Desert Boys by Chris McCormick just might strike the perfect balance: These are short stories that are linked, and combine to form a larger snapshot of life in the Kushner family. The Kushners live in Antelope Valley, California, where young Daley Kushner is figuring out what kind of adult he might want to be. These stories move around in time a fair amount, and deal with themes such as sexuality, love, and those vital but always-complicated relationships between the members of a family.
The Milbourn women are cursed. For generations the women in Ivy’s family have thrived in their youth only to tragically die, leaving a legacy behind them. Ivy’s grandfather pushes her to find her talent, the thing she’ll be remembered for, but Ivy doesn’t want to live up to the horrifying history of her family. Her mother escaped the deadly pattern by running off when Ivy was young, and Ivy is determined to avoid it as well. The summer before her senior year is shaping up to be utterly ordinary for a teenager (bonfires, BBQs, and sunshine), until her mother walks back into her life, bringing along two new daughters. Kirkus calls Jessica Spotswood’s young adult novel “nearly flawless,” and we must agree. This is the perfect read for anyone who has felt trapped by expectations and had the desire to forge their own path.
King Charles II returned from exile to rule over England, to the joy of everyone except for poet John Milton and his daughter Elizabeth. After being blinded in a chemical accident, Milton asks for Elizabeth to help him transcribe his greatest work yet: Paradise Lost. In the poem, Milton has hidden clues that could reveal a secret the king desperately wants to keep hidden. When Milton is captured and held prisoner on charges of treason, Elizabeth must partner with Italian scientist Antonio Vivani to follow her father’s clues and save him before the king’s men catch up with her. Anne Blankman blends history, poetry, and romance, creating a novel ideal for readers looking for a smart, young adult adventure.
Eleven-year-old Genie and his older brother Ernie are leaving their Brooklyn home for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents in Virginia. When Genie realizes that his grandfather is blind, he begins to ask him endless questions about how he matches his clothes, how he pours drinks without spilling, and how he walks without bumping into things. At first, Genie thinks that his grandfather is incredibly brave, but then he begins to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house. Over the course of the summer, Genie’s definition of the word “brave” evolves, and he learns that there are more ways to show bravery than he realized. Jason Reynolds’ middle grade novel is a moving coming-of-age story that readers will cherish.
Kirkus calls Daniel Bernstrom’s latest picture book “Marvelous fun” and we have to agree. It all starts with a boy wandering through the forest with a pinwheel. The devious snake hiding in the foliage can’t resist the temptation and gobbles the unsuspecting boy straight up! But this is a kid with a plan. From inside the belly of the beast, the boy tells the snake that he still has room in his stomach for more and more food. The boy is joined by animals unlucky enough to find themselves as prey (a bear, a sloth, a cat), but the ravenous snake doesn’t know when to stop and soon his stomach is ready to pop. Children will love this hilarious and playful tale that rewards readers with a goofy side.