31 Incredible New Books You Need To Read This Spring

It’s a whole new season of fresh reads!

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Riverhead Books

Ed Kashi

 

In Mohsin Hamid’s spellbinding novel Exit West, two young people begin a secret love affair in an unnamed, war-torn country in the Middle East. Hearing about doors that can send people far away from the violence and unrest escalating between militants and the government to the relative safety of the West, the couple attempts escape — which comes at a great price.

Publication date: March 7

2. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Michael Sharkey

 

In Jami Attenberg’s hilarious and honest novel All Grown Up, Andrea Bern lives an “unconventional” life for a 39-year-old — unmarried and without children — by choice and on her own terms. But when her niece is born with severe birth defects, Andrea is forced to re-examine who she really is and what being an adult really means.

Publication date: March 7

3. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell

McSweeney's

Meiko Takechi Arquillos

 

In Patty Yumi Cottrell’s captivating debut novel, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, 32-year-old Helen Moran works as a guardian of troubled youths in New York City. When she finds out her adoptive brother has died, Helen decides to investigate his suicide and returns to her childhood home in Milwaukee, where she must face her estranged adoptive family and reckon with her grief.

Publication date: March 14

4. The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Penguin Press

Timothy Archibald

 

A tender, funny coming-of-age story lies at the heart of Elif Bautman’s The Idiot — as 19-year-old Selin fumbles through her first year at Harvard, she begins an email correspondence with an older student. Their correspondence leads her to spend the next summer in Europe, where she embarks on a journey of growth and self-reflection, one that anyone who has faced the confusing uncertainties of youth and adulthood will recognize.

Publication date: March 14

5. Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

Graywolf Press

Layli Long Soldier

 

Layli Long Soldier’s powerful poetry collection Whereas challenges the United States government’s treatment of and relationship with Native American peoples and tribes. Elegant, innovative, and necessary, Whereas examines a history of violence and treaties and apologies, and reclaims the legal jargon once used to control Native peoples as a form of resistance.

Publication date: March 7

6. The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Flatiron Books

Nina Subin

 

Part murder mystery and part memoir, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s The Facts of a Body is the haunting story of how one convicted murderer and pedophile’s case forced her to grapple with family secrets and her own past. Working a summer internship at a Louisiana capital murder defense firm, Marzano-Lesnevich digs into one case that begins to feel oddly familiar, and eventually is forced to confront her understanding of justice, forgiveness, and truth.

Publication date: May 16

7. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Riverhead Books

Emily Baxter

 

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky looks at the ties that bind us, between parents, children, couples, friends, and even places. Arimah’s beautifully written stories set between Nigeria and America speak to what makes us human and how we define home, and coalesce into a remarkable collection.

Publication date: April 4

8. White Tears by Hari Kunzru

Knopf

Clayton Cubitt

 

White Tears by Hari Kunzru is the startling story of two friends — both white, both record-collectors — who set some very odd events into motion when they record an anonymous singer in the park and release the recording online, claiming it’s the work of a long-lost blues musician. Where the story goes from there is utterly unpredictable, terrifying, and never less than enthralling.

Publication date: March 14

9. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

The Dial Press

Linda Carrion

 

In The Twelves Lives of Samuel Hawley, Samuel Hawley has raised his daughter Loo on the road while on the run, but finally settles down in his late wife’s hometown when Loo becomes an adolescent. Eager to learn more about her mother, Loo begins to investigate her parents’ pasts, which contain secrets much darker than she could have imagined, like the 12 scars her father has from bullet wounds he received during his criminal career. The Twelves Lives of Samuel Hawley is a thrillingly told tale that touches on the mythological and the mundane with equally compelling results.

Publication date: March 28

10. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

MCD

Kyle Cassidy

 

In Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a dangerous, ruined city filled with discarded experiments from a biotech firm. When Rachel discovers a strange creature hidden in the fur of a giant bear who terrorizes the city, she decides to name the creature “Borne” and brings him home to the sanctuary where she lives. As Rachel’s attachment to Borne grows, so does he, and his existence eventually begins to threaten the security of her home and the city’s balance of power. Extraordinarily imaginative and wonderfully strange, Borne will constantly keep you guessing.

Publication date: April 25

11. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Knopf

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a response to a letter from a childhood friend asking how to raise her daughter as a feminist, in which Adichie provides 15 insightful suggestions for raising young women to become strong and independent. Dear Ijeawele is a small book yet a potent one, giving much powerful, pointed food-for-thought when it comes to growing up while dealing with sexism and facing the expectations placed on women today.

Publication date: March 7

12. Things We Lost In the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Hogarth

Nora Lezano

 

Mariana Enriquez’s eerie short story collection, Things We Lost in the Fire, looks at contemporary life in Argentina through a strange, surreal, and often disturbing lens. In 12 stories containing black magic, a child serial killer, women setting themselves on fire to protest domestic violence, ghosts, demons, and all kinds of monsters, Enriquez unforgettably brings horror and the macabre to life.

Publication date: Feb. 21

13. Marlena by Julie Buntin

Henry Holt and Co.

Nina Subin

 

In Julie Buntin’s debut novel Marlena, sheltered fifteen-year-old Cat has just moved to a new town in rural Michigan after her parents’ divorce. When Cat befriends her charismatic and streetwise neighbor Marlena, she is lured into a new and exciting world full of sex, drugs, alcohol, and the highs of obsessive teenage friendship. Marlena is the riveting, heartrending story of these two teenage girls, and the wild year that leaves one dead and haunts the other for decades.

Publication date: April 4

14. American War by Omar El Akkad

 

Set in a not-so-distant future, Omar El Akkad’s American War imagines America gripped by a horrific second Civil War, with families torn apart and drones dominating the skies. When Sarat Chestnut’s father is killed, her family is forced to go to a camp for displaced persons, where a mysterious official recruits Sarat for a violent cause. Depicting a world uncomfortably close to the one we live in, American War is as captivating as it is deeply frightening.

Publication date: April 4

15. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

 

David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon tells the true story about the murders of the members of the Osage Indian tribe, who were killed for the oil below their land. In this compelling, tragic account, Grann revisits the case, which was one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations, revealing chilling secrets, prejudices, and the conspiracy behind a truly horrific crime in American history.

Publication date: Apr. 18

16. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Knopf

ASSOCIATED PRESS PETR DAVID JOSEK

 

As the title may suggest, Haruki Murakami’s short story collection Men Without Women is populated with middle-aged men who find themselves alone, one way or another. Written with all the cats, spaghetti, humor, and gentle surrealism we might expect from, Men Without Women is a funny, lovely, unmistakably Murakami collection of seven stories about the lives of people trying to find their place in the world and reckoning with their pasts.

Publication date: May 9

17. The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

 

In Lidia Yuknavitch’s fierce and complex novel The Book of Joan, our future world is heading toward extinction and being torn apart by greed and war. The remaining humans, who are pale, hairless, and sexless, live on a platform above the radioactive earth, a place controlled by cult leader Jean de Men. When rebels attempt to overthrow his bloodthirsty rule, they are given hope by a child named Joan, whose mysterious gift and martyrdom will change history and the destiny of humanity.

Publication date: April 18

18. The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Algonquin Books

 

In Lisa Ko’s debut novel The Leavers, 11-year-old Deming Guo grows up without his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, when she disappears after leaving for work one day. Deming is adopted by two white college professors who take him away from his home in the Bronx to raise him in a small town in upstate New York and try to make him more American with a new name. Vividly written and moving, The Leavers is an engrossing story of one young boy struggling to adjust to his new life without his mother and community.

Publication date: May 2

19. Last Day on Earth by Eric Puchner

Saeed Mirfattah

 

There’s an intriguing array of characters in Eric Puchner’s short story collection Last Day on Earth — a punk rock guitarist on a reunion tour, a boy who fears his mother might be a robot, an obsessive, brilliant bookstore employee, and more — and every one is written with a wealth of telling detail and understanding that they feel relatable, or at least knowable. In Last Day on Earth, Puchner shows us the many complicated facets of family and domestic life, of adolescence, parenthood, and coming of age, through a variety of highly compelling lenses.

Publication date: Feb. 21

20. One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

Picador

Barbora Simkova

 

Scaachi Koul’s One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter is a hilariously acute collection of essays about the anxieties and despairs of life, and Koul’s personal experiences as a woman of color and the daughter of Indian immigrants in Western culture. With irreverent wit and fierce honesty, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter examines stereotypes, sexism, racial tensions, gender rules, and other absurdities that exist in modern society.

Publication date: May 2

Note: Scaachi Koul is currently an employee of BuzzFeed.

21. Blitzed by Norman Ohler

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 

Norman Ohler’s Blitzed offers a new perspective on World War II by shedding light on the Nazi regime’s drug use. From his research, Ohler reveals history about German pharmaceutical companies who produced opiates and methamphetamines that were used by everyone from factory workers to German soldiers to Hitler himself. Blitzed is a fascinating read that provides a new facet to our understanding of the Third Reich.

Publication date: March 7

22. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

Tin House Books

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

 

Morgan Parker’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is a thoroughly beautiful, witty poetry collection examining the many aspects of being a black and female in 21st century America. Through political and pop culture references and criticism, and personal narrative and history, Parker tackles race, feminism, the media, depression, and our current political climate.

Publication date: Feb. 14

23. Exes by Max Winter

Catapult

 

In Max Winter’s Exes, Clay Blackall is obsessed with finding an explanation for his brother’s suicide. In an effort to understand his brother’s death, his own grief, and the city they both called home, Clay attempts to find answers in the often colorful stories of other residents of Providence, Rhode Island. Sometimes devastating, often hilarious, Exes paints a truly magnetic portrait of both a family and a city.

Publication date: April 11

24. Startup by Doree Shafrir

Little, Brown and Company

Winnie Au

 

What do you get when you combine youth, ambition, and tech in New York City? In Doree Shafrir’s entertaining and sharply astute debut novel Startup, entrepreneur and current It boy Mack McAllister is trying to turn his app into a billion-dollar business, while Katya, a journalist at a tech gossip blog, is desperate for a scoop. When the rumor spreads that Mack might be crossing some boundaries with an employee in his office, the scandal that erupts proves just how small their world is, and that there are some problems technology alone can’t solve.

Publication date: April 25

Note: Doree Shafrir is currently an employee of BuzzFeed.

25. Nature Poem by Tommy Pico

Tin House Books

Niqui Carter

 

Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem is a book-length poem about how Pico is unable to bring himself to write about nature as a young, queer, American Indian poet because it feels stereotypical — all too expected for someone who was born on a reservation but now lives in a city. With surprising honesty and intimacy, Pico grapples with the colonial-white stereotypes that associate him with nature, manifest destiny, disenfranchisement, language, sexuality, and his own identity.

Publication date: May 9

26. No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal

Picador

Melissa Melling

 

Rakesh Satyal’s novel No One Can Pronounce My Name follows a community of Indian Americans living in a Cleveland suburb. With plenty of humor and a delicately perceptive understanding of his characters, Satyal tells the story of one immigrant community and the twisting paths they take through life as they struggle to find a place in America while reconciling different cultures and traditions.

Publication date: May 2

27. Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard

Harper Perennial

Levi Walton

 

Sarah Gerard’s essay collection Sunshine State offers a deeply intimate look at Florida and Gerard’s personal experiences growing up along its Gulf Coast. Gerard’s writing is entertaining and engaging throughout, exploring topics like addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and religion while highlighting the environmental and economic struggles (and her personal ones, both emotional and physical) of living in the state.

Publication date: April 11

28. Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Ballantine Books

Ulf Anderson

 

In Dan Chaon’s darkly gripping novel Ill Will, two unsolved crimes, one from the past and one in the present, converge. Middle-aged psychologist Dustin’s adopted brother Rusty is being released from prison after DNA evidence overturned his conviction for the murders of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. And when one of Dustin’s patients tells him about a string of deaths that seems like the work of a serial killer, he becomes obsessed with investigating the truth. The pervading sense of dread and gloom in Ill Will is only matched by the empathy and understanding Chaon has for his characters, and the inextricable predicaments they’re in.

Publication date: March 7

29. The Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo

Graywolf Press

Won Jaeyeon

 

Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale is the eerie story of two grade-school girls in a school where the students seem to be filled with cruelty and an almost murderous rage. When one of the girls sneaks into the classroom to add sentences to other students’ notebooks, she sets off a string of events leading to horrifying violence. Grappling with topics such as childhood, bullying, and what it means to tell a story, The Impossible Fairy Tale is an impressively unique and challenging read that is well worth your while.

Publication date: March 7

30. Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar

Small Beer Press

 

Sofia Samatar shows off her range in her collection Tender: the twenty stories are set in all kinds of places around the world, or even beyond the world and in the stars, and in all kinds of time periods, including medieval Egypt and colonial Kenya. Imaginative and lyrical, Tender is an impressive feat of storytelling.

Publication date: May 16

31. Abandon Me by Melissa Febos

Bloomsbury

Gilberto Tadday

 

The new memoir by Melissa Febos, Abandon Me, explores love, art, and history with bracing honesty and a vibrant sense of intellectual curiosity. Weaving together a doomed love affair, family history, and difficult aspects of her past, Abandon Me is a beautifully written journey through Febos’ world.

Publication date: Feb. 28

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