Readers who revel in sweet and swoony stories will be won over by this trio of tales that celebrate adoration and affection.
Gabe, Sal, Reese and Heath have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They’re all high achievers and the only openly gay boys at Gracemont High School. But the summer before their senior year, the Golden Boys are heading off in different directions for the first time. Gabe is volunteering with an environmental nonprofit in Boston; Reese is jetting off to Paris for graphic design classes; Sal’s mom got him an internship with a U.S. senator in Washington, D.C.; and Heath is the newest employee at his aunt’s arcade in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The summer holds plenty to look forward to—even for Heath, whose trip is also an escape from his parents’ impending divorce. But as their group chats indicate, the boys’ futures loom large and nerve-wracking. Might their travels help them figure out what they want to do with their lives, or at least with their last year of high school? Will their tightly knit bonds loosen, fray or even completely unravel?
As in his previous novels, The Gravity of Us and As Far As You’ll Take Me, bestselling author Phil Stamper creates winningly realistic characters who earnestly explore the muzzy space between youth and young adulthood. Readers will root for the foursome to find joy and purpose. Stamper’s detailed depictions of the boys’ summer gigs are fascinating, and their interlocking stories give the narrative a buoyant momentum.
Naturally, there are romantic entanglements afoot as well. Gabe and Sal question whether their friends-with-benefits arrangement is sustainable, while unrequited crushes blossom into real love for . . . no spoilers here! Suffice it to say, there is some smooching amid all the moments of inspiration and revelation as the four boys make their way through a perspective-changing, horizon-broadening summer.
Fools in Love
Do you like your love stories fantastical, or perhaps futuristic? Are you a sucker for a superhero, tantalized by time travel or convinced that one day you’ll have your very own meet-cute with a royal in disguise? Whatever your fancy, Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales is sure to satisfy. It’s a delightful assemblage of 15 swoonworthy short stories that put fresh spins on classic romance fiction tropes such as “mutual pining” and “the grumpy one and the soft one.” The settings are refreshingly varied, ranging from a space station to a fairy-themed sleepaway camp to a sled race through snowy mountains. There are puppeteers, golf champions, novice magical investigators and an aspiring starship repair engineer, too.
The stories in this romantic treasury were written by a mix of acclaimed and up-and-coming authors including Natasha Ngan, Mason Deaver, Lilliam Rivera, Julian Winters and 2021 National Book Award winner Malinda Lo. Editors Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos also contribute a story each. The table of contents helpfully delineates not only each author but also the trope included in their story, so that readers can search out their favorites. Of course, they can also just dive right in and let themselves be swept along into the wildly creative worlds the writers have created.
And what worlds they are! In “Boys Noise” by Mason Deaver, two boy band members take an undercover trip to New York City, where they realize love songs just might be in their shared future. A modern-day annoyance—mistaking someone’s car for your rideshare—sets the stage for a shyly sweet flirtation in Amy Spalding’s “Five Stars.” Time travel is both suspenseful and achingly beautiful in Rebecca Barrow’s “Bloom,” while cheesy takes on a hilariously adorable new meaning in Laura Silverman’s “The Passover Date.” Fools in Love truly has something to please anyone and everyone who loves love.
One True Loves
Lenore Bennett’s parents are the epitome of Black excellence. They know the power of a plan and have instilled that ethos in their kids: Wally, their oldest, is going to law school; Lenore is off to New York University; and 10-year-old Etta is taking college classes.
But as Elise Bryant’s One True Loves opens, Lenore, a talented artist with fashion sense to spare, has other things on her mind. First, there’s senior prom, which she’ll attend dateless while dodging her jerk of an ex. After graduation, her family is embarking on a European cruise, which sounds wonderful but also stressful. Lenore’s parents already disparage her for trying lots of things instead of mastering one. What will they say if they discover that she’s been concealing the fact that she is still (gasp!) undecided about her college major?
While on the cruise, Lenore guards her secret and fends off her irrepressible best friend Tessa’s well-intended text-message advice about all things romance, which Lenore treats with great skepticism. She’s also highly irritated when she meets handsome Alex Lee, whose parents hit it off with hers. Lenore’s folks are, naturally, impressed by his carefully laid-out plans for medical school. As the cruise sails on, Lenore’s secret weighs ever heavier on her mind, even as her eye-rolling at Alex turns into meaningful glances. Might there be hope for Lenore to find love and fulfillment?
One True Loves is a heartfelt look at what it’s like to feel different from those closest to you and a cautionary tale about the ways in which people-pleasing affects mental health. It’s a winning companion to Bryant’s 2021 debut, Happily Ever Afters, that stands easily on its own, though fans will enjoy the glimpses into familiar characters’ futures. One True Loves offers warm empathy and wise perspective to readers who, like Lenore, are trying to figure out where—and with whom—they might fit in the big wide world.
Three YA novels capture the agony and the ecstasy of being young and in love.
History lives and breathes, not only within us but also as we uncover new ways to see and understand the past. These picture books introduce young readers to fresh, vital perspectives on Black history.
★ Born on the Water
Readers are in for a sweeping history lesson that spans centuries in The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, an illuminating extension of the educational movement begun at the New York Times Magazine in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery Honor author Renée Watson begin this exquisite book with a framing story about a Black girl who receives a school assignment to trace her family’s roots and feels ashamed that she can go back only three generations. Upon hearing this, her grandmother gathers the whole family to explain their heritage, starting with their ancestors in West Central Africa. “Ours is no immigration story,” she says. In a series of free verse poems with titles like “They Had a Language,” “Stolen,” “Tobacco Fields” and “Legacy,” the authors convey not only facts but also feeling, a powerful mixture of pride, joy, tragedy, sorrow, perseverance and triumph.
Nikkolas Smith’s visceral illustrations bring all of these emotions to life, starting with joyous scenes of families living in the kingdom of Ndongo, “their bodies a song under open sky and bright sun.” These pages burst with the colors of turquoise waters and grassy fields of gold and green beneath warm, sunlit skies. The images are a wonderful gift to readers, offering a sense of what life was like before enslavement.
With the suddenness of a single page turn, life changes cataclysmically as these ancestors are kidnapped from their homeland and imprisoned aboard a ship called the White Lion. Shadowy illustrations convey the brutality that follows: an empty, ransacked village; people in chains forced onto a ship; faces filled with sadness and fear. One image shows a person who has jumped overboard, and Grandma explains that their ancestors are those who survived the terrible journey: “We were born on the water. We come from the people who refused to die.”
Grandma’s history continues to the fields of Virginia, where a baby named William Tucker becomes the first Black child born in the new land, and on across centuries of resistance and achievement. “Never forget you come from a people of great strength,” Grandma says. “Be proud of our story, your story.”
Born on the Water is a triumph and a history lesson that every child needs to learn.
★ A History of Me
“I was the only brown person in class,” begins the young narrator of Adrea Theodore and Erin K. Robinson’s A History of Me. She feels the eyes of her classmates on her back whenever their teacher discusses slavery and civil rights. “I wanted to slide out of my seat and onto the floor and drift out the door,” she admits. Even worse, a bully taunts her after school, “If it wasn’t for Lincoln, you’d still be our slaves!”
In an author’s note, Theodore describes writing this debut picture book after learning that “some thirty years after I had attended elementary school, the way the subject of slavery was being taught was still causing harm to young black and brown children.” As the narrator of A History of Me shares her experiences in history class, she also reflects on the lives of the women in her family, including her great-great-grandmother, who was enslaved, and her mother, who spent part of her childhood in the Jim Crow South. “And so I should be grateful to go to school and learn,” the narrator says repeatedly, but it’s clear that her feelings are more complicated than simple gratitude.
Illustrator Robinson skillfully illuminates the book’s many strands of history. The narrator’s historical musings appear in sepia tones, while contemporary scenes leap off the page in vivid colors, adding a dose of energy to the tale. The narrator is a quietly thoughtful force to be reckoned with. Her piercing eyes often gaze directly at readers, and she faces down the bully with her head high, striding purposefully down the sidewalk past him.
The book concludes as the narrator discusses growing up and having a daughter of her own. A wonderful spread shows her daughter reaching triumphantly toward the sky, surrounded by a sunburst of rainbow color and empowered with the knowledge “that she is free to be anything she wants to be.”
“What happens when you are proud of where you come from?” asks Theodore in her author’s note. A History of Me is a moving reminder of what we gain when we draw strength and inspiration from the past.
Through stories of triumph and pride, two picture books challenge widely held notions about the history of African Americans.
2022 brings exciting releases from longtime favorites Jennifer Egan, Julie Otsuka, Mohsin Hamid and Kate Quinn, plus follow-ups from Namwali Serpell and Linda Holmes, and a slew of adult novels from stars of young people’s literature: Jason Reynolds, Nina LaCour and Kelly Barnhill.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson Ballantine | February 1
Did someone say “Oprah”? Debut novelist Charmaine Wilkerson’s decades-spanning family drama will make its way to Hulu as a limited series, to be written and executive produced by Marissa Jo Cerar, creator of “Women of the Movement,” who has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. But before we’re completely submerged in media buzz, the novel itself stands out among upcoming family sagas, as it takes two estranged siblings from the Caribbean to London to California as they follow their mother’s final request for them to reconnect, discover their family’s secrets and, after all is said and done, eat their mother’s famous black cake.
What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris Tiny Reparations | February 1
The first fiction title from Phoebe Robinson’s publishing imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, is the debut novel from Kai Harris, which is told from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl over the course of a seminal summer spent with her sister and estranged grandfather. We’re feeling strong uplifting vibes from Harris’ artist statement: “I want my words to be a safe space, a retreat, a giant bowl of comfort food (with ice cream on top). I want my words to be truth and light.” You can read an excerpt from Harris’ novel in Kweli Journal, in a special issue on Black girlhood that was guest edited by Nicole Dennis-Benn.
Nobody’s Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong Grand Central | February 8
The acclaimed poet (Negotiations) and BookPage contributor (!) turns to fiction with her first novel, a triptych that follows the lives of three Black women with albinism, each navigating romance, autonomy, grief and their own sense of power. We’re feeling the emotional lyricism of Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, set within a Southern milieu.
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka Knopf | February 22
Julie Otsuka writes compact, ferocious little novels that land with a wallop: Her first, When the Emperor Was Divine, won the 2003 Asian American Literary Award and the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and her second, the internationally bestselling The Buddha in the Attic, was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award and won the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Her third novel, which also clocks in at fewer than 200 pages, is her first in over a decade. It follows a passionate group of recreational swimmers after a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool, in particular one woman whose diminishing memory is exacerbated by the loss of her daily laps. By the time her estranged daughter returns home, the woman has been swept away into memories of childhood and days spent in a Japanese American internment camp.
The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith Ballantine | March 1
Readers of children’s books and YA know and love bestselling author Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), and now everyone else will know her, too, because she’s making her adult fiction debut in March. The Unsinkable Greta James is about an indie guitarist who, after the death of her mother and an onstage breakdown, joins her father on what was supposed to be his wedding anniversary cruise in Alaska. Goodness knows we love emotional tales set at sea, and it’s also pretty cute that Smith’s novel is being published by Ballantine, where she worked as an editor once upon a time.
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler Putnam | March 8
There is truly no way to predict what kind of book Karen Joy Fowler will write next. Her previous novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves(2013), which won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award, the 2014 California Book Award for Fiction and was short-listed for the Booker Prize, was about a middle-class family raising a chimp. So naturally her next novel is a historical saga centered on the theatrical Booth family—as in John Wilkes Booth.
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo Viking | March 8
NoViolet Bulawayo made quite a splash as a first-time novelist a decade ago: In 2012, she was one of the National Book Award’s 5 Under 35 honorees, and her 2013 debut novel, We Need New Names, won multiple awards and was a finalist for the Booker Prize. Her long-awaited follow-up is unlike anything else on this list, voiced by a chorus of animals who live in an unnamed African country and who must contend with the unexpected death of their leader, Old Horse. If this sounds Orwellian, it’s because it is: Bulawayo was inspired by the Zimbabwean coup and resultant fall of the nation’s president of nearly four decades in 2017, which led to online discourse and hashtags drawing a connection between the events and George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.
The Great Passion by James Runcie Bloomsbury | March 15
The TV series “Grantchester,” based on James Runcie’s Sidney Chambers mysteries, is, I think it’s fair to presume, universally beloved. (It’s about a vicar who moonlights as a sleuth in 1950s Cambridge; if you don’t love it, you just haven’t read/watched it yet.) Along with penning his acclaimed, bestselling fiction, Runcie is also a documentary filmmaker, and his film resume includes a 1997 TV documentary about Johann Sebastian Bach, created for the BBC series “Great Composers.” In 2016, Runcie wrote a radio play, The Great Passion, about Bach’s writing of the St. Matthew Passion, and now we’ll get to enjoy Runcie’s creation in novel form, which follows the life of Bach from 1720 on, as well as the story of a 13-year-old boy who becomes a soloist for the great composer.
French Braid by Anne Tyler Knopf | March 22
More and more writers are setting their novels—or parts of their novels—in the “pandemic present,” and though we’re not surprised, we are pretty wary. So much about living through the COVID-19 pandemic can’t be fully understood yet, but we trust Anne Tyler to join Zadie Smith, Louise Erdrich and a handful of others in their incisive looks at our present challenges. The latest from Tyler, whose novel Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989, follows a Baltimore family from the 1950s to the present, returning her many fans to the sweeping style of one of her best loved works, A Spool of Blue Thread.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn William Morrow | March 29
We’re big fans of Kate Quinn over here, but the synopsis of her latest historical novel is on a whole other level: It’s a World War II novel . . . based on a true story . . . about a Russian librarian . . . who becomes the deadliest female sniper in history. She’s called Lady Death! It’s also worth noting that this is Quinn’s first hardcover release from William Morrow, a clear sign of reaching that special level of publishing gold. Go Kate!
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan Scribner | April 5
This one’s another jaw-dropper: a “sibling novel” to Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Good Squad. Coming to readers more than a decade after Goon Squad, The Candy House is the story of a brilliant man and his unique creation called “Own Your Unconscious,” which is technology that allows you to access all your memories—and share your memories with others. We’re intrigued, especially by the enigmatic (you might even say downright confusing) publishing materials’ explanation for the link between the two books: “If Goon Squad was organized like a concept album, The Candy House incorporates Electronic Dance Music’s more disjunctive approach. . . . With an emphasis on gaming, portals and alternate worlds, its structure also suggests the experience of moving among dimensions in a role-playing game.” Sounds weird! We’re in.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel Knopf | April 5
After the imaginative brilliance of both Station Eleven (recently adapted into a series on HBO) and The Glass Hotel (also in development for TV series), we’re willing to trust Emily St. John Mandel implicitly, which perhaps goes against our code as critics, but oh well. The St.-J-M literary universe, which binds together all of her novels, expands with Sea of Tranquility, an epic tale spanning from 1912 Vancouver Island to a moon colony 200 years in the future. Plus, the version of Sea of Tranquility distributed to independent bookstores will include a special chapter, which is a cool bonus for readers dedicated to patronizing their local bookstores.
True Biz by Sara Nović Random House | April 5
SaraNović follows up her award-winning first novel, Girl at War, with a tale set within a residential school for the deaf. Its title is a phrase from American Sign Language that means “really, seriously, real-talk,” and asNović is herself a member of the Deaf community and an instructor of Deaf studies at Stockton University in New Jersey, we’re expecting just that: real talk. Plus, there are already plans for True Biz to become a TV adaptation, produced by and starring deaf actor Millicent Simmonds, whom you may know from John Krasinski’s 2018 horror film, A Quiet Place. Nović will also be an executive producer on the show, and the studio has expressed further commitment to hiring Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to fill many of the creative and leadership roles.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart Grove | April 5
With Shuggie Bain, Scottish American author Douglas Stuart became the sixth first-time novelist and second Scottish writer to win the prize since it was founded 50 years ago. Naturally, we’re bringing some very high hopes to his second novel, Young Mungo. It’s a story of star-crossed lovers: two young working-class men, one Protestant, the other Catholic, living amid the violent gangs on a Glaswegian estate. In a secluded pigeon dovecote, they find a private world to explore their love, but the threat of discovery looms large.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez Berkley | April 12
Take My Hand is poised to be a big breakout for Dolen Perkins-Valdez, though her list of achievements is already quite long. She’s the bestselling author of Wench and Balm, a PEN/Faulkner fellow, a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, and winner of the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the ALA. This is her first novel since 2015, and it was inspired by a true event: the 1973 Relf v. Weinberger case, in which three underage Black sisters were sterilized without their consent, and a social worker’s whistleblowing blew the lid off the nationwide scandal. This novel fictionalizes those events through the story of a nurse in Alabama, and for readers of historical fiction, it’s one to watch for sure.
Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance by John Waters FSG | May 3
The very first novel from legendary filmmaker John Waters (Mr. Know-It-All) is a “perverted feel-bad romance” starring a clever con woman who steals suitcases at airports. Other important John Waters news (because we don’t have any further information about the book) is that he recently dedicated namesake bathrooms at the Baltimore Museum of Art and appeared on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” plus there are murmurings about a new film project and an upcoming art exhibit. We love an irreverent, prolific genius!
Trust by Hernan Diaz Riverhead | May 3
Hernan Diaz’s debut novel, In the Distance, really put him on the map, earning him a finalist spot for both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2018. Published by Coffee House Press in 2017, it was an exceptional entry in the recent list of great novels reimagining the narrative of the American West, garnering comparisons to Jorge Luis Borges’ work. Diaz’s follow-up, Trust, is an imminently intriguing story-within-a-story centering on a 1938 novel titled Bonds, about the immense fortune cultivated by a Wall Street tycoon and his aristocrat wife. Comparisons to Amor Towles are already swirling, so keep your eyes peeled.
Vigil Harbor by Julia Glass Pantheon | May 3
In her seventh novel, the 2002 National Book Award-winning author of Three Junes takes us 10 years into the future, where locals in a small coastal town are doing their best amid an increasingly terrifying world of escalating storms and domestic terrorist attacks. Then two outsiders come to Vigil Harbor, one of whom is a woman determined to solve the disappearance of a long-lost lover. Plus, there’s a secret involving a selkie! That’s a lot to unpack, so we’re looking forward to seeing Julia Glass’ navigation of it all.
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill Doubleday | May 3
2022 will be a big year for Newbery winner Kelly Barnhill, who in March returns with her first book for young readers since The Girl Who Drank the Moon (read about it in our list of most anticipated children’s books), and then in May delivers her first novel for adult readers, When Women Were Dragons. During the Mass Dragoning of 1955, hundreds of thousands of women, scattered all around the world, spontaneously transformed into dragons. At the story’s center is a girl who wants to understand why.
The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker Mariner | May 17
Sarai Walker’s debut novel, Dietland, was one of our Best Books of 2015, and with her second novel (finally!), she moves into historical fiction with a tale inspired by a tourist attraction near San Francisco: the Winchester Mystery House, a spooky mansion built by a turn-of-the-century American firearms heiress. The Cherry Robbers is a subversive gothic novel that follows the story of Iris Chapel, who attempts to escape her family’s multigenerational curse, in which each daughter is fated to die on her wedding night.
You Have a Friend in 10A by Maggie Shipstead Knopf | May 17
Hot on the heels of Maggie Shipstead’s finest novel and one of our Best Books of 2021, Great Circle, comes her first book of short stories! If Great Circle displayed her tremendous ability in crafting a tale of immense breadth, a story collection will swing the other way, allowing fans to revel in her talent for brevity.
Either/Or by Elif Batuman Penguin Press | May 24
Fans of The Idiot, New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman’s absurdist take on the campus novel, have waited five years to find out what’s next for her brainy but awkward heroine, Selin. In Either/Or, Selin returns for her sophomore year at Harvard determined to continue her search for self-knowledge (and possibly her pursuit of Ivan, her freshman crush).
The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz Celadon | May 31
Is Jean Hanff Korelitz on the cusp of becoming the next Liane Moriarty? It certainly feels like she’s close, consistently proving that she can hook readers with her well-balanced literary thrillers and family dramas. You Should Have Known (2014) was adapted as HBO’s 2020 series “The Undoing.” And her 2021 novel, The Plot, was one of those books we kept hearing about from other authors; clearly, Korelitz touched on something deeply true about the writing and publishing processes. Her next novel centers on privileged triplets who, on the cusp of leaving for college, discover a shocking family secret: There was a leftover embryo after their parents’ in vitro fertilization, and now they have a fourth sibling, just born.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour Flatiron | May 31
YA fiction superstar Nina LaCour is making her first foray into the realm of adult fiction, and the world has stopped on its axis while we wait for the quiet power of Yerba Buena. It’s the story of two young women, shouldering more than their share of trauma and pain, who find their way to each other, so I suppose we could all just start crying and hugging now.
Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrota Scribner | June 7
Tom Perrotta (Mrs. Fletcher) is the defining satirist of suburban politics, and if you haven’t read his 1998 novel, Election, you at least are likely familiar with the movie adaptation, starring Reese Witherspoon as the ambitious lead, Tracy Flick. To many, Tracy was a villain; to others, a feminist hero. Well, Tracy Flick is back, and she’s got her sights set on a promotion to high school principal. Perrotta will surely line her path with darkly comic hurdles and razor-sharp critique of the school culture—and larger world—around her.
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes Ballantine | June 14
“Pop Culture Happy Hour” host Linda Holmes’ feel-good, utterly enjoyable bestselling debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over, earned an easy spot on our list of the Best Romance of 2019. We’re thrilled to learn about the upcoming publication of Holmes’ second novel, Flying Solo, which sounds like pure joy—and pure gold. It’s about a woman named Laurie who has recently canceled her wedding and returned to her Maine hometown. She’s in charge of her adventurous aunt’s estate that has a mysterious wooden duck among its treasures, and then the duck is stolen, so of course Laurie must discover her great-aunt’s secrets. Sure, the premise isn’t breaking any new ground, but that doesn’t matter, because Holmes knows how to deliver exactly what you want in the most satisfying way.
Horse by Geraldine Brooks Viking | June 14
The acclaimed and beloved author of five previous novels (including the Pulitzer Prize-winning March) returns with a historical novel inspired by the true story of the thoroughbred sire horse named Lexington. Spanning from Civil War-era Kentucky to present-day Washington, D.C., the novel explores hidden legacies, the bonds between human and horse and the secrets held within art, the last of which fans will recall was also an element of Brooks’ novel People of the Book. Plus, we love a title that gets right to the point.
The Twilight World by Werner Herzog Penguin Press | June 14
Werner Herzog’s range as a filmmaker is massive, though I’ll always think of him as the documentarian who captured the saddest penguin moment of all time. (View Encounters at the End of the World at your heart’s own peril.) Considering the intensity of his storytelling, Herzog’s first novel inspires both excitement and trepidation. It’s based on the true story of a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda who defended a small island in the Philippines for almost 30 years after the end of World War II, and whom Herzog met in 1997 during a trip to Tokyo. The novel is described as “part documentary, part poem and part dream.”
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford Atria | June 28
Throughout Jamie Ford’s previous three novels, including his acclaimed debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, readers have been transported to historical Seattle to discover the stories of Japanese and Chinese Americans grappling with buried memories, the fragile bonds within families and found families, and the choices we make to survive. Ford’s fourth novel tangles with many of these same themes through the story of Dorothy Moy, former poet laureate of Washington, who reconnects with her female ancestry as she searches for a way to help her daughter. It’s based on the story of a real person—Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America in 1832—but with a speculative twist.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin Knopf | July 12
The bestselling author of one of all our all-time favorite books-about-bookstores, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (whose film adaptation will star Kunal Nayyar, Lucy Hale and Christina Hendricks), returns! Gabrielle Zevin’s latest novel sounds gently provocative and wonderfully redemptive: Spanning 30 years, it follows two childhood friends who reunite in adulthood to create a video game “where players can escape the confines of a body and the betrayals of a heart, and where death means nothing more than a chance to restart and play again.”
Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra Hogarth | July 19
World War II meets Hollywood in the third novel from Anthony Marra, whose first two novels, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (which won the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was long-listed for the National Book Award) and The Tsar of Love and Techno, earned both critical success and book club popularity. Of course, everyone loves an escapist Hollywood story, but it’s all the better when those bright lights shine on something deep and true, so we’re looking forward to Marra’s epic novel of reinvention, politics and the lengths to which we’ll all go to survive.
Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah Algonquin | July 26
Here’s another debut we’re especially excited about: With solid Tommy Orange vibes, the first novel from Oscar Hokeah is a coming-of-age tale told from a chorus of multigenerational voices. Ever Geimausaddle is at the story’s heart, and as his family navigates the ups and (many) downs of life, they also have strong opinions about how young Ever’s future will look. Hokeah is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma from his mother’s side and of Latinx heritage from his father’s, and he works with Indian Child Welfare in his hometown of Tahlequah, OK. Plus, his writing creds are no joke: He has a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), with a minor in Indigenous Liberal Studies. He’s also a winner of the Taos Summer Writers Conference’s Native Writer Award. One to watch, for sure.
The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid Riverhead | August 2
Booker Prize finalist and bestselling novelist Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West is one of those spectacular novels that we urgently recommend to everyone, so news of his first book since that 2017 novel literally made me gasp so hard that I ran out of air. Like Exit West, The Last White Man has a dollop of the fantastical, as it’s set in a world where white-skinned people wake up with darker skin. Hamid is one of those writers who can package really complicated, difficult issues and make them reach anyone, even someone who maybe isn’t ready to hear about them. Also, it must be said that he has a great reading voice, so we hope that he’ll read this one on audio, as well.
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah Riverhead | August 23
When Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, he became the first Black laureate since Toni Morrison in 1993, and the first Black writer from Africa to receive the award since Wole Soyinka (of Nigeria) in 1986. After Gurnah’s win was announced, it was incredibly hard for readers to acquire copies of his books—partly because of supply chain issues, and partly because his books had never found an audience in the U.S., and so were often out of print or just plain hard to find. Last fall, Riverhead announced plans to publish three titles from Gurnah: the novel he published in the U.K. in 2020, Afterlives, and then two out-of-print novels, By the Sea and Desertion. Coming in August, Afterlives promises to be brutal, sweeping, intimate and necessary, a multigenerational saga unfolding amid the colonization of East Africa.
Haven by Emma Donoghue Little, Brown | August 23
We’re living for this historical kick from bestselling Irish novelist Emma Donoghue! In her latest novel, she combines the spirituality of The Wonder (currently being developed as a film starring Florence Pugh) with the deep historical research of her timely 2020 novel, The Pull of the Stars (about the 1918 flu pandemic), for a tale about early Christianity. In seventh-century Ireland, a priest and two young monks journey down the river Shannon in search of a place to found a monastery, but they soon drift out to the Atlantic Ocean and arrive at a rugged island inhabited by huge flocks of birds, known today as Skellig Michael.
The Furrows by Namwali Serpell Hogarth | August 30
Namwali Serpell’s debut novel, the expansive yet intricate genre-bending saga The Old Drift, received piles of love—as it should’ve. Along with being one of our Best Books of 2019, it also earned a number of literary prizes, including an L.A. Times Award. Naturally our expectations are high for The Furrows, which is out to break even more literary rules. It’s set in 1990s Baltimore and will explore “different kinds of Black identity, as well as different modes of Black speech.”
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro Knopf | Fall 2022
Dani Shapiro is best known for her memoirs, such as Inheritance and Devotion, but she’s also a fabulous novelist and story writer. Signal Fires, her first work of fiction in more than a decade, is about a catastrophic event that utterly transforms the lives of two families over several generations. The fateful day occurs in 1985, when a car crash results in the death of a young woman. As Shapiro explains in a release from her publisher, the epiphanies within her own family history, as explored in Inheritance, led to the writing of this novel: “There’s a haunting question at the center of the book,” Shapiro says. “Is the past ever really past, and what is the price of denying our own history? In Signal Fires, each character is haunted, their lives shaped by what they can’t allow themselves to know or feel.”
The Mouthless God and Jesus Number Two by Jason Reynolds Scribner | TBD
NAACP Image Award winner, Newbery Honor recipient and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds (Look Both Ways) is one of the greatest writers of children’s and YA literature, and we’re beyond excited that he’ll bring his gifts to a new readership, hopefully sometime this year. His first novel for adult readers is set within a carnival town that’s home to a boy named Mm who was born without a mouth. Says Reynolds, “I’m honored to tell the story of this boy, Mm, who has lived in my imagination for years, and has also been in the back row of every school auditorium I’ve visited.”
A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ Knopf | TBD
Nigerian author Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s award-winning first novel, Stay With Me, came out in 2017, and people continue to ask us about it nearly five years later. It’s so wonderful when a truly great book has such staying power! Her second novel is rumored to come out this year, and it’s about “two families in Nigeria at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, whose lives collide when political turmoil erupts in their city.” In a statement from the publisher, Adébáyọ̀ said the book was conceived “after a detour compelled me to realize what remained invisible to me in a town that I had long called home. While it has taken a few years to write a novel I hope illuminates the tangled longings of its characters, I’m excited to share it with readers.”
Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange Knopf | TBD
Tommy Orange’s 2018 debut, There There, was a groundbreaking work of fiction that well deserved all the love it received. Along with being one our Best Books of that year, it won the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was long-listed for the National Book Award for fiction 2018 and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2019, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His follow-up to that smash hit is rumored to hit shelves sometime this year.
There's nothing quite like the optimism of a whole new year of fiction.
The cozy renaissance is upon us, gothic thrillers are about to be everywhere and historical mystery lovers are going to have a truly fantastic year.
The Goodbye Coastby Joe Ide Mulholland | February 1
Modern master of mystery Ide will be updating one of the most iconic detectives of all time: Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. It’s a perfect pairing—a figure that couldn’t exist anywhere but Los Angeles, brought to the present day by one of the city’s most acclaimed writers.
A Game of Fearby Charles Todd William Morrow | February 1
The Inspector Rutledge series represents the best of what historical mystery has to offer, and A Game of Fear, Rutledge’s 24th case, has a particularly intriguing hook: Lady Benton claims she witnessed a murder, carried out by Captain Nelson. But there’s no body, no blood and Captain Nelson has been dead for several years. Charles Todd is a mother-son writing duo, and the death of Caroline Todd last year gives this mystery an extra poignancy.
Cherish Farrahby Bethany C. Morrow Dutton | February 8
Morrow—who has shown so much range as a writer, from her bestselling contemporary YA fantasy with sirens (A Song Below Water) to her reimagining of Little Women (So Many Beginnings)—makes her adult debut with this slow-burning tale of power and manipulation, following a Black girl who ingratiates herself to her Black best friend’s adopted white family.
Our American Friendby Anna Pitoniak Simon & Schuster | February 15
After writing a novel (The Futures) and a thriller (Necessary People), Pitoniak is splitting the difference with her third book, a decades-spanning espionage thriller that follows glamorous, mysterious Lara Caine, a Russian model who eventually becomes the first lady of the United States (Remind you of anyone?).
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley William Morrow | February 22
Foley’s big breakout, The Guest List, was absolutely everywhere in 2020. The Paris Apartment is another glamorous mystery with a sprawling, secretive cast—namely, the inhabitants of the titular apartment complex.
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wroebel Berkley | February 22
I will never, ever get tired of complicated sister relationships or cults, and lucky for me, the Darling Rose Gold author’s sophomore thriller goes all in on both. Natalie Collins’ sister, Kit, has been sucked into Wisewood, a cult operating on a private island off the coast of Maine. When Natalie receives a threatening email from someone in the cult, she sets out to save Kit.
Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist Dutton | February 22
All I have ever wanted is a revival of the romantic, gothic thriller, and thanks to the incredible success of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, I may have finally gotten my wish. 2022 is replete with creepy tales of degenerate families in crumbling manors, and Mayquist’s is one of the most promising of the lot. In this modern take on the subgenre, med school dropout Lena takes a job as an assistant to the rich and powerful Verdeau family. But when she learns that they are the ones ultimately responsible for her family’s poverty, she decides to get revenge.
The Verifiersby Jane Pek Vintage | February 22
A particularly pleasing recent development is that publishers seem to have finally realized the allure of the cozy, or cozy-adjacent, mystery. Could the cozy be due for a critical reevaluation a la the romance novel? (Please say yes!) All this to say, we expect more books like Pek’s hilarious, utterly winning debut in the near future. Claudia Lin has stumbled into what she believes is her perfect job: working at an online-dating detective agency. She’s content with her duties of ferreting out catfishers and tracking down ghosters, but when a client disappears, the mystery novel-obsessed Claudia jumps at the opportunity to solve a real case.
The Club by Ellery Lloyd Harper | March 1
There are a lot of thrillers out there that incorporate social media and try to have Something to Say about our current digital reality. But very few of them were as smart or nuanced as Lloyd’s 2021 debut, People Like Her. For their next trick, the husband-and-wife writing duo tackles the world of exclusive celebrity clubs. Set on a private island off the English coast, this is the thriller for you if you’re anxiously awaiting the next season of “The White Lotus.”
Give Unto Others by Donna Leon Atlantic Monthly | March 15
Commissario Guido Brunetti is one of those urbane, witty sleuths that people want to be as much as they love to read about. See also: Martin Walker’s Bruno and Louise Penny’s Gamache. A new case with Leon’s clever Venetian sleuth is always cause for celebration, but this one is especially intriguing as it purports to contain new and startling information about Brunetti’s past.
Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian Minotaur | March 15
Is it too early to hand out the award for most creative cozy premise? Because I highly doubt anyone’s going to come close to Pandian’s new Secret Staircase mysteries. When Tempest Raj returns home to San Francisco after losing her job, she ends up working for the family business, Secret Staircase Construction, which makes hidden passageways, incredible treehouses and any other whimsical creation a client’s heart desires. And then, of course, someone is found dead in a supposedly sealed passageway.
Nine Livesby Peter Swanson William Morrow | March 15
Swanson has a gift for not only crafting a killer premise, but also creating characters that are just as intriguing. In his latest mystery, nine people receive a list of names, and one of those names is their own. And then those nine people start getting picked off, one by one.
Secret Identity by Alex Segura Flatiron | March 15
A mystery set in the comic book industry in 1975? Say no more! Billed as a mash-up between The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clayand the novels of Patricia Highsmith, this book sounds like the coolest, nerdiest neo-noir you’ll ever read.
Shadow in the Glass by M.E. Hilliard Crooked Lane | April 5
Hilliard’s Greer Hogan series started with a bang last year; The Unkindness of Ravenswas “moody and tense, literary and urbane, and an edgy delight to read,” according to our cozy column. This time around, librarian Greer faces that most iconic of cozy scenarios—a wedding disrupted by murder, with an entire guest list’s worth of suspects.
Insomniaby Sarah Pinborough William Morrow | April 12
You may have heard of Pinborough due to a little book (and later Netflix miniseries) entitled Behind Her Eyes, which boasts one of the most go-for-broke, completely wild final twists of, honestly, maybe all time? So who even knows what’s going on in her next thriller, which follows Emma, a woman whose mother committed a horrible act when she turned 40. Now on the cusp of her own 40th birthday, Emma is consumed with fear that the same fate awaits her.
Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild Putnam | April 19
Something about me that I am very comfortable admitting is that I love a charismatic murderer. You want to tell me how you got away with it and why they had it coming for an entire novel? I’m all ears! So I’m especially excited for Rothchild’s debut, which introduces readers to Ruby, who is being accused of her husband’s death. She didn’t do it (and she’s not a sociopath, okay?), but she has killed three other people before.
The Mad Girls of New Yorkby Maya Rodale Berkley | April 26
An acclaimed romance author, critic and advocate for the genre, Rodale is one of several authors who recently made the Gilded Age one of historical romance’s hottest and most interesting settings. She’s bringing all that expert knowledge to bear in her mystery debut, the launch of a series that follows trailblazing female journalist Nellie Bly. Rodale’s first mystery starring Nellie will depict one of her most famous real-life stunts: going undercover at an insane asylum.
Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia Berkley | May 3
The Harlem Renaissance-set Dead Dead Girls was one of last year’s best mysteries, and it looks like amateur sleuth Louise Lloyd’s next case will not only delve into the secrets of her own past, but also jeopardize her future with her girlfriend, Rosa Maria.
The Haciendaby Isabel Cañas Berkley | May 10
This historical gothic thriller has a priest who is also a witch, and I don’t really think there’s anything else to be said. But, if you insist: Cañas’ debut is set right after the Mexican War of Independence and boasts a creepy house, a handsome but mysterious man and what just might be the ghost of his first wife.
The Murder Ruleby Dervla McTiernan William Morrow | May 10
The acclaimed author of the Cormac Reilly mystery series is releasing her first standalone novel, which follows a young law student who seems like a passionate anti-death row advocate, but is really out to get one of the supposedly innocent men her organization is defending.
Renovated to Deathby Frank Anthony Polito Kensington | May 31
HGTV shows leave me completely cold, but even I think this book sounds like the coziest thing imaginable. Peter Penwell is a bestselling mystery author and his husband, JP, is an actor who used to star on a cop show. The couple recently became reality TV stars while chronicling the renovation of their home, but their second season gets off to a murderous start when they find one of the owners of their new project dead at the foot of a staircase.
A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong Minotaur | May 31
Armstrong is the acclaimed writer behind the gritty, addicting, yet still somehow heartwarming Rockton series, which is set in an off-the-grid town in the Canadian wilderness. She’s one of the last authors you’d expect to write an Outlander-style timeslip mystery. Which only makes her new series, where a modern-day homicide detective wakes up in the body of a Victorian maid, all the more intriguing.
Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman Minotaur | June 7
The author of the Regency-era Lily Adler mysteries jumps forward to the (very hot right now) 1920s, and will hopefully bring her previous series’ perfectly balanced blend of escapism and social commentary to this tale of a working-class woman who stumbles upon a dead body at her favorite speakeasy.
The Lies I Tellby Julie Clark Sourcebooks Landmark | June 21
Clark’s second novel, the runaway bestseller The Last Flight, was exactly what you want in a summer thriller: snappy but smart, fast-paced but with characters that felt like real people. So my expectations were high even before I learned that Clark will be taking on one of my very favorite crime novel archetypes—the con artist. Meg Williams ruined Kat Roberts’ life, and Kat’s been bent on revenge ever since. But when she finally catches up to Meg 10 years later, she begins to doubt everything, including whether Meg really should be the target of her ire.
The Half Life of Valery Kby Natasha Pulley Bloomsbury | June 28
In my humble opinion, one of the most underrated historical settings for a mystery or thriller is Soviet Russia. It’s bleak, it’s cold and almost everyone has a reason to lie or a secret to keep. So I was delighted to learn that acclaimed, idiosyncratic historical fantasy author Pulley’s first thriller would be set in 1963 Siberia. The Half LIfe of Valery K will follow a former nuclear specialist who is freed from a gulag, only to be taken to a mysterious town that seems to be absolutely suffused with dangerous radiation.
The Ruinsby Phoebe Wynn St. Martin’s | July 5
The last gothic on our list, Wynn’s sophomore novel takes its cues from Patricia Highsmith as much as it does from Daphne du Maurier. You’ve got wealthy, messed up people, the disgustingly gorgeous backdrop of the Mediterranean coast and a creeping suspicion that something is about to go terribly wrong. But in an intriguing little twist, The Ruins seems to wed those Ripley influences with the more modern template of a feminist coming-of-age tale.
Omega Canyon by Dan Simmons Little, Brown | November 1
It’s been seven years since the acclaimed author of The Terror released a novel, and this new historical thriller sounds heartbreaking and addicting in equal measure. Paul Haber fled Nazi Germany and has devoted his scientific abilities to the American quest for the atomic bomb. But when a German spy tells him that his wife and child, whom he thought died in a concentration camp, are actually still alive, he’s faced with the terrible choice of whether to save his family or betray his newly-adopted country to fascism.
Grab your magnifying glasses and notepads, and get ready for 2022.
New voices are rising to the forefront in sci-fi, fantasy continues to flower in new and surprising ways, and a YA icon is about to make her long-awaited adult debut.
Goliathby Tochi Onyebuchi Tordotcom | January 25
Riot Baby, Onyebuchi’s 2020 novella, was one heck of a calling card, and he’s letting his prodigious imagination and piercing social critique run rampant in his first adult novel. Set in the 2050s, Goliath follows a large cast of characters as they roam a crumbling Earth that has been largely abandoned by the upper classes, who have decamped to space colonies.
Hunt the Starsby Jessie Mihalik Harper Voyager | February 1
If you’ve already been introduced to Mihalik’s sci-fi romances, chances are you’re already obsessed with her. Equal parts pulpy fun and steamy love stories, Mihalik’s books are for everyone who’s watched the scene of Han Solo and Princess Leia’s first kiss more times than they’d like to admit. This start to a new series introduces a bounty hunter with a heart of gold, her alien nemesis-turned-employer and an outrageously cute alien that’s like a cross between a cat and fox—and can communicate telepathically.
The Atlas Sixby Olivie Blake Tor | March 1
Dark academia will never go out of style if I have anything to say about it. And it looks like a sizable portion of BookTok agrees with me, as Blake’s self-published series took the platform by storm in 2021. The first novel of the series, which follows six talented, ambitious magicians as they compete to win a place in an elite secret society, has been revised and expanded for its release by a traditional publisher.
The Ravenous Dead by Darcy Coates Poisoned Pen | March 15
The Whispering Deadwas one of last year’s little wonders, a horror novel with a surprising amount of humor and heart among all its terrors. This sequel continues Keira’s quest to uncover her lost memories and bring peace to the spirits of the dead, but gives her a new enemy in the form of a ferocious ghost that refuses to go gently into that good night.
The Kaiju Preservation Societyby John Scalzi Tor | March 15
National treasure John Scalzi recently finished a complex sci-fi series, so it makes sense that his first book after that accomplishment is a standalone adventure that sounds like an absolute blast. (It also is the only book that takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic that I’d actually be willing to read.) A delivery app driver desperate for a better job, Jamie jumps at the chance to work for an “animal rights organization.” But Jamie soon learns that the job actually means traveling to a different universe to take care of kaiju! Kaiju are Godzilla-type beasties, but in Scalzi’s version they are not automatically aggressive; they’re more like huge, dangerous pandas. If this book is half as good as the book in my head, it will be a masterpiece.
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller Tor | March 22
Even if it didn’t have that absolutely magnificent cover, I would be anxiously awaiting this fantasy debut, which follows Charm, an emperor’s mistress who is also a necromantic witch. When the emperor is poisoned, he tasks Charm with not only solving his murder but also deciding which of his three terrible (large, adult) sons should ascend to the throne.
Wild and Wicked Thingsby Francesca May Redhook | March 29
Set on a resort island off the English coast, this book basically sounds like a mashup between Practical Magic and “Downton Abbey.” It’s set right after World War I but in an England where magic has been banned, due to its horrific applications during the war.
Sweep of Starsby Maurice Broaddus Tor | March 29
There can never be enough ambitious, sweeping space operas in the world, and Broaddus’ start to a new series sounds truly epic. In his vision of the future, humanity has colonized the solar system. Our heroes hail from the Muungano Empire, a collection of city-states established by African space pioneers that is in danger of being destroyed by other human civilizations.
In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power Del Rey | April 5
It’s kind of wild that ancient Greece isn’t a more common inspiration for fantasy worlds, so kudos to YA author Rory Power for using it as a backdrop for her adult debut. This series starter introduces two twins with unnaturally long lives and supernatural powers who help their father rule over their small country. But their father is getting unpredictable and his abilities are fading, while at the same time an independence movement is growing, so the twins have to work together to keep the kingdom under control. All I’m saying is that this kind of sounds like fantasy “Succession.” “Succession” with magical powers? Yes, please.
God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez Harper Voyager | April 12
I am someone who loved, and I mean truly, deeply loved, the first season or so of “Once Upon a Time.” So here’s hoping that this fantasy about a grown-up Michael Darling returning to Neverland to find a missing Peter Pan (here characterized as a god of chaos and childhood) will fill the Storybrooke-size hole in my heart.
The Fervorby Alma Katsu Putnam | April 26
After writing a rather excellent espionage thriller (last year’s Red Widow), Katsu is returning to her idiosyncratic brand of horror: awful events in world history made even worse through supernatural frights. This tale of a demon terrorizing the inhabitants of a World War II-era internment camp will be one of her most personal works yet, as she’ll be drawing from her own family history and heritage as a Japanese American.
Nettle & Boneby T. Kingfisher Tor | April 26
Through what I’m sure is some form of black magic, Kingfisher’s books are both totally hilarious and deeply scary. That particular combination is why her latest book, a subversive take on fairy tales, is so very exciting. Nettle & Bone will follow a princess on a quest to save her sister—by murdering her sister’s awful husband.
Book of Night by Holly Black Tor | May 3
It seems impossible, but YA fantasy icon Black has never written a novel for adults. Until now. Book of Night centers on Charlie Hall, who lives in a world where it’s possible to magically manipulate shadows. Doing so can alter another person’s memories and perceptions, but the cost is time lost from your own life. Charlie is a bartender and con artist, but she has ties to the shadow trade that prove difficult to sever.
Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller Tachyon | May 10
The author of acclaimed speculative novels Blackfish Cityand The Blade Between will release his first collection of short fiction, which is sure to please fans of cli-fi, weird sea creatures, queer SFF and pretty much everyone who wants to read something brilliant, strange and new.
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo Tor | May 10
After The Chosen and the Beautiful, her luminous, dreamy take on The Great Gatsby, Vo is heading to the West Coast wonderland of Pre-Code Hollywood. Of course, in her version of the film industry, wannabe movie stars like protagonist Luli Wei must sign magical pacts, selling their entire selves to companies ready to exploit them.
All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay Berkley | May 17
There’s almost nothing I can tell you about the plot of this book, but it doesn’t really matter because Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the best writers of historical fantasy of all time. This book will return to the Renaissance Italy-inspired world first introduced in the superb A Brightness Long Ago, and I will be ready for him to take me wherever he wants to go.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland Tordotcom | June 21
Rowland’s Conspiracy of Truths duology seems destined to become a cult classic; the blisteringly smart fantasy novels flew a bit under the radar but won the hearts of all who read them. I would not be surprised if A Taste of Gold and Iron makes Rowland the next big thing in fantasy. This queer romance set in a world inspired by the Ottoman Empire sounds like a blockbuster hit and a perfect use of Rowland’s talents for world building, intrigue and complex relationships.
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey Tor | July 19
The genre-hopping Gailey seems to be settling down (at least for now) in a delightfully specific niche: female-led thrillers with a supernatural twist. If last year’s The Echo Wife could be described as Alfred Hitchcock meets “Orphan Black,” this tale of the daughter of a serial killer sounds like “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” mixed with Shirley Jackson, aka the dark cocktail of my dreams.
A Half-Built Gardenby Ruthanna Emrys Tordotcom | July 26
Cli-fi’s been around long enough that authors are starting to find innovative twists on what was, originally, a pretty bleak sort of formula. (Humans destroy Earth! Here’s the depressing society that’s arisen afterward!) Acclaimed fantasy author Emrys offers her rather brilliant twist on the subgenre. In 2083, the Earth has just begun to heal from the ravages of the climate crisis. But then aliens show up, intent on saving humanity by taking them off the planet—whether they want to or not.
The Spear Cuts Through the Waterby Simon Jimenez Del Rey | August 30
It’s almost impossible to overhype The Vanished Birds, Jimenez’s debut novel (the first chapter alone was award-worthy). Not one to rest on his laurels, Jimenez is immediately switching from sci-fi to fantasy: His sophomore novel will follow a warrior who teams up with a goddess to overthrow a tyrannical emperor.
Correction, January 18, 2022: This article previously misstated the gender of Jamie in The Kaiju Preservation Society. Jamie is not gendered in the novel.
There’s never been a better time to be an SFF fan than right now.
Discover your next great book!
BookPage highlights the best new books across all genres, as chosen by our editors. Every book we cover is one that we are excited to recommend to readers. A star indicates a book of exceptional quality in its genre or category.