Top 29 New Books to Warm Up Spring 2020

Most of us are preparing for a fairly isolated few months, and during our self-quarantines, we all need a little entertainment. Might I present to you the option of books? Reading will be more important than ever this spring, and you’ll need to stock up!

After scouring the upcoming releases, here are 29 of the books I’m most excited for in Spring 2020.

Menna Van Praag - The Sisters Grimm

Menna van Praag – The Sisters Grimm

The Brothers Grimm have certainly had a huge impact on our society and the stories we continue to tell. So a new novel about the Sisters Grimm?! Yes please! In Menna van Praag’s new novel, four sisters are born to four different mothers on the same day. Though they first meet at age 8, they were separated at 13. Now 18, they need to find each other again, meet their father, and discover their true identities. And across this quest, one of the sisters won’t make it out alive. If you’re intrigued – like I am – look for The Sisters Grimm at the beginning of spring.

Due out: March 24

Rachel Harrison - The Return

Rachel Harrison – The Return

The bright pink cover of The Return is what got my attention first. In this thrilling debut by Rachel Harrison, a woman named Julie goes missing. Exactly two years later, she reappears… and yet something about her is off. She has no recollection of the last two years, and her friends have a lot of questions and concerns. What happened to Julie out there? Are they in danger now? That’s all the plot we can work with for now, but it sure sounds intriguing.

Due out: March 24

Ariel Lawhon - Code Name Hélène

Ariel Lawhon – Code Name Hélène

WWII-era historical fiction is a crowded space, and one I’ve felt a bit worn out about in the last few years. But every now and then, a WWII novel will still stand out. This spring, that book is Code Name Hélène. We start with Nancy, an Australian expat living in Paris and working as a newspaper reporter. She soon marries a Frenchman, but then Germany invades France. Nancy then goes through a series of code names as she works with the French Resistance, smuggling people, documents, and information. Time is running out before her enemies find out all four names belong to the same woman. Inspired by a real-life spy, this is a book I’ve been anticipating for months.

Due out: March 31

Janice Hadlow - The Other Bennet Sister

Janice Hadlow – The Other Bennet Sister

So we all love Pride and Prejudice, right? Right. The latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel is The Other Bennet Sister, following the untold story of middle daughter, Mary. Janice Hadlow imagines a new future for Mary, more akin to what her older sisters found in Pride and Prejudice. I actually saw The Other Bennet Sister on shelves already when I was visiting my sister in Ireland. In the US, the book comes out at the end of March, and I can hardly wait.

Due out: March 31

Alicia Keys - More Myself

Alicia Keys – More Myself: A Journey

I’ve been a fan of Alicia Keys for more than 15 years now, and the singer is about to release her first memoir. More Myself: A Journey will let us inside Alicia’s life, and we’ll get to learn how she developed her musical skills, rose to fame, and continues to enjoy a thriving career. From “Fallin'” to “No One” to “Girl on Fire” to her upcoming album, ALICIA – out March 27th – Alicia Keys’s story is sure to transfix fans and casual listeners alike.

Due out: March 31

Danielle Trussoni - The Ancestor

Danielle Trussoni – The Ancestor

My favorite movie genre is horror, so it’s no surprise that I can snuggle in with an engrossing horror book, too. Danielle Trussoni’s The Ancestor starts with a scenario we all dream of: Alberta “Bert” Monte has just inherited a castle in Italy, along with money and a noble title. So she does what any of us would do – she leaves her New York home and travels to the Italian Alps to see her new castle. But what starts as a dream come true soon turns unsettling, as Bert learns more about her aristocratic ancestors and the dark secrets they left for her. Throw in descriptions of “bewitching” and “gothic” and I’m all in – I need The Ancestor now!

Due out: April 7

Megan Campisi - Sin Eater

Megan Campisi – Sin Eater

In an alternate version of 16th century England, a teenage girl is punished for a crime. But instead of death, her punishment is to become a sin eater. That is, “a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.” This dark fantasy weaves in mystery and revenge, and the overall vibe reminds me a bit of Dan Vyleta’s Smoke (which just got a sequel, too!). I’m curious to see how this story unfolds.

Due out: April 7

Julia Alvarez - Afterlife

Julia Alvarez – Afterlife

Julia Alvarez’s first book in 15 years, Afterlife throws a lot at its main character, Antonia Vega. She’s an immigrant writer who’s decided to retire. But then her husband suddenly dies, her sister-in-law goes missing, and a pregnant, undocumented teenager shows up on her doorstep. Antonia must learn to overcome tragedy, help others, and answer deep questions about life in today’s social climate. It looks like a thought-provoking and deeply moving novel.

Due out: April 7

Sahar Mustafah - The Beauty of Your Face

Sahar Mustafah – The Beauty of Your Face

The Beauty of Your Face also looks heavy. It follows Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and principal of a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter — radicalized by the online alt-right — attacks the school. During the shooter’s attack on the school, Afaf looks back on her life – the bigotry she’s faced, her mom’s desires to return to Palestine, the disappearance of her sister. This debut novel looks heart-wrenching and painful, but also so important and poignant.

Due out: April 7

Vivek Shraya - The Subtweet

Vivek Shraya – The Subtweet

I love a good book centered around music. In The Subtweet, we follow two musicians – Neela Devaki and Rukmini – who become friends then fall apart as one star rises and the other is left to feel jealous and unworthy. The novel is described as “a love letter to brown women,” has LGBTQ themes and characters, and explores making art and the music industry as it functions today. There’s so much to look forward to in this book, and I can’t wait to read it.

Due out: April 7

Emily Gould - Perfect Tunes

Emily Gould – Perfect Tunes

As I’ve said: I love a good book centered around music. Emily Gould’s Perfect Tunes starts in NYC in the early 2000s, where Laura is hoping to record her first album. She falls for rising star Dylan, but early into their relationship, he dies. Fast forward 14 years, and Laura’s daughter, Marie, wants to learn more about the dad she never knew. Perfect Tunes ultimately explores the relationship between a mother and daughter, how to overcome after tragedy, and whether long-lost dreams can become a reality.

Due out: April 14

Jessica Winters Mireles - Lost in Oaxaca

Jessica Winters Mireles – Lost in Oaxaca

Have I mentioned that I like books related to music? Yes, yes I have. And here’s another such novel. In Lost in Oaxaca, the story starts with Camille Childs, once a promising young concert pianist whose career was destroyed by a hand injury. Now she teaches piano for a living, and a student of hers, Graciela, could have the career Camille wanted. But Graciela suddenly disappears, retreating to her family’s home in Oaxaca, Mexico. Camille travels there to find her, but ends up lost and unfamiliar with the culture. This novel looks like a great intersection of themes I’m drawn to.

Due out: April 21

Laila Lalami - Conditional Citizens

Laila Lalami – Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America

I recently picked up Laila Lalami’s latest novel, The Other Americans, and am now planning on getting her first one, The Moore’s Account. This spring, the acclaimed author will release her first nonfiction book, Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America. This is a subject close to my heart, as my husband is an immigrant from Peru and is due to get his citizenship this year. I have a few books about immigration, and Conditional Citizens looks like a must-read worth adding to my collection.

Due out: April 28

Alex George - The Paris Hours

Alex George – The Paris Hours

I love books set in Europe, but so many of them are set during WWI or WWII. If you’re looking for a journey to France in between those two wars, get ready for Alex George’s The Paris Hours. The narrative runs the course of a single day in 1927, but it packs in a lot. We get to know four very different characters – each with the own secrets, ambitions, and struggles – and watch as their lives slowly come together. I don’t know much else about the novel, but it has great reviews, a beautiful setting, and a summary that activates the imagination. Let’s see where Alex George takes these characters.

Due out: May 5

Elizabeth Acevedo - Clap When You Land

Elizabeth Acevedo – Clap When You Land

I recently picked up Elizabeth Acevedo’s 2019 novel, With the Fire on High, and I can’t wait to dive into it. And I better hurry up, because her next book, Clap When You Land, comes out at the beginning of May. It stars two young women: Camino Rios in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira Rios in New York City. One day their father dies in a plane crash… then they learn about each other. What follows is a novel that explores grief, forgiveness, and how to fit a newly discovered sister into your life. I love books that highlight sisterly relations, and I expect Clap When You Land will deliver a memorable story.

Due out: May 5

Romina Garber - Lobizona

Romina Garber – Lobizona

Romina Garber’s new book might be labeled as fantasy, but it’s rooted in issues that are very real in today’s world. It follows Manuela Azul, an undocumented immigrant living in Miami, who’s on the run from her late father’s Argentine crime-family. When her mom is arrested by ICE and she’s suddenly without a home, Manu ends up uncovering a secret world buried within our own. It’s “a world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf.” Apparently, it’s not just Manu’s US residency that’s illegal… it’s her entire existence. Lobizona kicks off a new series, and I’m certainly intrigued.

Due out: May 5

Natalia Sylvester - Running

Natalia Sylvester – Running

I’ve gotten deep into politics in the last 5 years (and this Democratic Primary is stressing me out), so finding a YA book about politics immediately caught my attention. In Natalia Sylvester’s Running, 15-year old Mariana Ruiz, a Cuban American, faces familial struggles when her father decides to run for President. Though she and her dad have always been close, “Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.” I love father-daughter relations and am intrigued by the political sphere, so sign me up for this upcoming novel! Also, the author was born in Lima, Peru – just like my husband! – and that fact makes me even more excited to read Running.

Due out: May 5

Micheline Aharonian Marcom - The New American

Micheline Aharonian Marcom – The New American

Another all-too-relevant story is Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The New American, about Emilio, a Guatemalan immigrant living in California. It isn’t until he’s 16 and tries to get his driver’s license that Emilio learns he’s in the country illegally. He’s then deported from the only home he’s ever known, sent back to Guatemala. But he wants to return to his real home in California. What follows is a journey across jungles and deserts, in which Emilio encounters thieves and corrupt law enforcers, but also new friends. It looks like a timely and riveting story.

Due out: May 5

Lauren Francis-Sharma - Book of the Little Axe

Lauren Francis-Sharma – Book of the Little Axe

Reading allows us to travel to places we’ve never been. One place I’ve never explored – in books or IRL – is Trinidad and Tobago, a nation off the coast of Venezuela. With Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe, we travel back to 1796, when Rosa Rendón is rebellious and young. But when her home passes from Spanish to British rule, it’s unclear if black property owners (like her own family) will be able to keep their land and freedom. Fast forward to 1830, and Rosa is living in Montana with the Crow Nation. After years of suppressing her past, she’s forced to revisit it for the sake of her son. This looks like a must-read.

Due out: May 12

Francesca Momplaisir - My Mother's House

Francesca Momplaisir – My Mother’s House

Have you ever read a thriller in which the location of events was also a character? In which the house can pass judgment and destroy itself to end the sins taking place within it? That is the premise for Francesca Momplaisir’s My Mother’s House. It follows a family emigrating from Haiti to New York City. But the man of the household does terrible things in his home, and after enough time, the house takes matters into its own hands (err… walls?) and burns itself down. This novel tackles some heavy themes, then wraps it in an unusual package, and I’m pretty interested.

Due out: May 12

Elisabeth Thomas - Catherine House

Elisabeth Thomas – Catherine House

This spooky debut has been on my lists for a few months now. Catherine House takes us to the woods of rural Pennsylvania, where the titular house is an elite and highly selective university. Its lucky few students must live there for 3 full years – including summers – 100% isolated from the outside world. Yep, no technology, no communication with people outside the university… pretty intense. New student Ines Murillo likes Catherine House at first, until it starts to feel like a prison. Then tragedy strikes, and she fears that the school may be hiding a sinister agenda. Yikes! May 12th can’t come soon enough!

Due out: May 12

Zeyn Joukhadar - The Thirty Names of Night

Zeyn Joukhadar – The Thirty Names of Night

I loved Zeyn Joukhadar’s first book, The Map of Salt and Stars, and I can hardly wait to read his next, The Thirty Names of Night. The new novel follows a closeted Syrian American transgender boy. His mother died in a suspicious fire, and now Nadir lives with – and cares for – his grandmother. He hasn’t painted since the fire, but upon discovering the journal of an artist who faced a similar tragedy as his mother, Nadir starts to unravel a mystery of strange birds, a secret queer and transgender community, and why his mother died. The author is transgender himself, and given the topic of his upcoming novel, it looks like it’ll be a superb addition to the growing #OwnVoices category.

Due out: May 19

Meryl Wilsner - Something to Talk About

Meryl Wilsner – Something to Talk About

If you’re looking for a good LGBTQ romance, consider Meryl Wilsner’s debut novel, Something to Talk About. Hollywood showrunner Jo and her assistant Emma are suddenly rumored to be dating, and the scandal threatens Jo’s movie and Emma’s chance at a promotion. But though the two aren’t a couple, they spend a lot of time working together, getting along wonderfully. They start to wonder if the rumor is onto something… and whether starting up a romance with each other is really a good idea. Yep, this looks like a cute romance.

Due out: May 26

Rutger Bregman - Humankind

Rutger Bregman – Humankind: A Hopeful History

I just finally read Rutger Bregman’s breakout book, Utopia for Realists. I loved it, and was excited to learn that this June, he’ll release his next book, Humankind: A Hopeful History. It’s a look at how people are – in general – good and geared towards kindness. That may be hard to remember in these troubled times, but as Rutger examines in his new book, people mostly just want to be nice. If you need a dose of optimism and hope, Humankind may be just what you need.

Due out: June 2

Brit Bennett - The Vanishing Half

Brit Bennett – The Vanishing Half

In college, I read a book – Caucasia – about biracial sisters. While one looked black, the other looked white. It was a deeply moving story, and I’m excited to read a similar book coming out this spring. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half follows twin sisters who drift apart in adulthood. While one remains in the southern black community in which they grew up, the other secretly passes for white in her new Californian home. It looks to be an important and nuanced masterpiece of literary fiction, so mark your calendars for its release.

Due out: June 2

Janet Skeslien Charles - The Paris Library

Janet Skeslien Charles – The Paris Library

Sometimes it’s nice to read a book about books. In Janet Skeslien Charles’s The Paris Library, readers are transported first to France, where Odile Souchet has a job at the American Library in Paris. WWII is also a war on words, making the library a target. Fast forward to 1983 Montana, where Odile lives alone. But her teenage neighbor Lily befriends her and slowly learns the whole story that led Odile there. Here is a touching story that sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of WWII.

Due out: June 2

Naoise Dolan - Exciting Times

Naoise Dolan – Exciting Times

Since visiting my sister in Ireland in January – and reading an excellent book set there just a few weeks ago – I’m on the hunt for more books by and about Irish people. So Irish author Naoise Dolan’s debut novel, Exciting Times, caught my eye. Ava leaves Dublin to teach English in Hong Kong. She starts a sexual relationship and moves in with a British banker, Julien, who keeps her afloat financially. Ava then starts to fall for Edith, a Hong Kong-born lawyer. The novel dives into issues of politics, class, race, sexuality, love – all tied up with a distinctly millennial bow.

Due out: June 2

Sara Desai - The Marriage Game

Sara Desai – The Marriage Game

In the last year, I’ve finally opened up to reading romances, preferably with some kind of a twist. In her debut novel, Sara Desai introduces readers to Layla Patel, an Indian-American recruitment consultant who just returned to San Francisco after some devastating events. Her dad helps her in securing office space so she can start a new business… and secretly sets up an online dating profile for her, leading to a series of blind dates. Meanwhile, CEO Sam Mehta ends up sharing Layla’s same office space. They don’t get along well, but eventually the sparks start to fly.

Due out: June 9

Chanel Cleeton - The Last Train to Key West

Chanel Cleeton – The Last Train to Key West

I’ve had Chanel Cleeton’s books on my list for a few years now. I own and intend to (finally) read Next Year in Havana this year, and will run out to get When We Left Cuba after that. Next on my list is her upcoming novel, The Last Train to Key West, set in 1935. It follows three women: a Key West native who just wants to get out; a Cuban immigrant getting to know her mysterious new husband; and a woman from NYC hoping recover her family following the Wall Street crash. These characters cross paths over the course of a weekend, teasing out the danger that threatens them.

Due out: June 16

Enjoy these dazzling spring releases! If you’re looking for new books that are already out, check out my list of most intriguing books released this winter.

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