Every month, librarians from across the country pick 10 upcoming new releases that they’re especially excited to read. This month’s selections include the story of a woman who defies the odds to become a chemist in the 1960s, a heist novel that wonders – is it really stealing if it was stolen from you in the first place?, and a collection of science fiction stories from acclaimed musician, actress, and now author Janelle Monáe.
Top Pick: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
In the 50s and early 60s when women were viewed as little more than
chattel for men’s convenience, Elizabeth Zott had the temerity to become a
chemist. With complex and wonderful characters, her story is funny, sad,
enraging, hopeful, and will have readers cheering for every character and all
women everywhere. For fans of Where’d You Go Bernadette?, The Rosie
Project, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. —Judy G. Sebastian, Eastham Public Library
What to Read While You Wait: Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Matelda, the Cabrelli family’s matriarch, has always been brusque and opinionated. Now, as she faces the end of her life, she is determined to share a long-held secret with her family about her own mother’s great love story.
In the halcyon past, Domenica Cabrelli thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio until her beloved home becomes unsafe when Italy teeters on the brink of World War II. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland to the dangers of wartime Liverpool as Domenica experiences love, loss, and grief while she longs for home. A hundred years later, her daughter, Matelda, and her granddaughter, Anina, face the same big questions about life and their family’s legacy, and the two timelines intersect and weave together in unexpected ways.
I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown
As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: Gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role. But as adults their lives have splintered.
After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect suburban wife: Married to a real-estate lawyer, in a house two blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years. Sam hasn’t spoken to her sister in a year when their father calls out of the blue. Unbeknownst to Sam, Elli’s life lately has been in turmoil. Now she’s checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai, and has stopped answering her phone. As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.
Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
Emma Averell loves her life—her high-powered legal career, her two beautiful children, and her wonderful stay-at-home husband—but it wasn’t always so perfect. When she was just five years old, Emma and her older sister went into foster care because of a horrific incident with their mother. Her sister can remember a time when their mother was loving and “normal,” but Emma can only remember her as one thing—a monster. And that monster emerged right around their mother’s fortieth birthday, the same age Emma is approaching now.
Emma desperately wants to keep her successful life separate from her past, so she has always hidden her childhood trauma. But then she’s unable to sleep, and now losing time during the day, also one of the first symptoms her mother showed. Is the madness in her blood, just as her mother predicted?
To Marry and Meddle by Martha Waters
Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan — a marriage of convenience — to benefit them both.
The Memory Librarian edited by Janelle Monáe
Building off her Afrofuturistic album Dirty Computer, this short story compilation expands on that imagined world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.
Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence…and what it takes to get out of it.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now. Will Chen plans to steal them back.
A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.
Inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green
From afar Talitha’s life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.
When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for the adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous facade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies.
But when her first week on the job takes her along a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children—just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
Just weeks away from ditching DC for greener pastures, Solange Perreira is roped into helping her wedding planner cousin on a random couple’s big day. It’s an easy gig… until she stumbles upon a situation that convinces her the pair isn’t meant to be.
Dean Chapman had his future all mapped out. He was about to check off “start a family” and on track to “make partner” when his modern day marriage of convenience went up in smoke. Then he learns he might not land an assignment that could be his ticket to a promotion unless he has a significant other and, in a moment of panic, Dean claims to be in love with the woman who crashed his wedding. Now Dean has a whole new item on his to-do list: beg Solange to be his pretend girlfriend.
See the full list here: Library Reads April 2022
Descriptions provided by the publishers unless otherwise noted.