Don't Know Tough by Eli CranorThe game plan: Just before the state high school football playoffs, the Christian head coach of a small-town Arkansas team and his family try to help troubled Billy Lowe, a star running back whose abusive home life translates to dangerous aggression on the field.
Foul (on the) play: When the cruel boyfriend of Billy's mother is found murdered, Billy is the main suspect, but what really happened?
For fans of: acclaimed rural noir debuts; crime novels with unforgettable characters and evocative settings, such as S.A. Cosby's novels and David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Winter Counts.
The Old Woman With the Knife by Gu Byeong-MoWhat it's about: Jogak (alias "Hornclaw") is an aging assassin who is looking forward to a quiet retirement after a 45-year career. The tranquil future she's planned for is at risk, however, after she forms an unexpected connection with an emergency room doctor and his family.
Read it for: an incisive look at the precarious position of older women in Korean society and surprising moments of absurdist humor.
About the author: Gu Byeong-mo is a bestselling South Korean writer of novels, young adult fiction, and short stories. The Old Woman with a Knife is her English-language debut.
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell by Taj McCoyLiving well is the best revenge: After a crushing breakup, Savannah "Savvy" Sheldon embarks on a whole-life makeover, which includes a kitchen renovation, a flirtation with a sexy contractor, and finally learning to put herself first.
Is it for you? Savvy's fat-shaming ex inspires her pursuit of a "revenge body" that requires a strict diet and exercise regimen.
For fans of: heroines achieving their best lives with the help of supportive pals, as in Cathy Yardley's Gouda Friends.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John MandelWhat it is: a "luminous" (New York Times) novel by the author of the bestselling Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel, with subtle links to both novels.
Why you might like it: This metafictional, genre-bending novel-in-stories offers "rich metaphysical speculation in small, beautifully observed human moments" (Publishers Weekly).
For fans of: David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Sequoia Nagamatsu's How High We Go in the Dark.
The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe, Yohanca Delgado, Eve L. Ewing, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, and Sheree Renée Thomas.What it is: a highly anticipated anthology inspired by Janelle Monáe's Grammy-nominated album (and accompanying short film) Dirty Computer.
Why you might like it: An all-star line-up of co-authors -- including Alaya Dawn Johnson, Eve L. Ewing, and Sheree Renée Thomas -- joins Monáe in this "celebration of queer and Afrofuturist science fiction" (Publishers Weekly).
The Fell by Sarah MossWhat it is: a timely and candid tale of relatable quarantine ennui that smoothly gives way to an atmospheric survival story set in Northern England.
Starring: Kate, a 40-something divorcée whose cabin fever drives her to break quarantine to go on a forbidden hike; her teenage son Matt, who has no idea where Kate is and fears the worst; their immunocompromised neighbor Alice, who saw Kate sneaking out of the house but has her own reasons for hesitating to call the police.
Reviewers say: "This portrait of humans and their neighboring wild creatures in their natural landscape and in their altered world is darkly humorous, arrestingly honest, and intensely lyrical" (Kirkus Reviews).
One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips1963 Los Angeles: Black freelance photographer Harry Ingram takes pictures of a car crash that killed a white jazz musician, a guy Harry had served with in Korea. Despite what the LAPD says, Harry thinks it was murder and seeks justice for his friend in a city rife with racism as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Freedom Rally approaches.
Reviewers say: "a particularly satisfying, no-nonsense hero" (Booklist); "propulsive...crackles with authenticity" (Wall Street Journal).
For fans of: James Ellroy; Walter Mosley (especially his Easy Rawlins books); and Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle.
A Duke, The Spy, An Artist, and A Lie by Vanessa RileyMarry in haste... biracial Jamaican heiress Cecilia Thomas weds Felton Lance, Lord Gantry, in a marriage of convenience that proves to be anything but when his missions for the Crown send him abroad for extended periods of time. At least he won't notice if she embarks on an undercover investigation of her own. (Or will he?)
Should you start here? This intricately plotted 3rd book in the Regency-set Rogues and Remarkable Women series will be easier to follow if you start with A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, followed by An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler.
Blood Sugar by Sascha RothchildWhat it's about: Sure she's killed before, but Miami psychotherapist Ruby Simon truly had nothing to do with the recent death of her husband Jason. Unrepentant about the "accidental" deaths she's engineered in the past, now she must find a way to prove that Jason really did die of diabetes complications.
Is it for you? Although her complex personality and motivations might make sympathizing with her surprisingly easy, Ruby has no regrets about the crimes she did commit and is not the most reliable narrator.
About the author: Blood Sugar is the debut novel of Sascha Rothchild, who is best known for writing and producing the Netflix original series GLOW.
The Cartographers by Peng ShepherdThe premise: Cartographer Nell Young has a strained relationship with her father Daniel, a well-regarded scholar in their shared field, but she is understandably upset after learning her father was found dead at his desk at the New York Public Library.
The problem: Though Daniel's death appears to be from natural causes, Nell grows suspicious after discovering a hidden cache of extremely valuable maps among her father's papers. After consulting with Daniel's dedicated acolytes and esteemed former colleagues, Nell starts connecting the dots.
For fans of: authors like Natasha Pulley and Erin Morgenstern; thrillers that take deep dives into specialized topics or obscure careers.
City On Fire by Don WinslowWhat it is: the highly anticipated 1st in a new trilogy by acclaimed author Don Winslow, which offers a gritty version of Homer's Iliad set in 1986 Providence, Rhode Island, featuring rival Irish and Italian gangs.
What happens: When a beautiful woman comes between a Moretti and a Murphy, it sets off a mob war. Though he's Irish, Danny Ryan has done some work for the Italians, and pitted between the two, he loses any chance for the normal life he'd dreamed of for himself and his family.
Read this next: Jo Nesbo's Macbeth (a Shakespeare retelling set in a rundown Scottish industrial city); Mario Puzo's classic The Godfather.
The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth AlexanderWhat it is: a concise exploration of how Black artists reckon with generational trauma and racist violence.
Who it's for: Readers looking for a hopeful guide to engaging with social justice issues will find much to ponder in this thought-provoking treatise.
Book buzz: Poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander's bittersweet expansion of her titular New Yorker article was named a TIME "Most Anticipated Book of 2022."
You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa ArceWhat it's about: how the myth of the "American Dream" harms people of color and reinforces white supremacy.
Read it for: journalist Julissa Arce's candid account of her own experiences as an undocumented Mexican immigrant and how she learned to reject assimilation into white American culture.
Reviewers say: "challenges the idea of American exceptionalism with equal parts passion, fury, intimacy, and ignored history" (Kirkus Reviews).
Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola DavisWhat it is: a candid and hopeful memoir from revered actress Viola Davis, the first Black performer to achieve the triple crown of acting by winning an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award.
Topics include: Davis' impoverished childhood in Rhode Island spent coping with her alcoholic father's abuse; honing her craft at the prestigious Juilliard School; career triumphs and setbacks.
Try this next: For another memoir written by an iconic Black actress of stage and screen, check out Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson.
Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia EphronHow it began: Shortly after losing both her husband, Jerry, and her sister, writer Nora Ephron, to cancer, You've Got Mail screenwriter Delia Ephron found a second chance at love with Peter, a man from her past.
What happened next: After receiving her own cancer diagnosis, Delia navigated the ups and downs of treatment with a doting Peter by her side (the pair eventually married in her hospital room).
Book buzz: Ephron's intimate memoir was named a "Most Anticipated Book of 2022" by TIME and a "Best Memoir of 2022" by Marie Claire.
The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji López-AltWhat it is: an in-depth look at the wok that covers it all, including buying, cleaning, and using, by the award-winning author of The Food Lab.
What's inside: over 200 recipes; a pantry list; color photos; details on how to stir fry, deep fry, simmer, and braise; info on rice and noodles.
Recipes include: Mandarin Pancakes; Egg Drop Soup; Clams with Garlic, Sake, and Butter; Sesame Chicken; Beef with Broccoli; Japanese Fried Noodles; Thai-Style Omelet; Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sake and Miso; Smoky Bok Choy with Garlic Sauce; Bibimbap.
Hello, Molly! A Memoir by Molly ShannonWhat it's about: After the death of her mother, sister, and cousin in a car crash when she was four, Molly Shannon channeled her grief into a desire to make others laugh, later finding success as an actress, comedian, and Saturday Night Live cast member.
Why you might like it: Equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious, Shannon's page-turning debut offers surprising insights into the inspiration behind her famous characters.
Reviewers say: "Supremely inspiring, this will leave fans astonished" (Publishers Weekly); "a cut above most celebrity memoirs" (Kirkus Reviews).
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. PanStar-crossed lovers: When Hunter Yee transfers to Fairbridge High, Luna Chang catches his eye. They're drawn to each other, even after discovering their families' feud.
What happens: Hunter and Luna's secret relationship prompts mysterious fireflies to follow Luna and an ominous crack to split the earth. Understanding these developments and ending the feud requires turning to Chinese lore.
Read it for: the lyrical, contemporary reimagining of the tale of Houyi and Chang'e, with shades of Romeo and Juliet.
The Last Mapmaker by Christina SoontornvatStarring: 12-year-old Sai, who pretends she's from an upper-class family in order to escape her con man father and become assistant to Paiyoon, mapmaker for the Mangkon Royal Navy.
What happens: Sai joins Paiyoon on a voyage to the legendary, dragon-filled Sunderlands. Along the way she discovers a stowaway, faces disaster, and reconsiders what she's willing to do to succeed.
If you like: award-winning author Christina Soontornvat's other books, you won't want to miss this fast-paced, Thai-inspired fantasy.
Kick Push by Frank MorrisonStarring: Ivan, a skateboarder who's "been grinding the streets with moves so big, his friends call him EPIC."
What it's about: After moving to a new neighborhood, Epic tries to fit in the with kids there, but doesn't find his new crew until he hops on his skateboard and lets his true self -- not to mention his impressive skills -- shine.
Read it for: energetic onomatopoeia, a hopeful "new kid" story, and dynamic, graffiti-inspired illustrations.
Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace FlemingWhat it is: the compelling true crime tale of two young men who plotted the murder of a child in 1924, only to be caught and narrowly escape the death penalty.
Is it for you? This well-researched nonfiction book blends the suspense of a thriller with the drama of courtroom proceedings, all while examining social issues.
Author alert: Fans of gripping historical narratives will also appreciate author Candace Fleming's The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh and The Family Romanov.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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