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Our 15 Most Anticipated New Reads of April 2020

by  | March 31
Three new books on a table

We hope everyone’s staying safe out there and making a nice-sized dent in their TBR pile during this time of social distancing. Now, just when you may be able to see over your mountain of books, we arrive with 15 highly anticipated must-reads coming out this April. In this list, you’ll find hot upcoming releases from well-established authors, as well as buzzworthy debuts that deserve some extra love this month. If you find a book rec in here that gets you pumped, pre-order from your beloved indie bookstore on Bookshop and start your very own countdown to the publication date. Let us know which book(s) you are most excited about by tagging us on social! #GetLit

If It Bleeds

If It Bleeds

by Stephen King

Justin’s Pick

Stephen King just doesn’t let up. Throughout his incredibly prolific career, the master storyteller has consistently returned to the novella format between novels, and this April, If It Bleeds will continue that tradition. The book of four sure-to-be spine-chilling works of short fiction is a bit of a mystery box, as we don’t know much about the themes of these new tales yet, but any excuse to read one of the best writers exercise his brilliance on the page is reason enough to get excited. Personally, King’s previous novellas have been some of my favorite works from him, such as the twisted “Apt Pupil,” included in Different Seasons and the deeply unsettling “The Library Policeman” from Four Past Midnight. His short stories grip you, twist the knife in, and are over before you know it — leaving one wholly satisfied reader.

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The Roxy Letters

The Roxy Letters

by Mary Pauline Lowry

Courtney’s Pick

Definitely put The Roxy Letters in your spring TBR pile! Told in letters between a woman and her ex, who is living in her guest room, you will immediately feel as though Roxy is one of your best friends: she is slowly becoming fed up both with her job at Whole Foods and her love life. Deciding it’s up to her to make a change, Roxy teams up with two friends and attempts to save her neighborhood in Austin from commercialization, as well as her own life from never-ending monotony. The letters format of the novel is so natural, it feels like Roxy is writing to the reader directly, and you can’t help but want to write her back. (It’s unfortunate that you can’t be pen pals with fictional characters!)

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Sin Eater

Sin Eater

by Megan Campisi

Erin’s Pick

I love historical fiction, particularly those stories that focuses on lesser known or bizarre portions of history, and Sin Eater definitely falls into that category, while also including dystopian elements. After getting caught stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May is sentenced to become a Sin Eater—a person who eats ritual foods after someone dies in order to take on that person's sins. In May's town, Sin Eaters are shunned and silenced, except for the moment they're needed for an "eating." But when a deer heart—a symbol of murder—appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the sin it represents, May finds herself thrust into the web of dark secrets surrounding the royal family. While the specifics of May's life may not be pulled directly from the history books, a quick Google search proves that people who "eat sins" have been present throughout history, and May's story is a fascinating glimpse into this practice.

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Navigate Your Stars

Navigate Your Stars

by Jesmyn Ward

Nicole’s Pick

In May 2018, Jesmyn Ward gave the commencement speech at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her profound message to students focused on the value of hard work and respecting yourself as well as those around you. During her talk, Ward spoke of the difficulties she and her family faced and subsequently overcame. The author is well-known for her fiction works (Sing, Unburied, Sing), but this new book vigorously demonstrates the power of her words in a time when overcoming hardship is at the forefront of our lives. A stunning book with full-color illustrations, Navigate Your Stars showcases Ward’s experiences as a Southern black woman and addresses themes including grit and the importance of family bonds. If you are looking for inspiration right now, Navigate Your Stars provides just that.

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Perfect Tunes

Perfect Tunes

by Emily Gould

Emily’s Pick

I’ve been writing songs and playing guitar since I was fifteen, so I was ecstatic when I discovered this novel about a millennial singer-songwriter in the East Village, which focuses on her struggles navigating the intense NYC world of dating, parenting, music, and friendships. Basically, Perfect Tunes seems to have been written just for me, and so now that I managed to snag an ARC, I’m pumped to read it. Just from the first line alone, I know this is going to be good: “When Laura was sixteen she wrote a perfect song.” Can’t wait to see how this book unfolds!

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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

by Grady Hendrix

Sara’s Pick #1

I cannot lie, I love me some Grady Hendrix. A rising star in the horror genre, Hendrix showcases all his strengths in The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires. Patricia Campbell is as friendly as a Southern housewife can be, but there's something not quite right about her new neighbor, James Harris, no matter how charming he seems. Patricia finds out that James is not exactly human, and that he’s preying on children in the black community. However, the horror of James's predatory actions isn't the only thing that will have you scared—there’s also the great lengths to which everyone else goes to overlook, demean, and otherwise push away Patricia's very real concerns. Believe me when I say you will read this and root for Patricia and all the other moms to win the day...and then burn down their small-minded little town. If you're looking for something that will genuinely scare you, and thoroughly pull you into a world both familiar and infuriating, you need to get a copy.

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Kept Animals

Kept Animals

by Kate Milliken

Zoey’s Pick

If you were as obsessed with Big Little Lies as I was, you're going to love Kept Animals. It's told mostly from the perspective of Rory, a tomboy dream ranch hand growing up in Topanga Canyon, California, in the 90s. She's tough, artistic, and trying to figure out why she's so entranced by the glamorous Vivian Price. A disaster strikes, and it throws Rory's young teenage life off-kilter in ways that she can't process. She grows up, and has a daughter of her own, who, in 2015, tries to piece together all the things her mother has left unsaid. This novel has passion, young love, family drama, and self-discovery—and it will leave you with all the feels.

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Why Fish Don't Exist

Why Fish Don't Exist

by Lulu Miller

Elise’s Pick

Part memoir, part history of science, and part meditation on the meaning of life, Why Fish Don't Exist is a remarkable book that has been lingering in my brain since I first read an ARC late last year. Using the story of David Starr Jordan, a scientist who identified thousands of species of fish over his lifetime, Invisibilia podcast co-founder Lulu Miller dives into the human desire to make order out of chaos. She intertwines Jordan’s story and her research of his life with her own lifelong search for meaning in the face of her struggles with depression and sexuality. Oh, yeah, and there's a possible murder by poisoning and associated cover-up. Don't miss this one. It's beautifully written, sometimes heart-wrenching, and ultimately deeply hopeful.

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No Filter

No Filter

by Sarah Frier

Sabrina’s Pick

I’m probably going to end up sharing this book on Instagram later so my followers can read it. And in my opinion, that act speaks tremendously to the scale of Instagram’s impact. Since the app’s launch in 2010, Instagram has changed the way people approach their lives and interact with the world on a global scale. Each moment is evaluated by its “post worthiness” and the algorithmic probability of how many “likes” it might get. People of all ages and backgrounds have developed aesthetics for their profiles to attract engagement or develop a personal brand.

No Filter is a highly comprehensible story about the journey of remaining true to the mission of the app, and maintaining the objective it began with: sharing people’s perspectives from around the world through their photography. Sarah Frier explores Instagram’s timeline, beginning with two pals and their spark of an idea, and following along as they go on to receive the attention of Mark Zuckerberg less than two years later. Soon thereafter, Instagram sold for $1 billion to Facebook. Now, the 13 people in the company that originally developed the idea are enormously wealthy. But was it worth forfeiting control? This book asks that question, and so many more.

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Feels Like Falling

Feels Like Falling

by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Heather’s Pick #1

Kristy Woodson Harvey’s southern fiction always has a place in this Florida girl’s beach bag, but Feels Like Falling is particularly exciting to me. The plot reminds me a little of the Netflix series Dead to Me, which also centers on two women whose lives unexpectedly collide. I inhaled the episodes as much for their focus on the complicated nature of female friendships as for their thriller elements. In Feels Like Falling, Gray Howard is struggling with the death of her mother from cancer, abandonment by her husband for another woman, and an estrangement from her sister when she accidentally gets a woman fired from her pharmacy job. To try to make up for it, Gray invites Diana Harrington to stay in her guest house until she can get back on her feet. What starts as an act of atonement, though, turns out to be a catalyst for positive change in both women’s lives; the bond they form gives each of them the support they need to start fresh.

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To Have and to Hoax

To Have and to Hoax

by Martha Waters

Heather’s Pick #2

I’ve been itching to get my hands on Martha Waters’s To Have and to Hoax since I first heard about it, and not only because we happen to share a surname. No, there are several other reasons too, such as that it’s a historical Regency rom-com being compared to the works of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn, both of whom I adore. And then there’s the plot: a second-chance-at-love story about an estranged couple, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley, who married for love but whose pride has kept them from reconciling after a huge falling-out four years ago. When Violet receives word that James has suffered a blow to the head in a riding accident, she rushes home to him, only to learn it was a false alarm, which in turn inspires her to feign an illness so that he’ll be concerned about her. Thus begins a scheme to win each other back, and how on earth could I (or you) resist a setup like that?!

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"Cat Person" and Other Stories

by Kristen Roupenian

Anne’s Pick

When the title story, "Cat Person," appeared in the New Yorker in 2017, my friends and I became obsessed: Who was the author Kristen Roupenian and how had she come to possess the more depressing parts of our diaries? Well, the rest of her stories in Cat Person are even more shocking, surreal, and fascinating. If you love stories by Kelly Link (Get in Trouble) and Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties), add the paperback release of Cat Person to your reading list NOW!

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We Came Here to Forget

We Came Here to Forget

by Andrea Dunlop

Molly’s Pick #1

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop (new in paperback) is a searing story about an Olympic hopeful who attempts to rebuild her life after a dark family secret is exposed to the world. Katie Cleary is ambitious and driven, single-mindedly focused on her goal of becoming the best skier in the world. When her dreams shatter, she flees to Buenos Aires and tries to navigate a new life without concrete goals and plans, and without the weight of her family’s past. Told in alternating timeline chapters, readers start to piece together what exactly happened in Katie’s past and how she’ll reclaim her future. A story about tragedy and triumph, We Came Here to Forget is beautifully written and packs an emotional punch.

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The Ingredients of You and Me

The Ingredients of You and Me

by Nina Bocci

Molly’s Pick #2

One book I am really looking forward to reading this spring is the newest in Nina Bocci’s Hopeless Romantics series. Like the first two books (On the Corner of Love and Hate and Meet Me on Love Lane), The Ingredients of You and Me takes place in the vibrant, energetic (and, sadly, fictional) small town of Hope Lake, PA. This time the focus is on Parker Adams. After selling her popular New York City bakery, Parker—successful, caring, and a bit of a firecracker—decides to visit her best friend, Charlotte, in Hope Lake, and begins to feel invigorated by the town and community. The only complication is being so close to her former flame, the lovable Nick Arthur, who has recently moved on to a new relationship. Knowing Nina Bocci’s work, this is sure to be a sweet, funny, romantic story, and I can’t wait to dig in.

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The Sweeney Sisters

The Sweeney Sisters

by Lian Dolan

Sara’s Pick #2

For Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney, their once tight-knit sisterly trio was no longer the same after their mother's death. But when they come together after their famous father William Sweeney dies, they find that their family is a little more extended than they thought: journalist Serena Tucker comes to the wake with some surprising news—she is also William's daughter. As the four try to navigate what this new information means for their father's legacy and their worlds, new bonds of sisterhood are formed. A great, uplifting, and funny read for this dark and anxiety-ridden time, The Sweeney Sisters will make you think about all the different ways we are connected.

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