April’s Best New Books Include Many Highly Anticipated Titles

April’s Best New Books include many highly anticipated titles

In Reading Lists - Best New Books by Dana Hamilton

April’s Best New Books Include Many Highly Anticipated Titles

April isn’t guaranteed to be foolproof, but what we can depend on is a new batch of books to read. This month is full of celebrity memoirs and other highly anticipated titles.

From Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan’s sophomore novel and the journal entries of Alice Walker to deeply personal works from Viola Davis, Janelle Monae, and Amy Schumer’s head writer, there’s plenty of star power in April’s newest releases.

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Mungo, a 15 year-old living in an abusive Protestant household in early 1990s Glasgow, only knows violence, yet he somehow retains his gentle heart. The discovery of his verboten friendship with James, a Catholic boy and kindred spirit, leads to a powerful ending. Stuart’s exploration of masculinity among working-class men and the turmoil between Catholics and Protestants in Scotland is as beautifully written as it is tragic. 

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The Candy House by Jennifer Egan 

After winning a Pulitzer for A Visit From the Goon Squad, Egan is back with an incredible follow-up. Her story about a new platform called “Own Your Unconscious” — where users can upload their memories to the cloud — delightfully twists through various points of view (including cameos from beloved Goon Squad characters). She employs unexpected storytelling techniques, like a chapter told entirely in tweets. This tongue-in-cheek commentary on the need for community and connection just may be another Pulitzer contender.

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Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang 

After Daiyu’s parents disappear, she finds herself alone and struggling to survive in 1880s America. Inspired by the revered (and possessed) protagonist of Cao Xueqin’s 18th-century novel Dream of the Red Chamber, Zhang’s Four Treasures of the Sky artfully portrays the struggles of Chinese immigrants in the face of white supremacy, and makes for a fierce and moving debut.

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Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones 

Doctors warned Jones from an early age to not expect a normal life due to a rare birth defect that caused abnormal curvature in her lower spine. After enjoying a traditional college experience, becoming a mother, and being selected as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020, she learned that success and being perceived as attractive don’t have to be at odds. Jones’s takedown of traditional beauty is razor-sharp and witty.

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She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick 

Spouses Lippincott (coauthor of Five Feet Apart) and Derrick (debut) write from the heart about two older teens dealing with tough topics like alcoholism and racism in this sapphic, opposites attract romantic comedy. “She Gets the Girl” follows first-year college students, Alex and Molly, as they try to navigate the liminal space between childhood and adulthood, past pains and future growth. 

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K-Pop Revolution by Stephan Lee 

Behind the glitz and glamor of K-pop, there’s draining demands and drama. Newly minted idol Candace learns quickly how hard it is to create positive change in the industry. Author Lee’s love of K-pop shines through in this sequel to K-pop Confidential that dares to shake things up.

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Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson 

There’s one big difference between a Ladybird Scout and a Girl Scout: Ladybird Scouts put their lives on the line fighting mulligrubs, strange creatures from a different dimension that often don’t come in peace. Off-kilter monster lore, an authentically diverse cast of characters, and tons of action make Anderson’s “Scout’s Honor” one of the most distinctive and fun reads of the year.

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Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott 

In demonstrating the juxtaposition between the heartbreaking and joyful parts of life, Philpott’s Bomb Shelter runs the gamut in terms of tone and topics. From poignant realizations about the fragility of life after her son’s first seizure and an ode to a family dog who could only eat while listening to Kanye West, this book about life’s uncertainties has a lot of heart.

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Shortly after her 40th birthday, the universe threw Niequist a series of unexpected and devastating curveballs. After realizing her core beliefs and practices would no longer help her navigate through middle age, chronic pain, and heartbreak, she developed a new set of tools rooted in courage and self-compassion. I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet honestly portrays the difficulty of unlearning what’s no longer helpful and is an inspiring read for anyone on their midlife self-care journey.

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Fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple will enjoy this collection of journal entries spanning three decades of the literary genius’ life, if not only for her brutal honesty about being a writer. This deeply personal account of her struggles and enlightening encounters with her contemporaries — including Langston Hughes and Toni Morrison — offer a compelling look at her life and writing process. 

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Love Me as I Am by Garcelle Beauvais

Before Beauvais became the first Black woman on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” she was once a 17-year-old Haitian immigrant discovered by Ford Models during a time when Black models were rarely on runways. Love Me as I Am chronicles her journey to success with her signature candidness — Beauvais isn’t afraid to tackle difficult topics like marital issues, infertility, and racism. In true “Real Housewives” fashion, expect major real talk about her fellow housewives and the celebrities she met along the way.

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God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez 

In this sequel to Peter Pan, an adult Michael Darling is called back to Neverland to finish what he and Pan — now missing — started. Martinez’s imaginative retelling includes Celtic mythology, hidden magical worlds, and encounters with familiar friends and enemies. A charming read for fans of the original children’s tale.

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Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda 

Half-vampire, half-human, 23-year-old performance artist Lydia survives by drinking pig’s blood (at the behest of her overbearing mother). But when she sets out on her own in London and the store where she's been getting her food runs out, she’s torn: Should she try to fit into the human world or honor her legacy? Kohda’s debut is a fun, thrilling adventure with an ending readers won’t see coming.

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An Unlasting Home by Mai Al-Nakib 

In an alternate reality, blasphemy has been made a capital crime in Kuwait. After living in California, philosophy professor Sara returns to Kuwait to feel closer to her family when the unthinkable happens: A student believes her lesson on Neitzsche breaks the law. With alternating perspectives between Sara and her great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents, Al-Nakib’s debut is an emotional look at family, the difficult decisions made by immigrants and refugees, and a commentary on the limits of personal choice.

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If you’re the “mom” of your friend group, Pedrayes gets it. Her debut lifestyle guide is full of tips similar to the content on her wildly successful TikTok account, but readers will be able to learn some new things in the realms of cybersecurity, travel safety, and personal safety.

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Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse 

The year-long wait for the second book in Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky series is finally over. Fevered Star jumps right back into the Black Sun universe with its vivid world-building and excellent characters, including a show-stealing, love-to-hate villain. After a tense series of political maneuvers told from varying points of view, the cliffhanger ending is explosive enough to keep readers hooked.

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Spear by Nicola Griffith 

As Peretur’s magical abilities grow, so does her ambition to disguise herself as a man and become a knight on King Arto’s court. After a litany of tests and challenges, she soon discovers her hardest quest yet: revealing her true identity to her over-protective mother. If you’re looking for a diverse fantasy that expertly weaves themes of belonging and home, this queer, gender-swapped retelling of the Medieval tale of Percival and the Holy Grail is a must. 

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The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe 

While The Memory Librarian is composed of five sci-fi shorts set in the same dystopian world as the 8-time Grammy nominee’s “Dirty Computer” album and short film, readers don’t need to be familiar with the works to enjoy it. Each story is co-written with a different author that brings their own style and flair, and this ode to queer Afrofuturism sends a hopeful message while illuminating the importance of community and love.

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Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson 

The death of her father may be what brings Glory Akíndélé back to London from the new life she started in Los Angeles. But bringing her dysfunctional family together again is what keeps her there. Benson’s meditation on the meaning of home expertly portrays the power of family secrets, the enduring devotion of an immigrant family, and even the delight of a sweet love story for a protagonist pulled in many directions.

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Deaf Utopia by Nyle DiMarco 

DiMarco’s been dreaming of a Deaf Utopia long before winning “America’s Next Top Model” or partnering with Netflix to bring Deaf talent on screen. By weaving stories from his childhood, his coming out journey, and little-known Deaf history — including experiences from his own multigenerational Deaf family forbidden from using ASL at school until it was legitimized in the 1960s — DiMarco creates an unforgettable memoir about personal identity.

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As a law student, voice actor, journalist, and “Catapult” editor-in-chief, Isen has seen plenty of lip service in the legal community, cartoon industry, and literary world, and she’s not afraid to expose it. This fearless essay collection about the dangers of performative justice is a timely, necessary, and darkly funny read.

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Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta

Debating Darcy is a unique reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, where the comedy of manners plays out in high school speech and debate clubs between two Desi students, Leela Bose and Firoze Darcy. DasGupta’s novel is both a faithful retelling and an original take on sexism, racism, and classism.

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Queen of the Tiles Hanna Alkaf 

The titular queen of the tiles winds up dying during the final round of a Scrabble tournament, and official findings rule that it was from natural causes. But when her Instagram account suddenly starts posting again, her friend Najwa Bakri takes notice. This mystery is for anyone who loves Scrabble, Wordle, and The Queen’s Gambit.

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Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley 

Magic is forbidden from aiding the making of music in this queer stand-alone fantasy. Sofi, whose father is a member of the Guild of Musiks, suspects Lara of cheating during her audition for the Guild. But while on tour with Lara, Sofi begins to doubt the narrative she’s spun about her own abilities and Lara’s potential deceit. A thoughtfully paced tale of introspection.

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Finding Me by Viola Davis 

“It’s an eenie, meenie, miny, mo game of luck, relationships, chance, how long you’ve been out there, and sometimes talent,” says Davis when pressed to describe her professional triumphs. While the Oscar and Tony winner remains modest, her emotional memoir chronicling her journey from growing up in a rat-infested apartment to Julliard and beyond is an uplifting story of hard work and dedication. 

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I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein 

Head writer for “Inside Amy Schumer” and bestselling author of You’ll Grow Out of It returns with a bold collection of essays on “the sheer and unending exhaustion” of motherhood. With essay topics like her frustration with overly complicated car seats, her son’s extreme food pickiness, and a defense of her nightly glass of wine, this irreverent collection is a refreshing and brutally honest take on parenthood.

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When tragedy struck CNN anchor Zain E. Asher’s family, her newly widowed mother and fearless matriarch Obiajulu vowed to make life better for her four children despite the poverty and racism they faced in South London. Asher’s memoir lays out the hardship that led to her illustrious career and is an inspiring ode to familial devotion.

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Blood Will Tell by Heather Chavez

Frankie Barrera’s world is rocked when a description of her car is mentioned in an Amber Alert associated with the disappearance of a 17-year-old girl. She questions her sister, the other person with access to the car in their small town, but gets nowhere. Between the realistic portrayal of the bonds of sisterhood and sharp plot twists, this psychological thriller is an enjoyable ride with plenty of depth.

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About the Author: Dana Hamilton

Dana is a Los Angeles-based writer who loves everything about books, especially the publishing process! Before she became a journalist with outlets like New York Magazine, VICE, and Fodor's Travel, she helped authors bring their stories to life as an editor at HarperCollins and Hachette. In her free time, she loves to cook (and her New York Times Cooking subscription), listen to comedy podcasts while stuck in LA traffic, and do yoga.
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