Spring Into Reading with March’s Best New Books

Spring into reading with March’s Best New Books

In Reading Lists, Reading Lists - Best New Books by Dana Hamilton

Spring Into Reading with March’s Best New Books

This month’s reading picks have so much variety — from Pfizer’s CEO pulling back the curtain on one of the most incredible achievements in modern medicine to LGBT romance, electrifying thrillers to tips on working through grief, and from a fresh new take on an Agatha Christie whodunit to a gender-swapped “Three Musketeers,” for example. Whether you’re road-tripping on spring break or reading in the park, there is plenty to add to your saved list.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Searle

The author of “In Five Years” is back with another time-bending adventure – and this time it takes place in dreamy Positano, Italy. When Katy Silver takes a solo trip to Italy while grieving the death of her mother, she inexplicably encounters her mother’s 30-year-old self (as well as a handsome hero, of course). Searle delivers another heartfelt story about deep love and the meaning of life.

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Black Market by Merl Code

“I’m not going to apologize for doing my job and challenging a corrupt system,” says Merle Code. “I’m just not.” Days after “Black Market” publishes, the former Adidas executive is headed to prison for what the NCAA considers fraud, conspiracy, and bribery — and what Code believes is fairly compensating college basketball students on behalf of a shoe company. In his riveting new book, Code exposes the corrupt and racist secret economy running college basketball and provides an eye-opening read just in time for March Madness.

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Gut Renovation by Dr. Roshini Raj 

Twenty-five percent of Americans suffer from digestive issues, which is worrying when you consider the gut microbiome is the foundation of excellent brain health, emotional stability, and even a strong immune system. Unlike most guides on healing the gut, Dr. Roshini Raj offers simple and straightforward tips that won’t raise your stress levels (which, turns out, is bad for your microbiome anyway). 

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Humanity is Trying by Justin Gots 

After the loss of his sister and best friend, Jason Gots, creator of the podcasts “Think Again” and “Clever Creature,” turned to his community, spirituality, art, and psychedelics to get through the overwhelming pain and exhaustion. His new memoir is a comforting read filled with honesty about the human experience and an ode to regaining one’s footing in an uncertain world.

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The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni 

One morning in October 2017, “New York Times” columnist Frank Bruni awoke with blurry vision, only to learn he’d suffered a stroke that severely damaged his optic nerve. His raw new memoir about the emotional and psychological toll of losing his eyesight is a heartfelt exploration of aging and an uplifting ode to humans’ ability to adapt. 

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Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Olivia Prior is a young, mute artist at the Merilance School for Independent Girls when she receives an invitation to move into her uncle Arthur’s manor, Gallant. Though Gallant’s inhabitants — both human and otherworldly — aren’t exactly welcoming, Olivia is determined to unravel the truth of her long-lost family. Award-winning Schwab (author of the “Shades of Magic” and “Villains” series, plus many other works) unites horror and whimsy in this engaging story.

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The Lost Dreamer by Liz Huerta

In an intricate world inspired by Mesoamerican legend, Indir the Dreamer and Saya the Seer have gifts of prophecy and foresight. But the new King Alcan is determined to destroy them and all other women who share their abilities. “The book is, above all, a love story to family,” says Huerta in an interview with the “San Diego Union-Tribune.” “I mainly wanted a love story to family, to sisterhood, to aunts, because that’s what I was raised with. I was raised with these really strong women.” 

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The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen 

Therapist Avery Chambers has some unorthodox — some may say unprofessional — methods, including tailing patients to check up on them. When a married couple comes to the part-mental-health-professional, part-detective, Avery soon discovers their marital problems may possibly be tied to a murder. Fans of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen will delight in this nail-biter that has the high-energy feel of the duo’s earlier work. 

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The Wok by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt 

Author of “The Food Lab” and “New York Times” columnist J. Kenji Lopez-Alt returns with a guide that combines essential cooking techniques alongside a culinary history of the wok. In addition to learning everything you need to know about wok cooking, the 200 recipes will help you recreate favorite takeout dishes like kung pao chicken, pad Thai, and garlic noodles at home in no time. 

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Told through various points of view — including a young man convicted of murder and a city councilman having an affair — Ladee Hubbard’s “The Last Suspicious Holdout” follows the residents of an isolated Southern Black community through decades of inequity and unrest. The rich dialogue and relatable characters in this collection of connected short stories offer an immersive experience.

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Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi 

“I really believe that books might not save us from death, but they help us live,” says Azar Nafisi in her newest release “Read Dangerously.” Throughout history, fiction has served as a way to combat oppressive forces and help people believe in a better tomorrow. By evoking the wisdom found in the works of James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Atwood, and coupling it with her expert analysis, Nafisi’s excellent collection about the power of fiction ignites a much-needed flicker of hope.

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Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz 

As a journalist, Jill Gutowitz covered entertainment with a witty flair for outlets like “The New Yorker,” “Vanity Fair,” and “Vulture.” In her debut collection of essays, she couples her expert knowledge of pop culture with her own coming-of-age tale, and what results is a laugh-out-loud collection of comedic essays about growing up as a queer person in the early 2000s. From Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson’s relationship to a list entitled “The Ten Most Important Sapphic Paparazzi Photos in Modern History,” this witty and candid book is perfect for anyone in the mood for early aughts nostalgia.

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At 65, Hornclaw is ready to step away from nearly half a century of being an assassin when a chance encounter with a doctor makes her rethink everything about her line of work and the value of life. When “The Old Woman and the Knife'' was originally published in Korean, it became an international bestseller, and it’s easy to see why: This violent, very original thriller about aging and compassion unexpectedly has a lot of heart.

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Moonshot by Dr. Albert Bourla 

In 2020, Dr. Albert Bourla — the CEO of Pfizer — found himself spearheading the unexpected, seemingly insurmountable task of making a COVID vaccine as quickly as humanly possible. “Moonshot” is the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of one of the most important achievements in modern medicine and is just as riveting as you’d expect.

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Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Only Lore Garcia and Bastián Silvano (two neurodivergent, trans nonbinary teenagers) have glimpsed the mysticisms that lie underneath Lakelore. When the magical world below threatens to breach the surface, Lore and Bastián must reunite after seven years apart. A win for representation, McLemore’s book expertly harnesses magical realism to explore themes of identity, family support, and growing up.

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A virus ravages the Earth, and survivors Andrew and Jamie are thrown together when an injured, near-dead Andrew collapses on Jamie’s doorstep. Brown’s story of survival, budding love, and loyalty takes the typical “zombie apocalypse” narrative to new, refreshing depths. 

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Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye 

Fifteen-year-old Sloan must hide her secret power to incinerate her enemies at will, but when she is taken captive by the Lucis army she knows she must use it to take down the regime from within. Rising the ranks is hard, but the growing weight on her conscience proves to be harder. In this impressive debut, Deborah Falaye beautifully explores what it means to stay true to ourselves and how far we’ll go to protect the people we love.

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One for All by Lillie Lainoff 

In 17th-century France, sixteen-year-old Tania aspires to become a musketeer like her father despite a frustrating chronic illness. Her wish comes true when she’s accepted to an exclusive finishing school that teaches girls to seduce and sword fight in the name of their country, but Talia’s first assignment unexpectedly tests her loyalty. This gender-bent reimagining of “The Three Musketeers” led by a disabled protagonist provides both an entertaining mystery and a charming romance.

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From Dust, a Flame by Rebecca Podos

From Lambda Award-winning author Podos comes a contemporary YA fantasy steeped in Jewish folklore. Upon turning 17, Hannah suddenly has snake-like eyes. Her mother goes off to find a cure, but doesn’t return. This takes Hannah and her brother, Gabe, on a journey that reveals their family’s Jewish heritage and supernatural history.

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Imaginable by Jane McGonigal 

Jane McGonigal made a living predicting how people might react to unimaginable circumstances. In 2008, the game designer and author of “New York Times” bestseller “Reality is Broken” even ran a simulation that accurately predicted many aspects of the pandemic. In her newest release, McGonigal shares how the act of imagining the future can change yourself and the world, as well as practical and illuminating tips that will inspire even the most die-hard nihilist.

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Secret Identity by Alex Segura 

Obsessed with comic books since she was a young girl, Carmen Valdez’s new job at Triumph Comics is a dream come true, even if she’s just a lowly assistant. But when an editor approaches Carmen to ghostwrite a new superhero, it becomes a hit, and the editor dies under mysterious circumstances – and before publicly acknowledging Carmen’s role in Triumph’s new “it” character – her dream job soon becomes much more than she bargained for. This noir murder mystery slash coming-of-age story’s slow burn is a fun ride for all readers, especially comic book fans.

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The White Girl by Tony Birch

Tony Birch makes his U.S. debut with a harrowing story about the brutality and discrimination suffered by Indigineous people in Australia as recently as the 1960s. As you read the struggles of Odette, an Aboriginal woman determined to prevent her white-passing granddaughter from being removed from her care (which was often done in those days), you’ll learn an important, deeply buried piece of history as well as feel the pull of this heartbreaking story.

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Nine Lives by Peter Swanson 

Nine strangers receive an identical list of names (including their own) in the mail from an unknown sender. Some are spooked by the anonymous correspondence while others don’t bat an eye — that is, until the seemingly unconnected recipients start dying one by one. Inspired by Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” this fast-paced reincarnation does the classic justice.

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Pay Up by Reshma Saujani 

Reshma Saujani, founder of “Girls Who Code” and the first Indian American woman to run for Congress in New York City, is sick of the term “girlboss.” Believing that women can only be properly supported via radical changes in government, American culture, and not through more hustle, this fierce and focused manifesto will rev up readers who are also passionate about equity in the workplace.

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A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande 

It’s 1846 and the Mexican-American War causes a recently widowed healer and an Irish immigrant fighting for Mexico’s freedom to cross paths. Inspired by real people, author Reyna Grande explores a lesser-known chapter of American history with an engrossing, heart-wrenching love story amid a backdrop of war and peril.

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The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd 

After an argument over a map, Nell Young is fired by her father, a cartographic scholar at New York Public Library. Seven years later, Nell’s father is found dead in his office, and Nell has a gut instinct that it has something to do with the map. If you enjoyed Peng Shepard’s previous mystery, “Book of M,” you probably won’t be able to put down this thrilling tale filled with memorable characters, twists and turns, and even a little bit of magic.

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The Other Side of Yet by Michelle D. Hord 

After Michelle D. Hord’s ex-husband murdered their daughter, it was difficult for her to find any purpose in life. Guiding readers through her difficult journey of enduring such a horrifying loss, Hord refuses to sugarcoat the story yet gracefully deals with delicate topics. Readers struggling with grief will find plenty of hard-earned wisdom in this story of survival and reclaiming one’s life after unspeakable tragedy.

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The United States may proclaim itself a melting pot where all people are welcome, but journalist Julissa Arce knows better. Drawing upon her experience as an undocumented immigrant for 20 years, “You Sound Like A White Girl” is an impassioned argument that assimilating to American culture means imitating white Americans (or else risk discrimination). This call for change is timely, gripping, and an important read for anyone who considers America home.

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The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn 

When the Germans invade Russia in 1937, Mila enlists in the army, where she soon earns the nickname “Lady Death” for how well she knows her way around a sniper rifle. Inspired by a real female sharpshooter in WWI, historical fiction fans will enjoy the vodka-swigging, humorous Mila and the vividly written cast of characters she encounters throughout her extraordinary life, including Eleanor Roosevelt. 

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So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

After slaying the ruler of a kingdom with no heirs, Arek’s celebrations are cut short once he realizes he must soul bond with a mate before his eighteenth birthday or risk death. Arek wants to choose Matt, his longtime friend, but will Matt choose him back out of obligation or true affection? Escaping to F.T. Lukens’ beautifully imagined world where queer love and polyamory are accepted — and romance proves to still be a delightful comedy of errors — is a treat for fantasy readers looking for something a little less traditional.

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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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