1. Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett (March 1; Graywolf Press)
In both concept and execution, this book is stunning. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, this is the story of a young black man, Furo, who wakes up one morning to find that he's turned white — minus his name, his background, and his ass. As Furo navigates the new world as a white man, he lands a job, moves in with a woman, and finds himself pursued by a writer named Igoni. Told with fantastic voice, this book gives a complex look into the forces whirling within contemporary society, from race to social media. This book is irresistible — read this excerpt and you'll see exactly what I mean.
2. The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (March 1; Simon & Schuster)
"Slippery" is the best adjective to describe the main character of this book — a woman who sheds her identity again and again. As you follow her across the country, in and out of names and hotel rooms, you'll be questioning her motives every step of the way. Why would she flee after her husband's death, when she had nothing to do with it? Who is the mysterious voice she calls to get a new name? And what is she really running from? Thrilling and addictive, this is the thriller you've been longing for.
3. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing (March 1; Picador)
What does it mean to be lonely? This book is a deep and resounding exploration of loneliness and all that it holds. Part-memoir, part biography, Laing explores her own experience as well as those of iconic artists, including Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Edward Hopper, Henry Darger and Klaus Nom. With a particular focus on NYC, this book is as dazzling as it is unique.
4. The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson (March 7; University of Kentucky Press)
From the award-winning author of Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street, this sweeping novel will take your breath away. Centered on several generations of women who live in a black Southern township called Opulence, this book is set apart by the strength of its characters and its lyrical style. From the reputable Goode-Brown family's struggle to overcome dark secrets to single mother Francine Clark's journey to raise her daughter, this novel is fueled by relationships intense and complex.
5. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (March 8; Riverhead Books)
6. We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (March 8; Algonquin Books)
7. High Dive by Jonathan Lee (March 8; Knopf)
8. Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton (March 15; Catapult)
9. Shelter by Jung Yun (March 15; Picador)
This astounding debut novel has been turning heads left and right. When Kyung Cho, a young, struggling father welcomes his own estranged parents into his home, he must confront the lack of affection in his childhood and how it has affected his own fatherhood. This book navigates family with unique and unrelenting fervor.
10. An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao (March 15; Flatiron Books)
This collection of stories is centered on the 1947 division of India and Pakistan, and the mass displacement of families that resulted because of it. Each piece tells its own unique story, ranging from India, Pakistan, the United States, Italy, and England. Rao delivers a remarkable and empathetic exploration of a historical moment's powerful ability to resound across generations.
11. Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong (March 21; W.W. Norton)
The mother-daughter relationship in this debut novel will tie your heart in all kinds of knots. When a mother's good intentions go catastrophically wrong, she and her daughter must find a way to mend their fractured relationship. Pushed forward by its amazingly crafted characters, you're going to hold on tightly to Hold Still.
12. The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan (March 22; Viking)
This one will hit you hard. In 1996, one of many "small bombs" goes off in a Delhi marketplace, claiming the lives of Mansoor's classmates. When Mansoor later goes to the U.S., he finds himself entangled with a passionate activist with malleable allegiances. Woven into the story is Shockie, a Kashmiri bomb maker who has given his life for a cause. Powerful, breathtaking, and unforgettable, this book pulls out dynamic insight on the effects of terrorism on its victims.
13. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (March 22; Ecco)
All it will take is a few pages of this book's strikingly hypnotic prologue, and you'll be sucked in. This is the story of the Plumbs, a wealthy, tangled family whose lives are filled with tensions and scandals. Now, with their trust fund at risk, the Plumb siblings must confront each other and their own wild pasts. Better than reality TV, you won't be able to stop reading this until you've sucked out all the juicy drama.
14. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (March 22; G.P. Putnam's Sons)
"Reader, I murdered him." In this delectable novel, Lyndsay Faye draws on Jane Eyre to create a searing 19th-century story of a young woman's murderous past. Bronte fans and unfamiliar readers alike will be sucked into Jane's rich story, filled with love and secrets a plenty. This book will take you on a dark and unforgettable journey.
15. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (March 29; Knopf)
After being shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, this breathtaking book is coming stateside to blow your mind. This is the story of 13 young men who have fled India and are living together in the U.K. Each character holds their own secrets, as their bold dreams fuel their struggle in the face of adversity. Exquisitely written, Year of the Runaways will quickly become one of your favorite books.