The 15 Best Fiction Books of March 2018 To Kick Off Your Spring Reading

by Melissa Ragsdale

March is finally here, which means sunnier days are around the corner. Trust me when I say that the best new fiction books of the month are the best companions for your park days ahead.

There's plenty to get excited about this month, too. Readers are getting new books from some masters of the form — including Lisa Genova, Luis Alberto Urrea, Jesse Ball, Lynne Tillman, and Uzodinma Iweala. Is there anything more enticing than a new book by an author you already love? Even better, in their books, these authors dive head-first into the hearts and minds of some truly unforgettable characters. If you love a book that draws you in with masterful language and deep understanding of the human spirit, you're certainly in luck.

Every time I write a round-up of new reads, I feel like I'm introducing you to a new set of friends. These books are definitely going to be your BFFs this spring. Pack them in your bag as you head off on your spring break travels. Lay out with them in the grass as you soak up those first rays of sun. Cuddle up with them on those rainy March mornings. With a good book tucked under your arm, every day is an adventure:

'Girls Burn Brighter' by Shobha Rao (March 6; Flatiron Books)

The power of friendship is at the heart of this incredible read, set in both India and America. When Poornima's father hires Savitha to work at one of their sari looms, the two girls instantly become friends. But when an act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima puts everything on the line to find her friend again.

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'Rainbirds' by Clarissa Goenawan (March 6; Soho Press)

Debut author Clarissa Goenawan spins a dark, encapsulating story that will certainly reel you in completely. The story follows Japanese graduate student Ren Ishida as he attempts to pick up the pieces of his sister's life — and his own — after her murder.

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'Happiness' by Aminatta Forna (March 6; Atlantic Monthly Press)

Two strangers — Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanian psychiatrist trying to find a friend's missing son — are unexpectedly brought together by a fox crossing at the Waterloo Bridge in this lovely story about friendship and human connection.

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'Census' by Jesse Ball (March 6; Ecco)

In Jesse Ball's new novel, a widower with terminal illness but decide what will become of his adult son, who has Down syndrome. In response to his tragic diagnosis, he takes up a job as a census taker, and sets off with his son to travel the country together on a journey that holds questions at every turn.

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'Speak No Evil' by Uzodinma Iweala (March 6; Harper)

The author of Beasts of No Nation is back with another astounding book, this one set in Washington D.C. The book follows Niru, who is hiding the fact that he is queer from his conservative Nigerian parents. The only person he trusts with the secret is his friend Meredith. But when his father finds out, the fallout sends their friendship spinning.

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'The House of Broken Angels' by Luis Alberto Urrea (March 6; Little, Brown and Company)

This book has been lauded as "the definitive Mexican-American immigrant story." When patriarch "Big Angel" gathers his family for what will likely be his last birthday party, everyone comes together to celebrate his life and their big, loud, proud family.

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'The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues' by Nova Jacobs (March 6; Touchstone)

A mysterious letter. A secret organization. A bookseller tasked with tracking down her famous mathematician grandfather's last equation. This book is certainly a treat, and I know I certainly can't resist a literary thriller.

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'The Merry Spinster' by Mallory Ortberg (March 13; Henry Holt and Co.)

In this new collection, The Toast co-founder Mallory Ortberg puts a dark spin on fairy tales in a feminist horror collection you won't be able to put down.

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'Men and Apparitions' by Lynne Tillman (March 13; Soft Skull Press)

Lynne Tillman lends her remarkable talents to answer questions about today's obsession with images. Through the eyes of cultural anthropologist Ezekiel Hooper Stark, she asks: What is behind the human drive to create, remake, and keep images?

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'The Parking Lot Attendant' by Nafkote Tamirat (March 13; Henry Holt and Co.)

This remarkable book starts off on an undisclosed island, where an unnamed narrator lives with her father. As the story moves forward, readers are transported to the world of Boston's Ethiopian community, where the narrator strikes up a friendship with a charismatic parking lot attendant who is the unofficial king of the community.

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'Laura & Emma' by Kate Greathead (March 13; Simon & Schuster)

This debut from nine-time Moth StorySLAM winner Kate Greathead gives readers a behind-the-scenes peek at the lavish world of Upper East Side society through a series of vignettes. When Laura gets pregnant out of wedlock, she raises her daughter, Emma, by herself within the UES's rich world of private schools and summer homes. But as she grows up, she begins to question the world she lives in.

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'Every Note Played' by Lisa Genova (March 20; Gallery/Scout Press)

When concert pianist Richard is diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), he first loses movement in his right hand. As he faces his impending paralysis, his ex-wife becomes his reluctant caretaker. This book is especially remarkable because as a neuroscientist, author Lisa Genova has keen insight into the realities of ALS.

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'Stray City' by Chelsey Johnson (March 20; Custom House)

Described as an "anti-romantic comedy," this book is an absolutely wonderful read. Twenty-four-year old Andrea Morales has created a life for herself within the underground lesbian community of Portland. But she accidentally gets pregnant, she decides to keep the baby, much to the surprise of her circle of friends. Ten years later, her daughter is asking questions, and Andrea is forced to confront the life she's left behind.

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'Two Moons' by Krystal A. Smith (March 20; BLF)

This is stellar collection of speculative fiction short stories that is sure to knock you out of the water. Centered on black lesbian characters, each of these stories is brilliantly imaginative — from the story of a young woman who falls in love with the moon (and gets a response) to the story of the woman who works for Death in hopes of seeing her terminally ill girlfriend again.

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'The Gunners' by Rebecca Kauffman (March 20; Counterpoint Press)

At the heart of this fantastic read is Mikey Callahan, a 31-year-old whose vision is clouding from macular degeneration. After one of his childhood friends commits suicides, he reconnects with their old group. As he navigates the secrets his friend left behind and the dark circumstances of his past, Mikey and his friends are led down an emotional path.

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