School shootings, addiction, and the uphill battle for gender equality have, unfortunately, become increasingly pervasive elements of the American fabric in recent years, and this week's new book releases certainly reflect that reality.
In this week's fiction releases, you'll find the highly-anticipated new novel from Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion, as book as vivid and complex as its kaleidoscopic cover, as well as two very different young adult novels, Dread Nation and The Summer of Jordi Perez, both of which tackle tough issues — race and sexuality and weight, respectively — with the care and consideration they deserve through two propulsive tales you can devour in a single sitting.
In this week's nonfiction releases, you'll find a handful of memoirs that will certainly have people talking, including The Recovering, the follow-up to essayist Leslie Jamison's acclaimed essay collection, The Empathy Exams, as well as several written by public figures — like Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Gilmore Girls actress Lauren Graham, and Boston Globe columnist Meredith Goldstein.
Whatever you're in the mood to read this week, there's certainly a new book that will pique your interest. Here are 13 new book releases everyone will be talking about this week (and for weeks to come):
'The Female Persuasion' by Meg Wolitzer
Already praised by Lena Dunham in the pages of The New York Times, selected by Barnes & Noble as their first nationwide book club pick, and ranked by Goodreads' users as one of the most anticipated books of spring, The Female Persuasion is perhaps the single most talked-about book of the year so far — and it absolutely lives up to the hype. Meg Wolitzer's timely tale of female mentorship and the limits of the corporatized women's equality movement is sure to become a feminist classic.
'The Recovering' by Leslie Jamison
Through the course of nearly 500 pages, essayist and novelist Leslie Jamison charts the racially-charged and gendered history of alcoholism in the literary world, while simultaneously delivering a wrenching chronicle of her own struggles with alcohol addiction. Unlike so many other addiction memoirs, The Recovering trades exploitation for empathy, and in doing so, delivers the compassionate and searing account of alcoholism and society's role in perpetuating addiction that's so desperately needed right now.
'Unwifeable' by Mandy Stadtmiller
I'm not just telling you to read this because I'm a sucker for anything with a Cheryl Strayed blurb. Mandy Stadtmiller arrived in New York at the age of 30, freshly divorced and excited about a new opportunity as a features writer at the New York Post. But while her personal exploits fueled her writing, they began to take their toll on her personal life and mental well-begin. Unwifeable, her memoir of those years, is incisive yet compassionate, and will certainly remind you to grant yourself the humor and grace you would give to a best friend in the perilous years of growing in (and out) of love, with ourselves and others.
'Make Trouble' by Cecile Richards, with Lauren Peterson
Outgoing Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has a parting gift to her admirers on her way out the door: Make Trouble, the memoir of her experience as a life-long activist. The daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, Cecile Richards knows just how rewarding — and challenging — it can be to dedicate your entire life to a cause, only to see the progress chipped away upon, again and again. Her memoir is both a recollection and reflection on her years fighting for women's health — and a call-to-action to everyone who wants to continue the fight after she steps down from PP.
'In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It' by Lauren Graham
Have you ever dreamed about getting life advice from Lorelai Gilmore? This book is (probably) as close as you'll ever get, and it's just as wonderful as you would imagine. In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It is an expansion of the commencement speech actress Lauren Graham delivered at her high school in 2017, and the little book is filled with exactly the sort of warm-hearted, big-humored wisdom you would expect from the woman behind Lorelai.
'The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind' by Barbara K. Lipska, with Elaine McArdle
When Barbara Lipska, who studies the neuroscience of mental illness and brain development at the National Institute of Mental Health, suddenly began exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia and dementia, she was just as lost as anyone who hadn't spent her life researching these exact diseases. Her symptoms were later attributed to a brain tumor, and in her memoir, Lipska charts her terrifying descent into mental illness, all from the perspective of someone who understands the science behind it better than anyone.
'Look Alive Out There' by Sloane Crosley
If you've ever read I Was Told There'd Be Cake, you already know Sloane Crosley is funny. Like, painfully funny. In her new essay collection, she juxtaposes not-to-serious life moments — like playing herself on Gossip Girl — with extremely serious life moments — like trying to figure out if she's going to have a baby or not — with her signature sense of humor.
'America Is Not the Heart' by Elaine Castillo
The immigrant experience cannot be distilled to one novel, and luckily, over the last few years, authors have delivered story after story that captures the heart of one singular experience with migration. In America Is Not the Heart, Elaine Castillo spins a tale of three generations of women in a layered, dynamic exploration of one family's complicated relationship with their homelands, both the inherited and the chosen.
'Sodom Road Exit' by Amber Dawn
Set in the summer of 1990 in a beach town in Ontario, Sodom Road Exit is unlike any other thriller you've read. Two things have just happened: Crystal Beach has just lost its major attraction — an amusement park — and, following a series of life mishaps, Starla Mia Martin has just returned to live with her overbearing mother. But Starla quickly realizes that her problems extend beyond the personal and mundane, and that a darker, malevolent force could be haunting Crystal Beach — and her.
'How to Be Safe' by Tom McAllister
School shootings have become such a terrifying and pervasive part of American life, it's a small wonder it's taken so long for it seep so fully into American literature, too. Earlier this year, Rhiannon Nevin tackled the subject of school shootings from the point-of-view of a young student in Only Child, but in How To Be Safe, Tom McAllister takes a different approach. The book follows Anna Crawford, a high school English teenager who is the main suspect in a school shooting. Though she is quickly exonerated of the crime, she is still tried and conviction in the court of public opinion, and her entire life is split open for public consumption.
'Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columinst' by Meredith Goldstein
Day in and day out, Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein tackles your biggest problems — the ones you're maybe too ashamed or too embarrassed or just too scared to ask your friends about — and tries to give you the best advice she can manage. But when it comes to her own life, it's not always that easy. So what happens when you're an advice columnist who needs advice? Can you figure your own life out through the problems of the people asking for your help? This is a must-read for fans of Dear Sugar, Ask Polly, and, of course, Goldstein's own column, Love Letters.
'Dread Nation' By Justine Ireland
In an alternate reality America, the dead walk the battlefields of the Civil War, and a select few children — one of whom is Jane McKeene — are selected to train in advanced combat schools to learn how to kill the... well, already dead. Jane doesn't really want to fight zombies, but she may have no choice — especially when prominent Baltimore families begin to go missing. Get Out proved that horror might just be the perfect medium for stories of race, class, and gender, and Dread Nation follows that example with a dark, propulsive story about American monsters.
'The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)' by Amy Spalding
If you live on the East Coast and desperately need a book that reminds you that summer exists and isn't a figment of society's collective imagination, this is the book for you. Set over the course of one summer in Los Angeles, this young adult novel about a gay plus-size fashion blogger who wins a coveted internships and unexpectedly falls for her co-worker is as sweet as cotton candy and satisfying as a cheeseburger with fries.