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14 Book Releases We're Excited About This Month

And What You Can Read in the Meantime

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 03, 2021

Reading Ahead

No matter how many books we may already have on our TBR shelves, we still can't resist perusing (and purchasing!) exciting new reads coming out all the time. From timely contemporary novels to clever historical mashups, this month's releases include some very intriguing titles! Here are fourteen that we've got on our lists. We've organized them by type, so you can zero in on what interests you! A few of these came out this week, so they're already available. (But don't worry, we'll still include a previously published book that offers a similar vibe.)

Timely Contemporary Novels

Girl A by Abigail Dean (Feb. 2)

Named as the executor of her mother's will, Lex faces grim childhood memories. She and her siblings grew up in a severely abusive home—think the Turpin Family. Now, as they continue to be exploited due to the high-profile nature of their case, Lex and her brothers and sisters must grapple with long-term traumas and the deep-seated resentments that remain.

What to read first: Room by Emma Donoghue

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Feb. 16)

With her first novel, the Priestdaddy author and poet explores the phenomenon of going viral. A woman whose pithy social media feed has taken on a life of its own grapples with what that means about her identity. And when a real-life emergency takes center stage, she finds herself questioning the increasingly absurd antics of her online life.

What to read first: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Feb. 16)

In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echotas have been suspended in private grief. Now as their annual family bonfire draws near, each feels a blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. From a National Book Award-nominated author comes a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories.

What to read first: Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Cultural Immersion

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee (Feb. 2)

Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something in Tiller and takes him under his wing. From the award-winning author of Native Speaker comes this exuberant, provocative story about an unusual Asian adventure.

What to read first: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (Feb. 2)

In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed expats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the wealthy households sets off a dire chain of events.

What to read first: The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Feb. 23)

A Colombian family living in America is fractured by deportation and must now navigate a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to one another, and to themselves. This urgent and lyrical novel offers a story of two countries and one family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.

What to read first: The Lost Children Archives by Valeria Luiselli

Historical Fiction

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Feb. 2)

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has devastated the farms of the Great Plains. Set during the Dust Bowl era of the Great Depression, this epic novel centers on one indomitable woman. Elsa Martinelli—like so many others—makes the agonizing choice to leave the land she loves and move her family west to California in search of a better life.

What to read first: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida (Feb. 9)

Suspenseful and poignant, this story of female friendship and betrayal is set in the changing landscape of a pre-tech boom San Francisco. Walking to school, teens Eulabee and Maria Fabiola witness something horrible—or do they? They argue over what they've seen, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola's mysterious disappearance.

What to read first: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein (Feb. 9)

England, 1585. It's Kit Marlowe's last year at Cambridge and he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. This is the spy thriller, historical fiction, queer mashup of your dreams.

What to read first: The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Short Story Collections

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel Moniz (Feb. 2)

Set among the sultry cities and suburbs of Florida, this debut collection blasts a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and relationships. Offering intimate portraits of girlhood, the stories examine moments of personal reckoning and consider the question of what we may, or may not, owe one another.

What to read first: Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen (Feb. 2)

Maybe you've read Chen's New Yorker story "Lulu" about a Chinese woman who becomes an activist and causes all sorts of trouble for herself and her family. If not, check it out. And follow up with this, her debut collection, depicting the diverse histories of the Chinese people, and how all that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.

What to read first: The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu


The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (Feb. 9)

This long-awaited YA title is being hailed as the most anticipated fantasy of 2021. Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel she belongs. First in a series.

What to read first: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec (Feb. 9)

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology. Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning.

What to read first: Circe by Madeline Miller

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott (Feb. 9)

Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading—and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a mythical bird, Ren is inexorably drawn in. As myths merge with reality, they are forced to confront what they regret, what they love, and what they fear.

What to read first: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Hopefully there's something here that captures your eye! Let us know which new books you're most excited about this month. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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