In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.
1. “Trust Exercise,” by Susan Choi (Henry Holt and Co., fiction, on sale April 9)
What it’s about: In her fifth novel, Choi explores unreliable narratives, the confusion of adolescence and the complexities of consent. Teenagers David and Sarah fall head over heels in love at an elite arts high school in the 1980s, a passion that leads to a sexual encounter that horrifies Sarah when it’s made public.
The buzz: A starred review at Publishers Weekly says of the book, “Fiercely intelligent, impeccably written, and observed with searing insight, this novel is destined to be a classic.”
2. “The Hill to Die On,” by Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman (Penguin Random House, nonfiction, on sale April 9)
What it’s about: Senior Politico writers go deep inside the halls of Congress to document the deal making, backstabbing, power struggles and political knife fights that have roiled the nation’s capital during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.
The buzz: Sherman and Palmer are co-authors of the Politico Playbook newsletter and had inside access to the key figures of the 2018 midterm elections. Their inside scoop should be anything but boring.
3. “The Book of Dreams,” by Nina George (Crown, fiction, on sale April 9)
What it’s about: The best time to get to know your absentee father probably isn’t after he’s fallen into a coma. But that’s the situation 13-year-old genius Sam finds himself in after his ex-war-reporter father steps into oncoming traffic in the latest from best-selling author of “The Little Paris Bookshop” and “The Little French Bistro.” It’s heralded as a meditation on memory, longing and loss.
The buzz: Kirkus Reviews calls it a “poignant story about longing, nostalgia, and the pain of missed opportunities,” and Publishers Weekly says it’s a “perfect, conversation-starting selection for book groups.”
4. “Outside Looking In,” by T.C. Boyle (HarperCollins, fiction, on sale April 9)
What it’s about: Boyle takes us back to the 1960s and into the first scientific and recreational forays into LSD and its mind-altering trips. When Harvard grad student Fitzhugh Loney is drawn into the inner circle of renowned psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary, his family and mind are put to the test as he spirals deeper under the influence.
The buzz: A starred review on Kirkus Reviews says Boyle “evokes a cultural flashpoint with implications that transcend acid flashbacks.”
5. “A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII,” by Sonia Purnell (Viking, nonfiction, on sale April 9)
What it’s about: British journalist Sonia Purnell chronicles the remarkable life of Virginia Hall, who was called by the Gestapo “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.” A Baltimore socialite with a prosthetic leg, Hall was the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and helped ignite the French Resistance during WWII. An incredible story of under-appreciated heroism.
The buzz: Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of WWII history and women’s history will be riveted,” while Kirkus Reviews calls it “a remarkable chronicle of a courageous woman.”
More Good Reads: USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list
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