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Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul

Jamie Ducharme (Holt)

When Ducharme’s 2019 Time article on Juul came out, it was pretty tough to walk around New York without seeing the vape device. I was excited when I found out that article was to grow into a book, and the story Ducharme offers is a bizarre, somewhat frightening page-turner (and is set to become a docuseries, to boot). —Carliann Rittman, reviews editor


The Coldest Case

Martin Walker (Knopf)

With my passport looking like it’s going to be collecting dust for another summer, I’m setting my sights on a bit of escapism in the form of Walker’s latest Bruno, Chief of Police novel. It’s part of a wonderful mystery series set in southwest France, and the plots are as much about foie gras as foul play. Line up a chilly bottle of Bergerac sec and I’ll be set. —Jonathan Segura, executive editor


The Day the Klan Came to Town

Bill Campbell and Bizhan Khodabandeh (PM Press)

Campbell’s graphic novel is a fictionalized version of a real event in 1923 in which 30,000 Klansmen converged on Carnegie, Pa., in an ominous display of white supremacy. But the residents of Carnegie—Catholics, Jews, and a growing population of immigrants—had other ideas. Campbell returned to his hometown to research the event and celebrate the inspirational story of a ragtag group of proto-Americans who united to battle the Klan in the streets. —Calvin Reid, senior news editor


Double Blind

Edward St. Aubyn (FSG)

In the semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, St. Aubyn turned his harrowing childhood, drug-addled young adulthood, and hard-won recovery into one of most dazzling literary achievements of the past 30 years. His new novel promises to bring St. Aubyn’s expansive intellect and acerbic wit to bear on a more universal set of issues, including mankind’s relationship to nature and the mechanics of biological inheritance. I can’t wait to go along for the ride. —David Adams, reviews editor


Filthy Animals

Brandon Taylor (Riverhead)

Taylor’s linked stories train a keen eye on academic ambition, the slippery nature of lust, and how small misunderstandings can lead to fraught personal fallouts. A man’s connection to two dancers in an open relationship provides the collection its structure and allows Taylor to investigate how those in control can manipulate and cajole others under their spell. In these marvelous stories, Taylor demonstrates a seemingly inexhaustible ability to render feelings precisely: “The calm that comes with the edge of pleasure after pain has given way to something sweeter.” —Seth Satterlee, reviews editor


The Final Girl Support Group

Grady Hendrix (Berkley)

Last year, it seemed as though everybody was raving about Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I liked his Horrorstör, so I put Vampires on my to-read list. However, I might leapfrog over it to read The Final Girl Support Group first. I love the final girl trope, so any media that tackles it in a fresh way has my attention. —Drucilla Shultz, bookroom editor


A Ghost in the Throat

Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Biblioasis)

When I lived in Ireland, “summer holidays” meant shivering in some drafty old house in the country, haunted by ghosts of the past. Spend enough time in such places (and drink enough whiskey) and you not only come to believe in ghosts, but find yourself talking with them. This book is about just that sort of experience: the poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa survives a near tragedy and then finds herself in a dialogue with Eibhlín Dubh, an 18th-century widow whose grief over the murder of her husband was immortalized in a poem. She then writes a book about it. —Ed Nawotka, bookselling and international editor


Great Pretender, vol. 1

Ryouta Furusawa, illus. by Daichi Marui (Seven Seas)

This is a manga adaptation of the Netflix original anime Great Pretender that’s already been released in Japan and will make its North American debut this summer. If you’ve seen the show, you can imagine my excitement at having the physical copy! It follows two con artists—one of Japan’s youngest and best and another from France—who are trying to make it big in America and get tangled up in some rather entertaining circumstances. —Gilcy Aquino, children’s editorial freelancer


The Last Mona Lisa

Jonathan Santlofer (Sourcebooks)

Since we’ve mostly lost all concept of reality, let’s mix fact and fiction and have some fun. Santlofer, a painter and veteran thriller writer, takes us back to August 1911, when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre and went missing for two years. The truth about what happened is elusive, the chase nail-biting, the women beautiful—and can you imagine better places to armchair travel than Florence and Paris? —Louisa Ermelino, editor-at-large


The Maidens

Alex Michaelides (Celadon)

I much enjoyed this author’s bestselling 2019 debut, The Silent Patient, a cleverly plotted psychological thriller about a therapist with his own emotional problems. Will Michaelides be able to repeat his success with another thriller centered on an obsessed therapist, which again mixes murder, psychotherapy, and Greek myth? It augurs well that Tennyson’s poetry, per our starred review, figures in this follow-up. —Peter Cannon, senior editor


A Master of Djinn

P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)

The alternate 1912 Cairo of Clark’s first novel is an irresistible-sounding combo of steampunk airships and mystical djinn. He introduces his central character, Fatma—an agent with the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities—in a hookah joint where clients puff magic-spiked tobacco. Our starred review called the book a “fantastic feat of postcolonial imagination.” The only question, really, is whether to read Clark’s novellas set in this world first, or dive right in. —Carolyn Juris, features editor


My Begging Chart

Keiler Roberts (Drawn & Quarterly)

I adore being dropped inside Roberts’s askew gaze at domesticity, which in this archly funny and often breathtakingly poignant series of snapshots of life as a mother and artist also acts as a diary of the progression of her living with MS, a quietly radical realization of illness as daily life. There’s such a satisfying sense of recognition in how she documents oddities alongside sweeter moments, as if in attempt to hold on to time passing. —Meg Lemke, comics and graphic novels reviews editor


The Other Black Girl

Zakiya Dalila Harris (Atria)

When I read The Other Black Girl was an even edgier The Devil Wears Prada, I wondered, “Does it get any better?” It did. Harris’s debut is set in the New York City offices of the publishing industry. Who among us can resist that juicy morsel? While you may be able to leave your house come June 1, you might not want to until you’ve read the last page of this timely, insightful social critique. —Stacey Gill, marketing manager


Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night

Morgan Parker (Tin House)

Parker is a poetic superstar, and this, her debut collection, is one book I’ve long been hoping to find wedged in the overpacked shelf of a frowsty used bookshop in some small college town where no one reads poetry anymore. I’m fairly certain that would have been the only place to find it; it’s been out-of-print for some time. When last I dug around the web for a used copy, the price for even a poor one was running in the hundreds—and I can’t ever seem to get off the library’s waiting list for it. I’m thrilled to see Tin House bring it back into print—and with an introduction by Danez Smith, to boot! —John Maher, news and digital editor


The Perfume Thief

Timothy Schaffert (Doubleday)

A new Timothy Schaffert novel about a 72-year-old, queer American expat perfumer with a criminal past, who, with her 20-year-old roommate and a French singer, outmaneuvers the Nazis in WWII Paris—need I say more? I’ve been a fan of Schaffert’s for many years and was thrilled when he moved from contemporary into historical fiction. As always with Schaffert’s tales, the characters and their backstories are delicious and the story line is over-the-top. —Claire Kirch, Midwest correspondent


Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

Alexis Hall (Forever)

Covid continues to put a damper on any plans for a summer fling, but falling in love with this charming rom-com is the next best thing. A bisexual single mother meets a gentle giant electrician on the set of a Great British Bake Off–style reality show—and Hall’s subversive, queer sensibilities and trademark wit make their romance a scrummy treat. I was whisked away. —Phoebe Cramer, reviews editor


A Shock

Keith Ridgway (New Directions)

I was on a beach when I read Ridgway’s anti-novel Hawthorn & Child in 2013, a noirish phantasmagoria of two detectives going about their days in London. It wasn’t exactly a page-turner, but I couldn’t look away from it. He’s back with A Shock, after previously declaring he was done with writing. He told PW he wrote it while thinking about “how we use fiction to negotiate the world.” I can’t wait to dig in. —David Varno, reviews editor


Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir

Ashley C. Ford (Flatiron)

I’ve been a fan of Ford’s sharp writing since her early days at BuzzFeed. She’s profiled everyone from Missy Elliott to Anne Hathaway, and now, with her debut memoir, she turns the pen on herself, giving readers a glimpse into her own beginnings—as a young girl navigating love and the void left behind by her incarcerated father. Those starved to feel something post-pandemic are sure to be jolted back to life by this brilliant memoir. —Steph Buschardt, reviews editor


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