Books

The Best New Book Releases Out January 30, 2024

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack.

Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

New releases-wise, there are romances of course, like All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata, Canadian Boyfriend by Jenny Holiday, and Takeover by Cara Tanamachi.

If you want something a little more chilling and thrilling, YA releases Wander in the Dark by Jumata Emill, about two brothers trying to “solve the murder of the most popular girl in school,” and The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland, a witchy, demon-filled story with a serial killer, are also out.

As for the featured books below, they include a Prohibition-era Chicago mystery, a time-loop romance, a ghostly generational saga, and more.

cover of How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica

How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica

When Daniel de La Luna starts his life as an undergraduate student at an elite East Coast school, it’s with a bit of baggage. As a scholarship student — and someone who carries the weight of his late uncle’s name — he’s a bit burdened. But then he meets Sam, his roommate, who changes everything. As their friendship changes into something more, Sam starts to pull away, and Daniel is met with tragedy. A trip back to his family’s ancestral home in México will have him reevaluating things. Hopefully for the better.

cover of Interesting Facts about Space  Emily R. Austin

Interesting Facts About Space by Emily Austin

Ever wonder if you’re a bad person? Enid has. She also just has a lot going on. She’s obsessed with space, serially dates women on dating apps, is trying to reconnect with the estranged half-sisters she has courtesy of a recently departed absentee father, and listens to her favorite true crime podcasts on repeat…which may or may not have contributed to her fear of bald men. What’s more, she’s just entered into her first serious relationship, and she thinks someone is following her. Enid makes for such an engaging, funny character as she tries to battle her demons.

cover of The Mayor of Maxwell Street by Avery Cunningham

The Mayor of Maxwell Street by Avery Cunningham

This ticks off a lot of boxes for me. It’s set in 1921 Chicago, has an investigation, a romance, and a depiction of both wealthy and everyday Black life during this time. It follows Nelly Sawyer, who is suddenly thrust into the role of wealthy debutante when her brother’s death makes her the sole heir to the fortune of “the wealthiest Negro in America.” But she’s not really cut out for the socialite life. Instead, she’s set on continuing her work as an investigative journalist, with her latest story being on a vice lord called “The Mayor of Maxwell Street.” That’s where Alabama-born Jay Shorey comes in. Seeing as he belongs to the same underworld as the Mayor, Nelly recruits him to help expose details of all the corruption in the city. But he — and the budding romance between them — ends up being more than she bargained for.

cover of A Quantum Love Story  Mike Chen

A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen

Interestingly, this is the second book I know of coming out this year that looks at time and how it relates to love, the other being The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang (out in March). Here, neuroscientist Mariana Pineda is grieving the death of her best friend when something inexplicable happens: a man named Carter Cho, whom she’s never seen before, stops her and says he knows her. He knows why she’s grieving, who she is, and even what she’s doing now. What’s more, he needs Mariana to remember him, too, before time loops. When it does, Monday morning comes again, and it becomes clear that Mariana and Carter are stuck in a repeating cycle. As they adapt, a wrench is thrown into their new routine — Carter’s memories are starting to deteriorate, and now their only chance to be together is to get out of the loop.

cover of Held by Anne Michaels

Held by Anne Michaels

The latest by poet and novelist Michaels is both spectral and ethereal. It opens in 1917 as John, a British soldier, lies barely holding onto life on a battlefield in France. As he lies there, memories play on a loop — his coastal childhood, chance pub encounters, and time spent in hot baths with lovers. When he returns home, he’s reunited with his artist wife, Helena, and reopens a photography business. But the past keeps resurfacing, in his own trauma, but in another way as well — he can see faint images of the loved ones of photography subjects. As the narrative continues on — including both fictional and historical figures like the Curies — the thin space between life and death is explored through John and generations of his descendants.

cover of Poemhood: Our Black Revival: History, Folklore & the Black Experience

Poemhood: Our Black Revival, edited by Amber McBride, Taylor Byas, Erica Martin

Here, 37 poets weave stories of tradition, heritage, pain, and joy into a vast and complex narrative of the Black experience geared toward YA readers. Hate is transformed into self-love, grandmothers tell stories of trickster spiders from the homeland, and aunties make delicious 7Up cakes. In addition to the editors, contributors include everyone from James Baldwin to Kwame Alexander, Ibi Zoboi, Nikki Giovanni, and more.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!

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