It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Reasons to read it: This is being pitched as “Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale,” but with Chinese history elements. It also has a bisexual main character and — and this may count as a spoiler for some people, so look away if you want to be cautious — a polyamorous relationship. This is the first in a series, and it hits the ground running. Expect a fast-paced, immersive story that will have you counting down the days until the sequel.
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house—a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
And he meets his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
Reasons to read it: A Tale for the Time Being is one of my favorite books of all time, so I can’t wait to get my hands on this book that also deals with narrative and storytelling! This is a story about grief as well as about our relationship to objects, and it’s told into perspectives: Benny’s and the Book’s. In Ozeki’s signature style, this is a philosophical story that will leave you thinking long after you’ve closed the book.
A Dream of a Woman: Stories by Casey Plett
Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, and in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days.
In “Hazel and Christopher,” two childhood friends reconnect as adults after one of them has transitioned. In “Perfect Places,” a woman grapples with undesirability as she navigates fetish play with a man. In “Couldn’t Hear You Talk Anymore,” the narrator reflects on past trauma and what might have been as she recalls tender moments with another trans woman.
Reasons to read it: Casey Plett has won multiple awards for her previous books, including a Lambda Literary Award and the Amazon First Novel Award (Canada). This short story collection promises to be an “ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love.” Each of their characters are complex and multi-faceted, described with generosity and compassion, and this title was just longlisted for the Giller prize!
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
Three kids who don’t belong. A room that shouldn’t exist. A year that will change everything.
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of magic, friendship, and adventure.
Reasons to read it: This is Mark Oshiro’s middle grade debut, but keep an eye out for more from them soon! I’ve been a fan of Oshiro’s writing since before their first book because of the excellent Mark Reads blog, and after meeting them, I can also say they’re one of my favorite humans. This one is a coming of age story about not fitting in and finding your community. Think: the Room of Requirement, but one that celebrates trans and queer kids.
Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles
There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.
It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.
There are no easy answers to love — whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.
Reasons to read it: From the author of Tyler Johnson Was Here is a story about a bisexual Black boy struggling with first love as well as with his relationship to his mother. It deals with masculinity and vulnerability: Gio has to find ways to deal with his emotions and move through them in a healthy way. Also, this cover is absolutely stunning in person, with shiny foil details.
The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel
Kobo has some problems. His cybernetics are a decade out of date, he’s got a pair of twin sister loan sharks knocking on his door, and his work scouting for a baseball league run by pharmaceutical companies is about to go belly-up. Things couldn’t get much worse.
Then his childhood best friend-Monsanto Mets slugger J.J. Zunz-is murdered at home plate.
Determined to find the killer, Kobo plunges into the dark corners and glittering cloud condos of a world ravaged by climate change and repeat pandemics, and where genetic editing and advanced drugs mean you can have any body you want–as long as you can afford it. But even among the philosophical Neanderthals, zootech weapons, and genetically modified CEOs, there’s a curveball he never could have called.
Reasons to read it: This is being compared to William Gibson’s works, set in a future that seems all too possible. It’s an inventive sci-fi thriller where Neanderthals have been brought back to life and once-extinct animals and now kept for food. It also poses philosophical questions about the nature of cloning, body modification, and immortality — especially within capitalism. This weird world is populated with memorable characters and also has a lot of humor.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
This is only scratching the surface of the books out this week! If you want to keep up with all the latest new releases, check out:
Book Riot’s YouTube channel, where I discuss the most exciting books out every Tuesday!All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts (including me!) 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 Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!