Hooray, it’s April! April is always an exciting month for me because it’s my birthday month. (Woop woop!) And this month there are so many fantastic books coming out. So many, in fact, that I struggled to whittle this list down to just 12-ish. It was a challenge. But I’ve managed it and today I’m excited to share with you the books I’m most looking forward to this month.
Below, you’ll find my fiction and non-fiction picks for April 2021. But wait, there’s more! I’ll also be covering ARCs that I’ve read and reviewed that are releasing this month as well as a few paperbacks. All in all, there’s a lot of books here. Hopefully, you’ll find something that intrigues you!
April Releases: ARCs
To start us off, I’d like to highlight all of the April releases that I received review copies of. Thank you to all the publishers involved for allowing me to read and review these!
To keep it as short as possible, I’m just going to give you the bare bones and direct you to my reviews for even more information about each title.
The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
April 1st | HQ
Mystery & Thriller
★★★★★ | My Review
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira
April 1st | HarperTeen
Young Adult Contemporary
★★★★ | My Review
Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson
April 6th | William Morrow & Company
Mystery & Thriller
Currently Reading | Review Coming Soon
Inkblot, Volume 1 by Emma Kubert & Rusty Gladd
April 13th | Image Comics
★★★★ | My Review
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
April 15th | Raven Books
Mystery & Thriller
★★★★ | My Review
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
April 27th | Jo Fletcher Books
Currently Reading | Review Coming Soon
The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
April 29th | The Borough Press
★★★★ | Review Coming Soon
April Releases: Fiction
Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.
The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
What a way to kick off this list, huh? Firekeeper’s Daughter is on ALL THE LISTS so if this isn’t on your radar by now, it should be. There are a few reasons why this one’s on my list but the big ones are:
- Indigenous author with own voices Indigenous representation
- Sounds like an intense and action packed mystery with strong social themes
- All the hype!
I’ve ordered myself a copy of this one for my birthday because I want to prioritise reading it ASAP. So yeah, Firekeeper’s Daughter – don’t miss this one!
New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995.
Mina’s having a summer to die for.
17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in Whitby, the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets – vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths…
And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.
But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s… Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.
This shouldn’t be the kind of book that winds up on my list. After all, it’s clearly horror which is a genre I typically avoid. I anticipate a reasonable amount of body horror in this one because well, vampires? And yeah, it’s just not something I would normally be curious about.
But reader, I am VERY curious about this one. And even if I can’t get on board with horror elements, I can definitely get on board with that cover. It’s AMAZING!
When a high school basketball star goes missing, a town’s secrets are exposed in this edge-of-your seat, addictive read.
At 8:53 pm, thousands of people watched as Jake Foster secured the state title for his basketball team with his signature fadeaway. But by the next morning, he’s disappeared without a trace. Nobody has any idea where he is: not his best friend who knows him better than anyone else, not his ex-girlfriend who may still have feelings for him, not even his little brother who never expected Jake to abandon him. Rumors abound regarding Jake’s whereabouts. Was he abducted? Did he run away to try to take his game to the next level? Or is it something else, something darker—something they should have seen coming?
Told from the points of view of those closest to Jake, this gripping, suspenseful novel reminds us that the people we think we know best are sometimes hiding the most painful secrets.
This book is one that had escaped my radar entirely. (I only found it towards the end of my search.) But actually, it sounds really interesting. I’m DESPERATE to know what happened to Jake.
We Are Watching Eliza Bright
by A.E. Osworth
April 13th | Grand Central Publishing
Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect “the sanctity of gaming culture”? It depends on who you ask…
When Eliza reports an incident of workplace harassment that is quickly dismissed, she’s forced to take her frustrations to a journalist who blasts her story across the Internet. She’s fired and doxed, and becomes a rallying figure for women across America. But she’s also enraged the beast that is male gamers on 4Chan and Reddit, whose collective, unreliable voice narrates our story. Soon Eliza is in the cross-hairs of the gaming community, threatened and stalked as they monitor her every move online and across New York City.
As the violent power of an angry male collective descends upon everyone in Eliza’s life, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who to trust, even when she’s eventually taken in and protected by an under-the-radar Collective known as the Sixsterhood. The violence moves from cyberspace to the real world, as a vicious male super-fan known only as The Ghost is determined to exact his revenge on behalf of men everywhere. We watch alongside the Sixsterhood and subreddit incels as this dramatic cat-and-mouse game plays out to reach its violent and inevitable conclusion.
This is an extraordinary, unputdownable novel that explores the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life. It’s a thrilling story of female resilience and survival, packed with a powerful feminist message.
We Are Watching Eliza Bright is quite possibly the book I’m most excited about this month. So excited in fact that I read the synopsis to my husband and was like “I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!” It has all the elements that I’m interested in. A contemporary story which dives into the #MeToo movement, toxic masculinity in the workplace (especially in tech and gaming companies) and of course, incels. I honestly cannot wait for this.
Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities
One of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.
In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?
I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again: short story collections are my Kryptonite. I’m drawn to them for all the reasons but struggle to actually enjoy the format itself. Still, I will always gravitate towards them in the hope that one of them hits home.
This one appeals to me because of its author. (I’ve never read anything by a South Korean author before so desperately need to rectify that.) But I’m also drawn to the fact that the stories connect with each other. That’s something that is always really interesting to read and if done right, can be incredibly satisfying.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
Who doesn’t want to read a story about an imaginary place that might not be imaginary after all?! This is one that I’ll be getting my hands on ASAP because that premise alone is enough of a selling point for me.
I love that it’s marketed as a sort of Gothic thriller with a missing family member and a mystery to solve. This is 100% the kind of book that I want to be reading. And yeah, I can’t wait for it.
Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of THE LOVELY BONES.
Idyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.
Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may have, in fact, been murdered rather than abandoning his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up on her bed, doors open when she had locked them closed. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.
This one had me at “POVs from the living AND the dead”. Um, WHAT?? I am deeply DEEPLY intrigued by this.
The intrigue of this narrative style and the creepy isolated cover have sealed the deal for me. (Also what happened during those childhood summers? I NEED to know!)
April Releases: Non-Fiction
In Sweden, refugee children fall asleep for months and years at a time. In upstate New York, high school students develop contagious seizures. In the US Embassy in Cuba, employees complain of headaches and memory loss after hearing strange noises in the night.
These disparate cases are some of the most remarkable diagnostic mysteries of the twenty-first century, as both doctors and scientists have struggled to explain them within the boundaries of medical science and – more crucially – to treat them. What unites them is that they are all examples of a particular type of psychosomatic illness: medical disorders that are influenced as much by the idiosyncratic aspects of individual cultures as they are by human biology.
Inspired by a poignant encounter with the sleeping refugee children of Sweden, Wellcome Prize-winning neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan travels the world to visit other communities who have also been subject to outbreaks of so-called ‘mystery’ illnesses.
From a derelict post-Soviet mining town in Kazakhstan, to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua via an oil town in Texas, to the heart of the Maria Mountains in Colombia, O’Sullivan hears remarkable stories from a fascinating array of people, and attempts to unravel their complex meaning while asking the question: who gets to define what is and what isn’t an illness?
Reminiscent of the work of Oliver Sacks, Stephen Grosz and Henry Marsh, The Sleeping Beauties is a moving and unforgettable scientific investigation with a very human face.
As someone with chronic illnesses, this one has HUGE appeal to me. I’m fascinated by these mysterious illnesses that seem to be region specific and how they came to be. Was it something that mankind has contributed to? (This is always my go-to theory especially after reading Fever Dream last year. And as a native Londoner, the impact of London’s air pollution on my respiratory system has not gone unnoticed…)
Anyway, I’m just really curious about the subject matter and that’s more than enough to sell me on this one.
How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity and the Making of My Family
by Sonora Jha
April 6th | Sasquatch Books
Beautifully written and deeply personal, this book follows the struggles and triumphs of one single, immigrant mother of color to raise an American feminist son. From teaching consent to counteracting problematic messages from the media, well-meaning family, and the culture at large, the author offers an empowering, imperfect feminism, brimming with honest insight and actionable advice.
Informed by Jha’s work as a professor of journalism specializing in social justice movements and social media, as well as by conversations with psychologists, experts, other parents and boys–and through powerful stories from her own life–How to Raise a Feminist Son shows us all how to be better feminists and better teachers of the next generation of men in this electrifying tour de force.
Includes chapter takeaways, and an annotated bibliography of reading and watching recommendations for adults and children.
I consider myself to be a feminist and so passing on inclusive and supportive messages about equality to my son is VERY important to me. So it’s not a surprise that this book would appeal to me for that reason.
I also love that it sounds like this is part memoir too. Learning through other people’s lived experiences is one of the greatest gifts that books can provide. So yeah, this should be a good one.
Broken: In the Best Possible Way
by Jenny Lawson
April 15th | Picador
From #1 New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened comes Jenny Lawson’s most personal book yet.
Hilarious, heart-warming and honest, Broken (in the best possible way) is about living, surviving, and thriving with anxiety.
As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. She tackles such timelessly debated questions as ‘How do dogs know they have penises?’ We see how her vacuum cleaner almost set her house on fire, how she was attacked by three bears, and why she can never go back to the post office. Of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor, the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball, is present throughout.
A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.
Okay so… I have never read a Jenny Lawson book before. But I hear that they are all great. Full of humour and all that. And I’m sure that this one is no different.
So why is this on my list? Well, I have anxiety. And I have had anxiety for my entire life. It just went undiagnosed until I was 19 years old and basically living in a cave where I would eat crisps for dinner. (And lunch. Also breakfast.) Anxiety has been a companion to me, on this journey called life, ever since. But I still don’t know all that much about it. And I’m always curious about how other people experience anxiety, what their coping strategies are and so on. This is one that I’m very keen to get to ASAP.
The Light of Days: Women Fighters of the Jewish Resistance – Their Untold Story
by Judy Batalion
April 15th | Virago
One of the most important untold stories of World War II, The Light of Days is a soaring landmark history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who inspired Poland’s Jewish youth groups to resist the Nazis.
Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland – some still in their teens – became the heart of a wide-ranging resistance network that fought the Nazis.
With courage, guile and nerves of steel, these ‘ghetto girls’ smuggled guns in loaves of bread and coded intelligence messages in their plaited hair. They helped build life-saving systems of underground bunkers and sustained thousands of Jews in safe hiding places. They bribed Gestapo guards with liquor, assassinated Nazis and sabotaged German supply lines.
The Light of Days at last reveals the real history of these incredible women whose courageous yet little-known feats have been eclipsed by time.
World War 2 is still recent enough that it is part of almost all of our family’s histories. For me, I tend to focus on my late grandfather’s story. He was a young boy in Nazi-occupied Poland who was evacuated to the UK, leaving his family behind.
So I’m always fascinated by stories of those in Germany and surrounding countries who put up a resistance to the Nazi movement. To be that courageous when the repercussions were so awful is something we absolutely should be learning about, talking about and remembering. I love the perspective that this book will be shining a light on so you can bet I’ll get my hands on this one pretty quickly.
(PS. the Young Readers edition is coming out around the same time!)
Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, Con Artists and Influencers Are Taking Over the Internet – and Why We’re Following
by Gabrielle Bluestone
April 29th | HarperCollins
From Vice journalist and executive producer of hit Netflix documentary Fyre comes an eye-opening look at the con artists, grifters and snake oil salesmen of the digital age―and why we can’t stop falling for them.
We live in an age where scams are the new normal. A charismatic entrepreneur sells thousands of tickets to a festival that never happened. Respected investors pour millions into a start-up centered around fake blood tests. Reviewers and celebrities flock to London’s top-rated restaurant that’s little more than a backyard shed. These unsettling stories of today’s viral grifters have risen to fame and hit the front-page headlines, yet the curious conundrum remains: Why do these scams happen?
Drawing from scientific research, marketing campaigns, and exclusive documents and interviews, Vice reporter Gabrielle Bluestone delves into the irresistible hype that fuels our social media ecosystem, whether it’s from the trusted influencers that peddled Fyre or the consumer reviews that sold Juicero. A cultural examination that is as revelatory as it is relevant, Hype pulls back the curtain on the manipulation game behind the never-ending scam season―and how we as consumers can stop getting played.
I won’t lie, I was sold on the title alone. And then when I learnt more about it, my brain was going “check, check”. It ticks ALL of my boxes for non-fiction.
As someone who DESPERATELY wants to leave behind the toxicity of social media while simultaneously needing social media for my blog, this is a timely and important read. And one that will be going straight to the top of my TBR pile.
April Releases: Paperback
And if, like me, you prefer paperbacks to hardcovers, here are my ‘new-to-paperback’ picks…
- Conjure Women by Afia Atakora (April 15th – Historical Fiction)
- Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World (April 1st)
- Our Bodies, Their Battlefield by Christina Lamb (April 15th)
April Releases: Children’s Books
And last but definitely not least, I have chosen one children’s book to highlight this month. That book is…
Meet Maud: a guinea pig who inexplicably wears a judo suit – and not everyone understands or approves. When Maud is thrown into a new and confusing situation, it takes brave decisions and serendipitous encounters for her to find her place and embrace her individuality.
The charming characters of Magenta Fox, whose work is evocative of Raymond Briggs and Janet Ahlberg, perfectly offset Zadie and Nick’s warm, wry prose.
Weirdo is an endearing story about the quiet power of being different by two veteran writers, and introduces an exciting debut illustrator. Together they have created a picture book that adults and children alike will treasure.
This sweet-sounding picture book appeals to me both as a mum AND as a guinea pig mum. (The latter means I’m naturally drawn to guinea pig related media!) Throw in Zadie Smith’s flawless writing style and the fact that this is a debut for the illustrator and you’ve got an exciting addition to a family library! Very excited to get hold of this one.
Phew! So there you have it, more than a dozen April 2021 book releases for you to consider adding to your neverending TBRs! Thank you so much for stopping by to read my blog. As always, I really do appreciate your support so thank you! I hope you have a fantastic month. 🙂
Which books are you looking forward to this month? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. Did you know I have a Bookshop.org store*? When you purchase books through my affiliate store, both myself and an independent bookstore will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can even choose to support your local indie with your purchase!
* Featured Image: Renee Fisher – Unsplash