We're always on the hunt for a new book. Luckily, some of the books coming out this year look like fabulous prospects to add to our collections.
We've combed through the Internet and publishers' 2019 catalogues to determine which new and upcoming books we're most looking forward to reading. What we discovered is that every kind of reader—whether you're drawn to sci-fi (we recommend taking a hard look at #5 on our list) or critically acclaimed writers (can't get much better than #8)—has a literary offering worth their excitement. So take a look, grab a pen, and mark those calendars!
As Long As We Both Shall Live
Publication Date: January 15
In this wicked new novel, Matt and Marie organize a couple's trip in a last-ditch attempt to save their failing marriage. But instead of rescuing their relationship, the trip ends it entirely when Marie falls to her death during a hike through the woods. At first glance, Matt appears to be the victim of a terrible tragedy. Upon further inspection, he seems to be a magnet for dead wives. As investigators soon discover, Marie isn't the only woman to wind up six feet under after saying “I do” to Matt—the first Mrs. Evan also died under suspicious circumstances. As Long As We Both Shall Live may sound like a run-of-the-mill domestic thriller, but its black comedy and genuinely absorbing central mystery—is Matt a killer husband or not?—sets it apart from many of the others coming out in 2019.
Daisy Jones & the Six
Publication Date: March 5
It’s the late 1960s, and Daisy Jones is living the party-fueled life of a rock n’ roll groupie in Los Angeles. But as she grows into herself and her voice, she’s no longer just talking the talk—she’s walking the walk, having finally captured the attention of the music industry’s power players. A producer wants Daisy to perform with the Six, an up-and-coming band that’s fronted by bad boy Billy Dunne, while they tour across the country. What’s meant to be a one-time gig turns into something much more permanent when it becomes obvious that Daisy and Billy’s on-stage chemistry is off-the-charts—and will likely send the Six’s next single to the top of the charts. It’s the start of a legendary collaboration, one that continues for several tumultuous decades full of passion, drugs, betrayal, and music. As the various members of the Six reflect on their time in the spotlight, we get a portrait of a 1970s band whose highs and lows aren’t unlike those of another famous 1970s band...With Daisy Jones & the Six, the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has created a “deeply emotional” and “gripping” read you’ll want to devour over a long weekend or on your next vacation (Emily Giffin).
Publication Date: April 16
Last year, Normal People made a major splash in the UK, earned a coveted spot on the Man Booker longlist, and became “the literary phenomenon of the decade” (The Guardian). Now it's set to make its stateside debut, and it's already preceded by critical buzz: A love story for the millennial age, it tracks the complicated relationship between Connell and Marianne, two friends-turned-lovers (to friends again), as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. In high school, Marianne is the “weirdo” wallflower, while the more approachable Connell desperately seeks the approval of others. They begin seeing each other in secret—being linked to Marianne is social suicide, after all—but Connell’s unwillingness to publicly acknowledge her ruins any chance at a lasting romance. Or so they think. Even when they go off to college, reform their identities, and make life-altering choices, the duo finds themselves irrevocably drawn into the same orbit (sometimes to a fault). A “beautifully observed and profoundly moving” tale about friendship, growing up, and the people who change our lives forever, Normal People is one of our most anticipated reads of the spring season.
The Bride Test
Publication Date: May 7
Khai may think his autism has ruined his chances at Happy Ever After, but his mother knows he simply needs a little nudge in the right direction. She flies off to Vietnam in search of a bride, where she stumbles upon a mixed-race girl who can’t resist an opportunity for love, excitement, and stability in the U.S. When Esme arrives in San Francisco, however, she discovers that her potential husband isn’t susceptible to her charms—but that she’s very susceptible to his. Adding to her stress are the terms of her temporary Visa, which puts a deadline on her and Khai’s fairy tale love story. Can she find a way to help him open his heart before their time runs out? And can Khai set aside his doubts to finally accept the love he’s always deserved? Helen Hoang is the author behind the biggest romance of 2018, The Kiss Quotient, so make sure you’ve left room on your shelf for this touching and sexy follow-up.
Publication Date: May 7
Ted Chiang is back with a second short story collection—the first of which featured “The Story of Your Life,” the basis for the sci-fi flick Arrival—that bends the mind as it stirs the heart. Chiang masterfully draws upon his familiarity with computer science and the software industry to craft tales of aliens, human-AI relationships, and portals into ancient Baghdad to explore very human questions: What is the meaning of the universe, and why are we here? Exhalation includes two brand new stories—“Omphalos” and “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”—that prove science fiction can reach its best, most thought-provoking heights when in Chiang’s capable hands.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered
Publication Date: May 28
Since 2016, true crime podcasters Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff have encouraged their millions of listeners to “stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” But their massive fanbase appreciates more than just their sense of humor and murder knowledge—they also admire the duo’s candor about mental illness, addiction, and the general everyday shittiness of life. That’s where their new memoir, a collaborative effort, comes in: In it, they reflect on the uglier bits of their own pasts and discuss our current social climate, in addition to exploring the true crime tales that have made an impact on them. Given that My Favorite Murder has legions of devoted "murderinos" across the globe, it's safe to assume that you'll be hearing a lot about Hardstark and Kilgariff's memoir.
Publication Date: June 25
On the heels of a wildly successful foray into historical fiction, the author of Life After Life and Transcription makes an anticipated return to crime with a new Jackson Brodie book. It’s been roughly nine years since we last saw the charming but complicated PI in Started Early, Took My Dog, in which he took on cases involving lies, murders, and fraught parent-child relationships. Since then, he’s retired to a seaside village—though the change in locale hasn't kept his past at bay. In fact, he reunites with Reggie, the plucky teenager from When Will There Be Good News?, when a seemingly standard infidelity case builds into something more complex. We don’t know much else about Big Sky at the moment, but with Atkinson’s name on the cover, you can bet there will be a healthy dose of sardonic humor, whip-smart dialogue, nuanced character studies, and suspenseful twists.
The Nickel Boys
Publication Date: July 16
The Nickel Boys is another racially-charged historical tale from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad: Elwood Curtis is a teenager in segregated Tallahassee, where he’s raised by his grandmother and inspired by the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. But when he unknowingly accepts a ride in a stolen car, his dreams of a brighter tomorrow are replaced by a bleak future at a juvenile reformatory. Racism, sexual abuse, and corruption run rampant through the halls of Nickel Academy, but it does little to dampen Elwood’s idealistic spirit. His attitude is a stark contrast to the cynicism with which his new friend Turner—a fellow black inmate—looks upon the world within, and beyond, the walls of their new prison. As the pair struggles to survive, Whitehead offers glimpses of Elwood’s future, demonstrating how life at Nickel didn't come without an ongoing, devastating price. It all comes together to form “an ingenious, if disquieting whole” that pulls directly from American history—the scandal of the Dozier School for Boys—to shine a light on the country’s relationship with violence (Kirkus Reviews).
Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone
Publication Date: TBD
We’ve been lucky enough to see the Frasers on the small screen over the past several years, but we haven’t seen a new Outlander book since 2014. According to a recent tweet from author Diana Gabaldon, the ninth book in the series—ominously titled Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone—is set to publish sometime this year. We last saw Highlander Jamie and time-traveling doctor Claire when they were in the midst of the American Revolution (although Jamie ultimately resigned from the Continental Army). The couple also contended with the aftermath of an accidental "love triangle," the tragic death of a loved one, and the fact that time had again separated them from their daughter. Luckily, the end of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood brought the Frasers and MacKenzies back together again—so you can expect the return of some Little House on the Prairie-style family time in Bees. Gabaldon has been tight-lipped about the rest of the plot, but rest assured that there will be more than enough romance, adventure, mystery, and sci-fi to fill 1000+ pages.
Featured image: Nicole Honeywill/Unsplash; photo of Diana Gabaldon courtesy of Wikipedia