18 Must Read 2018 Releases

January 9, 2018
1. Barracoon  by Zora Neal Hurston (Out May 8, 2018 Non-fiction)
Barracoon
~Amazon~ 
A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade—illegally smuggled from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.
I  have high hopes for this book. One of my favorite books of all time is Their Eyes Were Watching God. I read it in high school and fell in love with Zora's writing, the fact that this is non-fiction will make it that much more remarkable and I am ready!!

2. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi (Out March 6, 2018)
Children of Blood and Bone
~Amazon~
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
This Young Adult Fantasy, has been hyped because it has a sneak preview available on Netgalley. I don't read sneak previews but the premise and cover art has me ready to pre-order. It's also already in production to be a movie and I can't wait to see the film.  

3.  Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (Out February 13, 2018)
Freshwater
~Amazon~
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.
Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves--now protective, now hedonistic--move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.
Narrated by the various selves within Ada and based in the author's realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.
I enjoy reading about mental health issues, and this book sounds special. Magical realism done well with Nigerian characters will not disappoint.
 

4. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Out January 9, 2018)
The Immortalists
~Amazon~  
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
I was lucky enough to receive a ARC of this  late last year. Prophecies about death can lead people reeling, and I'm excited to read about how these characters take a turn. 

5.  Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (January 16, 2018)

Red Clocks
~Amazon~
Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
I am a huge fan of dystopia's. After finishing The Power by Naomi Alderman I am excited to read another women centered dystopia. Women are still fighting for autonomy over their bodies and this will be a great exploration of that. 

6. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Out April 3, 2018)
Dread Nation
~Amazon~
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
The title alone has me all the way in! This historical novel has been rated highly by all of my friends who have been lucky enough to read it. The cover is also iconic, and the story is shed light on the people we usually forget from that time.

7. The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara (Out February 6, 2018)
The House of Impossible Beauties
~Amazon~
A gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone.

As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’s life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.
I am an eighties baby and fascinated by how people took charge of their differences in a era when they were shunned. A glimpse into what survival looks like seems great!!

8. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Out February 6, 2018)
The House of Impossible Beauties
~Amazon~
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
I have seen in my own life and through my work as an attorney how devastating the court system can be. This sounds like a great exploration of how relationships can survive the tragedy of existing in our world.

9. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (Out March 6, 2018)
The House of Broken Angels
~Amazon~
In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known affectionately as Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader.

Across one bittersweet weekend in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought them to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home. The story of the De La Cruzes is the American story. This indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and it cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.
Mexico is a dangerous place, this American Sage will be sure to explain what it means to live and thrive there.

10. Alternative Remedies for Loss by Joanna Cantor (Out May 8, 2018)
Alternative Remedies for Loss
~Amazon~
When 22-year-old Olivia learned that her mother had only months to live, she pulled up roots, leaving Vassar and her career plans far behind to be with her mother for her last days. And yet, just four months after her mother’s death, everyone in Olivia’s family already seems ready to move on. Her brothers are settled comfortably in careers and families of their own; her father has already started to date again, inviting a woman named June on a family trip. Still reeling from the loss, Olivia looks for a new start of her own, throwing herself headlong into Manhattan’s fast-moving media world, where she is alternately demeaned by bosses and pursued by men.
But as Olivia tries to piece together an adulthood without her mother to guide her, she makes a shocking discovery: a secret romantic correspondence her mother had with a man who only signed each letter “F.” As she tries to untangle the mystery of F, Olivia will journey halfway across the world, to an ashram in rural India, on a quest that will reconfigure everything Olivia thought she knew about her family and her own place in an increasingly complex world.
A profoundly moving and keenly observed contemplation of the debts we owe to the past and the ways we discover our futures, Alternative Remedies for Loss is the rare sort of book that can break and mend your heart in a single and unforgettable read. 
There's never a appropriate way to deal with grief. Most people try to be jump back to normal asap. But there is power in acknowledging the hurt of life before we carry on. 
 
11. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (Out March 6, 2018)
Girls Burn Brighter
~Amazon~
A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again.

When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima's father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yogurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them.
Stories of friendship stick with me. As an adult new friendships are hard to find and I still ponder what went wrong with childhood friends I lost. This will be a powerful exploration of what bonds and breaks a friend.  
 
12. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman (Out March 13, 2018)
Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
~Amazon~
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.
This is the third and final of the Illuminae series which has delighted and entertained me completely. I'm excited for the conclusion but saddened to know I will be done reading new characters in this universe soon.

13. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (Out June 9, 2018)

Number One Chinese Restaurant
~Amazon~
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.
This touching family saga explores a world I see glimpses of but want to make more solid. I love coming of age family sagas because it still allows the protagonist to learn while including enough of the family to anchor the reader.
 
14. This Mournable Body: A Novel by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Out August 7, 2018)
This Mournable Body: A Novel
~Amazon~
A searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors

Anxious about her prospects after leaving a stagnant job, Tambudzai finds herself living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare. For reasons that include her grim financial prospects and her age, she moves to a widow’s boarding house and eventually finds work as a biology teacher. But at every turn in her attempt to make a life for herself, she is faced with a fresh humiliation, until the painful contrast between the future she imagined and her daily reality ultimately drives her to a breaking point.

In This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga returns to the protagonist of her acclaimed first novel, Nervous Conditions, to examine how the hope and potential of a young girl and a fledgling nation can sour over time and become a bitter and floundering struggle for survival. As a last resort, Tambudzai takes an ecotourism job that forces her to return to her parents’ impoverished homestead. It is this homecoming, in Dangarembga’s tense and psychologically charged novel, that culminates in an act of betrayal, revealing just how toxic the combination of colonialism and capitalism can be.
Reading about the low points, not only makes me appreciates the high points better. But reminds me that everyone will face very hard unbearable times and survive. 
 
15. Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft (Out January 16, 2018)
Senlin Ascends
~Amazon~
The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he'll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure. This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.
The Tower of Babel  used as a tangible place where conflict danger and personalities clash sounds not only fascinating but epic. This will be a refreshing take on a hero's journey and I'm here for it. 
 
16. This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada (Out November 7, 2018)
This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1)
~Amazon~
Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself? 
Highly rated with an awesome cover, I will be jumping into this Sci-fi narrative happily ready to explore where Cat's journey takes her. A little bummed it wont be out until November, so I will try to get my hands on a ARC.

17. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture Edited by Roxane Gay (Out May 1, 2018 Non-fiction)
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
~Amazon~
In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, and Bob Shacochis. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”
In this moment of #MeToo that we find ourselves, this is an important time to keep the momentum about sharing our voices going. I am a huge fan of Roxanne Gay and I know this collection will=l not disappoint.

18. Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot (Out February 6, 2018) 
Heart Berries
~Amazon~
Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father—an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist—who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot “trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, re-establishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.
It's shameful that Native Americans continue to fight for autonomy, rights and acknowledgement. America committed Genocide against Native people and as they struggle to survive we should all find way to never forget that.This will be necessary reading.

Let me know what 2018 Releases Your Looking Forward to in the Comments!!

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