Drawn from the 14,000+ titles in PW's Spring Announcements issue, we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in spring 2018. Links to reviews are included when available. Be sure to check out our picks for the most anticipated children's and YA books of spring, as well.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead, Apr.) - From the author of The Interestings: Greer is a shy college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, who has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. Greer, searching for purpose, finds it through Faith. PW gave the novel a starred review.
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (Scribner, May) - It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, where she experiences the absurdities of institutional living. This novel, from the author of The Flamethrowers, received a starred PW review.
Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown, Apr.) - In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child who can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Zeus banishes her to an island, where she hones her craft and unwittingly draws the wrath of men and gods. From the author of the bestselling The Song of Achilles.
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (Harper, Mar.) - This PW-starred second novel from the author of Beasts of No Nation is set in Washington, D.C., as top student Niru’s life shifts when his conservative Nigerian parents find out he’s queer.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf, May) - In Ondaatje’s first work of fiction since 2011, it’s 1945 and 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named the Moth.
Green Sun by Kent Anderson (LB/Mulholland, Feb.) – James Ellroy calls Anderson’s long-awaited third novel, a timely thriller about policing and race relations set in Oakland, Calif., in 1983, “a literary miracle.”
The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson (Little, Brown & Knopf, June) – Former president Clinton, aided by bestseller Patterson, brings his White House expertise to a thriller about a U.S. president who vanishes.
The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (Harper, June) – British author Horowitz reinvents the classic crime novel, depicting a fictional version of himself as the Dr. Watson to a modern-day Sherlock Holmes.
Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh (Small Beer, Feb.) - Physicist and SF author Singh’s first collection for U.S. readers is a spectacular assembly of work and not to be missed by fans of cutting-edge SF with a deeply human sensibility.
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (Ecco, Apr.) - Miller made waves with his YA debut, The Art of Starving, and will make more with this rich and intense dystopian ensemble story set in a harsh near future.
The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg (Holt, Mar.) - Ortberg’s twisted variations on popular fairy tales and children’s books are daring and skillful, and this outstanding collection of them brims with satirical horror.
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (S&S/Saga, Apr.) - Celebrating pop culture and upending genre expectations, notorious envelope-pusher Valente brings Eurovision to where it’s always belonged: outer space.
Witchmark by C.L. Polk (Tor.com, June) - This stellar debut, set in an alternate early 20th century, is an innovative mix of class struggle, magic, and war that marks Polk as a writer to watch.
Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden (Shadow Mountain, Mar.) - Eden’s rich, lovely story set in 1871 Yorkshire examines the many ways of belonging or being an outsider, including gender, class, and place of origin.
A Lord for Whenever by Alexis Hall (Avon Impulse, Mar.) - Hall shifts gears from queer contemporary romance to this intriguing historical in which an older widow begins an affair with a duke’s son that soon becomes a scandal.
My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris (Quirk, Apr.) - Readers can choose any number of paths for the romance heroine in this interactive story, including affairs with men and women and adventures in various fascinating locales.
The Princess Deception by Nell Stark (Bold Strokes, May) - Double-crosses and shocking surprises flavor Stark’s entertaining novel of a princess stepping in for a prince and the journalist who pretends not to notice.
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole (Avon, Feb.) - Cole opens a series with an entertaining romance between an African prince and his American fiancée who’s totally forgotten he exists.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes (Penguin, June) - The ghosts of America’s past haunt these 70 inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered sonnets from the inimitable Hayes.
Cruel Futures by Carmen Giménez Smith (City Lights, Apr.) - Chronicling life in a country on the precipice of profound change compelled by manufactured media realities, Giménez Smith energetically analyzes pop culture and explores women’s many social roles.
Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky (Univ. of Pittsburgh, Mar.) - Fresh off his National Book Award win, Borzutzky returns with a collection that’s informed by the secret Chicago PD interrogation unit at Homan Square and responds to America’s long history of police abuse of African-Americans.
Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen (Coffee House, Apr.) - Nguyen, a queer Vietnamese-American, confronts whiteness, trauma, family, and nostalgia in poems that ache with loneliness, desire, and the giddy terrors of love, while reveling in moments of connection.
Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf, Apr.) - The current U.S. poet laureate challenges the nature of citizenship, motherhood, and what it means to be an artist in a culture mediated by wealth, men, and violence.
Fab 4 Mania by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics, Jun.) – The acclaimed creator of The Soldier’s Heart trilogy recreates the exhilaration and excitement of Beatlemania in 1965, Tyler’s personal obsession with the Beatles, and her odyssey that leads her to the famous Beatles concert in Chicago that year.
Young Frances by Hartley Lin (AdHouse, May) - The first collection from Pope Hats tells how insomniac law clerk Frances Scarland is recruited by her firm’s most notorious senior partner and seems poised for advancement. But when her impulsive best friend Vickie decides to move to the opposite coast, Frances’s confusing existence starts to implode.
All the Answers by Michael Kupperman (S&S/Gallery 13, May) – Eisner Award–winner Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle) tries to understand the life and mindset of his once-famous father—Joel Kupperman, the Quiz Kid who rose to fame then public derision in the ’50s—before the father succumbs to dementia.
X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor (Marvel Entertainment, Apr.) - Piskor (Hip- Hop Family Tree) applies his skill as a historian to a pulse-pounding look at more than six decades of X-Men history, from their riotous birth in the ’60s to their legendary reboot in the ’70s and their battle against extinction in the ’00s.
Blame This on the Boogie by Rina Ayuyang (Drawn & Quarterly, June) - Ayuyang chronicles the real-life adventures of a Filipino-American girl born in the decade of disco who escapes life’s hardships and mundanity through the genre’s feel-good song-and-dance numbers.
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison (Little, Brown, Apr.) - In this PW-starred memoir, Jamison explores her addiction alongside the stories of great writers and artists who also suffered; “her heartfelt insights... underscore her reputation as a writer of fearsome talent.”
Brave by Rose McGowan (HarperOne, Jan.) - Actress McGowan recounts her career and also her work as an activist determined to expose the truth about Hollywood.
Eat the Apple by Matt Young (Bloomsbury, Feb. 27) - This bold memoir explores “how war transformed [Young] from a confused teenager into a dangerous and damaged man.”
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron, May) - The former FBI director shares for the first time the details of his career in government during the past two decades.
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, Feb.) – Reminding readers that Smith is a gifted essayist as well as a novelist, this compilation surveys recent pivotal events in culture and politics, and in Smith’s own life.
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee (HMH/Mariner, Apr.) – Chee traces his path to becoming a writer through such varied experiences as spending a summer in Mexico as an exchange student, working as a Tarot-deck reader, taking a writing course with Annie Dillard, participating in an AIDS march, meeting William F. Buckley on a catering job, and tending a garden.
Near-Death Experiences: And Others by Robert Gottlieb (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June) – The famed book editor follows up his career memoir Avid Reader with this collection of his nonfiction writings, on subjects including authors, classic movies, and future U.S. presidents.
Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean (Grove, Apr.) – Dean, a journalist and critic, explores the lives and work of women writers of the 20th century, including Hannah Arendt, Zora Neale Hurston, and Pauline Kael, all of whom shared the quality of “sharpness,” or precision in thought and wit.
Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman (Norton, Feb.) - Freeman’s global history looks at the role of factories in society from all angles, with insights from critics and champions alike.
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King (Riverhead, Apr.) - Another suspenseful historical narrative from the Jim Crow era from the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Devil in the Grove. This one tells the story of the rape of the wife of a citrus baron, with numerous twists in the resulting decades-long investigation.
God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright (Knopf, Mar.) - Pulitzer Prize–winner Wright brings diligence to this ambitious undertaking, a history of the entire state of Texas, which is also his home state.
Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom by Keisha N. Blain (Univ. of Pennsylvania, Feb.) - A survey of the tactics, ideologies, and alliances employed by a group of black nationalist women who fought for national and transnational black liberation from the early to mid-20th century.
The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss (Viking, Mar.) - Weiss’s investigation of the final push to ratify the 19th Amendment in Tennessee draws parallels between the political landscape of the 1920s and today.
China’s Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle by Dinny McMahon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar.) – While the world sees China as a booming economic power, McMahon thinks otherwise: China’s perceived economic growth is built on a staggering mountain of debt.
Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright (Harper, Apr.) – The former secretary of state and U.N. ambassador takes a personal look at the history of fascism and discusses its resurgence in the world today.
Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua (Penguin Press, Feb.) – Chua, a Yale Law School professor best known for writing Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, examines the role of tribalism in politics and society in and outside the U.S.
Paul Simon: The Life by Robert Hilburn (Simon & Schuster, May) - Hilburn takes a deep look into the life and career of singer-songwriter Paul Simon, examining his songs and exploring his professional and personal successes and failures.
Outside the Jukebox: How I Turned My Passion into a Viral Sensation and Rewrote the Rules of the Music Business by Scott Bradlee (Hachette, June) - Musician Bradlee tells of his early struggles as a musician and how he came to form the band Postmodern Jukebox, which has upwards of three million subscribers on YouTube.
Creative Quest by Questlove (Ecco, Apr.) - The music director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon recounts his own musical journey in these spirited reflections on the elements of creativity.
Unmasked by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Harper, Mar.) - Coinciding with his 70th birthday, composer and producer Webber takes a look at five decades of his life, during which he produced The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Evita.
The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers by Adam Nicolson (Holt, Feb.) - Nicolson fuses the poetic and the scientific as he follows 10 species to understand their voyages, their ability to navigate over the oceans, and the ways they use smell to find food and home.
Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman (Pantheon, Mar.) - Meditating on religion and science, Lightman probes the tension between a human yearning for certainty and the uncertainty of nature, as well as the ways we’ve approached these concepts.
The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them) by Lucy Jones (Doubleday, Apr.) - Seismologist Jones looks at some of history’s most influential natural disasters, assesses their impact on our culture, and proposes new ways of thinking about the ones to come.
The Triumph of Christianity by Bart Ehrman (Simon & Schuster, Feb.) – By considering the nature of life under Roman rule, Ehrman makes the case that the spread of Christianity comes more from a gradual migration of like-minded people than from grand acts such as Constantine’s conversion.
Unafraid by Adam Hamilton (Convergent, Mar.) – Bestselling author and pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Hamilton combines scriptural lessons with personal experience and current neurological research to help readers alleviate the “worry, anxiety, and fear that permeates our lives.”
The Pope Who Would Be King by David I. Kertzer (Random House, Apr.) – Pulitzer Prize winner Kertzer details the political upheaval that resulted from the overthrow of Pope Pius IX in 1848, effectively ending the tradition of Catholic monarchs ruling by “divine right” throughout Europe.
Grateful by Diana Butler Bass (HarperOne, Apr.) – Bass addresses the gap “between our desire to be grateful and our ability to behave gratefully.” By listing the ways people fall short of appreciating their spiritual and social community, Bass points out simple steps for rekindling a grateful nature in a society filled with ego-centric thinking.