Need a new book for April?
Here’s a roundup of the new books by women being released in April that I am most excited about, with a focus on women of color and gender non-conforming people from historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
If you are curious about which books I focus on, see my Review Policy. These are just guidelines and I reserve the right to include (or not!) any books I see fit.
I’ll probably add to this list as I learn of others; if you have a suggestion, please place it in the comments below!
America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
“The creative accomplishments of this story are incredible: this unexpected family, this history, this embrace of the sacred and the profane, this easy humor, this deeply felt human-ness, this messy, perfect love story. Elaine Castillo is a masterful, heartfelt writer.” –Jade Chang
“Castillo delivers a powerful, increasingly relevant novel about the promise of the American dream and the unshakable power of the past.”–The Rumpus
“In this unforgettable novel, Castillo offers an important pushback on the idea of the American Dream and questions who gets access to it.”–Bitch Media
“This highly anticipated release is getting lauded as equal parts exciting, terrifying, and oh-so-relevant. Crackles on every page.”–Brightly
“Ireland delivers a necessary, subversive, and explosive novel with her fantasy-laced alternate history that does the all-important work of exploring topics of oppression, racism, and slavery while simultaneously accomplishing so much more. Brilliant and gut-wrenching.”–Booklist (starred review)
Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Juan Felipe Herrera
“For a poet so capable of taking readers on far-flung journeys to places like Corfu, Cambodia, and New York, Xie is perhaps most remarkable for her ability to take readers deeper inside themselves than they have ever been. . . . Xie’s work is just a thing of pure, piercing beauty.”–Nylon
“Despite Xie’s wide-ranging adventures, we remain burrowed in the mind of this magnificent poet, who braids in the lonesomeness and sorrow of being unmoored and on your own.”–The Paris Review, Staff Picks
Feminist Manifestos: A Global Documentary Reader by Penny A. Weiss (ed.)
“Feminist Manifestos provides an impressive and unprecedented archive of feminist activism. This rich compendium includes feminist petitions, manifestos, resolutions, charters and declarations from fifty countries, starting in 1642 and ending in 2017. Each selection is accompanied by informative introductions. I’ve been waiting for a book like this and can’t wait to assign it in my courses.”–Amrita Basu, Author of Violent Conjunctures in Democratic India
“This inspiring collection is breathtaking in its originality and daring in its premise. Reading the words collectively authored when feminists come together in struggle conveys the passion that inspires activism. Feminists thinking together in these manifestos provide hopeful and energizing answers to the question of what feminism is, challenging the categories and waves into which such variety is often awkwardly packaged.”–Myra Marx Ferree, Author of Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics In Global Perspective
“A fresh and unusual story that encompasses both the dark and the hilarious … If you’re jonesing for a dose of early 90s, Gen-X ennui, with a side of the supernatural, Sodom Road Exit is worth the price of admission.”–Lambda Literary
“With ferocious compassion and an unforgettable cast of characters, Amber Dawn has written an extraordinary novel of queer love and survival. Consent to be possessed by it.”–Megan Milks, author of Kill Marguerite and Other Stories
“This book is the queer, fat girl rom-com of my dreams! Plus-size fashion, a fat girl falling in love, nuanced friendships, and cheeseburgers! Did I mention cheeseburgers?” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’
“Funny, full of heart, and refreshingly free of a weight-loss arc.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
An extraordinary new poetry collection by the Poet Laureate of the United States.
“In these poems, with both gentleness and severity, Smith generously accepts what is an unusually public burden for an American poet, bringing national strife home, and finding the global in the local.”–NPR.org
“On a craft level, these poems are impeccable. . . . I know brilliance when I read it and this book is brilliant.”–Roxane Gay, Goodreads
“A gripping tale of suspense, secrets, and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.”–Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying”
“Lyrical and haunting, with plenty of twists that kept me reading long into the night.”–Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners
And when she’s not writing, Amelia Brunskill is a librarian, so I automatically like her.
“With devastating insight and remarkable style, Nafissa Thompson-Spires explores what it means to come to terms with one’s body, one’s family, one’s future. The eleven vignettes in Heads of the Colored People elevate the unusual and expose the unseen, forming an original—and urgent—portrait of American life.” (Allegra Hyde Of This New World)
My review of this unique and necessary book is coming soon.
Though I Get Home by YZ Chin
“A welcome read in American contemporary literature. Though I Get Home is an intimate and complex look into Malaysian culture and politics, and a reminder of the importance of art in the struggle for social justice.” –Ana Castillo, author of So Far from God and prize judge
“A haunting, surprising, and rebellious collection that contains multitudes.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A fascinating, incredible true story about the person who spends her life cleaning up after traumas.
Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife. . . But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.”–IndieBound
Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice by Rebecca Todd Peters
“Offers a compelling case for radically revising the way we think and speak about women’s reproductive experience. . . . While written specifically for Christians, this will be a valuable read for anyone who questions the pronatalism and misogyny that constrains reproductive decision-making in the United States and seeks to shift our public debate in a more just direction.”–Library Journal, starred review
“In Trust Women, Rebecca Todd Peters lays bare the real question underlying the abortion debate: whether or not women can be trusted to make their own decisions. She is compassionate and clear-eyed in constructing her faith-based case for abortion, and her voice cuts through the noise to affirm what we at Planned Parenthood have long believed: the best arbiter of a woman’s reproductive destiny is herself.”–Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life by Dianna Hunter
“Dianna Hunter’s engaging memoir thoughtfully recounts a feminist era, ethos, and way of life that until recently has been largely lost to the historical record. Told with nuanced self-reflection and respect for wider contexts, Hunter’s stories will challenge any narrow assumptions about what it was like to create and live the ‘second wave.’”–Finn Enke, author of Finding the Movement
Bisexuality: Theories, Research, and Recommendations for the Invisible Sexuality edited by D. Joye Swan and Shani Habibi
“This pathbreaking volume brings together a diverse body of sexual, behavioral, and social science research on bisexuality. Arguing for a clear, evidence-based definition of bisexuality and standardized measures for assessing sexual orientation, it spotlights challenges that need to be addressed toward attaining these goals.”–IndieBound
“[The BreakBeat Poets is] one of the most diverse and important poetry anthologies of the last 25 years.”–Latino Rebels
“Black Girl Magic continues and deepens the work of the first BreakBeat Poets anthology by focusing on some of the most exciting Black women writing today. This anthology breaks up the myth of hip-hop as a boys’ club, and asserts the truth that the cypher is a feminine form.”–IndieBound
“Summerfield’s first novel is many things-a nod to late ’80s news and culture, a case study of divided and blended homes, and an imaginative exploration of childhood fears. Mostly, though, it’s the beautifully tender story of an eight-year-old’s broken heart and her journey toward mending it.”–Booklist
“You are about to meet your new favorite author. Zulema Renee Summerfield knows just where the fault lines lie in homes and hearts and families and in Every Other Weekend she leads us to those with a magical compassion. Summerfield’s voice is hilarious and scathing and healing. We find ourselves here, inhabitable. In Every Other Weekend, Summerfield brings us home.”–Tupelo Hassman, author of Girlchild
“Rhodes captures the all-too-real pain of racial injustice and provides an important window for readers who are just beginning to explore the ideas of privilege and implicit bias.”–School Library Journal, starred review
“An excellent novel that delves into the timely topic of racism… with the question of whether or not we really have come far when dealing with race relations.”–School Library Connection, starred review
“Part fact and part fiction, Alex and Eliza: A Love Story will definitely get you (or your teen) excited about history.”–PopSugar
“Do you listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical soundtrack on repeat? Then, the next logical step is to read this YA love tale.”–PopCrush
“Hamilton fans will love this fictionalized, and delightfully charming, novel.”–BuzzFeed
Just One Word: Short Stories by Bama by Bama (author), Malini Seshadri (Translator)
“Bama is one of the most readily recognizable names in the pantheon of Tamil Dalit writers. She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992), which chronicles the joys and sorrows experienced by Dalit Christian women in Tamil Nadu. Her works have been appreciated for embodying Dalit feminism and celebrating the inner strength of the subaltern woman.
This work is a collection of her 15 short stories, selected to showcase the range of social concerns and the depth of her perception of human frailties. In each of these stories, Bama documents the emerging influences on the lives and consciousness of people. She picks up a character one is likely to meet every day and builds a narrative that reveals, with a touch of ironic humour, the internalized caste and patriarchal sentiments that the society passes on to the future generation every single day.”–Amazon
Alexandra Kollantai: Writings From the Struggle edited and translated by Cathy Porter
“Never-before translated writings of one of Russia’s most important leaders in the struggle for women’s liberation.”–IndieBound
Alexandra Kollontai has the potential to be a true delight for the connoisseur by providing an alternative historical account of Russia and the socialist movement. However, what makes it transcend time is Kollontai’s chief belief that women should be at the centre of the economy, not the periphery.”–Spokeman
“This book is not a conventional story about war and its aftermath; it’s a powerful coming-of-age story in which a girl explores her identity in the wake of a brutal war that destroyed her family and home. Wamariya is an exceptional narrator and her story is unforgettable.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“At once heart-breaking and hopeful, [Wamariya’s] story is about power and helplessness, loneliness and identity, and the strange juxtaposition of poverty and privilege…. This beautifully written and touching account goes beyond the horror of war to recall the lived experience of a child trying to make sense of violence and strife. Intimate and lyrical, the narrative flows from Wamariya’s early experience to her life in the United States with equal grace. A must-read.”–Library Journal (starred review)
“Much like Homegoing, House of Rougeaux is an intergenerational novel that uses different characters to travel through decades of turmoil and triumphs.”–Bitch Media
“Jaeckel masterfully blends genres of mysticism, coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender and race, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing through trauma. A relevant work of love, determination, and the many small achievements that make up greatness, House of Rougeaux draws a new map of what it means to be family.”–IndieBound
I loved Homegoing, so I’m excited for this one.
“Susanna P. Campbell has written a fantastic book. It is one of the very few studies of on-the-ground peacebuilding that helps us to actually understand – and, hopefully, replicate – successful efforts. It is theoretically innovative, and draws on incredibly rich ethnographic material from 14 years of involvement in peacebuilding, both in the field and in the headquarters. All of these make Global Governance and Local Peace essential reading for scholars and practitioners alike.” Severine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Trouble With The Congo
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