Spring into reading with the hottest new releases of the season! The best books of spring 2019 are here, and you don’t want to miss them.
Spring is here! Or at least that’s what they tell me. Unfortunately, winter is doing its best to cling on a little longer. While I’m writing this, we are under a winter storm warning here in Utah. I woke up to snow on the ground.
So while I sit here dreaming of spring, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of the best books of spring 2019.
If you are a regular to our blog, you’ll know that each month we put out our list of What to Read Now, keeping you updated on all the new book releases. Today, we’re taking the best of March and April and introducing a few of the hottest upcoming May releases to sum up the best books of spring 2019.
Great Books All About Women
For starters, this might be my favorite new book of the year so far and is easily among the best books of spring 2019. Sally Hepworth’s new book release deserves all the stars, in my opinion. The first time Lucy met Diana, she is disappointed to find her future mother-in-law is cold and distant. Not at all the best friend and replacement mother Lucy was hoping to find. Now ten years later, Diana is dead, and all eyes automatically turn to Lucy. Much more of a character study than a murder mystery, The Mother-in-Law shines by highlighting how two people can view the same event differently and by navigating the history of a complicated relationship.
In February for my very first Book of the Month selection, I chose Etaf Rum’s debut novel, A Woman is No Man. Following three generations of Palestinian women, Rum’s powerful story highlights the dangers of beliefs that view women as inferior. The tale begins with the arranged marriage of Isra, forced to move to America where she knows no one. Years later, Isra’s daughter Deya herself faces an arranged marriage in Brooklyn. This raw account of the oppression of women in an extremely strict family is depressing and at the same time beautifully written.
I was not surprised when Book of the Month Club chose Normal People among their April book club picks. Irish millennial Sally Rooney returns with one of the most anticipated books among critics. Exploring the relationship between two people – Marianne, whose family has taught her she doesn’t deserve love, and Connell, who is too concerned with what other people think – Rooney gives an insightful look at the connection between two people, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. A solid entry into the new adult genre, it delivers plenty of food for thought. Be warned, the romance gets a tad graphic. Also, I spent a chunk of the book wanting to smack the characters in the back of the head for the choices they continued to make.
For Amazon Prime members, each month on the Kindle app, you can choose one of six free Kindle books – a month before they release. How cool is that? For February, I choose Glendy Vanderah’s debut novel, Where the Forest Meets the Stars, and I was glad I did. While working on her graduate research in rural Illinois, Joanna Teale returns one night to find a little girl outside her cabin. But not just any little girl. Ursa claims to be an alien who needs to witness 5 miracles before she can return to her planet. This charming little story had me guessing the whole time. Was it a science fiction novel? Or was Ursa just an abused and neglected little girl.
Historical Fiction To Fall In Love With
On the island of Jeju just off the Korean peninsula, lives a society where women are the breadwinners. They are sea divers risking untold hazards to provide for their families from the ocean. Among them are best friends Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls just entering their village’s diving collective. Telling the account of their lives from the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, through World War II and the tumultuous aftermath up to the present, Lisa See’s latest historical fiction novel is a beautifully written account. If you love reading historical fiction about different cultures, this is one of the best books of spring 2019 that you don’t want to miss.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Already snapped up by Reese Witherspoon’s company to become an Amazon miniseries, Daisy Jones & The Six is making waves this spring. After her highly successful novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid is back with an addictingly fun read about the rise to fame of a fiction 70s rock and roll band. With sex, drugs, and plenty of drama, you’ll feel like watching a biopic on VH1 – but an extremely well-written one. Selected by Book of the Month club for March, Daisy Jones & The Six will quite possibly be the best book of the entire year.
A multilayered account of the effects of the Second World War in Singapore, How We Disappeared centers on Wang Di, who was taken as a teenager and forced into a Japanese brothel as a “comfort woman.” Later she marries “The Old One,” a widower equally traumatized by his own experiences during the war. On her deathbed, Wang Di accidentally reveals a secret to her grandson Kevin who sets forth to find the truth. Bouncing between Wang Di’s experience in 1942, her search for the truth of her husband’s past, and Kevin’s search for the truth, Jing-Jing Lee weaves together a painful account of history – partly based on her own family’s experiences. Since it is drawing comparisons to Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, this novel is my wildcard pick for the best books of spring 2019.
More Exciting Spring 2019 New Releases
If you want a clean-cut and fun young adult fantasy/romance series, Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series is the perfect read. Coming on the heels of Caraval and Legendary, is the final book in the series. Now that the characters have made it through two different Caravals – magical carnival festivals where the players get to interact with a league of actors to solve puzzles and win a fantastical prize – they face their toughest challenges yet. Donatella is determined to stop the coronation of Legend while Scarlet pits Julian against her former fiance. But their mother’s past will come back to haunt them in the conclusion of this light-hearted YA series. Honestly, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
In a small Virginia town, Korean immigrants Young and Pak Yoo run a medical center with a hyperbaric chamber called the Miracle Submarine – a pressurized oxygen chamber patients can use to treat illnesses like decompression sickness, but that many use in an attempt to treat such conditions as autism and MS. When the chamber explodes, killing two, an intense murder trial begins revealing secrets and lies from all involved. Compared to Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Angie Kim’s debut novel sounds fascinating and will be my Book of the Month pick for April.
Covering three generations of a wealthy American family, Sarah Blake’s sweeping family saga shows how the past can come to haunt the present. In 1936, Kitty and Ogden Milton seem to have it all. When tragedy strikes, Ogden buys his wife an island in Maine. There, Kitty eventually makes a fateful decision that will haunt her. In 1959, the family meets Len Levy, a Jewish man, and his black best friend, Reg Pauling, both of whom will profoundly affect the Milton family’s future. Finally, in the present day, Kitty’s granddaughter, forced to consider selling the island, dives into the past to find what secrets lay buried in the family’s history. The synopsis has me dying to know what exactly Kitty did that would haunt generations to come. With a discussion on morality and race, I’m excited to see if this May 2019 book release can deliver as much as it promises.
Best Books of Spring 2019 – Nonfiction
Among the best new books to read now would have to be The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One. Two-time Goodreads Choice Awards winner in poetry Amanda Lovelace is back with the 3rd entry into her Women Are Some Kind of Magic series. I rarely read poetry, so I struggled at first with the eccentric format of this collection. Nevertheless, I came to love her unconventional method. Considering how few words she uses, I’m amazed at the depth of feeling Lovelace conveys about the highs and lows, doubts, and fears of sexual assault. I hope her collection does indeed help other women find their voices.
Following her 2018 bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis is back with a followup Girl, Stop Apologizing. While Girl, Wash Your Face was aimed at reminding women not to hold themselves back, her latest book release is more geared toward achieving goals. The weakest part of the book is the beginning where Hollis lists excuses that hold you back – I don’t have time, good girls don’t hustle, etc. This section feels like a lesser copy of her previous book. The book finds its stride in the second half. There, Hollis describes specific behaviors and skills you need to achieve your goals. If you approach the book with a specific goal in mind, you have a much better chance of enjoying this one. Overall, I would say this book is not as good as Girl, Wash Your Face, but still worth a read if you love Rachel Hollis’s style.
Mary Laura Philpott
Probably one of our most anticipated books of spring is this intriguing take on a memoir; a collection essays from the acclaimed essayist Mary Laura Philpott. What do you do when you’ve successfully go it all – marriage, children, house and career – and still don’t feel happy? No, you don’t necessarily have to make a dramatic change in your circumstances. With her keen observations on modern adult life, Philpott decides to re-imagine what happiness means to her.
I almost feel like the subtitle says it all. “Southern lady code – a technique by which, if you don’t have something nice to say, you say something not so nice in a nice way.” In her hilarious collection of essays, Helen Ellis takes you from Alabama to New York with her witty look at her life, all from a Southern girl’s perspective. If you have any connection to the South, we’ve been told you’ll find her humor brilliant. We can’t wait to get a hold of a copy.
Every single David McCullough book I’ve ever read has been out-of-the-park incredible. Thus, I was giddy with joy to discover him among the May 2019 book releases. After covering such historical figures as Truman, John Adams and The Wright Brothers, McCullough decided to chronicle the lives of rarely heard of settlers in the Ohio Valley. Among the pioneers willing to brave the newly opened Northwest Territory spanning from present-day Ohio to Wisconsin, Manasseh Cutter and General Rufus Putnam felt lured forth by the promise of freedom of religion, universal free education and the prohibition of slavery. McCullough’s voice always makes history come alive, so I’m thrilled to hear the history of the settlement of our home state.
What do you think are the best books of spring 2019?