Goodreads Members' Most Anticipated Books of April

Posted by Cybil on April 1, 2021

According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans. There’s a bit of contention over the matter, actually. But the month has always been associated with the concepts of springtime and “opening”–as in the long-awaited opening of buds and flowers. And books, too.
New this month: Science fiction superstar Jeff VanderMeer warns of impending ecological strangeness in Hummingbird Salamander. Sally Hepworth writes of bloodlines and madness in The Good Sister. And author Judy Batalion uncovers some secret history in The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos. Also this month: San Francisco detectives, meddling aunties, and magical realism in 19th-century Norway.
Each month the Goodreads editorial team takes a look at the books that are being published in the U.S., readers' early reviews, and how many readers are adding these books to their Want to Read shelves (which is how we measure anticipation). We use the information to curate this list of hottest new releases.

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Mystery-thrillers always benefit from an element of what we might call truthiness, in which the narrative incorporates actual historical cases and current criminal justice theory. The new book from Paula McLain (The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun) does just that. Anna Hart, a San Francisco missing persons detective on mandatory vacation, finds herself back on the job when a local girl goes missing in the California village of Mendocino.  

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Author Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation, Borne) specializes in a kind of hybrid sci-fi strategy where ecological parable meets the older literary genre known as weird fiction. His new book is being billed as a “speculative thriller” concerning climate change, endangered species, and the possibility of apocalyptic ecoterrorism. Knowing VanderMeer, you can expect twists, turns, conspiracies, mysteries, cosmic awe, airtight plotting, and taxidermy. Oh, and the end of the world. That, too.

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Recommended for readers of Gone Girl and Room, Carole Johnstone’s first thriller features Cat and El, estranged twins on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. When they were kids, Cat and El paid regular visits to an imaginary kingdom called Mirrorland in their sprawling Gothic house in Edinburgh, Scotland. Now El is missing and Cat has flown in to investigate. Are these intruding ghosts from the past actual, allegorical, or psychological?

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Author and journalist Leone Ross (Orange Laughter) returns with a novel of imaginative fabulism set in the mysterious archipelago of Popisho. Xavier Redchoose is the macaenus of his generation, his duty is to make each resident of the islands one perfect meal. Xavier’s long-lost love Anise has her own magical powers, as a healer. A storm is coming. Popisho is “a world where magic is everywhere, food is fate, politics are broken, and love awaits.”

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From the author of The Mother-In-Law comes another complex mystery about the enduring enigma of family. Rose and Fern seem as close as sisters can be. Fern is quirky and free; Rose is responsible and dependable. But years ago, Fern did something Very Bad. Rose has kept her secret, and others too, many of which concern the clan matriarch and an unfortunate family tendency toward madness.

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Blending historical fiction with magical realism, Becoming Leidah promises a different sort of literary adventure. Set in the hinterlands of 19th-century Norway, the book follows the fate of Leidah Pietersdatter, a peculiar little girl with blue skin and webbed hands. Leidah’s mother is desperate to protect her child from the prejudices of the townsfolk, who have turned away from their old gods. Michelle Grierson’s book takes some interesting turns and is recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman and Alice Hoffman.  

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Debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto is enjoying a lot of good buzz with Dial A for Aunties, billed as a SoCal romance crossed with a murder mystery and a rom-com. See, Meddelin Chan has a problem. She just kinda-sorta killed her blind date. Complicating matters, the body has been accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to a billionaire’s upcoming wedding. Meddy’s mom concludes that there’s only one course of action: Time to call in the Aunties…

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Author Judy Batalion’s nonfiction narrative history chronicles an amazing story out of World War II. The Light of Days profiles the insanely courageous Jewish women who fought their own guerrilla war against the Nazi regime in Poland. The so-called “ghetto girls” ambushed Gestapo officers and bombed German trains, while at the same time caring for the sick and spiriting refugees out of danger. Bonus fact: Steven Spielberg has optioned the book for a movie adaptation.

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Journalist and alpha blogger Jenny Lawson (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) is generally acknowledged as one of the funniest writers on the planet. Her new book Broken (In the Best Possible Way) is said to be her most personal yet. Lawson details her experience with experimental treatments for depression, including transcranial magnetic stimulation. It shouldn’t be funny, yet somehow it always is. You know what they say about laughter and medicine.

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Michelle Zauner’s highly anticipated autobiography details the author’s upbringing as a Korean-American kid trying to find her way in the ever-changing rhythms of the 21st century. Zauner, the prime mover behind the experimental indie pop project known as Japanese Breakfast, writes about memories of her grandmother in Seoul, the heartbreak of losing her mom to cancer, and her subsequent explorations into Korean heritage and cuisine.


Which new releases are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
April's Most Anticipated Romances
April's Most Anticipated YA Books
Goodreads Members' Most Anticipated Spring Books

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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message 1: by Ruli (new)

Ruli Sastra It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳

Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"

Not everyone is horny.

All Cops Are Bastards Why are there so many books called Becoming [Name]? That was played out the first time it was used, whenever that was

message 4: by • Arielle • (last edited Apr 01, 2021 03:20AM) (new)

• Arielle • Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) wrote: "Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"

Not everyone is horny."


message 5: by All Cops Are Bastards (last edited Apr 01, 2021 03:31AM) (new)

All Cops Are Bastards Just looked through a few pages of GR results for "becoming". This is just the tip of the iceberg. Might have to start keeping a running list. If only I could sort the results by publication date... anyone have ones from pre-2000?

2000: Becoming Madame Mao (historical fiction)
2003: Becoming Jane Austen (biography)
2005: Becoming Naomi León (children's)
2006: Becoming Chloe (YA)
2009: Becoming Jane Eyre (historical fiction)
2010: Becoming Odyssa (memoir)
2011: Becoming Marie Antoinette (historical fiction)
2011: Becoming Quinn (thriller)
2013: Becoming Josephine (historical fiction)
2014: Becoming Calder (romance)
2014: Becoming Noah Baxter (romance)
2014: Becoming Lady Lockwood (romance)
2015: Becoming Nicole (memoir)
2015: Becoming Rain (romance)
2015: Becoming Steve Jobs (biography)
2016: Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep (biography)
2016: Becoming Marta (fiction)
2017: Becoming Ms. Burton (memoir)
2017: Becoming Bonnie (historical fiction)
2018: Becoming [Michelle Obama] (memoir)
2018: Becoming Mrs. Lewis (historical fiction)
2019: Becoming Eve (memoir)
2019: Becoming Dr. Seuss (biography)
2020: Becoming Duchess Goldblatt (memoir)
2020: Becoming Muhammad Ali (children's)
2020: Becoming Brianna (children's)
2021: Becoming Leidah (historical fiction)

message 6: by TMR (last edited Apr 01, 2021 03:36AM) (new)

TMR Ooh I’m so excited for these.

message 7: by Tiuri (new)

Tiuri Not a single one of those books interest me.

message 8: by Joe (last edited Apr 01, 2021 06:44AM) (new)

Joe Holzer Northern Heist by Richard O'Rawe
Titan Song by Dan Stout

message 9: by Jantien (new)

Jantien Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"


message 10: by 如意 (last edited Apr 01, 2021 08:08AM) (new)

如意 I'm sounding like a broken record but I'm so excited for Dial A for Aunties! It'll be so fun to recognise the struggle, but the whole synopsis of the book sounds just so fun! ꉂ(ᵔᗜᵔ*)

Meddlesome (but always well meaning) aunties and all their wisdom really made a difference in my life, though when I was younger sometimes I grew tired of it.

I've pre-ordered two copies. One for myself and one for a book loving, meddlesome auntie that always looked out for me and reminded me to put on a coat even if it was 25C outside. ♡

message 11: by John (new)

John Fetzer Tiuri wrote: "Not a single one of those books interest me."

The list is heavy on scifi and fantasy.

message 12: by John (new)

John Fetzer There are books by Haruki Murakami and Jhumpa Lahiri coming out. The Murakami one will outsell all of these combined, yet it is not on this list. Whoever created this did not ask the full member base.

message 13: by becky ☾ (new)

becky ☾ Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"

uh huh

ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook Hummingbird Salamander has a gorgeous cover!

message 15: by Nev (new)

Nev Thomas Bullet train by Kotaro Isaka

message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko, by Gordon Vanstone (Magical Realism and Literary set in Japan)

message 17: by Nyah (new)

Nyah Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) wrote: "Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"

Not everyone is horny."


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Gomez Ruli wrote: "It should cointain The ​Crown of Gilded Bones 😳"

No kidding... now I'll be second guessing every one of these lists.

message 19: by AℳYⒾ ♔♚♛Cofounder of Teens against YA books♛♚♔ (last edited Apr 02, 2021 11:47PM) (new)

AℳYⒾ ♔♚♛Cofounder of Teens against YA books♛♚♔ What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon I apologize for going offtopic, but I demand whoever in the staff putting on hold reviews of books outside Goodreads pre-approved list of favorite authors *coughs* literary agencies list* coughs* to stop. I'm here for the Kindle Unlimited and the discounts, not for the big five releases. I'm not for snobbish reading, if a Christian housewife from Utah publishes the best books out there I'll read. Amy Harmon books are better than anything published by the big five. The most anticipated books of goodreads are mostly in the Kindle store for less than $5 bucks.
Look at the most "recent" reviews, it hasn't been updated from about 48 hours and it's mostly 5 star reviews that are missing.
description (
That's not coincidence considering what you did to Making Faces by Amy Harmon during romance week 2020
So stop your campaign against Amy Harmon. Stop putting the reviews of What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon Making Faces by Amy Harmon on hold
I won't ever read anything recommended by the goodreads staff nor their preferred reviewers cuz someone behind the staff is trying to sabotage my favorite Kindle Unlimited authors and I can provide evidence. You can't "influence" readers by targeting their favorite books so I'm purposely ignoring the staff recs. Leave us readers alone.
The Queen of Fat cats

AℳYⒾ ♔♚♛Cofounder of Teens against YA books♛♚♔ P.s. For the good people in the staff, please don't take offense, I wasn't talking you. I recognize your hard work, so I ask you to please find out what's happening, why the pages and reviews from so many kindle unlimited books feature this kind of "glitches"? I have had my reviews targeted when I'm hyping up a KU author. I can provide evidence.

message 21: by Jonathon (new)

Jonathon Neville "Becoming" is taking on additional meaning - in happenings which to-my-knowledge have never happened before in literature - in Becoming Leidah. I would have assumed everything worth doing has been done before - but there's a difference here that is is unlike anything I've read, seen, or heard of.

Still, in general I agree that there seem to be an oddly-high number of books titled Becoming....

message 22: by Jodi (new)

Jodi John wrote: "There are books by Haruki Murakami and Jhumpa Lahiri coming out. The Murakami one will outsell all of these combined, yet it is not on this list. Whoever created this did not ask the full member base."

The list doesn't thrill me, either, however GR explains in the Intro how the list was compiled.

message 23: by Kris (last edited Apr 04, 2021 11:50AM) (new)

Kris Can we get past both "Becoming" and covers that look like a five year old with crayons made it.

message 24: by Howard (new)

Howard Fischer I do not read books that have a gerund in their title.

message 25: by William Reid (new)

William Reid I can't wait to read The Good Sister!

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