Goodreads Members' Most Anticipated Spring Books

Posted by Cybil on March 11, 2021
big books of spring 2020

Spring is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Oof–let’s try this again.” The last 12 months have been, well, challenging is the polite term. But the tide is turning! With buds on the trees and hope on the horizon, it’s time to start lining up our spring-reading strategies.
 
Here we’ve assembled 31 of the most anticipated books of spring, each with a release date between March 20 and June 20—the actual calendar dates of the season. How did we do it? Glad you asked. Starting with a big list of books to be published in the U.S., we tracked early reviews and crunched the numbers on how many readers are adding these books to their Want to Read shelves. All of that data generated our curated list of the most anticipated new releases of the season.
 
We’ve got new fiction from Chris Bohjalian, Kirstin Valdez Quade, and Zakiya Dalila Harris. New climate fiction from Jeff VanderMeer, and science fiction from Andy Weir and Nghi Vo. New mysteries from Joshilyn Jackson, Sally Hepworth, and Alex Michaelides. Plus hot new releases in YA and romance, and some really intriguing stuff in nonfiction—including a kind of live report from the front lines of the pandemic.

Be sure to add anything that catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf, and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments.

Happy hunting! Happy reading!
 
FICTION


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Set in 1970s Detroit and New York, Dawnie Walton’s much-anticipated debut introduces Opal, a pioneering Afro-punk musician who teams with Nev, a British songwriter, for a run at fortune and glory. Decades later, a journalist assembles their story, which Walton presents in a kind of meta oral history format.

Release date: March 30


 
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Author Kirstin Valdez Quade, renowned for her award-winning short fiction, presents her debut novel about a year in the life of a beguiling New Mexico family. It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, and Amadeo Padilla has just discovered his 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. It’s going to be an interesting year…

Release date: March 30


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Gabriela Garcia’s debut novel follows multiple generations of Cuban women through a sprawling narrative designed to push the boundaries of the typical diaspora tale. With everything from 19th-century cigar factories to modern-day ICE detention centers in Miami, Garcia’s book is enjoying generous advance notices and good critical vibes.

Release date: March 30


   
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From the acclaimed author of The Flight Attendant, Hour of the Witch is a historical thriller set in the environs of 1662 Boston. Mary Deerfield, stuck in an abusive marriage, must make her escape by confronting a psychotic religious culture in an era when witch hunts were not just metaphorical.

Release date: May 4


    
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Malibu, California: The wealthy and troubled Riva family is preparing their annual end-of-summer party, the talk of the town in the long, hot August of 1983. Nina, surfer and supermodel, has just been dumped. Her various siblings bring about additional drama. Just add alcohol and mix!

Release date: June 1


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Billed as a cross between Get Out and The Devil Wears Prada, this debut thriller spotlights 20-something Nella Rogers, the only Black employee at her New York City publishing house. Nella is initially happy when newcomer Hazel (the other Black girl) arrives. But things soon get weird, then weirder. 

Release date: June 1


MYSTERY & THRILLER


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Joshilyn Jackson (Never Have I Ever) is back with a twisted and twisty tale about a desperate mother, a kidnapped infant, and a mysterious black-clad stalker who appears to be, well, a witch. To get her baby back, Bree Cabbat will have to enter a world of darkness and danger.

Release date: April 6


 
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Rose and Fern are as close as sisters can be. But the siblings share a secret. Years ago, Fern did something terrible, and sister Rose has never told a soul. Author Sally Hepworth (The Mother-in-Law) explores the genetics of madness and the dark side of family secrets.

Release date: April 13


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From the author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun comes a new thriller about Anna Hart, a San Francisco missing-persons detective currently on retreat in her tiny hometown of Mendocino. When a local girl goes missing, Anna’s skills are needed. Looks like this is going to be a working vacation.

Release date: April 13


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When sisters Cat and El were kids, they invented an imaginary kingdom called Mirrorland in their creepy Gothic house in Edinburgh, Scotland. Now El is missing. Cat flies in from L.A. to investigate. Someone is leaving clues. It’s possible, just possible, that Mirrorland wasn’t imaginary after all.

Release date: April 20


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The Maidens, a secret society of students at Cambridge University, are devastated when one of their own is murdered. Stranger still, the killing appears to reference the Greek myth of Persephone and the underworld. Author Alex Michaelides won a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award with his debut mystery, The Silent Patient.

Release date: June 15


FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION

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Alpha weird-fiction author Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) specializes in a kind of ultra-spooky ecological sci-fi. His new book is being billed as a “speculative thriller” concerning climate change and endangered species. Knowing VanderMeer, you can expect twists, turns, conspiracies, mysteries, cosmic awe, and taxidermy.

Release date: April 6


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Andy Weir, author of the ginormous book-to-film success story The Martian, returns with the saga of astronaut Ryland Grace, who has just awoken from an extremely long cryogenic sleep. Using a patched-together spaceship, two corpses, and his very fuzzy memory, he must try to save Earth from an extinction-level event.

Release date: May 4


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One of the year’s most talked-about releases in the realm of speculative fiction, Sorrowland is being billed as a genre-bending work of Gothic fantasy. Young mother Vern escapes her oppressive religious compound to raise her kids in the woods, where she undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis. Allegory may be involved. Avoid spoilers with this one.

Release date: May 4


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How’s this for a literary project? Teleport The Great Gatsby into the spec-fic realms of alternate history and magic. Jordan Baker is rich, beautiful, and connected. She’s also Asian, queer, and marginalized. Rethinking F. Scott Fitzgerald is a serious flex, and early reviews suggest that this is a must-read.  

Release date: June 1


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Inspired by classic fairy tales concerning little girls and wolves, Hannah F. Whitten sets out to chart new territory in dark fantasy. As the only Second Daughter in centuries, Red is doomed to be sacrificed. But what if the Wolf is not what it seems? Recommended for readers of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.

Release date: June 1





 
NONFICTION


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Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib (They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us) tracks the history of Black performance in American and world culture. His series of insightful essays addresses the concept of performance with open eyes and open heart, “from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio."

Release date: March 30 


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Recently optioned by Steven Spielberg for a movie adaptation, Judy Batalion’s astonishing book excavates the lost stories of Jewish women who fought back against the Nazis in World War II. 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.

Release date: April 6 


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Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, is back with a collection of writing that’s being called her most personal yet—and her funniest ever. Lawson gets real about her depression and details her experience with experimental treatments. She also tackles the really tough questions, like “How do dogs know they have penises?” Fearless. Persistent. Uncompromising. Lawson.

Release date: April 6 


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For author Lauren Hough, raised in the infamous Children of God cult, breaking free of her childhood was just the beginning. Frank, courageous, and often very funny, Hough’s new book of essays bounces from fraught to funny and details “notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely.”

Release date: April 13


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Writer-musician Michelle Zauner, founder of the experimental indie project known as Japanese Breakfast, looks back on her upbringing as a Korean American kid trying to find her way in the ongoing cyclone that is 21st-century America. Zauner’s story really is amazing. She’s also really into Korean cooking.

Release date: April 20 




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From the author of The Big Short and Moneyball, this audacious “nonfiction thriller” is likely to be one of the biggest books of the year. Lewis gets right in the middle of the unfolding pandemic, telling the true stories of heroic dissenters in China and the U.S. who tried—and are still trying—to save millions of lives.

Release date: May 4


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In Ashley C. Ford’s heartfelt memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, a bright new voice enters the national conversation. Ford grew up poor and deprived by the absence of her father, who was in prison for reasons she didn’t know or understand. Family love, as anyone can tell you, is the most complicated kind of love.  

Release date: June 1






 
YOUNG ADULT


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Ah, the deep dark woods—an enduring destination in literature of all eras. The setup: Children are disappearing from the small coastal town of Astoria. The twist: Five years ago, Wendy and her brothers went missing in those same woods. Wendy made it back. Her brothers didn’t. The bottom line: Time to go back into the deep dark woods.

Release date: March 23

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Rule of Wolves returns readers of King of Scars to the land of Fjerda, where a king, a general, and a spy must work together to forge a new future for their people. Bonus trivia: Bardugo won a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award for her breakout book Ninth House.

Release date: March 30

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Winner of this spring’s informal Coolest Book Title Award, Witches Steeped in Gold is a Jamaican-inspired fantasy novel about two enemy witches who form a rickety alliance to confront a common threat. British author Ciannon Smart’s debut is recommended for fans of Killing Eve, Furyborn, and Ember in the Ashes.

Release date: April 20


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Fans of Maureen Johnson will be hyped to hear that amateur sleuth Stevie Bell is back on the case in a new standalone mystery. Stevie has been invited to work on a true-crime podcast about the infamous Box in the Woods Murders in 1978, which claimed the lives of four camp counselors. The killer couldn’t still be out there. Right?

Release date: June 15



 
ROMANCE
 
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The new romantic comedy (comedic romance?) from author Sally Thorne (The Hating Game) has an interesting setting: the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa. Can the retirees help facility manager Ruthie Midona remember that she is still young and beautiful and unattached? This new hire, Teddy Prescott, is kind of hot. And he’s the owner’s son? Matchmaking time!

Release date: April 13


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Falling in love with your best friend is a mixed blessing. History tells us this. On the one hand, if everything goes right, it’s a shortcut to happiness. But if things go sideways, well, it’s a double tragedy. Alex and Poppy have one last chance to get it together in this new romance from Emily Henry (Beach Read).

Release date: May 11


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Dating is a hopeless tangle of messy emotions, personal baggage, and unknowable chemistry. Can science crack the code? Christina Lauren (The Unhoneymooners) returns with an intriguing romantic premise concerning the efficacy of DNA-based matchmaking—recommended for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Release date: May 18


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More science! Author Casey McQuiston’s new book is being billed as “a queer spin on Kate & Leopold” and features a compelling time-travel twist. Twentysomething waitress August has her eye on this gorgeous punk-rock girl Jane. Unfortunately, Jane is displaced in time from 1970s Brooklyn. Finding love is hard enough without breaches in the time-space continuum. No fair.

Release date: June 1


Which books are you most excited to read this season? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
Meet the Authors of Spring's Biggest Mysteries
Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well—48 New and Upcoming Memoirs
42 New and Upcoming Historical Fiction Novels

Comments Showing 1-50 of 74 (74 new)


message 1: by TMR (new)

TMR So excited for some of these novels!


message 2: by Niharika✩ (new)

Niharika✩ I'm surely going to check out a few


message 3: by Cyn (new)

Cyn There are quite a few books that look interesting - thanks for bringing them to my attention! :)


message 4: by Nazia (new)

Nazia Sultan Mother May I looks good. I'm excited to read Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir!


message 5: by Aahana (new)

Aahana  ♥ The only spring release I can think about is Rule of Wolves (cause currently reading KoS and it's so damn good!) so thank you for bringing these other great books to my attention as well! :D


message 6: by Cyber Black (new)

Cyber Black Yippeee !!!! Box in the woods !!! Man,that purple is killing me.


message 7: by Kadi (new)

Kadi P Kinda sad they didn't include some middle grade books!


message 8: by 如意 (last edited Mar 11, 2021 05:39AM) (new)

如意 Added For the Wolf to my To Read list, but I'm the most excited about Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, which sadly didn't make it to this list but is sitting pretty atop of mine. d(❁´◡`❁)


message 9: by jillian lael (new)

jillian lael Ooh, super excited! Hoping for a giveaway, even though I am not likely to win.


message 10: by Cristina (new)

Cristina can't wait!


message 11: by Rowena (new)

Rowena Shacklebolt another pile is coming in. and my tbr list is still spilling tea.


message 12: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Lost in the Never World, One Last Stop, Leaving isn't the Hardest thing, Crying in HMart, Chosen and the Beautiful


message 13: by Julia (new)

Julia Cieszkowska I am waiting especially for ,,Rule of wolves".


Lex⋆✩·˚ ༘ *✩ nothing like a fresh read for a new season


message 15: by TeddyBuddy (new)

TeddyBuddy I can't wait to read For the Wolf, Sorrowland, and Project Hail Mary!


message 16: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Jean Good afternoon. Thank you for suggesting these titles. I am excited to shop for great Spring reads!


message 17: by Leslie (new)

Leslie So fun!


message 18: by Zak (new)

Zak spring reading is way more fun and more exciting than spring cleaning. Cannot wait for these awesome reads even if it means my to be read list is getting longer and longer


message 19: by Betsy (new)

Betsy many to pick from :)


message 20: by Guy (new)

Guy Austin Optioned by Spielberg is all I need hear to jump in on - The Light of Days by Judy Batalion.


message 21: by Yoxis (new)

Yoxis Torrealba The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout!!!


message 22: by Vinoth (new)

Vinoth  Raj The Maidens, The Maidens, The Maidens, that's it...


pretenxiouspsyche so anticipated for some of these books! also, guess who just added MORE books to their tbr rn? totally stacked up haha


St. Erika (NotAnEarlyBird) I am super excited about The Maidens! I loved The Silent Patient and I hope this one will be as good! Fingers crossed...


message 25: by Cristina (new)

Cristina there are so many books to choose from!


message 26: by Spellmist (new)

Spellmist Blood & Ash #3 - The Crown of Gilded Bones


message 27: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Tyson more books to add to my want to read list!


message 28: by Mackenzi (new)

Mackenzi So can I bank on Michael Lewis's pandemic book to also be made into an A-list movie just like his last ones and just skip the reading part? 😂 I joke I joke.

Not a joke: give sci-fi and fantasy their own section you cowards!


message 29: by A Home Library (new)

A Home Library - Book Reviews Really excited! Always look forward to new months, they bring in great reads.


message 30: by Armaan_ (new)

Armaan_ Spring and summers is the perfect time to read a TON of books around the year!!


message 31: by Anna (new)

Anna Lost In The Never Woods and The Chosen and Beautiful are probably the ones I'm most excited for! :)


message 32: by Liam (new)

Liam Ward Pure and absolute greed when the books are over 20 pounds a piece in hardback and not even 400 pages of fat writing.


message 33: by Justin (new)

Justin Liam wrote: "Pure and absolute greed when the books are over 20 pounds a piece in hardback and not even 400 pages of fat writing."
even worse when the kindle price is the same LMFAO


message 34: by Lisa | (new)

Lisa |  Read Between the Spines I cannot believe Firekeeper's Daughter is not a YA pick.


message 35: by Olga (new)

Olga Liam wrote: "Pure and absolute greed when the books are over 20 pounds a piece in hardback and not even 400 pages of fat writing."

and the saddest part is, most of that money is not even going to the author.


message 36: by Emily (new)

Emily 🎉🎉🎉 IT'S NEWSLETTER DAY!!!!!!!!


message 37: by Elissa (new)

Elissa (Id_ratherbe_at_pemberly) Excited about The Maidens, and Rule of wolves!!


message 38: by Marge (new)

Marge Silvestri I’m surprised you didn’t mention Pam Jenoff’s upcoming historical novel, The Woman with the Blue Star. I heard it’s getting alot of buzz.


message 39: by Betsy Pickens (new)

Betsy Pickens I added Hour of the Witch to my To Read list. Love Chris B as a writer and the historical plot for this one sounds enticing!


message 40: by Helen (new)

Helen Jillian wrote: "Ooh, super excited! Hoping for a giveaway, even though I am not likely to win."

Please do not take this as a criticism, but you are sending out the wrong message to the universe. Why not say "I'm going to keep entering the giveaways and one day I will win!" Trust me, it works! Peace and happy reading :)

如意 wrote: "Added For the Wolf to my To Read list, but I'm the most excited about Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, which sadly didn't make it to this list but is sitting pretty atop of m..."


message 41: by Cybil, Goodreads employee (new)

Cybil Emily wrote: "🎉🎉🎉 IT'S NEWSLETTER DAY!!!!!!!!"

Awwww! IT IS! We miss you, lady!


message 42: by Lauri (new)

Lauri Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone! Diana Gabaldon Book #9 Outlander Series


message 43: by Jonathon (last edited Mar 16, 2021 03:48PM) (new)

Jonathon Neville 1. Hummingbird Salamander - ecological sci-fi! I want to believe reading this will help solve something. I doubt that will happen directly, but growing vivid understanding of ecological issues is good.
2. Lost in the Woods - award-worthy simple description
3. Of Women and Salt - multi-generation
4. Sorrowland - sounds in many ways like ...
5. Becoming Leidah
I already read it once, but when you ask what books we're excited to read, truth is I want to read this again.



While reading, I wondered: What am I ‘becoming’ as I read? Will I ever-after be more alive than I’ve ever been? In the end, some of that excitement was lost - replaced with something deeper.

How many dimensions of literary delight exist? I think I experienced all here: surprise after surprise - micro to macro - subtle yet electrifying.

Both innocence and experience are in full bloom. Not just a fantasy, it’s very grounded in reality. Magical realism with an emphasis on both magical and real.

It did not fulfill my wishes. It brought me somewhere more nuanced, more mature - an integration that made magic more real. It invited self-reflection, and brought some of my life into greater perspective.

I saw Becoming Leidah on a list of historical fiction. Fair enough. It certainly presents a deeply-researched time and place, and adds layers beyond factual or even speculative histories, so although it is not about famous people or events, it is historical and it is fiction. I’d also call it a mythical folktale, and family drama. And (perhaps like all family dramas, beneath the surface) it's a mystery. It's not only a mystery to discover what happened / what's really happening in this story - it's a mystery into humanity's greatest mysteries.

The book jumps between time periods and narrators, and although I have read books where that bothered me, here I loved weaving the story together. Still, I can imagine some readers finding it a challenge. Unreliable narrators and intentionally undeclared travel between worlds can make it seem like the story is inconsistent, when it’s actually just more layered than you might assume.

Reading the jacket description, I wondered if it would present a stereotype of religion or men. Turned out I was the one doing the stereotyping. (I came to identify with both husband and wife.)

The ending is highly poetic, and ambiguous - which might not work for people who want a clear ending / definitive closure. It’s not a cliffhanger - it is complete in itself - and yet, I would love to read a follow-up book - I want to explore where these characters go after growing to this point. Perhaps that exploration is up to me.

I used to wonder to what extent / in what ways it would be true to say "With imagination, anyone can be rich." Well, I've never been richer.

-------------
Becoming Leidah


message 44: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Wilson After all the dark days of this past year Malibu Rising is my first choice.


message 45: by Kat (new)

Kat no non fiction coming up?


message 46: by Danna (new)

Danna Saenz No puedo esperar parar leer varios de todos estos!!!!


Beatrice Longbottom I didn't know there was a new Stevie Bell book from Maureen Johnson! I really liked the Truly Devious books! So excited


message 48: by Teejo (new)

Teejo Several great expectations.


message 49: by katy shizuka (new)

katy shizuka All the romance novels have very similar coversand



I like it


message 50: by Deity World (new)

Deity World Added a few to my read list


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