20 new books to read in February

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Must-reads for the month

Some of the most anticipated titles of 2018’s first half are arriving this February. Here, EW has rounded up the 20 books that are most worth checking out. Click their release dates to make your pre-orders. 

All We Can Do Is Wait, by Richard Lawson

Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson turns to fiction with this smart, heartfelt YA title. In it, a group of teenagers gather in a hospital and reflect on their paths after a bridge collapse shakes the city of Boston to its core. (Feb. 6)

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones provides an essential contemporary portrait of a marriage in this searing novel. An American Marriage gorgeously evokes the New South as it explores mass incarceration on a personal level. (Feb. 6)

Call Me Zebra, by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

If you don’t know this name yet, you should: Van der Vliet Oloomi, a National Book Award “5 Under 35” honoree, returns with this absurdist, unwieldy, and bracingly intelligent story of young Zebra, “the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts.” (Feb. 6)

Down and Across, by Arvin Ahmadi

Arvin Ahmadi’s lovely YA debut centers on Scott Ferdowski, a teenager with a penchant for quitting everything he tries, as he sneaks off to D.C. and meets a college student who opens up a whole world of possibilities. (Feb. 6)

Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot

A luminous, poetic memoir that centers on one woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. (Feb. 6)

The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara

Joseph Cassara’s passionate debut delves into the queer Harlem ball scene of ’80s and ’90s New York. There are plenty of swirling elements here, true to the milieu — addiction, AIDS, violence — but Cassara’s touch is empathetic and vibrant. (Feb. 6)

I Am I Am I Am, by Maggie O'Farrell

The subtitle “Seventeen Brushes With Death” tells you much of what you need to know about this gloriously unconventional memoir. Maggie O’Farrell deconstructs our relationship to death by recounting the many times she’s neared it. (Feb. 6)

Text Me When You Get Home, by Kayleen Schaefer

Schaefer, a journalist who has written for the New York Times and Vogue, provides a deeply reported look at how female friendships have changed and evolved across pop culture and real life. (Feb. 6)

The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú

Cant’s beautifully written and empathetic memoir, taken from his experiences as a border patrol agent, would be worthwhile reading at any time. But in this particular moment, it’s especially timely and resonant. (Feb. 6)

The Chåteau, by Paul Goldberg

The story of a man’s reunion with his father after his ex-roommate kills himself, at a Florida condo complex filled with Russian Jewish immigrants, in the week leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration as president. Any questions? (Feb. 13)

A Good Day for Seppuku, by Kate Braverman

Kate Braverman, an underground literary icon through decades of razor-sharp writing, returns with a gorgeously observed collection of stories about contemporary Jewish identity. It’s profound, realistic, and funny in equal measure. (Feb. 13)

The Kremlin’s Candidate, by Jason Matthews

Here, at long last, is the final book in the best-selling Red Sparrow trilogy. Catch up before the film starring Jennifer Lawrence hits theaters later this year. (Feb. 13)

Mrs., by Caitlin Macy

This could be the next Big Little Lies. Set on New York City’s Upper East Side, Mrs. follows three women whose paths collide when their children attend the same preschool. (Feb. 13)

White Houses, by Amy Bloom 

Bloom charts the intoxicating love story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok in this emotionally stirring and intimate work of historical fiction. (Feb. 13)

The World Only Spins Forward, by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois

Based on their acclaimed Slate cover story about Angels in America, Butler and Kois have compiled the definitive oral history of one of the definitive works of American drama. (Feb. 13)

All the Names They Used for God, by Anjali Sachdeva

This ambitious debut short-story collection spans centuries and continents in its panorama of characters in pursuit of the sublime. (Feb. 20)

Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover

Bound to draw comparisons to The Glass Castle, this memoir centers on a young girl who was kept out of school and went on to leave her survivalist family to get her PhD. (Feb. 20)

Sunburn, by Laura Lippman

Few manage psychological suspense as consistently gripping as Laura Lippman, so consider us signed up for her next thriller. Sunburn is a modern noir in which two lovers with great intentions and terrible luck wind up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. (Feb. 20)

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

At the time of her unexpected death in 2016, McNamara — an accomplished armchair detective — was working the cold case of a man she dubbed “the Golden State Killer.” Though she wasn’t finished with her book when she died, she’d written enough of it that her widower, Patton Oswalt, and her publisher, HarperCollins, were able to knit her masterful prose together. “Patton’s just been leading the way — he just got how Michelle thought about the book,” editor Jennifer Barth said to EW. “If Michelle had been married to somebody else, I’m not sure that we would have pressed on with the book and been able to help make it happen in the way Patton did.” (Feb. 27)

A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey

Peter Carey goes to 1954 Australia for his expansive new novel. The book received spectacular reviews upon its U.K. release, and being from a former Man Booker winner, is a must for literary types. (Feb. 27)