An expelled Ph.D. candidate gets caught in a web of illicit relationships and obsessions. A woman tries to bounce back after the death of the love of her life. A Massachusetts field hockey team makes a deal with the devil. What do these people have in common? You can read all about them in March’s most highly anticipated books.
WE RIDE UPON STICKS BY QUAN BARRY (MARCH 3)
Set in Danvers, Massachusetts (where the accusations began that led to the 1692 witch trials), the latest by the author of She Weeps Each Time You’re Born follows the 1989 Danvers High School Falcons field hockey team, who will do anything to make it to the state finals—even if it means pledging allegiance to the devil in exchange for victory. Expect big hair and tons of ‘80s nostalgia.
THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD BY JOSIE SILVER (MARCH 3)
Freddie and Lydia had been together for more than a decade, certain their love would last forever. Then, on Lydia’s 28th birthday, Freddie died in a car accident. Despite wanting to retreat from the world, Lydia knows Freddie would want her to try to live fully, even without him, so she enlists the help of her sister and Freddie’s best friend to start getting back to the new normal.
UNDER THE RAINBOW BY CELIA LASKEY (MARCH 3)
After an LGBTQ nonprofit names Big Burr, Kansas, the “Most Homophobic Town in the U.S.,” a task force of queer volunteers is sent to live in the town for two years in an attempt to broaden hearts and minds. Told from the perspectives of longtime residents and the newcomers, Laskey’s debut shows how opposing sides can be more similar than they’d like to admit.
THE NIGHT WATCHMAN BY LOUISE ERDRICH (MARCH 3)
This powerful novel is based on the National Book Award–winning author’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native American dispossession from rural North Dakota to Washington, D.C. It explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity through a young Chippewa woman and her uncle, who are trying to halt the Termination Act of 1953.
LEGENDARY CHILDREN BY TOM FITZGERALD AND LORENZO MARQUEZ (MARCH 5)
From the super-popular culture bloggers behind Tom + Lorenzo comes a fascinating history of the first decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the past century of queer life. Each chapter examines different aspects of the show—the Werk Room, the Pit Crew, the Snatch Game and more—and how they tie to aspects of queer cultural history.
RECOLLECTIONS OF MY NONEXISTENCE BY REBECCA SOLNIT (MARCH 10)
In this searing memoir, Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) describes her coming-of-age as a writer and feminist in 1980s San Francisco. She recounts how she came to recognize the epidemic of violence against women, street harassment, trauma and authority figures who routinely disdained and disbelieved girls and women, including her.
MY DARK VANESSA BY KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL (MARCH 10)
When 30-something Vanessa discovers that her high school English teacher has been publicly accused of sexual assault by a former student, she’s horrified: She, too, had a sexual relationship with the teacher when she was a teenager. But she’s sure it wasn’t abuse—it was love. Alternating between Vanessa’s past and her present, Russell covers memory, trauma and a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield.
DARLING ROSE GOLD BY STEPHANIE WROBEL (MARCH 17)
For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold believed she was seriously ill. But it turns out that her mom, Patty, was just a really good liar. After serving five years in prison for conning people out of money under the guise of raising funds for her not-actually-sick daughter, Patty gets out and begs her daughter to take her back in. Patty insists that all she wants is to reconcile their differences, and that she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows that her mother always settles a score.
THE HERD BY ANDREA BARTZ (MARCH 24)
When freelance journalist Katie returns to New York after a year of unsuccessful book research, she’s invited to join The Herd, a high-powered social network and coworking space founded by waspy, elegant Eleanor. While waiting for her application to be processed, Katie pitches a biography of Eleanor and The Herd to her book agent. Then, Eleanor disappears, and everyone around her becomes a suspect.
THE UPSIDE OF BEING DOWN BY JEN GOTCH (MARCH 24)
Gotch is a mental health advocate, a podcast host and the cofounder and chief creative officer of the brand Ban.dō. Her memoir is about destigmatizing mental illness, deglamorizing success and helping others feel a little bit less alone in achieving their personal and professional goals.
HEX BY REBECCA DINERSTEIN KNIGHT (MARCH 31)
Nell is an expelled Ph.D. candidate in biological science who is trying to set a speed record for the detoxification of poisonous plants. She’s mesmerized by her mentor, Joan, and the woman’s elegance and success. Surrounded by Nell’s ex, her best friend, her best friend’s boyfriend and Joan’s husband, the two scientists are tangled together at the center of a web of illicit relationships, grudges and obsessions.
WOW, NO THANK YOU BY SAMANTHA IRBY (MARCH 31)
Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life) left her job at a veterinary clinic, published successful books, left Chicago and moved into a house in a blue town in a red state, where she hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This collection of funny essays is about bad dates with new friends, spending time in L.A. as a “cheese fry–eating slightly damp Midwest person” and more.
HELLO I WANT TO DIE PLEASE FIX ME BY ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY (MARCH 31)
In her early 20s, journalist Mehler Paperny had already landed her dream job. On the surface, her life was great. Still, she spiraled, attempted suicide (the first of multiple attempts) and landed in a psych ward. Here, she turns her journalist’s eye on depression. She interviews psychiatrists and other experts, and provides an invaluable guide to a system struggling—and often failing—to help those in need.