By: Emily Perper

Welcome to April! We made it! Science, religion, war, and romance hit our shelves on Tuesday the 4th.

The year is 2074, and the Second American Civil War is raging in these United States. Drones fill the sky, and six-year-old Sarat Chestnut’s home state, Louisiana, is half-drowned. When Sarat’s father is killed, she and her family move into Camp Patience with other displaced persons. There, under the influence of a strange bureaucrat, Sarat grows up, transformed into a weapon. Sarat’s nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, narrates American War by Omar El-Akkad. Benjamin, now an old man, relays the history of the Second Civil War, particularly the ramifications of his aunt’s decisions during wartime. The story “has an air of terrible relevance in these partisan times,” notes Emily St. John Mandel, author of the dystopian smash hit Station Eleven.

DDT, trans fat, and opium all have their place inside the vials and beakers of Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong by pediatrician and vaccine expert Paul A. Offit, M.D. Offit deconstructs health fads and quick fixes from history and examines their implications for contemporary controversies in science, from ADHD medication to e-cigarettes to GMOs. Kirkus Reviews says Pandora’s Lab is a “pull-no-punches piece…set on educating the public about the fallibility of scientists.”

No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts is a contemporary retelling of F. Scott Ftizgerald’s The Great Gatsby, set in the American South. JJ Ferguson has returned to Pinewood, North Carolina to woo Ava, his high school sweetheart. But Ava is already married to Henry, a distant man distraught by his diminishing opportunities. JJ’s visible wealth and freshly built mansion disrupts his small town’s traditions, causing Ava, Henry, Sylvia (Ava’s mother) and Don (Sylvia’s husband) to reconsider their choices, motives, and identities. Author Sigrid Nunez says Watts’ novel “gives soul, body, and voice to those left out of Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the American dream,” and Cristina Henriquez praised it as “a story about home—what it means to leave and whether you can return, and how it is people in the end who are its beating heart.”

More New Releases:

  • Miss You by Kate Eberlen
  • The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald
  • What To Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball
  • Marlena by Julie Buntin
  • The Half Wives by Stacia Pelletier
  • Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice by Colum McCann