7 New books you shouldn't miss this spring

Lucy Middleton

From obsessive friends and family parties to voyages across India, Nigeria and beyond, there’s plenty of books to sink your teeth into this month. 

Spring is here! Flowers are in blossom, fluffy baby chicks are being born and finally there’s enough sunshine to last a working day. It’s traditionally the season of new beginnings—and the perfect time to restock your bookshelves.

From obsessive friends and family parties to voyages across India, Nigeria and beyond, there’s plenty of books to sink your teeth into this month. Here are seven unmissable new titles coming your way this spring.


Tangerine by Christine Mangan

If you’re in need of a juicy thriller this month, look no further than Tangerine by Christine Mangan. Already being described as Patricia Highsmith meets Gillian Flynn, the story of a toxic and obsessive friendship will have you on the edge of your seat.

Set in Morocco in the 1950s, Alice Shipley and her husband have found refuge from an unknown event in her past. That is, until an unexpected visit from her old college roommate Lucy shatters her perfectly curated calm. From the offset it’s clear that the pair’s relationship is haunted by a secret, creating an exotic and threatening undercurrent. That’s before Alice’s husband mysteriously disappears…

Slowly building with twists and turns, the story will have readers gripped to the very last page. But don’t expect a nice clean ending when you get there: The only things neatly tied up in this novel are the bows on the characters’ clothes.


Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

It’s been 13 years since Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of no Nation became a smash hit, documenting the tale of a young boy who is who’s forced to join a group of soldiers in Sierra Leone.

Now the author is back with Speak No Evil, the story of Niru, a teenage boy of Nigerian descent living in Washington DC who has been hiding a secret from his devoutly religious parents: his sexuality. After his father discovers he’s gay, the fallout is sudden and harsh. Niru is sent to Nigeria where he undergoes conversion therapy beneath an overbearing and forbidding bishop.

The novel explores what it’s like to grow up with two nationalities, something that Iweala himself once described as both “a blessing and an inner torment”. Niru finds himself caught between being accepted in the more tolerant States but feeling at home in the beautiful but traditional Nigeria. 


The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

Got stuck in a bad cycle this winter you can’t seem to shake? It might be time for some spring cleaning. Cait Flanders’ book The Year of Less is perfect for anyone looking to kick an old habit right in the shins.

After finding herself stuck on the consumerism merry-go-round, Flanders decided to take action: By stopping shopping for a year. For 12 months the author decluttered her life, getting rid of 70 per cent of her belongings and only buying consumables. Over the course of her book she details the impact these changes had on her mental health, slowly coming to realise how many material things had become vices on which she was dependent.

Don’t be fooled by the title—this is not a self-help book or a quick fix answer to domestic disorganisation. But if you’re desperate to break free of a tiresome pattern, Flanders could just be the inspiration you need.


Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

At the start of Girls Burn Brighter, we are told that Poornima and Savitha both have “three strikes against them” from birth: They are poor. They are driven. And they are female.

Shobha Rao’s book tackles some of the most urgent issues facing young women in her debut novel. Set in Indravalli, India, the story revolves around two girls who form a meaningful friendship despite their impoverished surroundings. Together, the pair begin to dream of a better life for themselves, until a horrific act of cruelty tears them apart. What follows is a battle to reunite that sees them face brutal misogyny and delve into the darkest corners of India’s underworld.

The book is an ode to human resilience and the strength of an unbreakable bond. But readers be warned: Rao is unflinching in her confrontation of topics such as human trafficking, rape, domestic abuse, and immigration.


The Only Story by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes is no stranger to bestsellers lists, critical acclaim or even the occasional Man Booker Prize. Now the author is back with The Only Story, a bitter-sweet tale of love in a London suburb during the Sixties.

Readers follow the now elderly Paul as he reminisces about an affair he had with his married neighbour, who was almost 30 years his senior. A mere 19-year-old at the time, the relationship begins with ease, but over time it steadily becomes more complicated as the two fall in love and decide to uproot their lives to make things work. 

For those who have read Barnes’ Sense of an Ending, the retrospective narrative and often melancholic tone of The Only Story will no doubt feel familiar. But coupling abject sadness with hints of black humour, the novel promises to be even more poignant than its predecessor.


The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberton Urrea sat down to write a novel inspired by his brother, who threw a big last birthday for himself when he was dying from cancer. But as he came to redraft the story, the author realised he was creating a cultural statement about Mexican-American immigration instead. 

At the centre of The House of Broken Angel is Big Angel, who’s celebrating his 70th birthday before he dies. But when his elderly mother dies the same week, the beloved patriarch finds himself flooded with visiting relatives. With most of the action taking place over one day, readers are given a snapshot of a large multi-generational family, bursting with personality.

Infused with Spanish phrases, cultural dishes, and colourful characters, the jam-packed house explores the power of kinship and heritage—while also examining the hardships immigration and class status can cause.


Census by Jesse Ball

Travelling from town to town to complete a census might seem like an unusual topic for a much-anticipated novel, but author Jesse Ball’s latest work is more than first meets the eye.

In a dystopian future, a widowed man discovers he is dying and worries about the future of his adult son, who has Down’s syndrome. Wanting to see the country for one last time, he decides to sign up as a census taker, and the two voyage from A to Z of the cities on his list. Their journey presents them with a colourful spectrum of human experience—and becomes a way for the unnamed protagonist to say a final farewell to his son.

The novel is a tribute Ball’s brother Abram, who died in 1998. Thought-provoking and moving, the author wrote in his introduction that he wanted to write a book that will help people “see what it is like to know and love a Down syndrome boy or girl.”