NEW YEAR NEW Books

By Barbara Bellesi Zito

The start of a new year is always ripe with promise, especially if you’re an avid reader waiting for the newest book releases. Here are just a few of the newest releases
we can’t wait to dig into this winter.

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PRINCE HARRY THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, RANDOM HOUSE

There has been a wealth of celebrity memoirs of late, but none so hotly anticipated as this one from Prince Harry. Many remember the young prince when his mother, Diana, died. Now, Harry is a grown man with a family of his own. It’s been a tumultuous few years for the Royal Family with Harry resigning from his royal duties and also the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, so to hear his story in his own words will make for a riveting read to start the year

> The audiobook is read by Prince Harry himself.

I KEEP MY EXOSKELETONS TO MYSELF

MARISA CRANE, CATAPULT

It’s the Department of Balance era in America, in which convicted criminals are given a second chance—and a second shadow, meant to be a warning for anyone they might encounter. But corruption and prejudice have bred a disenfranchised group known as Shadesters, who are now without protection for their civil rights. Kris
is one of them. Now a single mother after the loss of her wife, Kris must find a way to raise her baby—who also has a shadow—and continue to live despite the public shame and her personal self-loathing. Any hope for their future lies with her fellow Shadesters, for whom defying the Department is the key to their own survival.

> This debut novel is a dystopian fantasy marked by grief, queer parenthood, and the concept of family

AGE OF VICE

DEEPTI KAPOOR, RIVERHEAD BOOKS

In the early morning hours, a Mercedes jumps a curb in New Delhi, killing five people. Everyone assumes it’s a rich man behind the wheel, but it turns out to be a traumatized servant who is unable to explain what happened, nor can he fathom what’s in store for himself. This novel, which takes readers from the villages of Uttar Pradesh to the streets of New Delhi, portrays the intertwined storylines of Ajay, a servant who rose from humble beginnings; Sunny, a rich playboy bent onw surpassing his father’s success; and Neda, a journalist who finds there’s a fine line between ethics and passion. Is there any virtue amid all this vice?

> Kapoor’s novel is part thriller, part family epic—and fully enthralling.

CITY UNDER ONE ROOF

IRIS YAMASHITA, BERKELEY

There’s been a grisly murder in Point Mettier, a small, isolated town in Alaska that’s only accessible by tunnel. Anchorage detective Cara Kennedy takes up the case, which is complicated immediately by a blizzard that shuts down the tunnel. Now, Cara is stuck in Point Mettier— more specifically, she’s stuck in the high-rise building where all 205 residents happen to live. Everyone seems to have secrets, and the claustrophobic situation is only made worst by Cara’s own haunted past. Can she figure out the truth before it’s too late?

> Yamashita wrote the screenplay for “Letters from Iwo Jima,” for which she received an Academy Award nomination.

CENTRAL PLACES

DELIA CAI, BALLANTINE BOOKS

Audrey Zhou thought she left her small Illinois town for good. Now a successful professional living in New York City, she’s planning to marry Ben, who comes from a wealthy Manhattan family. It’s time to face her parents and the life she left behind. Back at home for a tumultuous weeklong visit, Audrey must come to grips with her stilted relationships. That includes Kyle, her high school crush. Even though her cosmopolitan life is everything she’s ever dreamed of, Audrey still feels attracted to him, the only one who ever really knew her. As Audrey’s old life threatens to upend her new life, which path will she choose?

> Cai is a senior correspondent for Vanity Fair.

VARINA PALLADINO’S JERSEY ITALIAN LOVE STORY

TERRI-LYNNE DEFINO, WILLIAM MORROW

Varina has lived at the same address in Wyldale, New Jersey her entire life. Now a widow, she spends her days running the family grocery store, being the peacekeeper among her boisterous Italian family, and caring for Sylvia, her aging mother. Sylvia is concerned about Varina being alone and single, so with the help of her granddaughter, Donatella, she decides to play matchmaker. As they scheme, Dante, Tommy, and Paul—the three men of the Palladino family—are at work on their own big plans that will ultimately affect the entire family. Imagine the agita that’s in store for Varina as three generations of her feisty Italian family square off with each other.

> This novel is a hilarious take on the family ties that sometimes bind a little too tightly.

LUCKY STIFF

BARBARA BELLESI ZITO, LITERARY WANDERLUST

What would you do if you won the lottery? As a New York City accountant, Larry Sortino should have at least some idea of how to handle the millions he’s won. But he’s got other things on his mind that hold him back from cashing in his ticket. For starters, he’d like to try to repair his broken marriage—but it’s kind of complicated since his wife is having an affair with his best friend. When Larry bumps into his old college girlfriend, who’s got a rocky marriage of her own, he thinks this might be his second chance at happiness. Of course, money can buy him just about anything he wants in life—only he has no idea what he wants. And now that there’s an ambitious journalist trying to track down the person still hanging on to that winning lottery ticket, Larry’s got to make some big decisions quickly.

> Why yes, the long-time author of this column does find it surreal to include her own novel in this issue!

As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to quirky yet loveable characters. Larry is certainly an odd duck for holding out on claiming the jackpot, but I believe it’s part of his charm. That’s my goal as a novelist: to create characters so offbeat, you don’t know whether you want to hug them or smack them.” — Barbara Bellesi Zito

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