New Title Radar, Week of 6/6

Summer debuts arrive in force, fueled by strong hype from BEA, in the case of Daniel Wilson’s Robopocalypse. There are plenty of returning fiction favorites, including a posthumous offering from E. Lynn Harris, and a much-anticipated new novel by Ann Patchett. In nonfiction, watch for a rising memoir about a young journalist who decides to follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and do something every day that scares her.

Watch List

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (Doubleday) is a thriller set in the near future, about what happens when our technology unites and turns against us. Nancy Pearl said it’s a “really good book” in her interview at BEA, where it was heavily promoted, and USA Today tips it as a hot summer read, but critic Ron Charles calls it a suspense-less “groaner” in the Washington Post. Steven Spielberg will direct the film version, which he signed based on a 100 page sample he saw before the book was acquired by Jason Kaufman – the editor who discovered Dan Brown.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton (Crown) is a debut thriller about a woman investigating her sister’s death, which she is convinced was not a suicide.  It’s garnered enthusiasm from librarians on the Early Word Galley Chat, and is an Indie Next Pick for June. LJ calls it “beautifully written with an unexpected twist at the end.”

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai (Viking/Penguin) is a debut novel about a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading who take a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont. Of this Indie Next #4 pick for June, LJ says, “Librarians may beef that Lucy’s reading suggestions and Makkai’s descriptions of library practice are not current, but the general public probably won’t notice. Overall, a stylish and clever tale for bibliophiles who enjoy Jasper Fforde and Connie Willis.”

Returning Favorites

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Harper) ) takes place deep in the Amazon jungle, where a pharmaceutical researcher searches for her missing mentor. In the New York Times, Janet Maslin is equivocal, finding it not quite up to Patchett’s usual standard. People, however, gives it their highest accolade; four stars and a “People Pick.” The Wall Street Journal has an interview with the author.

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook (Hyperion) is the tale of an empty nester reinventing her life, and is an Indie Next #5 Pick for June. PW says, “there is a lot going on in this sometimes wacky tale of an ambitious micromanager forced to accept that the whole world cannot be staged, but there’s never any doubt Sandy will embrace her less than perfect life.”

No One in the World: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris and R.M. Johnson (Simon & Schuster) was completed by Johnson after bestseller Harris’s untimely death.  It’s a tale of estranged twins — one a defense attorney, the other a criminal — reconciling to organize their late father’s estate – with a gay twist, of course.

Murder One by Robert Dugoni (Touchstone) is the fourth installment in the series featuring Seattle attorney David Sloane. LJ and PW agree it’s the best yet in the series. You can watch Nancy Pearl interview him on Book Lust.

Usual Suspects

Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley) is installment #20 of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. PW finds it “as punchy as her first foray.”

Young Adult

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham (Doubleday) is the sequel to the author’s bestselling foray into YA fiction with a “kid lawyer.”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books) is about a tightly wound but ordinary teenager who is unusually susceptible to the creeps and the willies, Her story is told within a framework of 50 vintage photographs. LJ says, “It’s an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very scary monsters.”


Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America by Ann Coulter (Crown)  is the authors eighth indictment of the current American political scene.

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock is a young journalist’s account of her year spent following Eleanor Roosevelt’s classic advice to “do something every day that scares you.”  Booklist says, “with the greatest of ease, Hancock weaves a funny, compelling, true story of self-discovery.” She was on the Today Show this week.

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