My Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2017

March 14, 2017 Book Lists 26

Most Anticipated Books Spring 2017

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You may notice that my most anticipated books of Spring 2017 list leans toward the lighter side. I like to spend April and May trying to find spell-binding books to be included in my annual Summer Reading Guide, which means I’m seeking out books that aren’t overly difficult to read, yet still smart (aka brain candy). Here’s what’s caught my eye…


No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell (April 4, Ecco)
This debut novel had me at The Great Gatsby, plus Elle Magazine included it in its list of 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017.

The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary South: a powerful first novel about an extended African-American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream.

Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill (April 4, Pantheon Books)
Though I’ve never read Gaitskill before, I heard great things about her novel, The Mare, and I tend to love authors pontificating on life (i.e. Pat Conroy, Ann Patchett).

[…] a searingly intelligent book of essays on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal.

Marlena by Julie Buntin (April 4, 2017, Henry Holt)
The Millions called this debut “an important story about addiction and poverty in middle America” in their 2017 Great Book Preview. But, the fact that Stephanie Danler (author of Sweetbitter, one of my favorite books of 2016) called it “lacerating” sealed the deal for me.

An electric debut novel about love, addiction, and loss; the story of two girls and the feral year that will cost one her life, and define the other’s for decades.

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (April 25, Random House)
My Name Is Lucy Barton (my review) was one of my favorite books of 2016, so I’m naturally going to read its companion piece!

Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, these pages reverberate with the themes of love, loss, and hope that have drawn millions of readers to Strout’s work.

Startup by Doree Shafrir (April 25, Little Brown)
The Millions included this debut in its 2017 Great Book Preview and Kirkus called it a “page-turning pleasure that packs a punch” in its starred review.

A hilarious debut novel by a BuzzFeed culture writer about the difficulties of real life connection in the heart of New York City’s tech world.


The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris (May 2, Little Brown)
I’ve never read Ferris, though his last novel (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I like my short stories fairly dark, so this collection sounds right up my alley.

Full of the keenly observed, mordant wit that characterizes his beloved, award-winning novels, the stories in The Dinner Party are about people searching for answers in the aftermath of life’s emotional fissures–those abrupt, sometimes violent, moments that change lives forever.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko (May 2, Algonquin Books)
This debut novel has already won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice, and is one of the most anticipated debuts of th year. Plus, there’s a blurb from Ann Patchett, one of my favorite authors.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It’s the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal (May 2, Picador)
I’ve had great luck with stories about immigrants trying to fit in in the United States (Shelter, Everything I Never Told You, and The Book of Unknown Americans) and with this particular publisher (Shelter, The Woman Next Door).

A humorous and tender multi-generational novel about immigrants and outsiders—those trying to find their place in American society and within their own families.

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki (May 9, Little Brown)
Lepucki’s (author of 2014’s California) latest novel has been called “darkly comic, twisty and tense”…music to my ears!

A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (May 9, Bloomsbury USA)
I’ve recently been on the hunt for a satisfying thriller (I’m decidedly not satisfied by so many of them) and this one gets bonus points for this one being true crime.

The international sensation that sold half a million copies in France: a chilling work of true-crime literature about a friendship gone terrifyingly toxic and the very nature of reality.

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (May 16, Flatiron Books)
This true crime memoir has been recommended for fans of In Cold Blood, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Serial, and Making A Murderer. Talk about an all-star line-up! Also, Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You (review), called it a “marvel.”

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth.

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt (May 30, St. Martin’s Press)
I really enjoyed Brunt’s novel about Wall Street excess, Ghosts of Manhattan (my review), and am a huge tennis fan. So, I’m intrigued by what Brunt will do with pro tennis excess!

Written with an insider knowledge of the tennis circuit, Trophy Son explores a young man striving to find balance in his life, navigating moral compromises, performance-enhancing drugs, and the elusive lure of wealth and celebrity.

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads.

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26 Responses to “My Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2017”

  1. Rebecca Foster

    There’s 4 or 5 of these that I’m interested in too. I just started No One Is Coming to Save Us last night; I’ll be reviewing it for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. From what I’ve heard the Gatsby connection is pretty loose, but surprise/bonus: it’s written in the first-person plural, which I love. (I hadn’t worked out from the title’s ‘Us’ that it would be, though I guess I should have!) I’ll be interested to hear how you like the rest, especially Ferris.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oooh – I can’t wait to hear what you think! I don’t have a galley, so will be waiting until pub date for that one. A loose Gatsby connection is totally fine with me.

    • Rebecca Foster

      Tiny correction: only the first chapter was in the first-person plural; as of 14% the rest has been standard 3rd-person. I’m waiting to see if it will come back!

  2. Susie | Novel Visits

    Excellent list! Besides the ones on both our lists, I already had a couple more of yours on my TBR list (The Leavers, No One Can Pronounce My Name), but now I’ve added even more. Start Up, Based on a True Story, and The Fact of a Body all sound well worth looking at.

  3. Tara

    YAY! More books to add to the list – hahaha! Several of these are new to me and, since I can never pass up something with a description of “darkly comic, twisty and tense,” I’m super excited to look for Woman No. 17! Thank you for sharing these, Sarah!

  4. Donna @ OnDBookshelf

    No One Can Pronounce My Name and The Leavers both jumped out at me as need to read! Since I was on the fence about the last novels by Gaitskill and Strout (yes, I’ll admit it, I didn’t like Lucy Barton), I’m on the fence about those. A couple others look intriguing like Trophy Son and No One is Coming to Save Us. I’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts on all of these. Thanks for contributing even more to my tbr, you are always SO good at it 🙂

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I’d say skip Anything is Possible if you didn’t like Lucy. I’m worried I won’t remember any of these side characters that Anything is Possible centers around since I read Lucy so long ago!

  5. Julia

    Great list! I’ll be adding quite a few to my TBR – and thanks for reminding me about The Leavers! Happy Reading 🙂

  6. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Ooh, The Leavers sounds especially good! Of spring 2017 books, I too am looking forward to No One Is Coming to Save Us (I’m a sucker for a long title), and I also can’t wait for the last book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Those are such a fun escape.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      So many people love Kevin Kwan! I read the first one and thought it was a bit overly long…and maybe would make a better Bravo reality show (which I love) than a book. But I know I’m in the minority on that one.

  7. Catherine

    We’ve really got to work together on this! We have enough overlap but enough differences that our vetting partnership could be a real asset. I’m absolutely going to go with The Start-Up but am split on Woman #17 and No One Can Pronounce. You try one and I try the other?

    Beyond that, my list for April and May is really different. I’ve got a lot of returning authors I love: The Shadow Land, Music of Ghosts, A King’s Obsession and Rich People Problems. And then too many other books that I couldn’t resist!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I’m gonna rely on you!! I just requested Startup on Netgalley…we’ll see if I get it. Also just requested Woman No 17. My requesting is getting a bit out of hand…ha!

  8. Ann Marie

    You have some very appealing books on this list, Sarah! I hadn’t heard about The Fact of a Body but I think I’m going to have to request it. I love true crime!

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