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This month on Litty Committee: Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now edited by award-winning author Ellen van Neerven, a new young adult sci-fi for fans of Black Mirror from Joan He, and a handful of crime thrillers. Strap in.

The kind folk at Booktopia are currently doing one of its boonta sales, so get in while you can. Sale ends soon.

The Rose Daughter by Maria Lewis

litty committee, may
Hachette Australia

About the book:

“She never meant to be a hero…

“In fact, Dreckly Jones has made a point her whole life to be exactly not that. The daughter of a forbidden union between an earth elemental and a selkie, her rare powers have meant she has always had a target on her back.

“So Dreckly – a 40-something oyster shucker according to her fake documents, 140-something sprite if you’re going to get all nit-picky about it – has become an expert at many things. Chief amongst them: hiding.

“When she meets a determined group of rebels who desperately need her help, she finds herself wanting to stick her neck out for the first time in a long while. Yet is she ready to be noticed? Is Dreckly willing to use her powers to stand up when it could cost her everything?”

Ahem, for fans of Leigh Bardugo (Grishaverse), Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Rose) and Charlaine Harris (author behind the True Blood series). Honestly, that’s like saying the book is made out of chocolate to me.

Category: Fiction, fantasy

On sale: April 13, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $26.25 (paperback)

Gunk Baby by Jamie Marina Lau

Hachette Australia

About the book:

“Throughout a childhood spent moving between different countries, one thing was constant for Leen. The local shopping centre. Within those complexes the familiar landscape of logos, the bright lights, the climate controlled environment and the interactions between workers and customers never changed. It all looked shiny, new and tidy – on the surface.

“So, when it feels like the same day for far too long, Leen decides to open a healing studio – ear-cleaning, massage and cupping – for her, the Par Mars Topic Heights shopping complex is the perfect location to build a business. A place where you can smell summer even if it happens to be winter. Here, Leen thinks she is making connections. Just like in the ancient Chinese art of ear-cleaning taught to her by her mother, she thinks what you can’t see, you trust someone else to be able to. But what if you trust the wrong person? And what if that person is not looking to heal but to destroy?”

Jamie Marina Lau is the Stella Prize shortlisted author behind Pink Mountain On Locust Island.

Category: Fiction

On sale: April 28, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $26.25 (paperback)

Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now edited by Ellen van Neerven

litty committee, may
UQP (University of Queensland Press)

About the book:

“This wide-ranging and captivating anthology showcases both the power of First Nations writing and the satisfaction of a good short story.

“Curated by award-winning author Ellen van Neerven, Flock roams the landscape of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytelling, bringing together voices from across the generations.

“Featuring established authors such as Tony Birch, Melissa Lucashenko and Tara June Winch, and rising stars such as Adam Thompson and Mykaela Saunders, Flock confirms the ongoing resonance and originality of First Nations stories.”

Category: Fiction

On sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25 (paperback)

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Allen & Unwin

About the book:

“From the author of the Outline trilogy, a fable of human destiny and decline, enacted in a closed system of intimate, fractured relationships.

“A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. Over the course of one hot summer, his provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally between our internal and external worlds.

“With its examination of the possibility that art can both save and destroy us, Second Place is deeply affirming of the human soul, while grappling with its darkest demons.”

Category: Fiction

On Sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $27.99, now $22.95 (paperback)

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

litty committee, may
Allen & Unwin

About the book:

“This is not just another novel about a dead girl.

“When she arrived in New York on her 18th birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe, an unidentified murder victim.

“Ruby Jones is also trying to start over; she travelled halfway around the world only to find herself lonelier than ever. Until she finds Alice’s body by the Hudson River.

“From this first, devastating encounter, the two women form an unbreakable bond. Alice is sure that Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her life – and death. And Ruby – struggling to forget what she saw that morning – finds herself unable to let Alice go. Not until she is given the ending she deserves.

Before You Knew My Name doesn’t ask whodunnit. Instead, this powerful, hopeful novel asks: Who was she? And what did she leave behind? The answers might surprise you.”

Category: Fiction, thriller

On Sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25 (paperback)

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Text Publishing

About the book:

“Two sisters. An unputdownable story.

“Cee woke up on the shores of an abandoned island three years ago with no idea how she got there. Now eighteen, she lives in a shack with an ageing android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and she has to escape to find her.

“From the safety of the eco-city floating above Earth, now decimated by natural disasters, sixteen-year-old Kasey mourns Cee whom she’s sure is dead. She too wants to escape: the eco-city is meant to be a sanctuary for people who want to save the planet, but its inhabitants are willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Is Kasey ready to use technology to help Earth, even though it failed her sister?

“Cee and Kasey think that what they know about each other and their world is true. Both are wrong. If you loved We Were Liars or Black Mirror, you’ll love The Ones We’re Meant to Find, a clever, inspirational thriller.”

Not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s so pretttttyyyy.

Category: Young adult fiction

On Sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $19.99, $17.50 (paperback)

Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clark

litty committee, may
Text Publishing

About the book:

“Former social worker Elle Castillo is the host of a popular true-crime podcast that tackles cold cases of missing children in her hometown. After four seasons of successful investigations, Elle decides to tackle her white whale: the Countdown Killer, or TCK.

“Twenty years ago, TCK established a pattern of taking and ritualistically murdering girls, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why—why he stopped abruptly with his eleven-year-old victim, or why he followed the ritual at all.

“Weeks into her new season, Elle sets out to interview a listener promising a tip, only to discover his dead body. When a child is abducted days later, in a pattern that looks very familiar, Elle is convinced TCK is back. Will she be able to get law enforcement on her side and stop TCK before it’s too late?”

Category: Fiction, thriller

On sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, $26.25 (paperback)

The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

litty committee, may
Penguin Australia

About the book:

“On the evening of September 22, 1998, three teenage girls venture out for a night of mischief in the coastal town of Blairgowrie. But only two return…

“For over twenty years the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Cecilia May remains a baffling cold case – until human bones are discovered on an isolated beach.

“Now it’s up to Detective Emmett Corban and his team to dig up decades of trauma, and find the missing piece of an investigation that’s as complex as it is tragic.

“Does the answer lie with the only suspect, a registered sex offender who confessed, then immediately provided a rock-solid alibi? Or with the two teen survivors – neither of whom can keep their story straight?

“But the police aren’t the only ones hunting for the truth: someone else has arrived in the seaside town. And she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to find her own version of justice…

Category: Fiction, crime

On sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, $26.25 (paperback)

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Penguin Australia.

About the book:

“The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humour and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….

“When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

“With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…”

Food, a whodunnit and meddling aunties!

Category: Fiction, mystery

On sale: May 4, 2021

Price: $24.95 (paperback)

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

litty committee, may
Penguin Australia

About the book:

“From the bestselling author of Love, Simon (Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda).

“Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate and Anderson are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

“But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

“Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.”

Category: Young adult fiction

On Sale: May 4, 2021

Price: Was $16.99, $15.25 (paperback)

Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss

Simon & Schuster Australia

About the book:

“Gundagai, 1852.

“The powerful Murrumbidgee River surges through town leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is a stark reminder that while the river can give life, it can just as easily take it away.

“Wagadhaany is one of the lucky ones. She survives. But is her life now better than the fate she escaped? Forced to move away from her miyagan, she walks through each day with no trace of dance in her step, her broken heart forever calling her back home to Gundagai.

“When she meets Wiradyuri stockman Yindyamarra, Wagadhaany’s heart slowly begins to heal. But still, she dreams of a better life, away from the degradation of being owned. She longs to set out along the river of her ancestors, in search of lost family and country. Can she find the courage to defy the White man’s law? And if she does, will it bring hope … or heartache?”

Heiss recently shared a video about how to pronounce the title.

Category: Fiction, historical

On sale: May 5, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, $26.25 (paperback)

The End Of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

HarperCollins Australia

About the book:

“Glasgow, 2025.  Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a young man with a mild fever. Within three hours he dies. The mysterious illness sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. This is how it begins.

“The victims are all men.

“Dr Maclean raises the alarm, but the sickness spreads to every corner of the globe. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

“Can they find a cure before it’s too late? Will this be the story of the end of the world – or its salvation?

“Compelling, confronting and devastating, The End of Men is the novel that everyone is talking about.”

Bit close to home, but oh well.

Category: Fiction, thriller

On Sale: May 5, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25 (paperback)

Careless by Kirsty Capes

litty committee, may
Hachette Australia

About the book:

“Sometimes it’s easy to fall between the cracks…

“At 3.04 p.m. on a hot, sticky day in June, Bess finds out she’s pregnant. She could tell her social worker Henry, but he’s useless. She should tell her foster mother, Lisa, but she won’t understand.

“She really ought to tell Boy, but she hasn’t spoken to him in weeks. Bess knows more than anyone that love doesn’t come without conditions.

“But this isn’t a love story…

Careless is pitched as perfect for fans of Normal People by Sally Rooney. It’s also copped heaps of press, so one to keep an eye on, I reckon.

Category: Fiction,

On Sale: May 11, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, $26.25 (paperback)

Love, in Theory by Elodie Cheesman

Pan Macmillan Australia

About the book:

There’s an algorithm for everything else, so why not love?

“When 24-year-old lawyer Romy learns that she is at her ‘optimal stopping point’ (the mathematically designated point at which one should select the next ‘best person’ who comes along in order to have the best chance at happily ever after), she knows it’s time to get serious about her love life.

“Ruthlessly rational, with a belief in data over destiny, Romy knows that reliability and consistency are dependable options, while passion and lust are transitory and only bring pain and disillusionment.

“That’s why sensible Hans the engineer is the right choice, as opposed to graphic designer James who exhibits the kind of behaviour that has got her into trouble before. Isn’t he?”

Category: Fiction, adult & contemporary romance

On sale: May 25, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, $27.35 (paperback) 

Litty Committee is Pedestrian.TV’s twice-monthly book column. Every month, we’ll take you through the newest reads and spotlight a novel we think you might like.

You can catch up on our other Litty Committee recommendations here

Image: Text Publishing, UQP Books