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New Book Releases for February 2023

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)

There are so many phenomenal books coming out this month. I'm featuring one per week, but there are also so many others I can't wait to read!

February 7

Book Cover of Promises of Gold by Jose Olivarez

José Olivarez's Promises of Gold ( |

Description from Publisher:

"Love is at the heart of everything we do, and yet it is often mishandled, misrepresented, or narrowly defined. In the words of José Olivarez: 'How many bad lovers have gotten poems? How many crushes? No disrespect to romantic love―but what about our friends? Those homies who show up when the romance ends to help you heal your heart. Those homies who are there all along―cheering for us and reminding us that love is abundant.'

"Written in English and combined with a Spanish translation by poet David Ruano, Promises of Gold explores many forms of love and how 'a promise made isn’t always a promise kept,' as Olivarez grapples with the contradictions of the American Dream laying bare the ways in which 'love is complicated by forces larger than our hearts.'

"He writes, 'For those of us who are hyphenated Americans, where do we belong? Promises of Gold attempts to reckon with colonial legacy and the reality of what those promises have borne out for Mexican descendants. I wrote this book to imagine and document an ongoing practice of healing―healing that requires me to show up for myself, my community, my friends, my family, and my loves every day.'

"Whether readers enter this collection in English or Spanish, these extraordinary poems are sure to become beloved for their illuminations of life―and love."

Why I want to read it: I love Olivarez's brilliant poetry and found his collection Citizen Illegal to be deeply impactful. I'm eager to read more of his work, and this one looks really powerful. (This one is also perfect for the Unabridged Reading Challenge 2023 if you're looking for a poetry collection!)


February 14

Book Cover of Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by H. S. Valley

H. S. Valley's Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues (

Description from Publisher:

"Tim Te Maro and Elliott Parker – classmates at Fox Glacier High School for the Magically Adept – have never gotten along. But when they both get dumped the day before the big egg-baby assignment, they reluctantly decide to ditch their exes and work together. When the two boys start to bond over their magically enchanted egg-baby, they realize that beneath their animosity is something like friendship ... or physical attraction.

"Soon, a no-strings-attached hook-up seems like a good idea. Just for the duration of the assignment. After all, they don’t have feelings for each other ... so what could possibly go wrong?

"From debut Kiwi author H.S. Valley, the latest winner of the Ampersand Prize, comes this gleefully addictive romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. In a word – it’s magic."

Why I want to read it: Both the cover and the title caught my attention, and the comparison to Red, White, and Royal Blue and note that it's perfect for fans of David Levithan certainly made this one more enticing. A YA fantasy novel with a boarding school setting, full of magic and LGBTQ romantic goodness written by an author from New Zealand? Yes, please.


February 21

Book Cover of I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai's I Have Some Questions for You ( |

Description from Publisher:

"A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.

"But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.

"In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transfixing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph."

Why I want to read it: I absolutely loved The Great Believers and have thought about that story (and the history incorporated into it) for a long time after reading the novel. I am certainly interested in reading more by Makkai, and I also love it when authors try new genres! This one sounds fascinating.


February 28

Book Cover of The Unfortunates by J. K. Chukwu

J. K. Chukwu's The Unfortunates ( |

Description from Publisher:

"An edgy, bitingly funny debut about a queer, half-Nigerian college sophomore who, enraged and exhausted by the racism at her elite college, is determined to reveal the truth about The Unfortunates—the unlucky subset of Black undergrads who Just. Keep. Disappearing.

"Sahara is Not Okay. Entering her sophomore year, she already feels like a failure: her body is too much, her love life is nonexistent, she’s not Nigerian enough for her family, her grades are subpar, and, well, the few Black classmates she has are vanishing—or dying. Sahara herself is close to giving up: depression has been her longtime 'Life Partner.' She believes that this narrative—taking the form of an irreverent, no-holds-barred 'thesis' addressed to the powerful University Committee that will judge her—may be her last chance to document the Unfortunates' experience before she joins their ranks...But maybe, just maybe, she and her complex community of BIPOC women aren't ready to go out without a fight."

Why I want to read it: The cover and title caught my attention on this one, and the premise sounds compelling. This one promises to take on important social issues that deserve attention, and I'm interested to see where the story goes.


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Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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