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Pub Day Shout-Outs! for March 2, 2021, featuring Choi, Hashimi, and Ishiguro

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

I had a tough time today choosing only three books to highlight—it's an AMAZING release day. So, here are just three of the many, many books coming out today that I'm excited to read (plus a couple of mentions at the bottom of the page).

Book cover of Mary H. K. Choi's Yolk

Mary H. K. Choi's Yolk

Description from Publisher:

"From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives.

"Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

"On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

"Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying."

Why I want to read it:

People whose judgment I trust swear by Mary H. K. Choi's YA novel Emergency Contact, so this one immediately caught my attention. I love the focus on sisters here . . . and, I'll admit, the cover drew me in.

Book cover of Nadia Hashimi's Sparks Like Stars

Nadia Hashimi's Sparks Like Stars

Description from Publisher:

"Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives.

"Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured.

"New York, 2008: Forty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge. Realizing that she cannot go on without finding the truth, Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul—a battleground between the corrupt government and the fundamentalist Taliban—and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost.

"Bold, illuminating, heartbreaking, yet hopeful, Sparks Like Stars is a story of home—of America and Afghanistan, tragedy and survival, reinvention and remembrance, told in Nadia Hashimi’s singular voice."

Why I want to read it:

I read one of Hashimi's earlier books, The Pearl that Broke Its Shell, as a buddy read with @readwithtoni and have heard amazing reviews of some of her other books. I think the "before and after" nature of this narrative is appealing, and the journey back to Kabul reminds me of one of my favorite novels, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

Book cover of Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun

Description from Publisher:

"Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.

"Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

"In its award citation in 2017, the Nobel committee described Ishiguro's books as 'novels of great emotional force' and said he has 'uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.'"

Why I want to read it:

I absolutely love Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day—they are brilliant, amazing, nuanced, sometimes shocking books—so I am absolutely thrilled that he is publishing this new, which sounds as if it will featuree a similarly thought provoking story.


I always wanted to mention Safia Elhillo's Home Is Not a Country (check out Ashley's review here) and Trish Doller's Float Plan (here's my review).


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