Families, Lovers, and Meaning in Life: Pop Fiction Debuts, Feb. 2024, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Fun reading for the cold winter months. 

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Churchill, Amanda. The Turtle House. Harper. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780063290518. $30. FAMILY

In spring 1999, young architect Lia Cope returns to her small-town Texas home with no explanation and ends up in nightly conversations with her grandmother Mineko, who came to Texas as a Japanese war bride and now speaks wistfully of the man she left behind and the Turtle House, where their relationship unfolded. Big in-house love.

Dameron, DéLana R.A. Redwood Court. Dial. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780593447024. $28. Downloadable. FAMILY

On Redwood Court, a cul-de-sac in a Black, working-class suburb of Columbia, SC, Mika Tabor lives with a family that includes her retired grandparents, who proudly bought the house in the 1960s; her parents, burned out from working multiple jobs; and a sassy older sister. And has Mika got stories to tell. A heart-warmer from award-winning poet Dameron.

Gray, Madeleine. Green Dot. Holt. Feb. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781250890597. $27.99. CD/downloadable. RELATIONSHIPS

Inchoate and uncertain of her future at age 24, Hera has a job moderating the comments section of an online news outlet. That’s how she meets middle-aged journalist Arthur, with whom she falls messily in love. From a multi-award finalist Australian critic, this debut was preempted in Australia, the UK, and the United States. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Howard, Scott Alexander. The Other Valley. Atria. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781668015476. $27.99. FRIENDS & FAMILY

Sixteen-year-old Odile lives in a town with rigorously guarded borders; to the east, it’s the same town but 20 years ahead in time, and to the west, it’s 20 years behind. Now she spots two people who have been permitted to cross the border so that they can visit their son while he’s still alive. And that’s how she learns that her good friend Edme is about to die. Harvard postdoctoral fellow Howard arrives with an intriguing premise.

Love, Ryan. Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out. HQ. Feb 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780008647636. pap. $18.99. FAMILY

At 79, Arthur Edwards is about to drop a bombshell on his family: he’s gay, and he’s not going to stay in the closet anymore. At 21, Arthur’s grandson Teddy isn’t yet ready to reveal to everyone that he’s gay, too, but he and his grandfather draw ever closer as they help each other negotiate new lives and new loves. From British journalist Love; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Reilly, Rebecca K. Greta & Valdin. Avid Reader: S. & S. Feb. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781668028049. $28. RELATIONSHIPS

The only Maaori at his office, Valdin has been moping since his boyfriend left him and moved to Buenos Aires. Now he’s living with sister Greta, who is plagued by boyfriend problems of her own and an incomplete and possibly irrelevant master’s thesis to boot. And then work sends Valdin to Buenos Aires. A New Zealand best seller from award-winning Maaori novelist Reilly (Ngaati Hine, Ngaati Rehua Ngaatiwai ki Aotea).

Saintclare, Celine. Sugar, Baby. Bloomsbury. Jan. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781639732463. $27.99. RELATIONSHIPS

Biracial Agnes leads a ho-hum life working as a cleaner until a chance meeting draws her into the world of sugar babies, most often women who date rich older men for money. Now she is surrounded by glamorous life, but her religious mother throws her out, and she realizes that she’s still not feeling fulfilled. Of English and Caribbean descent, UK-based Saintclare was long-listed for the Penguin Random House WriteNow; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Tomlinson, Sarah. The Last Days of the Midnight Ramblers. Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781250890481. $28.99. Downloadable. RELATIONSHIPS

Back in the day, style-setting model Anke Berben had affairs with three members of the explosively popular rock band the Midnight Ramblers and even married its founder, whose 1969 death still begs questions. Now she’s hired Mari Hawthorn to ghostwrite her memoir, and Mari is trying hard not to get sucked in by the glamor. With a 100,000-copy first printing; from former music journalist Tomlinson.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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