In search of something good to read? USA TODAY's Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale on Tuesday.
1. “Stolen,” by Elizabeth Gilpin (Grand Central, nonfiction)
What it’s about: In this gripping memoir, actress and producer Gilpin recounts how at 15, she was sent to a “therapeutic” boarding school for troubled teens, where she and others like her were brutally abused.
The buzz: “Gripping and detailed, ‘Stolen’ will linger long for readers as both a survival story and powerful testament,” says a ★★★½ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.
2. “She Who Became the Sun,” by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor/Forge, fiction)
What it’s about: A queer, fantastical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty. A sister claims her dead brother’s identity and his birthright, leading the battle to overthrow Mongol rule of China.
The buzz: “This is an important debut that expands our concept of who gets to be a hero and a villain,” says a ★★★½ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.
3. “Intimacies,” by Katie Kitamura (Riverhead, fiction)
What it’s about: An interpreter for the International Court of Justice at The Hague is drawn into personal dramas: her lover’s lingering marriage to another woman, a random act of violence with which she becomes obsessed and a political controversy when she’s asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes.
The buzz: “This psychological tone poem is a barbed and splendid meditation on peril,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
4. “What Strange Paradise,” by Omar El Akkad (Knopf, fiction)
What it’s about: A boat overfilled with refugees capsizes under the weight of its passengers, all desperate to escape their homelands. There is one survivor: Amir Utu, a 9-year-old Syrian boy, who is helped by teenage girl Vänna when he washes ashore her island.
The buzz: “A compassionate snapshot of one Syrian refugee's struggle to plot a course for home,” says Kirkus Reviews.
5. “El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World's Most Infamous Drug Lord,” by Noah Hurowitz (Atria, nonfiction)
What it’s about: An investigation into the life and legend of now-imprisoned Mexican kingpin Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera and how he built the world’s most powerful drug-trafficking operation.
The buzz: “Readers won’t look at the war on drugs the same way after reading Hurowitz’s damning account,” says Kirkus Reviews.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 5 books not to miss: Elizabeth Gilpin’s memoir ‘Stolen,’ ‘El Chapo’