From Mantel to Zafón: Ten Titles Just Announced for May 2012–June 2012

Badman, Keith. Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780312607142. $25.99; eISBN 9781250012388. BIOGRAPHY
Having disposed of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Stones, Badman goes after another celebrity icon. Among his putative revelations: the identity of Marilyn Monroe’s biological father, what really happened with JFK, and her exploitation by mobsters at a hotel owned by Frank Sinatra. Another on the Monroe bandwagon.

Gemmell, Nikki. With My Body. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 480p. ISBN 9780062122636. pap. $14.99; eISBN 9780062122643. POP FICTION
Gemmell follows up her sensationalist best seller, The Bride Stripped Bare, with another fictional exploration of female sexuality. Here, a woman who feels suffocated by marriage and children recalls the one love affair that really did something for her. With a 100,000-copy first printing and a reading group guide‚ for those, I guess, who don’t blush easily.

Joyce, Rachel. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Random. Jul. 2012. 286p. ISBN 9780812993295. $25. LITERARY FICTION
A leading actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company, then an award-winning author of plays for the BBC, Joyce is taking on another role: novelist. And a successful one at that, it seems, with rights for this debut sold to more than 25 countries. When cranky retiree Harold Fry gets a letter from an old friend he’s not seen in two decades, revealing that she’s in hospice, he decides to visit her. And he decides that to do so he’ll walk the 600 miles from Kingsbridge to Berwick upon Tweed. Refreshing premise; let’s all watch.

Lepore, Jill. The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death. Knopf. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780307592996. $27.95; eISBN 9780307958501. HISTORY
Okay, grand subtitle, but Lepore‚ Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author (e.g., New York Burning)‚ has something focused in mind and will likely pull it off. Here she explores how ideas about life and death have shaped American history and politics. For your thoughtful readers.

Locke, Kate. God Save the Queen.(Immortal Empire, Bk 1.). Orbit: Hachette. Jul. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780316196123. $16.99. STEAMPUNK
It’s called the steampunk debut of the year, and it opens in 2012 with an undead Queen Victoria still ruling and the aristocracy made up mostly of vampires and werewolves. Elite Guard Xandra Vardan goes looking for her missing sister and starts doubting everything she once believed. Meanwhile, conspiracy brews. From best-selling YA author Kady Cross (like Kate Locke, a pseudonym); should be big.

Mantel, Hilary. Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel. Holt. May 2012. 432p. ISBN 9780805090031. $28. HISTORICAL FICTION
Deservedly a winner of both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Mantel’s best-selling Wolf Hall is audaciously good historical fiction portraying Thomas Cronwell’s rise to power as Henry VIII’s adviser. In this follow-up, Henry is ready to get rid of Anne Boleyn, a job that falls to Cromwell‚ which means that he must ally himself with his archenemies, the papist aristocracy. We’ll all been waiting for this one.

Mawer, Simon. Trapeze. Other Pr. May 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781590515273. pap. $15.95. HISTORICAL THRILLER
Only 19, native French speaker Marian Sutro is trained as an agent by the Special Operations Executive and parachuted into wartime France. Her mission, to join the WORDSMITH resistance network, has been hijacked by yet another secret organization, which wants her to persuade a research scientist in Paris to join the Allied effort. Mawer’s The Glass Room was both a New York Times best seller and a Man Booker Prize shortlisted title, so this looks promising indeed.

Sharpe, Katherine. Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are. Harper Perennial: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780062059734. pap. $14.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE
In 2005, antidepressants surged past blood-pressure medication as the most frequently prescribed drug in America, with an astonishing ten percent of the population using them (and that was then). The former editor and community manager of Seed magazine’s, Sharpe has the background to understand this phenomenon, but she also has personal experience; she was prescribed Zoloft in college after a panic attack. Here she explores the consequences of antidepressant use by increasingly younger patients, whose self-understanding and coping skills are thus distorted. Important information to consider; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Solomon, John. DSK: The Scandal That Brought Down Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781250012630. $25.99; eISBN 9781250013057. CURRENT EVENTS
Director of news and investigative reporting at The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company, Solomon aims to get to the heart of the case involving a New York hotel maid’s accusation that she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund‚ a case that saw the media gunning first on the accused and then on the accuser.

Zafón, Carlos Ruiz. The Prisoner of Heaven. Harper: HarperCollins. 416p. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780062206282. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio LITERARY THRILLER
As entertainingly twisted as Gaudi’s architecture, only darker, Zafón’s best-selling fiction (e.g., The Shadow of the Wind) inhabits a distinctive Barcelona. At Christmas in 1957, Daniel Sempere and his wife are enjoying their new son and the prospect of their friend Fermín’s marriage when a stranger arrives at their bookshop, prepared to reveal a dark secret harking back to Franco’s early days. With a 200,000-copy first printing and a seven-city tour to Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, DC; don’t miss.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.