5 new books to read this week

This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Age Of Vice by Deepti Kapoor and A Message From Ukraine by Volodymyr Zelensky.

Prudence Wade
Wednesday 04 January 2023 12:47 GMT
5 new books to read this week (Composite/PA)
5 new books to read this week (Composite/PA)

New year, new books…


1. Someone Had To Do It by Danielle & Amber Brown is published in paperback by Piatkus, priced £9.99 (ebook £5.49). Available now

This debut thriller about Brandi, a fashion intern in New York, grabs the reader until the very last page. It follows Brandi during her internship with Simon Van Doren, an exclusive designer, and Van Doren’s daughter, Taylor, who dislikes Brandi and wants to steal her boyfriend. Their lives collide when Brandi overhears something she shouldn’t have at a fashion party, putting her in a dangerous situation. Someone Had To Do It explores racism in an interesting way, with Brandi – a black woman – feeling out of place in the fashion world. The fresh and at times exceptionally funny dialogue, as well as the lively characters, add to the book’s fast pace.9/10(Review by Miriam Kuepper)

2. Age Of Vice by Deepti Kapoor is published in hardback by Fleet, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Age Of Vice is epic in all senses of the word – it’s long (clocking in at nearly 600 pages), spans different continents, and tells the stories of people living in extreme poverty as well as the super-rich. It begins in Noughties Delhi with a deadly car crash – a rich man’s car does the damage, but it’s lowly servant Ajay who takes the blame. Kapoor expertly weaves together the tales of various characters, focusing on Ajay – born into poverty and sold as a young boy, he soon works for the wealthy Sunny in Delhi before going to prison; Sunny, the swaggering son of a gangster who can’t quite figure out his place in life; and Neda, a young journalist who falls for Sunny. It paints a picture of greed, crime, violence and corruption in India, building to a towering crescendo. The ending doesn’t feel entirely satisfying and at times the writing is slightly overwrought, but it’s still a captivating crime caper with realistic characters.8/10(Review by Prudence Wade)

3. Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee is published in hardback by Corsair, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.49). Available now

A man drives for days, trying to avoid CCTV road cameras, busy restaurants, chain stores and being seen by anyone. The mysterious male narrator is trying to escape his past, so you would think having 168,000 US dollars stuffed in an envelope would help. But he finds it’s not easy buying a car, staying in a hotel, renting a room or getting food if you need to stay anonymous. He slowly reveals clues about why he’s running away from his past – he didn’t ruin anyone, but something happened which ruined him. The unnamed central character keeps the reader guessing about his secret past – and how he will spend the money he can only keep in an envelope, because he would need ID to open a bank account.7/10(Review by Alan Jones)


4. A Message From Ukraine by Volodymyr Zelensky is published in hardback by Hutchinson Heinemann, priced £9.99 (ebook £4.99). Available now

This short book was always going to be remarkable, if not for its content then at least for its context. Just a year ago, its author was relatively unknown on the global stage, a small footnote to Donald Trump’s “do us a favour” scandal. Now, the Ukrainian President is a hero to many in the world’s democracies. It’s a fame he did not seek, and this is a book he says he wishes was never published. A collection of Zelensky’s speeches, it tells the story of Ukraine in a fateful year – at times forcing the reader to put down their copy and remember the pictures and news reports they saw at the time, and sparking moments of reckoning with the grim reality of the largest war in Europe for decades. Ukraine will now continue through a tough winter – and the book can help, with the president’s proceeds of the sales going to help his country. The nation’s future still rests on Zelensky’s prediction and rallying cry: “We used to say ‘peace’. Now we say ‘victory’.”9/10(Review by August Graham)

Children’s book of the week

5. Five Survive by Holly Jackson is published in hardback by Electric Monkey, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

Eight hours. Six friends. One sniper. Who will survive? When a group of friends take a road trip in an RV and end up with a flat tyre, the last thing they’re expecting to face is a sniper waiting for them in the dark. Over the next eight hours, these friends are forced to confront each other’s deeply hidden secrets if they want to survive. Five Survive is an exciting, captivating thriller – written by bestselling author Holly Jackson – and a delight to read. The secrets, suspense and action pushes you to read the entire book in just one sitting, proving yet again Jackson is the queen of young adult novels.9/10(Review by Maryam Munir)


HARDBACK (FICTION)1. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus2. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover3. Babel by R.F. Kuang4. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes5. The Seven Moons Of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka6. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman7. She And Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai & Naruki Nagakawa8. The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake9. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell10. Fairy Tale by Stephen King(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy2. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse: The Animated Story by Charlie Mackesy3. Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman4. Private Eye Annual: 2022 by Ian Hislop5. Beyond The Wand by Tom Felton6. One by Jamie Oliver7. Pinch Of Nom: Enjoy by Kay Allinson & Kate Allinson8. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy9. The Story Of Art Without Me by Katy Hessel10. Dear Dolly by Dolly Alderton(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. Spare by The Duke of Sussex2. The Sound Of Laughter by Peter Kay3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman4. Atomic Habits by James Clear5. Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman7. The Racketeer by John Grisham8. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch9. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman10. Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry(Compiled by Audible)

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