Cheat Sheet: March Books

Courtesy of Atria Books

Reproductive ethics, the go-go '90s and another young-adult vampire outing are among this month's releases.

THE HEAVY HITTER
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
This might be March’s biggest book with a print run of 1.5 million copies. The reliable Picoult, who has a knack for turning hot-button issues — school shootings, abortion, incest — into mass-market gold turns her attention to the thorny questions of reproductive ethics and gay rights. Running with the tagline “Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen,” Sing You Home includes a CD of original songs. (Pub. date: 3/1)

THE PRECOCIOUS DEBUT
This Vacant Paradise by Victoria Patterson
Patterson, a finalist for the California Book Award with her short-story collection Drift, sets her first novel in the Newport Beach of the go-go ’90s. Aimless beauty Esther wanders through life dependent on her controlling, wealthy grandmother. With her beauty fading in her mid-30s, she begins a tumultuous affair with Charlie, a free-spirited professor. Through their relationship, Patterson explores the explosive mix of money, power and sex in the posh environs of Southern California. The O.C. for grown-ups. (Pub. date: 3/8)

THE Y-A POWERHOUSE
The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith
The final book in the series’ second trilogy is also the final book by series creator Smith, who parted ways with Alloy Entertainment in February. Alloy, which owns the series trademark, plans to hire writers to continue but by focusing on stories and characters closer to the successful WB show. With an announced 400,000-copy first printing and a lucrative series to keep alive, Alloy and publisher HarperTeen have a lot riding on quelling the fan backlash over Smith’s departure. (Pub. date: 3/15)

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