THR's 5 Books of the Week: YA Romances, a Spy Thriller, and White House Intrigue

8:12 PM PST 01/10/2012 by Andy Lewis

A YA romance from fan favorite John Green, a thriller from the creator of "Homeland," and Jodi Kantor's White House expose are the week's most important reads.

With the holidays over, the slow pace of new book releases picks up.Topping the week are a new book about the Obamas—easily buzziest book of the new year, a thriller from Homeland creator Howard Gordon, two excellent YA novels, and a young screenwriter's first novel explores growing up Muslim in Milwaukee..

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Other noteworthy books this week include Sally Bedell Smith’s biography Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, which is the first of a wave of books about the Queen and the British Royal Family timed to Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Also out this week is Gideon’s Corpse, a new thriller from the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Relic).

Music fans will be interested in The Last Holiday, the posthumous autobiography from Gil Scott Heron, the jazz musician and early hip-hop influence who died in May 2011.

Check out The Hollywood Reporter’s books of the week below:

 

The Obamas by Jodi Kantor (Little Brown, 368 pages, $29.99)

This look inside the first one-thousand days of the Obama White House by Kantor, a New York Times writer who has covered both Washington and the arts, has emerged as the most talked about book of the new year. Among the revelations that have caught people’s attention are a secret Halloween party with Johnny Depp and Michelle Obama's tense relationship with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Kantor conducted more than 30 interviews for the book but couldn't get either the president or first lady to agree to talk to her as she charted the Obamas' struggles to adapt to their new roles, raise their children, and govern the country. Read THR's complete rundown of the book here.

 

 

Hard Target by Howard Gordon (Touchstone, 274 pages, $25.99)

The latest novel from the Executive Producer of Homeland and 24 is the story of a retired State Department troubleshooter turned quiet academic who is thrust into the middle of terrorist plot. Gideon Davis, the star of Gordon's first book (2011's Gideon's War), stumbles on to the plot and when the FBI declines to follow up he pursues the case on his own with the help of his brother Tillman, freshly relapsed from prison for disobeying orders as a government agent, and their friend FBI Agent Nancy Clement. Tillman infiltrates a group of white supremacists as they pursue a plot to kill America's senior government officials in one mass attack. (Sound familiar Homeland fans?) Gordon's fiction is like his TV shows--non-stop action with some surprisingly good character development.

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Juvenile, 336 pages, $17.99).

The fourth novel from the deft social networker and popular author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. Hazel Lancaster is a sixteen-year-old girl with terminal cancer whose life is turned upside by her relationship with another young cancer patient and their road trip to Amsterdam. Still full of Green's trademark humor--often expressed in the form of Hazel's sarcasm--this book is both sadder and deeper than his previous books. Green is hand signing all 150,000 copies in the first printing. Josh Schwartz is adapting Looking for Alaska for Paramount and Fault also seems a perfect candidate for adaptation.

 

 

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar (Little Brown, 368 pages, $24.95)

The first novel from playwright (Disgraced) and screenwriter (The War Within) Akhtar is about a Pakistani Muslim growing up in 1980s Milwaukee who feels caught in between his parent's old world in Pakistan and his new one in America, between religion and secularism, and between childhood and adolescence.  Hayat Shah is the only child of a successful but secular Pakistani doctor whose world is upended when a beautiful devout friend of his parents moves in with the family. Mina exposes a Hayat to a liberal view of Islam and to the pitfalls of love in both his own desire for her and her complicated relationship with a Jewish doctor. Dervish is a well-observed story about the fault lines that run through religions, families and communities.

 

 

A Million Suns: An Across the Universe Novel by Beth Revis (Razorbill, 386 pages, $17.99)

This is the second book in the bestselling Across the Universe trilogy about 3,000 people on the spaceship Godspeed as it travels to colonize a new earth. But someone is trying to sabotage the mission and murder the settlers. A cryogenically frozen teen who is accidently awoken struggles to figure what is going on as she gets involved with the teenage son of the ship's tyrannical leader.

 

 

 

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