This Week’s Bestsellers: May 16, 2022

Book World

Emily Henry’s rom-com Book Lovers is the week’s #1 bestseller. The “steamy enemies-to-lovers plot,” our review said, sees a literary agent tangle with her professional nemesis de ella, an editor. It’s Henry’s strongest debut to date, and it’s also one of several bibliophilic titles on our lists this week.

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, #12 on our trade paper list, is the “earnest follow-up to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” our review said, and centers on a second-generation traveling librarian. Jasmine Guillory’s By the Book “throws together an aspiring editor and a brooding |author” for a “Beauty and the Beastretelling, per our review; it’s #16 on our trade paper list. Plus the new Reese’s Book Club pick, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, is a trade paperback reissue with a bookish theme (see “In Clubland”).

Star Struck

A pair of high-profile YA novels, both of which received starred reviews from P.W.take their bows on our children’s fiction list. I Kissed Shara Wheeler, Casey McQuiston’s YA debut, lands at #2. “Crisp writing, humorous asides, and fully fleshed out characters and relationships—many queer—keep things fresh,” our starred review said, “leading to a genuinely hopeful ending that centers themes of authenticity and autonomy.” McQuistons Adult Romance, Red, White & Royal Blue and One Last Stophave sold a combined 602K print copies.

At #4, Family of Liars is a prequel to E. Lockhart’s suspenseful 2014 hit, We Were Liars. It’s a “layered, atmospherically tense exploration of jealousy, love, and family loyalty,” per our starred review. We Were Liars has sold more than a million print copies.

In Clubland

One of the week’s big YA releases, I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (see “Star Struck”), is also Good Housekeeping‘s latest book club pick. Elsewhere in clubland, Reese’s Book Club tapped The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, a 2021 release now out in trade paperback and #14 on that list. “In Williams’s exuberant, meticulously researched debut,” our review said, “the daughter of a lexicographer devotes her life to an alternative dictionary”—it’s one of a few bookish book on this week’s lists (see “Book World”). Read with Jenna’s choice, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt, is #15 on our hardcover fiction list; our review called it a “whimsical if far-fetched debut.”

NEW & REMARKABLE

THIS WILL NOT PASS
Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
#4 Hardcover Nonfiction
New York Times reporters Martin and Burns debut with what our starred review called an “impressively sourced and consistently revealing” account of “America’s ‘political emergency’ in the months between the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the start of President Biden’s second year in office.”

OUTDOOR KIDS IN AN INSIDE WORLD
Steven Rinella
#5 Hardcover Nonfiction
Rinella, host of the MeatEater TV show, suggests a bevy of activities aimed at getting kids outside. “As useful as it is charming,” per our starred review, “this should go a long way toward convincing readers to get up, gather the family, and enjoy what nature has in store.”


A version of this article appeared in the 05/16/2022 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Behind the Bestsellers May 1–May 7, 2022

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