As the days grow chillier, the reading nooks grow cozier. The wool socks and chunky sweaters come out. The scent of nutmeg and cinnamon fills the air. But what really sets the mood is NEW FALL RELEASES. We’ve rounded up our most anticipated books coming out this November from top authors, including Janet Evanovich, and exciting debuts from authors such as Susie Yang. These reads have us buzzing with even more anticipation than that first sip of hot cocoa. Happy reading!
Out of all the many books I’ve read in my life, there are only a handful where I can tell you exactly where I was the day I read them. The first Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich, ONE FOR THE MONEY, is one of them. A friend of the family was hosting a pool party, but I didn’t feel like swimming (sullen teenager alert), so instead I spent the whole day in a comfy lounge chair getting to know Stephanie, Ranger, Morelli, Lula, Grandma Mazur, and the whole crew. Now, years later, I’m looking forward to catching up with them in FORTUNE AND GLORY, the newest book in this long-running series.
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
The twenty-seventh entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series isn’t just the biggest case of Stephanie Plum’s career. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.
When Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur's new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair…and the keys to a life-changing fortune.
But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli’s treasure, they discover that they’re not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way—along with a new adversary who’s even more formidable: Gabriela Rose, a dark-eyed beauty from Little Havana with a taste for designer clothes. She’s also a soldier of fortune, a gourmet cook, an expert in firearms and mixed martial arts—and someone who’s about to give Stephanie a real run for her money.
Stephanie may be in over her head, but she’s got two things that Gabriela doesn’t: an unbreakable bond with her family and a stubborn streak that will never let her quit.
She’ll need both to survive because this search for “fortune and glory” will turn into a desperate race against time with more on the line than ever before. Because even as she searches for the treasure and fights to protect her Grandma Mazur, her own deepest feelings will be tested—as Stephanie could finally be forced to choose between Joe Morelli and Ranger.
Sharon’s Pick #1
One of my favorite movies I’ve watched so far in quarantine is The Talented Mr. Ripley, so when I first read the synopsis for WHITE IVY, I immediately became intrigued. Ivy Lin is a teenager growing up outside of Boston who is taught by her grandmother to pilfer from yard sales and secondhand stores in order to maintain the appearance of a suburban teenager and win the heart of the wealthy Gideon Speyer. Ivy is sent back to China when her mom discovers her thieving habits, but she later returns to Boston and bumps into Gideon’s sister, Sylvia. Soon Ivy immerses herself in the Speyer family and is within striking distance of everything she’s ever wanted, until a ghost from her past reemerges. This debut novel from Susie Yang is sure to be a standout this fall with its gripping plot.
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
***LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE***
From prizewinning Chinese American author Susie Yang, this dazzling coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience.
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her.
Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.
Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.
Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.
Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.
I’ve been a fan of the biracial bisexual goddess known to her fans as Halsey (and to her family as Ashley) from the moment I heard her first album. Earlier this year (yes, it’s still 2020 somehow), Halsey released one of music’s most anticipated albums, her third studio release, titled Manic. From the moment it was announced, fans knew they would be treated to Halsey’s most personal and painful album yet, as she described it as the first one she’s written as herself—Ashley Frangipane. Now, on the heels of a new album AND the five-year anniversary of the release of Badlands, Halsey is back with a collection of poetry titled I WOULD LEAVE ME IF I COULD. The collection will include original and autobiographical poems about everything from sexuality to feminism to heartbreak, and features cover art done by Halsey herself. If this collection is anything like the work she’s already given us this year, then we are in for a treat!
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Grammy Award–nominated, platinum-selling musician Halsey is heralded as one of the most compelling voices of her generation. In I Would Leave Me If I Could, she reveals never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder.
In this debut collection, Halsey bares her soul. Bringing the same artistry found in her lyrics, Halsey’s poems delve into the highs and lows of doomed relationships, family ties, sexuality, and mental illness. More hand grenades than confessions, these autobiographical poems explore and dismantle conventional notions of what it means to be a feminist in search of power.
Masterful as it is raw, passionate, and profound, I Would Leave Me If I Could signals the arrival of an essential voice.
Book cover painting, American Woman, by the author.
Sharon’s Pick #2
After I read Zeyn Joukhadar’s essay about reclaiming queer and trans power during Pride, I knew that it was essential for me to add THE THIRTY NAMES OF NIGHT to my TBR. Joukhadar’s novel is about a closeted Syrian American boy who is haunted by the ghost of his ornithologist mother who died five years ago in a fire. He can find solace only in slipping out of his grandmother’s apartment at night to paint murals on buildings in the Little Syria neighborhood of Manhattan. One day, he comes across the journal of a Syrian American artist, Laila Z, who encountered the same rare bird his mother did before she died and whose past reveals the histories of queer and transgender people in his own community. With its intergenerational themes and lyrical prose, THE THIRTY NAMES OF NIGHT promises to be an exceptional novel.
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by PopSugar and The Millions
The author of the “vivid and urgent…important and timely” (The New York Times Book Review) debut The Map of Salt and Stars returns with this remarkably moving and lyrical novel following three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by a mysterious species of bird and the truths they carry close to their hearts.
Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. He has been unable to paint since his mother’s ghost has begun to visit him each evening. As his grandmother’s sole caretaker, he spends his days cooped up in their apartment, avoiding his neighborhood masjid, his estranged sister, and even his best friend (who also happens to be his longtime crush). The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals on buildings in the once-thriving Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Syria.
One night, he enters the abandoned community house and finds the tattered journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who dedicated her career to painting the birds of North America. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before, but her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths. In fact, Laila Z’s past is intimately tied to his mother’s—and his grandmother’s—in ways he never could have expected. Even more surprising, Laila Z’s story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his own community that he never knew. Realizing that he isn’t and has never been alone, he has the courage to officially claim a new name: Nadir, an Arabic name meaning rare.
As unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously drawn to the New York City skies, Nadir enlists the help of his family and friends to unravel what happened to Laila Z and the rare bird his mother died trying to save. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along.
Featuring Zeyn Joukhadar’s signature “magical and heart-wrenching” (The Christian Science Monitor) storytelling, The Thirty Names of Night is a timely exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are.
Is anyone else missing live theater so much they could cry? No? Just me? For the reader who has now watched every bootleg musical available on YouTube, get excited, because we’ve got the book for you. Coming November 10, SINGULAR SENSATION by Michael Riedel is a must-read for any theater nerd. This book takes you behind the scenes of Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, The Producers, and so many more gems. It’s not quite the same as sitting in a packed theater as the house lights dim and the curtain rises, but it’s pretty darn close. Full of anecdotes about the writers, composers, actors, and characters you know and love, this is a book you’ll want to own if you proudly identify as a theater nerd.
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
The extraordinary story of a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers—shows that changed the history of the American theater.
The 1990s was a decade of profound change on Broadway. At the dawn of the nineties, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing, as musical spectacles like Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera dominated the box office. But Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard soon spelled the end of this era and ushered in a new wave of American musicals, beginning with the ascendance of an unlikely show by a struggling writer who reimagined Puccini’s opera La Bohème as the smash Broadway show Rent. American musical comedy made its grand return, culminating in The Producers, while plays, always an endangered species on Broadway, staged a powerful comeback with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. A different breed of producers rose up to challenge the grip theater owners had long held on Broadway, and corporations began to see how much money could be made from live theater.
And just as Broadway had clawed its way back into the mainstream of American popular culture, the September 11 attacks struck fear into the heart of Americans who thought Times Square might be the next target. But Broadway was back in business just two days later, buoyed by talented theater people intent on bringing New Yorkers together and supporting the economics of an injured city.
Michael Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on.
Saimah’s Pick #1
You might not know that the Gossip Girl series that aired on the CW from 2007 to 2012, about the deliciously complicated lives of rich and spoiled high schoolers on New York City’s Upper East Side, was based on a YA book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. I remember picking up the first book in the series, also titled Gossip Girl, back when I was in middle school. I devoured each book, exploring the glamour of New York City through these stories. Growing up in a small suburb in Ohio, the Big Apple seemed so far away from what I knew. I couldn’t wait to see it in person but had to live vicariously through those characters in the meantime.
Now Cecily von Ziegesar is back with a new story for grown-ups set in New York City, but this time she’s taking us on a journey through Cobble Hill, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Here we meet four families who have lives that are quite different from the glitz and glamour of the Gossip Girl crowd. These dysfunctional families are all seeking to find their purpose and navigate obstacles, until one unforgettable night at a boisterous party in the neighborhood changes everything.
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
“Best Novels of Fall 2020” —Vogue
“Most Anticipated List for Fall 2020” —Parade
“Best of Fall 2020” —PopSugar
“Best Books of 2020” —Marie Claire
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Gossip Girl series, a deliciously irresistible novel chronicling a year in the life of four families in an upscale Brooklyn neighborhood as they seek purpose, community, and meaningful relationships—until one unforgettable night at a raucous neighborhood party knocks them to their senses.
Welcome to Cobble Hill.
In this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood, private storms brew amongst four married couples and their children. There’s ex-groupie Mandy, so underwhelmed by motherhood and her current physical state that she fakes a debilitating disease to get the attention of her skateboarding, ex-boyband member husband Stuart. There’s the unconventional new school nurse, Peaches, on whom Stuart has an unrequited crush, and her disappointing husband Greg, who wears noise-cancelling headphones—everywhere.
A few blocks away, Roy, a well-known, newly transplanted British novelist, has lost the thread of his next novel and his marriage to capable, indefatigable Wendy. Around the corner, Tupper, the nervous, introverted industrial designer with a warehose full of prosthetic limbs struggles to pin down his elusive artist wife Elizabeth. She remains…elusive. Throw in two hormonal teenagers, a ten-year-old pyromaniac, a drug dealer pretending to be a doctor, and a lot of hidden cameras, and you’ve got a combustible mix of egos, desires, and secrets bubbling in brownstone Brooklyn.
Smart, sophisticated, yet surprisingly tender, Cobble Hill is highly entertaining portrait of contemporary family life and the colorful characters who call Brooklyn home.
Saimah’s Pick #2
You know that feeling when you get sucked into the story of a great book and you just want to skip work and keep reading? When I picked up READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, I didn’t realize I would get so swept up in the story. Since there haven’t been any details released about the highly anticipated sequel, READY PLAYER TWO, I’m waiting excitedly to get my hands on it in November. Until then I’ll have to reread the first book. If this is your intro into the world, not to worry . . . here’s a recap of READY PLAYER ONE that you can check out while waiting for the sequel.
It’s 2045 and most people spend their days in the virtual universe of the OASIS. When James Halliday, the founder of the OASIS, dies, his will reveals that he created a challenge within his video game world—and the winner will inherit his fortune and control of the OASIS. Wade Watts (aka Parzival) goes on an exploration through the OASIS, trying to complete the three challenges that will ultimately allow him to win the game and the inheritance. But he isn’t the only one trying to win . . . and the wicked IOI collective won’t hesitate to crush anybody who gets in their way.
This book will take you on an adventure through its virtual reality world, in which you feel like you’re living in the video game that Halliday created. It’s filled with ’80s nostalgia and danger at every turn; you’ll be hooked before you know it!
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Image credit: Simon & Schuster