Our 16 Most Anticipated New Reads of Fall 2021

August 30 2021
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When it comes to the fall season, we’re a bit divided at Off the Shelf this year; half of us want summer for as long as possible, while the other half are pretending the AC is a crisp fall wind. One thing we can all agree on? It’s always the right time to start planning the reading schedule! So, as we approach Labor Day weekend, we’re going full speed ahead into TBR stacking, raving about all the new releases we can’t wait to read and can’t wait for YOU to read as well.

Plus, watch Simon & Schuster’s CEO Jonathan Karp discuss the titles he’s most looking forward to this fall:

Cloud Cuckoo Land
by Anthony Doerr

Sara’s Pick #1: What do fifteenth century Constantinople, modern-day Idaho, and an interstellar starship have in common? These are the settings for Anthony Doerr’s latest book, CLOUD CUCKOO LAND. The book follows three separate stories that are all connected by the characters reading the tale of Aethon, a man who longs for paradise so much that he wishes he could turn into a bird to fly there. Ironic, given that all the characters are trapped in dangerous situations they would love to fly away from. Each story connects the lives of these protagonists separated by time, telling a profound tale of hope, humanity, and the strength to continue in the face of uncertainty. Publication Date: September 28

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Cloud Cuckoo Land
Anthony Doerr

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story.

The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.

An ancient text—the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky—provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.

Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

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The Lincoln Highway
by Amor Towles

Sara’s Pick #2: I fell in love with Amor Towles’ writing after reading A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, so it should come as no surprise that I am incredibly excited for his latest novel, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY. The book follows Emmett, having just finished his work farm sentence for involuntary manslaughter, as he dreams of heading West with his brother and starting a new life. Unfortunately, two of his friends from the farm have escaped and have very different plans for Emmett’s future. A master of prose, Towles’s immersive and beautiful writing style is sure to capture the imagination and probably make you cry once or twice. Publication Date: October 5

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The Lincoln Highway
Amor Towles

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The Last Dance of the Debutante
by Julia Kelly

Heather’s Pick #1: For more than one hundred years, the British royal family hosted an annual ball where aristocratic parents presented their teenage daughters to the monarch, officially launching them into London high society and indicating they were ready for marriage. Queen Elizabeth II discontinued the tradition in 1958, but not before one final group of debutantes curtseyed before her. This fascinating period is the backdrop for Julia Kelly’s new historical novel, THE LAST DANCE OF THE DEBUTANTE, in which a scholarly young lady named Lily Nichols commits to a Season’s worth of society events as a debutante in order to please her mother. Along the way, she makes two great friends, Leana and Katherine, but she also learns a secret that could wreck her family and her future . . . As someone who has devoured her fair share of historical romance novels set amid the posh London Season, I can’t wait to read this story. Publication Date: December 7

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The Last Dance of the Debutante
Julia Kelly

The author of the “sweeping, stirring, and heartrending” (Kristin Harmel, author of The Room on Rue Amélie) The Light Over London returns with a masterful, glittering novel that whisks you to midcentury Britain as it follows three of the last debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II.

When it’s announced that 1958 will be the last year debutantes are to be presented at court, thousands of eager mothers and hopeful daughters flood the palace with letters seeking the year’s most coveted invitation: a chance for their daughters to curtsey to the young Queen Elizabeth and officially come out into society.

In an effort to appease her traditional mother, aspiring university student Lily Nichols agrees to become a debutante and do the Season, a glittering and grueling string of countless balls and cocktail parties. In doing so, she befriends two very different women: the cool and aloof Leana Hartford whose apparent perfection hides a darker side and the ambitious Katherine Norman who dreams of a career once she helps her parents find their place among the elite.

But the glorious effervescence of the Season evaporates once Lily learns a devastating secret that threatens to destroy her entire family. Faced with a dark past, she’s forced to ask herself what really matters: her family legacy or her own happiness.

With her signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) storytelling, Julia Kelly weaves an unforgettable tale of female friendship amid the twilight days of Britain’s grand coming out balls.

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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina
by Zoraida Córdova

Jordyn’s Pick: I cannot overstate my love for this book. THE INHERITANCE OF ORQUÍDEA DIVINA is perfect for fans of PRACTICAL MAGIC, MEXICAN GOTHIC, THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and INFINITE COUNTRY. Orquídea is the matriarch of the Montoya family, and she’s always been a little strange, a little magical, and a little mysterious. The book follows her grandchildren trying to unravel the mystery of Orquídea’s past, while in the present day their family members are being hunted down one by one by some unknown adversary. It also follows Orquídea herself, as a young woman in Ecuador, uncovering magic and intrigue as she tries to find a place to fit in. This book is absolutely enchanting and the journey with the Montoya family will stay with you long after the book ends. Publication Date: September 7

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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina
Zoraida Córdova

Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Sarah Addison Allen, this is a gorgeously written novel about a family searching for the truth hidden in their past and the power they’ve inherited, from the author of the acclaimed and “giddily exciting” (The New York Times Book Review) Brooklyn Brujas series.

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is an enchanting novel about what we knowingly and unknowingly inherit from our ancestors, the ties that bind, and reclaiming your power.

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Grave Reservations
by Cherie Priest

Megan’s Pick #1: GRAVE RESERVATIONS has everything I love in a quirky mystery—a psychic travel agent, a cold case she’s helping to crack for the Seattle PD, and, of course, a body count. Sprinkle in a ragtag supporting cast and some karaoke, and you’ve got a fun detective romp with a supernatural twist, coming out just in time for Halloween! Publication Date: October 26

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Grave Reservations
Cherie Priest

A psychic travel agent and a Seattle PD detective solve a murder in this quirky mystery in the vein of Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files and Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series.

Meet Leda Foley: devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. When Leda, sole proprietor of Foley's Flights of Fancy, impulsively re-books Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight, her life changes in ways she couldn’t have predicted.

After watching his original plane blow up from the safety of the airport, Grady realizes that Leda’s special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can’t crack.

Despite her scattershot premonitions, she agrees for a secret reason: her fiancé’s murder remains unsolved. Leda’s psychic abilities couldn’t help the case several years before, but she’s been honing her skills and drawing a crowd at her favorite bar’s open-mic nights, where she performs Klairvoyant Karaoke—singing whatever song comes to mind when she holds people’s personal effects. Now joined by a rag-tag group of bar patrons and pals alike, Leda and Grady set out to catch a killer—and learn how the two cases that haunt them have more in common than they ever suspected.

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The Magician
by Colm Toibin

Emily’s Pick #1: Author Thomas Mann lived a fascinating, drama-filled life during the turbulent time periods of WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. And it’s this life that Colm Tóibín imagines in THE MAGICIAN through expansive research and genius storytelling. Tóibín’s novel covers Thomas Mann’s creative process and mindset while writing DEATH IN VENICE, his experiences repressing his homosexuality, his forced exile after criticizing the Nazi regime, and so much more. Memoirs and biographies about a writer’s perspective always inspire me to jumpstart my own creative projects, and I’m hoping this one will carry me through National Novel Writing Month this year. Publication Date: September 7

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The Magician
Colm Toibin

From one of today’s most brilliant and beloved novelists, a dazzling, epic family saga set across a half-century spanning World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War.

Colm Tóibín’s magnificent new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

In a stunning marriage of research and imagination, Tóibín explores the heart and mind of a writer whose gift is unparalleled and whose life is driven by a need to belong and the anguish of illicit desire. The Magician is an intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of Mann, his magnificent and complex wife Katia, and the times in which they lived—the first world war, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile. This is a man and a family fiercely engaged by the world, profoundly flawed, and unforgettable. As People magazine said about The Master, “It’s a delicate, mysterious process, this act of creation, fraught with psychological tension, and Tóibín captures it beautifully.”

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Anticipation
by Melodie Winawer

Emily’s Pick #2: I’m always most intrigued when a single book description includes three-plus genres in one. And ANTICIPATION by Melodie Winawer has some of my favorites: historical, fantasy, romance, thriller. I need to read this to get five books in one! Grieving the death of her husband, scientist Helen takes a break and visits Greece with her nine-year-old son. While exploring the ruins of Mystras, they meet a tour guide, Elias, who just so happens to be a time traveler—hopping between the present to 1237 when Mystras was a bustling metropolis. Elias is prophesied as the only one who can cure a wicked noble family bloodline, but in his attempt to escape his fate, he ends up pulling Helen and her son into danger with him. Promising an atmospheric setting, emotional backstories, and fast-paced plot, I know I’m going to get pulled deeply into this book, and I’ve already got a scented candle picked out for the perfect fall reading mood! Publication Date: November 2

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Anticipation
Melodie Winawer

From the author of the “engrossing historical epic” (Booklist) The Scribe of Siena comes a thrilling tale set in the crumbling city of Mystras, Greece, in which a scientist’s vacation with her young son quickly turns into a fight for their lives after they cross paths with a man out of time.

After the death of her beloved husband and becoming a single parent to her nine-year-old son Alexander, overworked scientist Helen desperately needs an escape. So when Alexander proposes a trip to Greece—somewhere he's always dreamed of visiting—Helen quickly agrees.

After spending several days exploring the tourist-filled streets, they stumble upon the ancient city of Mystras and are instantly drawn to it. Its only resident is Elias, a mysterious tour guide living on the city’s edges…both physically and temporally.

In 1237, Elias’s mother promised his eternal service to the Profitis Ilias in Mystras in exchange for surviving a terrible illness. But during his 800 years of labor, he’s had one common enemy: the noble Lusignan family. The Lusignan line is cursed by a deadly disease that worsens with each generation, and a prophecy hints that Elias’s blood is their only hope for a cure. He has managed to survive throughout the centuries, but the line has dwindled down to the last Lusignan and he is desperate to avert his family’s destiny.

When Elias runs into Helen, he meets his match for the first time—but he unwittingly puts both her and her young son in danger as a result. With time running out and an enemy after them, Elias and Helen are forced to choose between the city they love, and each other.

Blending the historical romance of Diana Gabaldon, the rich detail of Philippa Gregory’s novels, and Dan Brown’s fast-paced suspense, Anticipation is a thrilling and satisfying read like no other.

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Three Girls from Bronzeville
by Dawn Turner

Sharon’s Pick #1: I love memoirs that depict the fates of different individuals such as THE OTHER WES MOORE, so I cannot wait to start reading Dawn Turner’s THREE GIRLS FROM BRONZEVILLE. The book centers on Dawn, her younger sister, Kim, and her best friend, Debra: an inseparable trio coming of age in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. The three women dream of becoming doctors or teachers, and vow to stay friends forever; however, as they grow up, each of their lives take drastically different turns, and tragedy befalls the group. THREE GIRLS FROM BRONZEVILLE is an interrogation of the intersections between race, gender, and class, as well as a celebration of friendship and the unique bonds forged between Black women. Publication Date: September 7

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Three Girls from Bronzeville
Dawn Turner

A “beautiful, tragic, and inspiring” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish…and others to falter.

They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded—fervently and intensely in that unique way of little girls—as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South.

These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks’ business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures—Dawn and Debra, doctors, Kim a teacher. For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of “friends forever.” And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why?

In the vein of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Three Girls from Bronzeville is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.

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State of Terror
by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

Heather’s Pick #2: What do you get when you pair Louise Penny, a bestselling thriller writer at the top of her game, with former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose decades of government service make her one of the world’s foremost experts on U.S. politics and foreign affairs? You get the whip-smart, scarily feasible novel STATE OF TERROR, about a newly sworn-in White House administration tasked with uncovering and disarming the shadowy, international cabal behind a series of deadly threats to the United States. Something tells me that we may come to this story out of curiosity about its authors but that we’ll stay for the white-knuckle suspense. Publication Date: October 12

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State of Terror
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise—State of Terror.

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

State of Terror is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller cowritten by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.

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The Night She Disappeared
by Lisa Jewell

Heather’s Pick #3: Spooky season’s best enjoyed with multiple hair-raising reads, if you ask me, which is why THE NIGHT SHE DISAPPEARED has joined STATE OF TERROR on my TBR stack. Lisa Jewell’s latest psychological suspense novel transports readers to an English country estate and its surrounding woods (ominously referred to by locals as the Dark Place) where a young couple went missing from their friend’s party the year before. What was starting to look like a cold case suddenly heats up again when a writer moves into a cottage on the property and discovers a note that says “DIG HERE.” Creepy, right? I have to find out what happens next . . . Publication Date: September 7

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The Night She Disappeared
Lisa Jewell

“I love all Lisa’s books, but The Night She Disappeared is her best thriller yet.” —Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of Win

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and The Family Upstairs comes another riveting work of “gloriously twisted” (Marie Claire) psychological suspense about a web of people whose lives are forever changed in the wake of a young couple’s disappearance.

On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.

One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”

Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?

With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep on the edge of your seat until the final page.

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The Charm Offensive
by Alison Cochrun

Sharon’s Pick #2: I have already started hearing glowing reviews for THE CHARM OFFENSIVE all over Bookstagram, and I am so excited to get my hands on a copy and see what everyone is gushing about! This rom-com follows Dev Deshpande who, despite being a successful producer of the reality dating show Ever After, sees his own love life crashing and burning at every turn. When Ever After casts awkward tech guru Charlie Winshaw (who’s only there in an attempt to rehabilitate his image), Dev must fight with Charlie to get him to open up to the show’s twenty female contestants. However, he soon realizes that he and Charlie have a much better connection than Charlie has with any of the show’s women. Hilarious and delightful, THE CHARM OFFENSIVE is a must-read for any reality dating show fans. Publication Date: September 7

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The Charm Offensive
Alison Cochrun

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Kelly’s Pick: If you’re a Hamilton or In The Heights fan, you have to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda narrate the audiobook edition of ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DIVE INTO THE WATERS OF THE WORLD by Benjamin Alire Sáenz—the highly anticipated sequel to his critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning novel ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE. This must-listen picks up immediately where the first novel leaves off, following Ari and Dante as they navigate the highs and lows of their budding relationship against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in America. I’ve been waiting for this sequel since I listened to the first one because I cannot get enough of these characters and their special bond. Miranda’s narration beautifully brings this next chapter of their story to life. Publication Date: October 12

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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an achingly romantic, tender tale sure to captivate fans of Adam Silvera and Mary H.K. Choi.

In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.

The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

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Eight Perfect Hours
by Lia Louis

Emily’s Pick #3: I read Lia Lois’s book, DEAR EMMIE BLUE, last year and loved it so much! It was such a perfectly executed rom-com that had me reeling over who Emmie Blue ultimately ended up with. So, I can’t wait to read her next book EIGHT PERFECT HOURS, which looks like the perfect read to prepare for fall and winter. Driving home from her college reunion, Noelle Butterby gets stranded in her car during a blizzard and begins to fear the worst. But then stranger Sam Attwood serendipitously arrives to help. Stuck in the car together, they share stories and dreams until the roads clear and they both go their separate ways. After those eight perfect hours spent together, neither thinks they’ll see the other again, but fate keeps pulling them together. I’m a sucker for a meet-cute and this one sounds so precious, which I know will be even more rewarding with Lia’s masterful character development. Publication Date: September 28

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Eight Perfect Hours
Lia Louis

“I read Eight Perfect Hours in one sitting, in four perfect hours, because I couldn’t bear to put it down without knowing the ending. Lia Louis has become a must-buy author for me.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author

In this romantic and heartwarming novel, two strangers meet in chance circumstances during a blizzard and spend one perfect evening together, thinking they’ll never see each other again. But fate seems to have different plans. From the acclaimed author of the “swoon-worthy…rom-com” (The Washington Post) Dear Emmie Blue.

On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate.

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Our 16 Most Anticipated New Reads of Fall 2021

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2021

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Everything We Didn't Say
by Nicole Baart

Megan’s Pick #2: EVERYTHING WE DIDN’T SAY is an eerie and intriguing page-turner that explores family dynamics, crime, and how hard it is to keep secrets in a small rural town. Highly recommended for readers of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell, this is the perfect fall mystery to curl up with by the fire! Publication Date: November 2

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Everything We Didn't Say
Nicole Baart

From the author of Little Broken Things, a race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.

As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.

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Our 16 Most Anticipated New Reads of Fall 2021

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Nice Girls
by Catherine Dang

Sara’s Pick #3: You know what they say about nice girls, don’t you? Mary returns to her small town in Minnesota after being kicked out of Cornell during her senior year. It turns out there’s more waiting for her in the Midwest than just disappointment and a minimum wage job. When Olivia Willand, a local social media influencer and Mary’s former best friend, goes missing, Mary becomes obsessed with her case and another disappearance in town no one seems to care about. A dark psychological thriller, NICE GIRLS questions how we present ourselves to the world and who gets cast aside when they don’t live up to the expectations of others. Publication Date: September 14

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Nice Girls
Catherine Dang

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By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2021

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The Book of Magic
by Alice Hoffman

Holly's Pick #1: THE BOOK OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman is the breathtaking finale to her Practical Magic series. The Owens family has been cursed for centuries, denying them from their true loves. But at last, the existing Owens witches are determined to break the spell. In a frantic attempt to save one man’s life, three generations of Owens women travel from Paris to London to the English countryside, while uncovering long-held family secrets. This spellbinding and enchanting conclusion is the perfect way to end the cherished magical series that I, and so many other readers, have held so dearly for years. Publication Date: October 5

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The Book of Magic
Alice Hoffman

Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

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