Who needs a crystal ball to tell what the future holds when you have all the insider knowledge from the publishing industry? Off the Shelf writers are on the scene, reading and reporting on the best books coming in 2023, so consider this your glimpse into the future. Our most anticipated reads include some of the hottest books coming out next year, so don’t wait any longer: add these books to want-to-read lists, preorder away, and save your spot in the library queue.
Our Most Anticipated New Books of 2023
Holly’s Pick #1: Although I first discovered Jeannette Walls through her marvelous and best-selling memoir, THE GLASS CASTLE, I always admired that her prose read like a riveting work of fiction. So, as a devoted fan of her writing, I was naturally over the moon to hear about her upcoming novel. HANG THE MOON tells the story of Sallie Kincaid, the daughter of the “Duke” Kincaid—a volatile man with the biggest personality in town. After Sallie’s mother dies during an argument with Duke, Sallie has little memory left to hold on to as she grows up. By the time Sallie is eight years old, her father has already remarried and fathered a son, and Sallie is eventually estranged from them. Nine years later, Sallie returns to her hometown to confront the secrets of her past and the scandals that shed a dark shadow on her family—as well as to take her place as a bootlegger in her own right. Set during the Prohibition era in Virginia, I’m anticipating that this novel will be a literary hit.
From Jeannette Walls, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, comes a riveting new novel about an indomitable young woman in Virginia during Prohibition.
Most folk thought Sallie Kincaid was a nobody who’d amount to nothing. Sallie had other plans.
Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.
Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.
You will fall in love with Sallie Kincaid, a feisty and fearless, terrified and damaged young woman who refuses to be corralled.
Laura’s Pick: Anyone who has been in my immediate vicinity recently knows how much I love Megan Miranda. Once THE LAST TO VANISH came across my desk this past summer, I was hooked. I read it in a day and plowed through the rest of her books in two weeks. Did I miss social events? Absolutely. Did I regret it? Not at all. That’s why I cannot wait for her newest novel, THE ONLY SURVIVORS, to be released next spring. This thriller follows Cassidy and her former classmates who share a dark past. Tensions are high on the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—especially after receiving news that one of their classmate’s has recently died and another disappeared. Now, Cassidy must uncover the truth behind the original accident before it’s too late. With her talent for suspense and signature plot twists, I’m sure Megan Miranda will keep me guessing until the very last page.
From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and “master of suspense, Megan Miranda” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl), a thrilling mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—only to have one of the survivors disappear, casting fear and suspicion on the original tragedy.
Sharon’s Pick #1: I fell in love with Patricia Engel’s writing when I read INFINITE COUNTRY, and I’m thrilled to return to her prose in 2023, with her new short story collection, THE FARAWAY WORLD.
Following individuals, couples, and families, each of Engel’s stories vividly depict those living within the Latin American diaspora, either as immigrants to the United States or striving for a better life in their birth country. Strangers with traumatic pasts meet on the streets of New York City and a couple hustles for cash in Miami in stories in THE FARAWAY WORLD, which humanely portrays the complex experiences of those seeking community and facing moral compromise.
From Patricia Engel, whose novel Infinite Country was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club pick, comes an exquisite collection of ten haunting, award-winning short stories set across the Americas and linked by themes of migration, sacrifice, and moral compromise.
Two Colombian expats meet as strangers on the rainy streets of New York City, both burdened with traumatic pasts. In Cuba, a woman discovers her deceased brother’s bones have been stolen, and the love of her life returns from Ecuador for a one-night visit. A cash-strapped couple hustles in Miami, to life-altering ends.
The Faraway World is a collection of arresting stories from the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country, Patricia Engel, “a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners” (The Washington Post). Intimate and panoramic, these stories bring to life the liminality of regret, the vibrancy of community, and the epic deeds and quiet moments of love.
Sharon’s Pick #2: One of my favorite kinds of fiction feature intense character studies, where complex themes are dissected through the lens of a central protagonist. Helen Elaine Lee’s POMEGRANATE promises to be a moving look at queer Black womanhood, marginalization, and redemption through its main character, Ranita Atwater.
Nearly done with her four-year prison sentence for opiate possession, Ranita is determined to stay sober and regain custody of her children. She is faced with discovering who she is beyond her past addictions, as well as learning to live life without her lover, Maxine, all while charting a rocky path to wellness.
“A remarkable feat of literary conjuration.” —Jennifer Haigh, nationally bestselling author of Mercy Street
The acclaimed author of The Serpent’s Gift returns with this gripping and powerful novel of healing, redemption, and love, following a queer Black woman who works to stay clean, pull her life together, and heal after being released from prison.
Ranita Atwater is “getting short.”
She is almost done with her four-year sentence for opiate possession at Oak Hills Correctional Center. With three years of sobriety, she is determined to stay clean and regain custody of her two children.
My name is Ranita, and I’m an addict, she has said again and again at recovery meetings. But who else is she? Who might she choose to become? As she claims the story housed within her pomegranate-like heart, she is determined to confront the weight of the past and discover what might lie beyond mere survival.
Ranita is regaining her freedom, but she’s leaving behind her lover Maxine, who has inspired her to imagine herself and the world differently. Now she must steer clear of the temptations that have pulled her down, while atoning for her missteps and facing old wounds. With a fierce, smart, and sometimes funny voice, Ranita reveals how rocky and winding the path to wellness is for a Black woman, even as she draws on family, memory, faith, and love in order to choose life.
Perfect for fans of Jesmyn Ward and Yaa Gyasi, Pomegranate is a complex portrayal of queer Black womanhood and marginalization in America: a story of loss, healing, redemption, and strength. In lyrical and precise prose, Helen Elaine Lee paints a humane and unflinching portrait of the devastating effects of incarceration and addiction, and of one woman’s determination to tell her story.
Abi’s Pick: As a huge fan of historical dramas, including those of Kristin Harmel, this was a must-read for me! Set in 1939, Paris, the story begins with a pair of young women—one, Juliette, a mother of two sons with a third child on the way, and the other, named Elise, pregnant with her first child. Soon after becoming fast friends, while bonding in a bookstore that Juliette’s family owns, Elise becomes a target of the German occupation and makes the hasty decision to leave her daughter with Juliette and her family, which now includes a daughter, the same age as Elise’s. A year later, with the war winding down, Elise returns to find the world she left behind destroyed by a bomb, and Juliette and both of their daughters have disappeared. The only thing Elise concretely has is confirmation from a neighbor that her friend and one of the girls got out alive.
Now, against all odds, she’s on a mission to find out what happened to her child. THE PARIS DAUGHTER will take you on a heartrending journey of friendship, tragic loss, and finding your way back to the people you love. Don’t miss out on what I believe is Kristin Harmel’s best book yet!
From the bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names comes a gripping historical novel about two mothers who must make unthinkable choices in the face of the Nazi occupation.
Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe, neither woman suspects that their lives are about to irrevocably change.
When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des Rêves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.
More than a year later, with the war finally ending, Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble. Surviving neighbors tell her that Juliette and a little girl survived. But which little girl—and what happened in the bookstore’s final moments? Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her. Elise’s desperate quest to find out what happened to her daughter ultimately leads her to New York—and to Juliette—one final, fateful time.
An “exquisite and gut-wrenching novel” (Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author) you won’t soon forget, The Paris Daughter is also a sweeping celebration of resilience, motherhood, and love.
Emily’s Pick #1: Having recently watched White Lotus and Knives Out: Glass Onion, I’m craving more murder mysteries. This one certainly fits the bill—a cozy one! We find out from the start that a murder has taken place at a reality TV baking competition, and then we’re catapulted through the whirlwind of events preceding that moment. As we follow seven different POVs, including that of the six competitive bakers and the show’s creator, aka “America’s Grandmother,” there are many red herrings and story-line layers to sort through in order make our own assumptions about the killer. Plus, given that the story is set in an old mansion, with a locked-room style to it and a dark, spooky atmosphere, it’s a perfect suspenseful yet wholesome read to curl up on the couch with.
“This delicious combination of Clue and The Great British Bakeoff kept me turning the pages all night!” —Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Only Murders in the Building meets The Maid in this darkly beguiling locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition—perfect for fans of Nita Prose, Richard Osman, and Anthony Horowitz.
Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.
The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.
Andie’s Pick #1: Calling all historical fiction fans! Bestselling author Armando Lucas Correa’s THE NIGHT TRAVELERS has everything I love: multi-generational stories, complex characters, and a tale that will tug on your heartstrings. One generation’s story begins in 1931 Berlin with Ally, who must send her mixed-race daughter, Lilith, on a dangerous path to Havana in order to save her from Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. Next we follow an adult Lilith, who must save her daughter, Nadine, from the upcoming Communist war by sending her to live in America. Decades later in 1988, Nadine finds herself back in her grandmother’s country of heritage, Germany, as a scientist, but one who has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It is Nadine’s daughter, Luna, in turn, who begins to unravel the past and discovers a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew. This unforgettable story of mothers and daughters, sacrifice, and self-discovery will have you hastily turning the pages to discover what happens next. Over four generations, strong women captivatingly take center stage.
Four generations of women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the Cuban Revolution and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in this sweeping novel from the bestselling author of the “timely must-read” (People) The German Girl.
Berlin, 1931: Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.
Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she’s too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.
Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family’s past.
Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of motherly love.
Andie’s Pick #2: Meet your next read-in-one-sitting thriller! This suspenseful debut by Julia Bartz had me hooked from the first page. THE WRITING RETREAT is about a famous author who invites five up-and-coming female novelists to her home in the Adirondacks for a month-long writing retreat. The competition is fierce, but there is a whole lot more at stake than just winning. The gothic atmospheric setting and complicated characters are icing on the cake for this cold winter hair-raiser. That’s all I’ll say about the plot . . . to make this psychological read all the more intriguing.
The Plot meets Please Join Us in this psychological suspense debut about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.
A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.
Emily’s Pick #2: In 2023, my reading challenge will include diving into more books about climate change, and a good place to start is with THE DELUGE: I’ve heard so many good things about how terrifying yet prophetic it is. Stephen King, for one, has called it a “modern classic.” Starting in 2013 and extending to 2040, THE DELUGE explores the lives of various individuals living, learning, despising, ignoring their way through the past, present, and near-future climate destruction. There’s a large cast of characters, including a mathematician, a religious zealot, and a drug addict—who span the range from climate activist to climate denier, and everything in between. We also see how they handle various traumatic events over the years stemming from climate changes, including terrorism, social justice crises, economic upheavals, and so much more. I’m expecting to read this book slowly, so that I’ll have time to digest everything that happens in this epic undertaking.
“This book is, simply put, a modern classic. If you read it, you'll never forget it. Prophetic, terrifying, uplifting.” —Stephen King
From the bestselling author of Ohio, a masterful American epic charting a near future approaching collapse and a nascent but strengthening solidarity.
In the first decades of the 21st century, the world is convulsing, its governments mired in gridlock while a patient but unrelenting ecological crisis looms. America is in upheaval, battered by violent weather and extreme politics. In California in 2013, Tony Pietrus, a scientist studying deposits of undersea methane, receives a death threat. His fate will become bound to a stunning cast of characters—a broken drug addict, a star advertising strategist, a neurodivergent mathematician, a cunning eco-terrorist, an actor turned religious zealot, and a brazen young activist named Kate Morris, who, in the mountains of Wyoming, begins a project that will alter the course of the decades to come.
From the Gulf Coast to Los Angeles, the Midwest to Washington, DC, their intertwined odysseys unfold against a stark backdrop of accelerating chaos as they summon courage, galvanize a nation, fall to their own fear, and find wild hope in the face of staggering odds. As their stories hurtle toward a spectacular climax, each faces a reckoning: what will they sacrifice to salvage humanity’s last chance at a future? A singular achievement, The Deluge is a once-in-a-generation novel that meets the moment as few works of art ever have.
Emily’s Pick #3: As a bona fide cat person, when I see a cat on the cover, I buy it! Not only that, but in this literary fantasy, from Owen King, cats are revered. While felines may be part of my everyday life, they are not something I always read about, so I’m beyond excited. The titular curator is Dora, who takes on a job at the Natural Museum of the Worker as a way of investigating the death of her brother, since he used to work there. However, the clandestine street that the museum resides on isn’t all it seems, and Dora is soon caught up in a mind-bending plot. With comparisons to PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke, and touted as a quirky, chaotic read, I can’t wait to see where this one takes me.
From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.
It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest”, it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.
Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire—to find where her brother went after he died, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth behind the mystery she’s long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.
Praise for Owen King:
“King writes with witty verve.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[Owen King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…King loves people as well as words.” —The New York Times
Sarah’s Pick: Ezra and Orson, two young men who have managed to accumulate a lifetime of trouble in a very short amount of time, are off to wow the world with a con involving a vague, life-changing process called Synthesis, which promises a lifetime of happiness. However, problems arise when one of the two appears to be rising slightly higher than the other. In a strange way, reading CONFIDENCE felt a bit like hanging out with old friends. Not that I tend to pal around with people starting questionable corporations and turning their lives over to long-winded—albeit genius-level—scams, but there was a compelling familiarity to the voices and emotional arcs, a feat I attribute to fantastic writing and well-thought-out characters. I desperately wanted each of these characters to succeed, despite their degrees of manipulation and unfortunate decisions. I wanted to know more and yet also wanted to look away at the same time, and every scene seemed to take on larger stakes than the last. Highly, highly recommend.
Best friends (and occasional lovers) Ezra and Orson are teetering on top of the world after founding a company that promises instant enlightenment in this thrilling caper about scams, schemes, and the absurdity of the American Dream.
At seventeen, Ezra Green doesn’t have a lot going for him: he’s shorter than average, snaggle-toothed, internet-addicted, and halfway to being legally blind. He’s also on his way to Last Chance Camp, the final stop before juvie.
But Ezra’s summer at Last Chance turns life-changing when he meets Orson, brilliant and Adonis-like with a mind for hustling. Together, the two embark upon what promises to be a fruitful career of scam artistry. But when they try to pull off their biggest scam yet—Nulife, a corporation that promises its consumers a lifetime of bliss—things start to spin wildly out of control.
Searing and charming, with the suspense of The Talented Mr. Ripley, the decadence of The Great Gatsby, and the wit of Succession, Confidence is a story for anyone who knows that the American Dream is just another pyramid scheme.
Sharon’s Pick #3: My goal for 2023 is to read more books that are, to put it simply, fun, and I can’t think of any better way to accomplish this goal than to read a book featuring a messy queer protagonist!
In BIG SWISS, we follow Greta, a woman living with her best friend Sabine in a bee-infested farmhouse in upstate New York. Greta earns her living as a transcriptionist for a sex coach and becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she nicknames Big Swiss. When Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park, she introduces herself under a false name and the two begin an intense relationship, one that Greta is determined to hold on to under any circumstance. By the always engaging author of the novels PRETEND I'M DEAD and VACUUM IN THE DARK.
A brilliantly original and funny novel about a sex therapist’s transcriptionist who falls in love with a client while listening to her sessions. When they accidentally meet in real life, an explosive affair ensues.
Greta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she’s tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss’s refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past.
One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta’s true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she’ll do anything to sustain the relationship…
Bold, outlandish, and filled with irresistible characters, Big Swiss is both a love story and also a deft examination of infidelity, mental health, sexual stereotypes, and more—from an amazingly talented, one-of-a-kind voice in contemporary fiction.
Sharon’s Pick #4: Chana Porter’s THE SEEP was one of my favorite reads in the past few years. By default, any book this author released afterward would immediately be one of my most anticipated reads; however, with THE THICK AND THE LEAN, my excitement is doubled, nay, tripled. With its focus on the intersection of capitalist exploitation, body politics, and purity culture, I want to read this book ASAP.
Set in a dystopian society, THE THICK AND THE LEAN follows two women from the religious town of Seagate: Beatrice, an aspiring chef, and Reiko, a tech student now living in a big city. As Beatrice becomes restrained by her town’s increasingly strict measures on food consumption and Reiko’s college pulls her scholarship, the two forge a new path outside of society’s confines, with the help of a mysterious cookbook written by a kitchen aid several centuries ago.
In Lambda Award finalist Chana Porter’s highly anticipated new novel, an aspiring chef, a cyberthief, and a kitchen maid each break free of a society that wants to constrain them.
In the quaint religious town of Seagate, abstaining from food brings one closer to God.
But Beatrice Bolano is hungry. She craves the forbidden: butter, flambé, marzipan. As Seagate takes increasingly extreme measures to regulate every calorie its citizens consume, Beatrice must make a choice: give up her secret passion for cooking or leave the only community she has known.
Elsewhere, Reiko Rimando has left her modest roots for a college tech scholarship in the big city. A flawless student, she is set up for success...until her school pulls her funding, leaving her to face either a mountain of debt or a humiliating return home. But Reiko is done being at the mercy of the system. She forges a third path—outside of the law.
With the guidance of a mysterious cookbook written by a kitchen maid centuries ago, Beatrice and Reiko each grasp for a life of freedom—something more easily imagined than achieved in a world dominated by catastrophic corporate greed.
A startling fable of the entwined perils of capitalism, body politics, and the stigmas women face for appetites of every kind, Chana Porter’s profound new novel explores the reclamation of pleasure as a revolutionary act.
Jordyn’s Pick: Tom Rob Smith’s last book, THE FARM, came out in 2014, and I have been eagerly waiting for a new book from him ever since. COLD PEOPLE checks off every box on my list. This book is gripping and beautifully written, and I couldn’t stop reading it. COLD PEOPLE is about the end of the world as we know it. Our planet has been taken over, and the last hope for humanity is a deadline for everyone who wants to survive to relocate to Antarctica. This book is a post-apocalyptic thriller, a conversation on what it means to be human, what we’ll do to survive, and ultimately how our society would evolve in the face of a brutal new landscape. If you’ve been enjoying Jeff VanderMeer’s otherworldly stories or can’t get enough of Station Eleven (the book or the show), then this should be at the top of your list for Spring.
From the brilliant, bestselling author of Child 44 comes a suspenseful and fast-paced novel about an Antarctic colony of global apocalypse survivors seeking to reinvent civilization under the most extreme conditions imaginable.
The world has fallen. Without warning, a mysterious and omnipotent force has claimed the planet for their own. There are no negotiations, no demands, no reasons given for their actions. All they have is a message: humanity has thirty days to reach the one place on Earth where they will be allowed to exist…Antarctica.
Cold People follows the perilous journeys of a handful of those who endure the frantic exodus to the most extreme environment on the planet. But their goal is not merely to survive the present. Because as they cling to life on the ice, the remnants of their past swept away, they must also confront the urgent challenge: can they change and evolve rapidly enough to ensure humanity’s future? Can they build a new society in the sub-zero cold?
Original and imaginative, as profoundly intimate as it is grand in scope, Cold People is a masterful and unforgettable epic.
Megan’s Pick #1: What happens when three women who hate each other find a baby on their collective Greenwich Village brownstone stoop? In signature Amy Poeppel fashion, delicious, laugh-out-loud chaos ensues! The author is a master creator of complex characters, larger-than-life settings, and hysterical hijinks. This must-read book should be at the top of your to-be-read pile.
Amy Poeppel brings her signature “big-hearted, charming” (The Washington Post) style to this wise and joyful novel that celebrates love, hate, and all of the glorious absurdity in between.
In the heart of Greenwich Village, three women form an accidental sorority when a baby—belonging to exactly none of them—lands on their collective doorstep.
Lauren and her family—lucky bastards—have been granted the use of a spectacular brownstone, teeming with history and dizzyingly unattractive 70s wallpaper. Adding to the home’s bohemian, grungy splendor is the bar occupying the basement, a (mostly) beloved dive called The Sweet Spot. Within days of moving in, Lauren discovers that she has already made an enemy in the neighborhood by inadvertently sparking the divorce of a couple she has never actually met.
Melinda’s husband of thirty years has dumped her for a young celebrity entrepreneur named Felicity, and, to Melinda’s horror, the lovebirds are soon to become parents. In her incandescent rage, Melinda wreaks havoc wherever she can, including in Felicity’s Soho boutique, where she has a fit of epic proportions, which happens to be caught on film.
Olivia—the industrious twenty-something behind the counter, who has big dreams and bigger debt—gets caught in the crossfire. In an effort to diffuse Melinda’s temper, Olivia has a tantrum of her own and gets unceremoniously canned, thanks to TikTok.
When Melinda’s ex follows his lover across the country, leaving their squalling baby behind, the three women rise to the occasion in order to forgive, to forget, to Ferberize, and to track down the wayward parents. But can their little village find a way toward the happily ever afters they all desire? Welcome to The Sweet Spot.
Lauren’s Pick: The bestselling author of ORDINARY GRACE and THIS TENDER LAND, William Kent Krueger, is back with a novella of a family, a storm, a complicated rescue, and the true cost of survival. Krueger creates a totally immersive atmosphere set against the Mississippi River in 1927 as a devastating flood threatens to overtake an ancestral home, and a cast of characters work to save the property, though each with his or her own motives. With themes of man versus nature and biological versus chosen family, THE LEVEE is a vivid, perfectly told story in under three and a half audiobook hours. It’s available exclusively as an audiobook on February 28, 2023.
An audio original novella from the bestselling author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, The Levee is a powerful, captivating story of a family, a storm, a complicated rescue, and the true cost of survival.
It’s 1927, and the most devastating flood in American history has swelled the Mississippi River to a width of eighty miles. In an attempt to save a family trapped by the rising water, four men in a tiny rowboat battle the treacherous flow: three are convicts, on loan from the local prison and pressed into service; the fourth, the leader of the team, is driven by his own hidden motives. But to their surprise upon arrival at Ballymore, an ancestral home protected by a high, circular levee, not everyone in the family feels the need to be saved. Pride, greed, loyalty, and even love create their own complex currents behind the massive wall. As the threat from the flood increases and time ticks away, the crew and the family must decide on a course of action, and a desperate plan is hatched to save the weakening levee and all it was built to protect.
The Levee is a propulsive, heartfelt tale of courage, cowardice, and sacrifice in a historic moment when the indomitable human spirit is pitted against the awesome and destructive power of nature.
Justin’s Pick: A sequel is rarely ever as good as the original, especially when it comes to horror—and *especially especially* when it comes to horror slashers. But leave it to genre master Stephen Graham Jones to once again take your expectations and trope-awareness and kindly slash them in half with a chainsaw. DON’T FEAR THE REAPER is not only a worthy follow-up to MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, picking up with our Final Girl Jade Daniels four years after the life-altering events of that book, but it somehow elevates the gritty violence and glorious bloodshed to exorbitant new heights. Compared to the slow-burn of MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, REAPER is a raging fire, though it never loses sight of the potent emotional core at its center. You will speed through this 500-page novel and be left with fever dream-esque flashes of killers and carnage . . . every horror aficionado's perfect nightmare.
December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.
Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.
Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.
Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.
Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.
Holly’s Pick #2: When I heard that Christie Tate was publishing a new memoir, I knew I immediately needed to get my hands on a copy. Her moving and heartwarming prose in GROUP resonated with me long after I shut its chapters, so I knew B.F.F. would be bound for greatness. This new memoir articulates the lifelong struggle that many women face as they navigate the ebbs and flows of female friendships. Through emotional scenes that detail her best friend’s fatal illness, wildly funny moments, and inspiring revelations about self-growth, Christie takes readers on a journey. The author discusses how she broke bad habits and faced her own friendship fears, which eventually helped her to open her heart to happy and healthy relationships. When we put in the work to better ourselves, the author shows us, we can make space for the lasting connections that every human longs for.
From the author of Group, a New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club Pick, comes a moving, heartwarming, and powerful memoir about Christie Tate’s lifelong struggle to sustain female friendship, and the friend who helps her find the human connection she seeks.
After more than a decade of dead-end dates and dysfunctional relationships, Christie Tate has reclaimed her voice and settled down. Her days of agonizing in group therapy over guys who won’t commit are over, the grueling emotional work required to attach to another person tucked neatly into the past.
Or so she thought. Weeks after giddily sharing stories of her new boyfriend at Saturday morning recovery meetings, Christie receives a gift from a friend. Meredith, twenty years older and always impeccably accessorized, gives Christie a box of holiday-themed scarves as well as a gentle suggestion: maybe now is the perfect time to examine why friendships give her trouble. “The work never ends, right?” she says with a wink.
Christie isn’t so sure, but she soon realizes that the feeling of “apartness” that has plagued her since childhood isn’t magically going away now that she’s in a healthy romantic relationship. With Meredith by her side, she embarks on a brutally honest exploration of her friendships past and present, sorting through the ways that debilitating shame and jealousy have kept the lasting bonds she craves out of reach—and how she can overcome a history of letting go too soon. But when Meredith becomes ill and Christie’s baggage threatens to muddy their final days, she’s forced to face her deepest fears in honor of the woman who finally showed her how to be a friend.
Poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, and emotionally satisfying, B.F.F. explores what happens when we finally break the habits that impair our ability to connect with others, and the ways that one life—however messy and imperfect—can change another.
Heather's Pick #1: The mastermind behind the Grishaverse (which includes the Six of Crows duology, Shadow and Bone trilogy, and a Netflix TV series) blasted onto the adult fiction scene in 2019 with NINTH HOUSE. With its potent mix of dark academia and magic, this immersive novel begged for a sequel, and now that follow-up is almost here. HELL BENT will continue the twisty story of Galaxy “Alex” Stern, who’s attending Yale on a scholarship she received in exchange for promising to help protect a network of magical secret societies. If you haven’t read NINTH HOUSE, do that first, then come join the rest of us in devouring HELL BENT to find out if Alex will be able to—and I’m going to keep it vague here—save Darlington.
Heather's Pick #2: For fans of Holly Black’s Folk of the Air trilogy, which began with THE CRUEL PRINCE, the decision to pick up the spin-off book THE STOLEN HEIR is a no-brainer. But for anyone new to the fantastical world of Elfhame, here’s what you can expect from this YA fantasy novel: Faerie Queen Suren has run away to live among humans in an attempt to escape her abusive mother and court, only to find herself in need of rescuing. Who should come along to help but her former betrothed, Prince Oak, the future king of Elfhame and a person she really cannot stand? Even worse, she realizes they’re going to have to work together to complete a mission vital to both their kingdoms. Adventure and romance are sure to collide in THE STOLEN HEIR, making it an ideal read for new and existing fans alike.
Megan's Pick #2: Patti Callahan Henry is a master storyteller, and in THE SECRET BOOK OF FLORA LEA, she transports readers to WWII London, where sisters Hazel and Flora Lea are evacuated during The Blitz. They take comfort in their made-up world called Whisperwood. But then Flora goes missing, never to be found. Fast forward 20 years, Hazel comes across a story of Whisperwood in a book published in the U.S., shockingly similar to the story she and Flora Lea shared all those years ago. How can this be? Does this mean Flora Lea is still alive? Look out for this highly anticipated, sweeping story about sisterhood and the power of storytelling this May!
When a woman stumbles across a mysterious children’s book, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed in this “transporting, heartfelt, and atmospheric” (Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author) novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
1939: Fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora evacuate their London home for a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the Aberdeen family in a charming stone cottage, Hazel distracts her young sister with a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own: Whisperwood.
But the unthinkable happens when Flora suddenly vanishes after playing near the banks of the River Thames. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, carrying the guilt into adulthood.
Twenty years later, Hazel is back in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore for a career at Sotheby’s. With a cherished boyfriend and an upcoming Paris getaway, Hazel’s future seems set. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing a picture book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the storybook world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years? Or is something sinister at play?
For fans of Kate Morton, Janet Skeslien Charles, and Kristin Hannah, this is a “fantastical” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) celebration of sisterhood and the magic of storytelling wrapped up in a “heartrending, captivating tale of family, first love, and fate” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
Photo credit: iStock / Charl Folscher