What I love about the new year is all the wonderful things to look forward to—new music, new clothes, new movies, and of course new books! I was so excited to get an early chance to read these amazing novels coming out in 2024. Each story is a treasure, beautifully written and thought provoking. Don’t hesitate, preorder these fantastic novels now!
Andrea Rodríguez is nine years old the first time her mother, Raquel, tries to take her and her younger brother, Pablo, home to Puerto Rico. The children are half asleep in the car and do not realize they are about to leave the only place they know, their apartment in Woronoco, Massachusetts. Andrea and Pablo’s father, Luis, first came to Massachusetts years ago looking for work. After finding a job at the Strathmore paper mill, Luis sent for his family. Raquel, who resents that she had to leave Puerto Rico, is secretly planning to return there. After several attempts Raquel successfully takes the children back to Puerto Rico, but how will this change affect them? How will they find where they belong? As they grow up, Andrea and Pablo’s experience of family, betrayal, and abandonment will stay with them, but more important, so too will love and hope. A very powerful coming-of-age story. Release date: February 6, 2024
The inaugural winner of Simon & Schuster’s Books Like Us contest, Elba Iris Pérez’s lyrical, cross-cultural coming-of-age debut novel explores a young girl’s childhood between 1950s Puerto Rico and a small Massachusetts factory town.
Andrea Rodríguez is nine years old when her mother whisks her and her brother, Pablo, away from Woronoco, the tiny Massachusetts factory town that is the only home they’ve known. With no plan and no money, she leaves them with family in the mountainside villages of Puerto Rico and promises to return.
Months later, when Andrea and Pablo are brought back to Massachusetts, they find their hometown significantly changed. As they navigate the rifts between their family’s values and all-American culture and face the harsh realities of growing up, they must embrace both the triumphs and heartache that mark the journey to adulthood.
A heartfelt, evocative portrait of another side of life in 1950s America, The Things We Didn’t Know establishes Elba Iris Pérez as a sensational new literary voice.
In the summer of 1974, twenty-eight-year-old Frances “Frankie” McGrath sits on a beach in Coronado Island, California, and remembers how it used to be when she and her brother Finley built sandcastles, learned to surf, and shared their deepest secrets on this same beach. So much had changed since those innocent times. Eight years earlier, Frankie watched as Finley shipped out to serve in the Vietnam War. Soon after, Frankie, a registered nurse, joined the Army Nurse Corp. After Frankie learns that Finley has died, she knows she must move forward, go to Vietnam, and keep her promise. At first, when Frankie arrives in Vietnam she is scared and unsure. She sees terror all around her, but she also feels a sense of purpose. This is Frankie’s story, but it is also the story of a generation of women who served during the Vietnam War—what it was like there and what it was like after they came home. This is a very powerful and emotional story that will stay with you for a long time. Release date: February 6, 2024
In an isolated valley sits a small town, but this is no ordinary town. To the east is an identical town that is twenty years in the future and to the west is another that is twenty years in the past. In the center small town, sixteen-year-old Odile lives in the present. The time has come for Odile to decide her future. There are many roads to take, but Odile’s mother wants her to have a career as part of the Conseil, a powerful group of people who decide whether the townspeople living in the present can travel to the future or past. Odile, focused on applying for the Conseil, one day sees something that she was not supposed to see—something that has dire consequences for her and for her friend Edme. I found this story to be unique and interesting. It is well written and makes you consider if you would want to know what the future holds or if you would want to revisit the past. I was drawn into Odile’s story from the very first sentence. Release date: February 27, 2024
For fans of David Mitchell, Ruth Ozeki, and Kazuo Ishiguro, an elegant and exhilarating literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future, and a young girl who spots two elderly visitors from across the border: the grieving parents of the boy she loves.
Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town. Except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.
When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present.
Edme––who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile––is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate. Yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.
A breathlessly moving “unique take on the intersection of fate and free will” (Nikki Erlick, author of The Measure), The Other Valley is “a stellar debut, full of heartbreak and hope wrapped up in gorgeous prose” (Christina Dalcher, author of Vox).
I was so excited to read Rebecca Serle’s new novel, EXPIRATION DATES. I am a fan of her previous novels, including ONE ITALIAN SUMMER and IN FIVE YEARS. In EXPIRATION DATES, we meet thirty-three-year-old Daphne Bell. She is waiting in a bar for a man named Jake. Daphne has not met him before; she does not know much about him but still she hopes that he will be the one. The one to win her heart, the one to be with her always, the one who will simply be her love. In her pocket she holds the reason why she believes Jake is meant for her. A piece of paper that says his name and nothing else, no expiration date. Ever since Daphne was in fifth grade, she has received pieces of paper with a name and a number. The name is for the next person she will be with, and the number tells her how long they will be together: Martin for three days in Paris, Noah for five weeks in San Francisco, Hugo for three months in LA, and Jake. What is the significance of the lack of expiration date on the paper with Jake’s name? For Daphne, each paper tells a story, her story—she will have to look deep inside her heart to find the truth. Serle has given us another magical story of love, bravery, and hope. Release date: March 19, 2024
Being single is like playing the lottery. There’s always the chance that with one piece of paper you could win it all.
From the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years and One Italian Summer comes the romance that will define a generation.
Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new man, she receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. The papers told her she’d spend three days with Martin in Paris; five weeks with Noah in San Francisco; and three months with Hugo, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a name: Jake.
But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. Because Daphne knows things Jake doesn’t, information that—if he found out—would break his heart.
Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle has finally set her sights on romantic love. The result is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. Expiration Dates is the one fans have been waiting for.
From a ferry boat, two children and their mother watch as a young woman named Aubry, struggles on a dock. She is in bad shape, bleeding from her mouth, ears, and nose. She is bleeding to death and crying out for help. The children on the ferry call out to her. Aubry hears them and follows their voices, running along the dock, jumping into the muddy water, and swimming frantically to the boat. Once on the boat, the children and their mother don’t believe what they see: the woman named Aubry is no longer bleeding, no longer in pain. It is then that the mother recognizes Aubry, she is the French woman from the papers, the one who left home at age nine and has been traveling ever since, always moving on, moving away, leaving behind. Even though they know some of her story, the children can’t help but ask her why she keeps traveling, why she does not go home. On this ferry, in her thirtieth year, with time to spare before she must leave again, Aubry begins to tell them her story. A magical and mysterious tale filled with love, courage, and longing. An original story that kept me turning the pages. Release date: April 9, 2024
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue meets Life of Pi in this dazzlingly epic debut that charts the incredible, adventurous life of one woman as she journeys the globe trying to outrun a mysterious curse that will destroy her if she stops moving.
Paris, 1885: Aubry Tourvel, a spoiled and stubborn nine-year-old girl, comes across a wooden puzzle ball on her walk home from school. She tosses it over the fence, only to find it in her backpack that evening. Days later, at the family dinner table, she starts to bleed to death.
When medical treatment only makes her worse, she flees to the outskirts of the city, where she realizes that it is this very act of movement that keeps her alive. So begins her lifelong journey on the run from her condition, which won’t allow her to stay anywhere for longer than a few days nor return to a place where she’s already been.
From the scorched dunes of the Calashino Sand Sea to the snow-packed peaks of the Himalayas; from a bottomless well in a Parisian courtyard, to the shelves of an infinite underground library, we follow Aubry as she learns what it takes to survive and ultimately, to truly live. But the longer Aubry wanders and the more desperate she is to share her life with others, the clearer it becomes that the world she travels through may not be quite the same as everyone else’s...
Fiercely independent and hopeful, yet full of longing, Aubry Tourvel is an unforgettable character fighting her way through a world of wonders to find a place she can call home. A spellbinding and inspiring story about discovering meaning in a life that seems otherwise impossible, A Short Walk Through a Wide World reminds us that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey—no matter how long it lasts—that makes us who we are.
I love Natalie Jenner’s novels (THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS). Natalie has a way with words, and she creates worlds you want to stay in for as long as possible. Her third novel, EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE is no exception. Set in the 1950s, we follow playwright Vivien Lowry. Vivien’s life has been on hold since her fiancé, David, was listed as missing in action during the war. When Vivien gets an opportunity to work as a script doctor for a movie filming in Italy, she believes this is the opportunity she’s been hoping for—a chance to find out more information about what might have happened to David. Surrounding Vivien in this novel are many strong characters that we come to know and care about. EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE tells an honest story about the pain of war. It is a story of love and loss but also of healing and learning to trust again. Release date: May 14, 2024
Photo credit: iStock / LanaSweet