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New year, new books to read in 2024! What books are you most excited to read in the new year? We’ve got so many books coming our way, from authors we already know and love to debut authors with exciting new ideas and visions. We’ve got brand-new stories and long-awaited sequels. And, of course, there are so many books we all can’t wait to read across many genres, from YA contemporary to horror to memoir to fantasy and everything in between.
With all of that being said, it was really hard to narrow it down to 25 books to read in 2024 for this list, so I had to make this list a little personal. Yes, these are books that I think everyone is going to be talking about this year, but these are also the books I’m most excited about reading in the new year. Each and every one of these is on my personal TBR list, so enjoy this peek inside my brain. But I also think you’re going to see these books on a lot of lists this year, so feel free to steal all of them for your own TBR pile! Happy reading in 2024, friends! It’s going to be a good year.
Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar (Knopf, January 23)
Make this debut novel from poet Kaveh Akbar one of the first books you read in 2024. Cyrus Shams is a man obsessed with the concept of martyrdom. It’s this obsession that leads him to explore his family history, from his uncle, who inspired Iranian soldiers by dressing as the angel of death, to his father, who worked at a chicken factory in the midwest, to his mother, who might be the biggest mystery of all. Cyrus’s mother was killed when her plane was shot down in Tehran. But after discovering a painting in a Brooklyn art gallery, Cyrus realizes his mother might not be who she seemed.
Kinning by Nisi Shawl (Tor Books, January 23)
Nisi Shawl’s Everfair was an inspiring and unique utopian story that had us all talking back in 2016. Now Shawl is returning to the world of Everfair with Kinning. Kinning is an alternate history novel that picks up where Everfair left off. The Great War is over, and Everfair has found peace. Now, our heroes are looking to spread the revolutionary message of Everfair to the rest of the world. Everfair is a symbol of hope, equality, and anticolonialism, but can they keep the dream alive? Or will outside forces prevail?
Come and Get It by Kiley Reid (Putnam, January 30)
Set in 2017 at the University of Arkansas, Come and Get It is about senior resident assistant Millie Cousins. Millie is trying to graduate and save up enough money to buy a house. When visiting professor Agatha Paul offers Millie an interesting opportunity to help conduct research about weddings for her new book, Millie thinks it sounds like an easy way to make a little bit more cash. But after a student prank turns sinister, Millie finds herself on the brink of losing everything she’s worked so hard for.
How to Live Free in a Dangerous World by Shayla Lawson (Tiny Reparations Books, February 6)
In this collection of essays, poet, journalist, and National Book Critics Circle finalist Shayla Lawson explores the world and shares what their travels teach them about life, love, grief, race, gender, disability, and more. Lawson’s travels take them to a castle in France, a hula hoop competition in Jamaica, a Prince concert in Minnesota, and more.
The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden (Del Ray, February 13)
The Warm Hands of Ghosts is a historical supernatural fantasy novel by Katherine Arden, author of The Bear and the Nightingale. Laura Iven was a field nurse in WWI, but after she is injured, she’s discharged from the medical corps, leaving behind her brother Freddie, who is still fighting in the trenches. When Laura receives notice that Freddie died in combat, she can’t help but feel like there’s something she isn’t being told. Desperate to discover the truth, Laura returns to the frontline to find her brother.
The Book of Love by Kelly Link (Random House, February 13)
Kelly Link is already a big name in speculative short fiction, but The Book of Love is her debut novel. Friends Laura, Daniel, and Mo are already dead, but a year after their disappearance, they mysteriously reappear at their high school in the seaside community of Lovesend, Massachusetts. But they are not alone. Their music teacher, Mr. Anabin, is there as well. He seems to know the secrets behind their disappearance and why they’ve been brought back. And he will reveal all if they complete three magical tests.
This American Ex-Wife by Lyz Lenz (Crown, February 20)
Lyz Lenz is a journalist and a proud divorcée, and in This American Ex-Wife, Lenz is taking on the patriarchal institution that is marriage. Through research, interviews, and personal experiences, Lenz breaks down the power imbalances that are built into the way heterosexual marriage works. Lenz argues that women have long been forced to define themselves based on their relationships to men, and it’s time to change that narrative.
The American Daughters by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World, February 27)
Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s We Cast A Shadow was a thought-provoking speculative debut unlike anything else I’ve read, and now Ruffin is back with The American Daughters, a historical fiction novel set in New Orleans during the Civil War. Ady is an enslaved woman who is left all alone after her mother is sold off. Desperate for companionship and in search of a sense of hope, Ady joins a society of spies called the Daughters. This group of women gives Ady a vision of a new life and a chance for revolution.
Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange (Knopf, February 27)
In 2018, all anyone could talk about was Pulitzer Prize-finalist Tommy Orange’s debut novel There, There, so Wandering Stars will likely be on a lot of TBR lists in 2024. This exciting new novel spans three generations of one family and the events that shaped their lives, from the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School through to Orvil Redfeather’s shooting.
Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron, March 5)
Xochitl Gonzalez’s new novel is a literary mystery that examines the art world, academia, and what it takes to be remembered. In 1985, Anita de Monte was a rising star in the art world and had all the potential for an exciting career. But all of that was cut short when she was tragically found dead in New York City. Thirteen years later, in 1998, most people have forgotten her name. Raquel, as one of the few people of color at her school, knows she will be forced to work twice as hard as her predominantly white cohort. But when she stumbles across the tragic story of Anita de Monte, Raquel is struck by how much Anita’s story mirrors her own.
The Mars House by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury, March 19)
The Mars House is a queer sci-fi novel set several hundred years from now. January, once a member of London’s Royal Ballet, is now a refugee on the terraformed colony on Mars, Tharsis. Life on a new planet is not easy for January. His body is not adjusted to Mars, and people in the colony see him as a second-class citizen. Then there’s Aubrey Gale, a xenophobic politician campaigning to have people like January surgically naturalized, a process that could be deadly for people who were born on Earth. When the two end up in a marriage of convenience, they become unlikely allies.
Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Feiwel & Friends, March 19)
Where Sleeping Girls Lie is a YA contemporary mystery that follows Sade Hussein, a high school student who is transferring to the elite and prestigious Alfred Nobel Academy boarding school for her junior year. After Sade’s roommate Elizabeth mysteriously disappears, the rest of her classmates suspect Sade, the strange new girl, is somehow involved. And with rumors following her around campus, Sade soon becomes entangled with a strange group of girls collectively known as the “Unholy Trinity.” When no one else seems to know (or care) what happened to Elizabeth, Sade decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate the disappearance herself. But the further she and her friend Baz dive into the case, the more troubling Elizabeth’s disappearance becomes…and the more dark secrets about the school they uncover. Then, a student is murdered, and the stakes get even higher.
James by Percival Everett (Knopf, March 19)
Percival Everett is an author everyone is going to be talking about in 2024, not just because of American Fiction, the film adaptation of his novel Erasure, but also because of his most recent novel, James. Everett’s 24th novel is a perceptive and often hilarious retelling of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of the enslaved Jim. Just as in Mark Twain’s classic novel, this novel follows Jim and Huck Finn’s journey by raft down the Mississippi River. But this version sheds new light on Jim’s character and his fight for agency.
Who’s Afraid of Gender? by Judith Butler (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, March 19)
Judith Butler’s groundbreaking novel Gender Trouble questioned the way we look at gender and sexuality. Who’s Afraid of Gender? is an updated look at the perception of gender in the contemporary world and how “gender” is weaponized by authoritarian regimes, fascist formations, and transexclusionary feminists. Who’s Afraid of Gender? also serves as a call to action to those who are still fighting for equality.
Memory Piece by Lisa Ko (Riverhead Books, March 19)
Lisa Ko’s Memory Piece follows three friends through decades, starting in the 1980s and going forward into the 2040s. In the ’80s, best friends Giselle Chin, Jackie Ong, and Ellen Ng are bonded together through their shared alienation and their hopes for the future. As adults, Giselle is a performance artist, Jackie is a coder, and Ellen is a community activist. As their ambitions change, so does their friendship and their sense of purpose.
There’s Always This Year by Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House, March 26)
Hanif Abdurraqib is an author, poet, and cultural critic. But one of the most significant parts of his identity is basketball fan. Abdurraqib grew up in Ohio in the 1990s and had the opportunity to witness the golden age of the sport. In this book, Abdurraqib looks at his personal love and connection with basketball while also reflecting on the nature of success, what it means to make it, talent, role models, and LeBron James — just to name a few topics this book covers!
The Angel of Indian Lake by Stephen Graham Jones (S&S/Saga Press, March 26)
I’m absolutely obsessed with Jade Daniels, and the whole twisted supernatural/slasher horror story Stephen Graham Jones has created with his Indian Lake Trilogy. In this, the third and final book in the series, we pick up with Jade four years after Don’t Fear the Reaper. Returning to her hometown for the first time in four years, she discovers that much has changed about the way people see her and the town itself (like… serial killer cultists?!?).
The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo (Penguin Books, April 9)
Leigh Bardugo has written bestsellers across many genres, and with The Familiar, the author turns to adult historical fantasy set in late 16th-century Madrid. Luiza Contado is a servant who gets through her long, hard days by using a little bit of magic. But when her mistress discovers Luiza’s secret powers, she demands Luiza use them to better the family’s place in society. But Luiza’s mistress isn’t the only person who seeks to gain something from the servant’s powers. The more she gains notoriety, the more others seek to use her.
Funny Story by Emily Henry (Berkley, April 23)
Whenever there’s a new Emily Henry novel, you’d better believe there’s going to be a lot of buzz around it. And with good reason! Henry’s latest, Funny Story, is an opposites-attract romance about Daphne and Miles. Daphne has recently been dumped by her fiancé, and with nowhere else to go, she takes up residence with Miles. Miles is relaxed and chill and Daphne is rigid, so with nothing in common and totally different personalities, the two do their best to just ignore each other. But then they get to talking and come up with a mutually beneficial plan: pretend they’re happy together to make their exes jealous. What happens when it becomes more than pretend?
Exhibit by R.O. Kwon (Riverhead, May 21)
R.O. Kwon’s sophomore novel Exhibit follows the story of Jin Han, a brilliant young photographer, and Lidija Jung, a beautiful ballerina who has left her company under mysterious circumstances. The two meet at a party and end up talking all night. The two become so comfortable with one another that Jin actually reveals her biggest secret: a family curse that is meant to remain hidden at the risk of death. But now that the curse is out in the open, the two become entangled in one another’s lives, and nothing for either woman will ever be the same.
Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan (Doubleday, May 21)
Kevin Kwan, the author of Crazy Rich Asians, is back with another page-turner of a romance. In Lies and Weddings, Rufus Leung Gresham is seemingly the perfect catch. He’s the future Duke of Greshambury and the son of a former Hong Kong supermodel. But he also has a mountain of debt. And so his mother gives him one option: attend his sister’s wedding at a luxury resort and seduce a woman with money.
One of Our Kind by Nicola Yoon (Knopf, June 11)
I could not be more excited for Nicola Yoon’s debut adult novel, One of Our Kind. This novel, which is described as The Stepford Wives meets Get Out, begins with Jasmyn and King Williams moving their family to Liberty, California. In this Black utopia, the Williamses hope to find a community of like-minded people who care just as much as they do about social justice and making the world a better place. Instead, Jasmyn is dismayed to discover that everyone in the community seems more intent on ignoring the outside world.
Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead, June 18)
Akwaeke Emezi’s Little Rot is definitely a must-read book in 2024. In an attempt to get over a recent break-up with his long-term girlfriend, Aima, Kalu attends a sex party hosted by his friend Ahmed. But what starts off as a simple night of fun kicks off a series of events that will drag Kalu and his friends into the dark, corrupt underbelly of this Nigerian city.
Horror Movie by Paul Tremblay (William Morrow, June 25)
Any time Paul Tremblay has a new horror novel, you’d better believe it’s going to the top of my TBR. Horror Movie is about a 1993 horror film that became a cult classic, even though only a few scenes from the film were ever released to the public. Now, three decades later, there are talks of creating a major Hollywood reboot. Only one member of the film’s original cast is still alive. The man who starred in the film as “The Thin Kid” has vivid memories of just how strange the filming process was — and just how dangerous. As he attempts to help the big-budget remake get underway, memories of the original filming and all of its mysteries and secrets come flooding back. And the past and the present begin to blur.
The Eyes Are The Best Part by Monika Kim (Erewhon Books, June 25)
I can’t stop thinking about this debut novel, and just look at this cover! When her father leaves unexpectedly, Ji-Won is forced to keep the rest of her family together and care for her grieving mother. Then Ji-Won’s mother tells her eating fish eyes could bring them good luck, so Ji-Won tries it. Now, all she can think about is eating eyes. And not fish eyes this time. Human ones.
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