Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the
stack of books on your night-stand getting bigger. Make room, because out October 8, is nearly 500 pages — and a must-buy. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, October’s new releases are conversation starters. After reading Ninth House, I desperately want to discuss where people came down on Darlington, a dashing Yale student with secrets. The premise of Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir, , out October 15, is so scintillating I passed it on the moment I finished reading it. Ali Wong’s fantastic and Wild Game hilarious book, , is full of handed-down advice to her daughters — and to readers. Dear Girls From timely crime thrillers to royal romances, here are our favorite books out this month. , Leigh Bardugo (October 8) Ninth House Ninth House,
YA legend Leigh Bardugo’s highly anticipated adult fiction debut, will live up to your wildest dreams. Drawing from her own experiences at Yale, Bardugo imagines the school’s eight oldest secret societies as practitioners of magic. Galaxy “Alex” Stern is plucked from obscurity in California to be part of the Ninth House, who monitor magical activity on campus. An outsider in a world of magic and privilege, Alex must use her wits (and her ability to see ghosts) to get by. No more spoilers, but
was one of the most gripping reading experiences I’ve had since childhood.
More , Jeanette Winterson (October 1) Frankissstein
In this wildly clever book, Jeanette Winterson plays with different elements in the mythology of
, from women’s liberation to the implications of artificial intelligence to the exploits of Lord Byron. The novel switches between Mary Shelley and Ry, a trans man who becomes involved with a mad scientist.
For the ancient Greeks, light reflecting off water was its own color:
. With revelatory tidbits like that, Marcolongo uses the secrets of the Ancient Greek language to illuminate a new way of perceiving the world.
The Ingenious Language
has the potential to change your sense of reality. No knowledge of Greek required to appreciate Marcolongo’s playful, boundlessly curious book.
A ghost narrates this haunting work of WWII-era historical YA, which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award. Pearl Brownlow died years ago. Now, she watches as 14-year-old Frankie Mazza and her siblings, left in the orphanage by their father, come of age in war-torn America.
More , Vanessa Lillie (October 1) Little Voices
Vanessa Lillie’s wholly original debut is for people who have
already read every thriller
on the market. Devon Burges is seven months pregnant and rushing to the hospital when she hears her friend, Belina, was murdered. In the haze of post-traumatic depression, Devon becomes obsessed with finding Belina’s killer.
Ruta Sepetys has a gift for turning
painful moments in history
as a landscape for wrenching and illuminating works of fiction. Her latest is set in Madrid during the oppressive rule of dictator Francisco Franco.
More Right After the Weather
is a hidden gem. Anshaw’s characters are so utterly singular and so wholly imagined that they seem real. The first part of the book follows Cate, a set designer, as she pushes her stalled and professional life into action. Her life shifts abruptly after her best friend is brutally attacked by neighbors, casual sociopaths who narrate parts of the novel. It’s a chilling reminder of the randomness of the world and how things change overnight.
Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, known for its proudly held racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic beliefs. When she was 26, Phelps-Roper left the church, her family, and everything she knew.
is not always an easy read – Phelps-Roper describes, in detail, the hateful philosophy under which she was raised. But it’s fascinating.
More , Laurie Petrou (October 8) Love, Heather
If you've ever watched the movie
, you know that extreme high school revenge plans don't end well. But when Stevie and Dee, the main characters in Laurie Petrou's YA novel, watch
they're inspired to upend the social order at Woepine High School. What happens when the bullied become the bullies?
is written in the style of a Laurie Halse Anderson novel – an intimate, no-holds-barred look at the sometimes ugly side to teen years.
More , Zadie Smith (October 8) Grand Union
How does Zadie Smith’s tendency toward bursting, playful fiction translate to her first short story collection? Very well. Each story of the 19 stories in
is a delight, the closest thing literary fiction can come to a party.
The girls in Garner County are magical, or so they’re told. As legend has it, they have immense power over men – dangerous power. So, when the girls are 16, they leave their tiny, restrictive community and get their “magic” out of their system before getting married.
The Grace Year
distinguishes itself from a host of feminist dystopias by showing how the patriarchy affects women’s relationships with each other.
Renee Ahdieh is bringing back the days of
in her new series, set in a 19th century New Orleans. Vampires lurk and intrigue is just around the corner.
More , Julia Armfield (October 8) Salt Slow Salt Slow
is an enchanting, bizarre, and inventive portal to slightly uncanny realities. To give you an idea, in one story, people stop sleeping; in another, a touring all-girl band inspires violence in their rabid fans.
is for fans of Carmen Maria Machado and Samantha Hunt.
In this incredibly titled essay collection, former
editor Rebecca Fishbein chronicles the ups and downs of living in New York, working in media, and getting by. With a funny but not cynical tone, Fishbein’s collection is the ideal companion for millennials making their way through a world that often seems poised for disaster, while trying to remain optimistic.
More , Adrienne Brodeur (October 15) Wild Game
is an infectious experience. The moment you finish the book, you’ll want to pass it on, so you too can discuss the memoir’s shocking content and astounding writing. When Adrienne Brodeur was 14, her mother, Malabar, confessed in the middle of the night that she had kissed her husband’s best friend. From then on, Adrienne is complicit in her mother’s affair. As she grows up, Brodeur must question the central relationship in her life.
is for anyone who’s asked themselves the question, “Am I destined to become my parent?”
In a fictional village in Oman, three sisters wait for their futures to unfold. How much will they choose, and how much will be chosen for them?
is the first book written in Arabic to win the Man Booker prize. al-Harthi renders the complicated dynamics of modern Oman, which only outlawed slavery in the 1970s.
It should come as no surprise that Ali Wong, who made us cry from laughter in her raunchy and relatable Netflix special, is as adept a writer as she is a comedian. Her book,
, is written as a message to her daughters and women everywhere. If Wong gives instructions for “living your best life,” it’s best to listen.
More , Elizabeth Strout (October 15) Olive Again Olive Kitteridge
fans, unite: Elizabeth Strout takes us back to Crosby, ME to follow up on our curmudgeonly, blunt heroine. You might not be friends with Olive IRL – but she’s your girl on the page.
For over a century, the Camp Etna Spiritualist Community in Maine has been a haven for people who believe in the unbelievable. Writer Mira Ptacin visits the community and tries out their practices for herself. Best to go into this book open-minded. Leave a crack open for wonder – or belief — to slip through.
Jaquira Diaz grew up between Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, and she grew up without a cushion. Hers was a childhood marked by a mother’s battles with schizophrenia, encounters with drugs and violence, murders on the street. Diaz’s resilience and writing abilities are far from ordinary; she’s an emissary from an experience that many young women have. Listen.
Women drew Disney. In this “animated” book, Nathalia Holt shows how women animators influenced Disney’s characteristic style and women characters.
All hail Jami Attenberg, the queen of dysfunctional families. After Victor Tuchman dies, his scattered relatives gather in New Orleans to reminisce, gripe, and address long-buried fights. There isn’t much mourning going on because Victor’s life as a criminal was dangerous.
A real-life crime becomes the basis of this gripping thriller set during a racially charged moment in L.A.’s history. The Matthews and Park family are linked together for an awful reason. In 1991, Ava Matthews was shot and killed by a Korean woman who thought she was stealing from her store. Flash to 2019, when Yvonne Park is nearly killed — perhaps because of her past actions.
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