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Naoise Dolan, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Curtis Sittenfeld and the new debut writers who will be taking over 2023 with their unmissable books.
2023 is set to be a wild ride for books. Some of the book world’s biggest names, including Eleanor Catton, Emma Cline, Naoise Dolan, Curtis Sittenfeld and Rebecca F Kuang, all have addictive new titles coming out while debuts include modern-day love affairs, smart thrillers and breakout characters (keep an eye out for Maame by Jessica George) that are written with verve and serious talent.
So get your pre-order reading lists at the ready as we take you through the 27 titles that you can’t miss in 2023. From tales of best friends, sexual obsessions, witchcraft and guerrilla gardening, this is set to be a stellar year.
A Spell Of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s 2017 debut, Stay With Me, was a brilliant, twisting story that garnered much praise and several awards, so expectations are riding high for her follow-up that tackles the tale of two families separated by wealth in modern Nigeria (out 9 February).
Shop A Spell Of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Canongate) at Bookshop, £18.99
Age Of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
“Five pavement-dwellers lie dead at the side of Delhi’s Inner Ring Road…” Thus starts an epic tale of greed, corruption, money and power in a sweeping family saga that’s being talked about as one of the must-read books for 2023 with a TV series also on the horizon (out 3 January).
Shop Age Of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (Fleet) at Bookshop, £20
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson
If you haven’t had a chance to read Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut, Open Water, about a gorgeous love affair in modern-day London, then please do; it’ll keep you occupied until his new release is out on 11 May, which is about fathers and sons, the power of dance and how one man can create a life he loves. (Also, that cover is so beautiful…)
Shop Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Penguin) at Bookshop, £14.99
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
The youngest-ever winner of the Booker Prize and author of The Luminaries returns on 2 March with the ambitious Birnam Wood, a tale of guerrilla gardening activists and an American tech billionaire with shades of Macbeth. Hooked? We are too.
Shop Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Granta) at Bookshop, £20
The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel
Feted as one of the debut writers of the year and winner of #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, Jyoti Patel has created a story told from the perspectives of a mother and son about hidden family secrets and being a person of colour in modern Britain (out 12 January).
Shop The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel (#Merky) at Bookshop, £16.99
Maame by Jessica George
Tender and compelling from the word go, Maame is one of the year’s most anticipated books and tells the story of a young Black woman navigating the privileged world of publishing while trying to care for her father. Very funny and utterly readable, this is one for your reading lists (out 16 February). Shop Maame by Jessica George (Hodder & Stoughton) at Bookshop, £14.99buy now
The Guest by Emma Cline
The author of The Girls has returned with an absolute whammy of a novel. With shades of Patricia Highsmith’s Talented Mr Ripley, the main character, Alex, is doing her utmost to keep her head above water as her undoing hounds her through this addictive read. Start planning your summer now (out 18 May).
Shop The Guest by Emma Cline (Vintage) at Bookshop, £18.99
Rosewater by Liv Little
Chaotic and damaged, Liv Little’s protagonist, Elsie, is just about scraping by, but needs the helping hand of her best friend, Juliet. But is there more between them? And just what is everyone really hiding deep down? Full of energy, wit and excitement, this is a book to watch (out 20 April).
Shop Rosewater by Liv Little (Dialogue) at Bookshop, £16.99
The Other Side Of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker
The Other Side Of Mrs Wood is storytelling at its finest as Mrs Wood – London’s leading medium – begins to feel her crown slip and decides to take on a young protégé to pep up her act. But is anyone as they first appear? Imagine All About Eve set on the Victorian seance scene… (out 22 June).
Shop The Other Side Of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker (4th Estate) at Bookshop, £14.99
Everything’s Fine by Cecilia Rabess
Jess and Josh circle each other at college: she’s a Black liberal; he’s a preppy Republican. As they grow closer and both start working for Goldman Sachs, things begin to get messy between them and their beliefs. And then Trump appears on the horizon – surely everything will be fine, won’t it? Dip in and lose yourself (out 8 June).
Shop Everything’s Fine by Cecilia Rabess (Picador) at Bookshop, £14.99
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman
This is a proper laugh-out-loud tale of friendship that will utterly win your heart. The only catch is that it’s set in a hospice and one of the best friends is dying of cancer. A truly special book – prepare to read this, fall in love and then hector everyone you know into reading it (out 12 January).
Shop We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman (Transworld) at Bookshop, £14.99
River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer
Early readers of River Sing Me Home are evangelical about this story. Rachel is a runaway slave, setting out to find the children stolen from her, who embarks on a journey across the Caribbean. Full of love and compassion, this will be everywhere next year (out 19 January).
Shop River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer (Headline) at Bookshop, £18.99
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
A delicious tale of two wannabe authors who were once the best of friends but have had a mysterious falling out… and then they’re both invited to one of the world’s most acclaimed writing retreats by a reclusive author who wants to find the Next Big Thing (out 2 March).
Shop The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz (Oneworld) at Bookshop, £14.99
Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs
A man lies dead in his garden, killed by the book that lies beside him… A family guard mysterious and magical books, but after the death of their father, two Kalotay sisters are estranged. However, they can’t escape their family’s legacy for long as mysterious magic rears its head (out 6 July).
Shop Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs (Century) at Waterstones, £14.99
The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore
Sun-drenched escapism with a hint of author Mary Wesley as the Garnett Girls (three women and their mother, Margo) face up to tricky life decisions, questionable love affairs and an ongoing round of drinks parties. The ideal way to escape a dreary winter and revel in other people’s messy lives.
Shop The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore (HQ) at Bookshop, £14.99
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
The brilliant author of Rodham and American Wife is back with a piercing look at the genre of the romcom set against the backdrop of a Saturday Night Live-esque TV show. Always enjoyable to read, this is a rollercoaster of modern love and dating (out 13 April).
Shop Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (Transworld) at Bookshop, £16.99
Nothing Can Hurt You Now by Simone Campos
Lucinda has lived her whole life in the shadow of her model sister Viviana. But when Viviana suddenly disappears on a trip to São Paulo, Lucinda drops everything to track her down. With shades of Thelma And Louise, this is a high-octane, daring thriller to watch out for (out 2 February).
Shop Nothing Can Hurt You Now by Simone Campos (Pushkin) at Bookshop, £14.99
Big Swiss by Jen Beagin
This book is described as “Sorrow & Bliss meets Schitt’s Creek” – and seriously, what more could you ask for? Soon to be an HBO series starring Jodie Comer, Big Swiss is about one woman’s obsession, sex therapy and a dog park. Enough said (out 18 May).
Shop Big Swiss by Jen Beagin (Faber) at Bookshop, £14.99
The Three Of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams
Ore Agbaje-Williams has that elusive Sally Rooney style of writing: it seems simple and easy to do but is incredibly difficult to pull off. And so a tale of one woman, her best friend and her husband unfolds. The only problem? Said best friend and husband hate each other. Enjoy (out 11 May).
Shop The Three Of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams (Vintage) at Bookshop, £14.99
Fear And Lovely by Anjana Appachana
Trauma, forgiveness, hope, marriage and the shame around mental health are all explored in this beautiful, complex and funny story set in 1970s New Delhi. It’s the first novel from Appachana in 20 years and one to be savoured (out 17 January).
Shop Fear And Lovely by Anjana Appachana (Verve) at Bookshop, £20
Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery
If you’ve ever found yourself obsessing over Edie Sedgwick (her biography by Jean Stein is a must-read) then Nothing Special will be right up your street. Set against 60s New York and Andy Warhol’s Factory, this is a coming-of-age story that conjures up the lure of the era (out 2 March).
Shop Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery (Bloomsbury) at Bookshop, £16.99
Now She Is Witch by Kirsty Logan
Now She Is Witch opens on an abandoned house, a girl mourning her mother and a band of locals dead set on punishing her for her connection with nature, and then all manner of weird breaks loose. Kirsty Logan is one of the darkest and most playful of writers working right now, so this is going to be a delight – order it pronto (out 12 January).
Shop Now She Is Witch by Kirsty Logan (Harvill Secker) at Bookshop, £16.99
Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang
From the author of the bestselling Babel, Yellowface is a wild ride set against modern-day publishing as writer June steals her nemesis’s book (after her untimely demise) only to find herself caught in an increasingly complex web of lies (out 8 June).
Shop Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang (The Borough Press) at Bookshop, £13.99
The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan
The follow-up to Dolan’s Exciting Times is already one of the most talked about books for 2023. Set against the backdrop of a wedding as five friends begin to unpeel the loves, passions, betrayals and lies at the core of their relationships (out 25 May). Read a compulsive extract here.
Shop The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan (Orion) at Bookshop, £16.99
The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell
An influencer lies dead on Hampstead Heath after what appears to be a Bullingdon Club party at the McDonald’s in Kentish Town. Smart, twisty and full of wry humour, The Other Half is the perfect new thriller for a country that’s fed up to the back teeth with posh people running things (out 19 January).
Shop The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell (Faber) at Bookshop, £12.99
The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble
A situationship is defined by Urban Dictionary as “less than a relationship, but more than a booty call” and refers to a relationship that remains undefined. Described as a book that bridges the gap between Bridget Jones and Insecure, this is one fresh summer romcom we can’t wait to read (out 17 August).
Shop The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble (#Merky) at Bookshop, £8.99
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Jenny Jackson turns this story of super-rich people living frustrated lives in Brooklyn into a compelling and thoughtful look at what it means to have very little agency in your own life. While it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for the main characters, it’s an excellent read (out 13 April).
Shop Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (Cornerstone) at Waterstones, £14.99
Images: courtesy of publishers
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