There’s always something so exciting about starting a new year, especially when we get to make our book club reading plan, too! There are a lot of exciting books coming out in 2023, but these picks are perfect for your next book club selection because regardless of the genre, they’re thought-provoking and easy to discuss.
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff (1/3)
Five years ago, Geeta lost her no-good husband. He walked out on her and she has no idea where he went. In her village in India, everyone thinks she killed him. Which actually has its perks; people leave Geeta alone. Until the women of her village start to seek Geeta’s advice in husband disposal, and suddenly her dangerous reputation is a double-edged sword. When plans go south for a widow-to-be, everything changes for Geeta and the other women in the village.
The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel (1/31)
This story about three women who form an accidental connection hits all the right notes. Lauren’s family has been granted the use of a fabulous, bohemian brownstone in the heart of Greenwich Village. To add to the house’s splendor, there is a dive bar occupying the basement called “The Sweet Spot.” Then there is Melinda, whose husband of thirty years has left her for a younger celebrity entrepreneur, who he is having a baby with. When Melinda throws an epic fit in his husband’s mistresses’ boutique, a woman named Olivia who works behind the counter gets caught in the crossfire. Soon, the three women find themselves rising to the occasion when Melinda’s ex leaves his new baby on their doorstep, teaching them a thing or two about forgiveness as they track down the parents.
Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen (1/31)
Louise Chao is a lonely vampire. She swore off family a long time ago. But she has gone to decades of punk rock shows. Being a vampire is definitely not glamorous, but it is punk rock. Maybe joining her own band will make her feel like she finally belongs. When a long lost relative, Ian, shows up with a love of music and a bad attitude, Louise feels a connection. Things get dangerous when Ian starts to uncover who Louise really is, and asks a favor that could change everything they thought they knew.
Love Scribe by Amy Meyerson (2/7)
Alice finds a new and magical talent as a love scribe when she writes a heartfelt story for her best friend, Gabby. Reeling from a breakup, Gabby reads the story and magically meets the man of her dreams. When she shares the story with her sisters and friends, the same happens to them. Soon Alice is summoned to a mysterious mansion in the woods where she meets Madeline Alger, her most challenging story yet. While Alice struggles to harness her gift, she discovers her own love story is still yet to be told.
A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo (2/7)
Even though his father has lost his job, Eniola dreams of a big future. He spends his days begging, running errands for the local tailor, and collecting newspapers. He is tall for his age, and looks like a man. Wuraola is from a wealthy family. She is an exhausted doctor in her first year of practice. Wuraola’s and Eniola’s lives become intertwined when a local politician takes interest in Eniola, shining a light on the gaping divide of wealth in Nigeria.
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz (2/21)
Alex has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a writers retreat at the estate of horror writer Roza Vallo. And she’s so excited, not even the presence of Wren, her former best friend and current rival, could bring her down. But there’s a surprise in store, and when the attendees arrive, they learn that they’ll have a month to write an entire novel, the winner receiving a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex attempts to keep her head down and focus, despite Wren’s mind games, Roza’s erratic behavior, and hauntings of the mansion itself. But when someone vanishes, she realizes there is something more sinister lurking.
Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown (2/28)
For years, Augusta, Victoria and Willow, generations of Montrose women, have lived in their California bungalow, keeping to themselves. Their many tinctures and spells bonding them. When teenage Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, the other women must face the secret curse they’ve been hiding—that anyone they fall in love with dies. Reckoning with past choices and mistakes, truths emerge that date back to 1950’s New Orleans, where an old book in a Voodoo shop may hold all the answers they’ve been seeking.
The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton (3/7)
Sasha Severn’s father was the Last Beekeeper. Now that he is incarcerated, Sasha must return to her childhood home to retrieve his mythic research. When she arrives, she sees that her idyllic farm has been taken over by squatters, hoping to escape state housing. Threatened at first, Sasha soon forms a kinship with the strangers, discovering a sense of security and hope. When she witnesses the impossible, a honeybee, presumed extinct, Sasha is certain they are linked to her father’s missing research. Will the truth save them, or shatter the sense of security that Sasha has with her newfound family?
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (3/7)
Darley, oldest daughter in the Stockton family, choose to give up her inheritance for motherhood, following her heart but giving up a lot in the process. Sasha is a middle-class New England girl who married into the Brooklyn Heights’ family, only to find herself cast as an outsider. And Georgina, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t have. Packed with the pleasures of New York’s one-percent, wealth mixes with family and love in this witty debut.
A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson (3/14)
Isabelle Manning is an only child to famous parents Claire and Ward. Living in New York in the nineties, Claire a society hostess and Ward a bestselling author; they were the city’s intellectual “it” couple. Although Ward was often taken away for his glamorous obligations, Claire did her best give Isabelle a loving childhood. At thirty-five, Isabelle wants nothing more than to be a successful writer like her father. But the unexpected loss of her mother pushes Isabelle to a near breakdown, especially when she uncovers uncomfortable truths about her family’s past. Soon Isabelle is questioning if her life has been an elaborate lie. Fragments of a book-within-a-book will have the reader questioning who the woman in the story is, fighting to steal the spotlight from an undeserving man.
Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams (3/14)
Zahra and Sammie are two Black women that are drawn to one another by the songs of gypsy moths. Zahra, a college prep coach, has been hearing the songs of her ancestors for years. She suspects that Sammie, an activist and soon-to-be college student, is a moth person as well, and their paths become intertwined. When Zahra’s brother, Derrick, goes missing, she fears it may be for good. Sammie and Zahra embark on a road trip from New York to Atlanta in search of Derrick, and in search of answers. What do their ancestors want with them, and how will it change their future?
The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley (3/28)
Tanner Quimby is twenty-one, doesn’t have any money or credit, and she needs a place to live. So when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman, Tanner is eager to accept. But Louise Wilt doesn’t want a caregiver, even though after her slip, her daughter is insisting, even though she’s fully capable of pouring her own vodka. The two are happy to ignore each other, until Tanner starts noticing odd things about Louise. The way she locks up her garden shed, the way she resembles the jewelry thief on the news, and especially the way she shows up in Tanner’s bedroom at 1 AM, insisting they skip town. Outrunning the mistakes of their past, the two embark on the greatest adventure of their lives.
The Ten Percent Thief by Lavanya Lakshminarayan (3/28)
Here in Apex City, everything is decided by the Bell Curve. With the right image and values, you can ascend to the Twenty Percent, the Virtual elite. If you fall to the Ten Percent, you will be deported to the Analogs, with no access to electricity, water, or the rest of humanity. It is a perfect, mathematical system. That is until the “Ten Percent Thief” steals a single jacaranda seed from the Virtual city and plants it in the Analog world.
The Half of It by Juliette Fay (4/11)
Helen Spencer is fifty-eight years old, and when she looks back on her life, her mistakes stick out like sore thumbs. She can even pinpoint the night with Cal Crosby her senior year, where everything started to go awry. She hasn’t seen Cal in forty years when she bumps into him, his own grandkids in tow, ready to talk about that night. But Helen isn’t ready to relive the fury and heartbreak that she’s locked away all these years—and Cal doesn’t even know the half of it.
Life and Other Love Songs by Anissa Gray (4/11)
It’s a beautiful, warm October day, and it is Ozro Armstead’s thirty-seventh birthday. His wife and daughter, Deborah and Trinity, are at home planning him a surprise celebration. Oz waves goodbye to his brother after they have lunch together, and heads back to the office. Except, Ozro never makes it to the office, or the surprise party. In the days, months and years that follow, his family is left piecing together their lives, wondering if they ever really knew the man they loved. From 1970’s Detroit to 1990’s New York, we journey through the secrets, the triumphs, and the losses that tear apart an American family.
If We’re Being Honest by Cat Shook (4/18)
When family patriarch Gerry Williams dies suddenly, his grandchildren travel to Georgia from all over the country. At his funeral, Gerry’s best friend delivers a eulogy that leaves the cousins reeling and confused. Coping with their grief and their own personal dramas, the cousins try to find a place in their boisterous family. Their parents are equally lost, in both love and life, and Ellen, Gerry’s widow, works to keep her composure while the family navigates their new life.
Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina (4/18)
Anna Horn is a young Native girl who is used to looking over her shoulder, and now that girls are going missing, the tribe is looking for answers. With a disembodied entity stalking her every move, Anna believes that the key lies in the legend’s of her tribe’s past, and not all horrors on the reservation are old. When her own little sister goes missing, she’ll stop at nothing to find her. The demons that plague her rez are strong, and soon Anna will find out the cost of forgetting tradition, and the courage it takes to become who you are meant to be.
Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb (4/18)
Bern Hendricks is an expert on composer Frederick Delaney. When he is asked by the Delaney Foundation to authenticate what may be a lost opera, he and his partner Eboni find out that the truth is more complicated than it seems. It’s 1920 and Josephine Reed becomes acquainted with Fred Delaney, a struggling artist who became his silent partner, his career taking off. In the present day, Bern and Eboni are determined to rewrite history’s wrongs by finding out if Frederick had help composing his work.
The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel (4/18)
Eve and Vera are spending their summer vacation with their single mother on a science expedition in the Arctic. When in Siberia, things start to get a little interesting when they find a four-thousand-year-old baby mammoth preserved in the permafrost. After the discovery, the sisters and their mother go rogue, leaving the group of biologists. From Siberia to Iceland to Italy, the journey results in the birth of an animal that can change the world, and especially their family, forever.
Kismet by Becky Chaslen (4/18)
For as long as anyone can remember, it has been Amy, Jo, and Ben. Amy and Jo, the inseparable but very different Sharp twins; and Ben, Amy’s childhood sweetheart turned husband. But as Fourth of July weekend approaches, Jo’s whirlwind engagement and wedding is eclipsing the twins’ thirtieth birthday, and recent arguments between Amy and Ben have left their marriage feeling rocky. As the town transforms for Jo’s wedding weekend, an unexpected hurdle will put Amy’s trusted trio to the biggest test yet: the arrival of the handsome, mysterious best man. One with a strikingly familiar face, a face that Amy had planned to never see again.
The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane (5/2)
Malcolm Gephardt has been a bartender at the Half Moon for a long time. When the owner decides to sell, Malcolm is excited about the idea of turning the bar into a bigger success. However, he finds out that his customers don’t like change and his dreams may be harder to achieve than he thought. His wife, Jess, is a smart and successful woman who is dedicated to her law career, yet still struggles to accept that her dream of being a mother is slipping away. Over the course of one eventful week, the town endures a blizzard while a customer at the bar goes missing, and Malcolm finds out shocking news about Jess, in a skillful exploration of family and marriage.
Pieces of Blue by Holly Goldberg Sloan (5/9)
When Paul Hill drowns in a surfing accident, his wife and their three children are desperate for a new start. When Lindsey impulsively uses his life insurance money to buy a hotel in Hawaii, teenage Olivia quickly develops a crush on a quiet skateboarder, Carlos reinvents himself into a popular kid named Carl, and Sena is busy protecting the motel chickens. But Lindsey is struggling, and while she tries to hide it, she has no idea how to fix up the motel—or her life. When a handsome stranger arrives, she accepts his help and is surprised by her feelings for him, unaware that he may have secrets of his own.
Dances by Nicole Cuffy (5/16)
Cece Cordell reaches the pinnacle of her career at age twenty-two, when she becomes principal of the New York City Ballet. But even as she’s thrown into celebrity as the company’s first Black ballerina, she still doesn’t feel like she belongs. As she awaits a feeling of belonging, she begins to inspect her own past—a mother who dismisses her achievements, an absent father, and a brother who left long ago. Cece must make a choice that has the potential to derail everything she’s worked for, so she sets off to find her brother, as well as pieces of herself that she may have lost.
Someone Else’s Bucket List by Amy T. Matthews (5/23)
Jodie Boyd is a lot different than her sister, Bree. She’s shy, unsure of herself, and has no idea what to do with her life. Bree, on the other hand, is outgoing, adventurous, and a hugely successful Instagram influencer with over a million followers. When Bree tragically dies of Leukemia, the Boyds are torn apart by the unfathomable loss, drowning in debt. So Jodie is shocked when she sees a new post on her sister’s feed. Recorded in secret, Bree has one request: for Jodie to complete her very public bucket list. The crazy part? If Jodie completes it while maintaining Bree’s following a corporate sponsor will pay off Bree’s medical expenses. If Jodie gains followers, even more people will benefit, and Jodie can’t morally say no. And the last item on the list, fall in love, may turn out to be the easiest of all.
The Celebrants by Steven Rowley (5/30)
It’s been five years since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since they graduated. Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig and Marielle are about to start a new decade, but they aren’t any closer to having their lives figured out. Reuniting in Big Sur over the years, the group has made a pact to throw each other “living funerals,” reminders that life is worth living and living to the fullest. But this time is different, and Jordan has a secret that will upend their pact for good.
The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer (6/6)
Clover Brooks witnessed her kindergarten teacher die and since then, she’s felt a strong connection with death. After her grandfather dies while she is traveling, Clover dedicates her life to helping people have a peaceful departure, becoming a death doula in New York City. When a feisty old woman’s final wishes send Clover on a trip across the country, she is forced to examine what she wants out of her own life while she uncovers a forgotten love story.
Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding (6/13)
It’s New Years Eve, 1999. Seven women, all with a motive to kill Jamie Spellman, stand around his head. They all swear they didn’t do it. But they need to find out who did. The ex drowns a dark secret with the contents of a hip flask. The wife lives in a house so deep in the woods, no one can hear a thing. The teenager with a crush that led her to a ominous future. The mother figure battling her own guilt. The friend who was forced to choose, until she chose wrong. And the journalist who brought them all together, bringing to light the connections that lead to the killer.
The Brightest Star by Gail Tsukiyama (6/20)
A historical novel that reimagines the life of Anna May Wong, the first Asian American actress in early Hollywood. Wong Liu Tsong and her sister, Lew Ying (Lulu), are bullied for their Chinese heritage. Like the rest of America, Wong Liu is falling in love with silent movies, and instead of learning Chinese like Lulu, she sneaks out to the local nickelodeons. By the age of eleven, she is determined to become an actress and has chosen the name Anna May Wong. At sixteen, Anna May drops out of high school, despite her parents disapproval, to pursue her dreams in Hollywood. When she gets a taste of fame, she realizes that her beauty and talent are not enough to shield her from the racism of the industry, yet she continued to strive for big roles, breaking barriers to become a shining star.
The Librarianist by Patrick DeWitt (7/4)
Bob Comet is a retired librarian living in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by books. One day, he encounters a confused elderly woman and returns her to the senior center where she lives. Attempting to fill a void, Bob begins volunteering at the center, where many details of his life and character are revealed. With a talent for attracting the bizarre, Bob’s experiences as an introvert, although melancholy at times, are laced with humor and love.
The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey (7/11)
After personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs, a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, she might be at risk of losing the place she sacrificed so much for. Her niece, Daphne, a lawyer who’s now in her thirties, met her two best friends at the camp, and they are still as close as ever. When Daphne finds out her best friend Lanier’s husband has done something illegal, she’ll have to make a choice between her job and her friendship. Lanier has secrets that may change things completely, but the girls put their problems aside to help June save their childhood oasis.
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (7/18)
Stephen is a first generation Londoner, his parents Ghanian immigrants. He has a brother, Ray, and a best friend named Adeline. Stephen feels pressured to pursue a university degree and leave home, but his passions lie in music. When he decides to follow his dreams, his life changes in ways he did not expect. From London to Ghana and back again, Stephen must find a new path towards peace, searching for a place he can be himself, a space he can feel beautiful.