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In everything from astonishing memoirs to murder mysteries, public figures and fictional characters reckon with their past, find redemption, reflect on love and community, and forge new identities in the best books coming out this fall. This roundup of must-reads is packed with unforgettable stories that will stay in your memory long after the final page.
Shutter by Ramona Emerson (August 2, 2022)
Rita Todacheene is insanely good at her job as a forensic photographer for the Albuquerque police force. She captures details that have solved many cases, but she has a secret: Rita sees the ghosts of crime victims and they direct her toward clues that investigators didn’t notice. This supernatural gift has led to many problems, as the unrestful ghosts refuse to leave her alone and sabotage her personal life. Now, her gift threatens her life as the victim of a supposed suicide insists she was murdered. The ghost won’t leave Rita alone and pushes her to get revenge on the killers, eventually leading Rita into the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels.
My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson (August 23, 2022)
Earl “Trey” Singleton III was born into a wealthy Black family but left them and their expectations behind. In New York City, he meets an array of characters that change his life. Trey volunteers to help AIDS patients and joins the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). He tries to deal with past traumas and foster familial relationships while trying to understand the meaning of life with so much death around him. This coming-of-age story sheds light on what it meant for a young gay Black man in the mid-1980s to determine and navigate his role during a political and social reckoning.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney (August 30, 2022)
Daisy Darker’s entire family reunites after years of avoiding each other. Its Nana’s 80th birthday party at her gothic, decaying home on a tiny island, accessible only during low tide. Everyone’s back together for the last time, cut off from the world for eight hours. As the clock strikes midnight, Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member follows. Apparently, the Darkers are trapped with a murderer amongst them and will be forced to confront their darkest secrets in order to make it through the night.
The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton (August 30, 2022)
In 1705 Amsterdam, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen. While she’s eager to step into adulthood, her home life is increasingly difficult as financial problems rise. Thea finds comfort and solace in playhouses, especially at her favorite theater where she steals a few moments with her secret lover. But her Aunt Nella has a different plan which involves Thea finding a suitable husband with a promising future. When an invitation to the most exclusive ball arrives, the golden opportunity presents itself. But someone knows Thea’s secret and is set on twisting fate for the Brandt family. This novel is the standalone companion to the New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (September 6, 2022)
In Florence during the 1550s, Lucrezia is the third daughter of the grand duke, perfectly content with her role in the palazzo. But when her older sister dies the night before her wedding to the Duke of Ferrara, Lucrezia is thrown into a new position as she takes her sister’s place and becomes a duchess. Barely a woman, this new world is unfamiliar and mystifying. Her new husband, Alfonso, is a puzzle as well and eventually, Lucrezia realizes her responsibility is to produce an heir—but until then her future is uncertain.
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery (September 6, 2022)
This collection of intertwined short stories reads like a novel and explores immigration, racism, financial disaster, and overall poor luck. In the 1970s, Topper and Sanya left Jamaica in hopes of a better life in Miami. But the reality of America was much different than their expectations. The stories follows their youngest son, Trelawny, as he tries to figure out his place in the world amid financial troubles and racism.
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West (September 6, 2022)
In the early 1960s, Sara King heads to Memphis, trying to outrun her life in Chicago. She has nothing but her secrets and the baby growing in her belly. Mama Sugar is the warmhearted matriarch and owner of a popular boarding house who welcomes Sara. Change is in the air with the Freedom Riders and people like Martin Luther King Jr. leading the Equal Rights Movement. Sara engages in conversations with Jonas, a local schoolteacher, about politics, education, and a better future. A romance starts between them, but Mama Sugar’s hidden past threatens their happiness. Sara is forced to make decisions that will change the future of all their lives.
Ithaca by Claire North (September 6, 2022)
Seventeen years ago, King Odysseus of Ithaca took every man of fighting age with him to war against Troy. None of them have returned. Penelope was on the cusp of womanhood when she married Odysseus. As the women are left to run the kingdom, Penelope knows any and all decisions she makes could lead Ithaca into a deadly civil war. Cunning and sharp, she entrusts her circle of maids and plunges into the new role laid before her. Penelope is the only hope to maintain peace and all eyes are on her, including the gods.
I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers (September 13, 2022)
When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis found Ashley James’ body, she joined forces with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find the murderer before he has a chance to strike again. Georgia never could’ve imagined that the investigation would lead her into a world of insane privilege and wealth with no moral sense or repercussions. As Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia realizes, in this world, the question isn’t who is guilty—but who is guiltiest.
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh (September 13, 2022)
Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student before the Syrian Revolution broke out, but now she volunteers at a hospital, helping the injured people who come in every day. While secretly searching for a way out of her home country, she struggles between being loyal to Syria and survival. Eventually, Salama comes to terms with the truth around her—this is not a war, but a fight for freedom. And she needs to decide what role she will play in this revolution.
How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz (September 13, 2022)
Cara Romero assumed she’d be working at the factory of little lamps for the remainder of her life. But when she loses her job in the Great Recession when she’s in her mid-50s, she’s back on the hunt. Cara narrates her story to a job counselor, going over her stormy love affairs, financial problems, gentrification, loss, and the truth behind her estranged relationship with her son. Shedding light on her darkest secrets and regrets, Cara is a woman that life has not been kind to, but she’s determined to be a fighter.
The Winners by Fredrik Backman (September 27, 2022)
The conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Beartown series shows the characters dealing with change, hope, pain and redemption. No one talks about the events that occurred two years ago, but it’s hard to truly move on in Beartown. Former residents come back home, tensions grow between Beartown and the next town over, and someone with a gun is out for revenge. This novel explores the meaning of family, community, loss and forgiveness and captures the mundane complications of daily life.
Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie (September 27, 2022)
Zahra and Maryam have been best friends since childhood in Karachi, despite being opposites. One night, an incident occurs as a result of adolescent impulse that alters their friendship and plans for the future. Thirty years later, both women are powerful and working in London, living the life they always dreamed of. But ghosts from their past resurface and Zahra and Maryam have to face their differences and determine if their lifelong friendship can persevere.
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson (September 27, 2022)
It’s 1926 and in the aftermath of the Great War, London is home to a dazzling nightlife. Nellie Coker is the ruthless and ambitious queen of the nightclubs in Soho, and she will do everything in her power to advance her six children. But being on top creates enemies and Nelly’s kingdom faces internal and external threats. Under the brilliance of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly with a web of secrets and dangers where one can easily lose their way.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera (October 4, 2022)
This prequel to #1 New York Times best-selling novel They Both Die at the End begins the night before Death-Cast goes live and people are skeptical about how accurate the app will be. Orion Pagan has a heart problem and signed up for Death-Cast so he would know when to expect his inevitable death. Valentino Prince is hopeful for a fresh start in New York and excited for his future. He signed up for Death-Cast only after his twin sister almost lost her life in an accident. Orion’s and Valentino’s paths cross and they both feel an intense connection. But when the first End Day calls go out, and only one of them receives a call, they don’t know anything except that they want to spend the day together, regardless of how painful their goodbye will be.
A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo (October 4, 2022)
Set in 2013 after the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, this novel follows Aria Tang West in a coming-of-queer-age story. Aria is sent to California to stay with her grandmother Joan for the summer and meets Steph, her grandmother’s gardener. As the days pass, Aria reexamines who she thought she was and who she wants to be. The summer becomes unforgettable for Aria, her family, and the working-class queer community she is introduced to.
Double Exposure by Ava Barry (October 4, 2022)
Beautiful heiress Melia van Aust’s parents were brutally murdered four years ago in a seemingly random attack that remains unsolved. Melia fled the city soon after, but her brother Jasper has not been seen since. Rainey Hall is still reeling from a tragedy that destroyed her famous family. She started her own private investigation agency to assist victims of crimes that would remain unsolved without her. When Melia decides to move back to her family home in Los Angeles, she starts receiving disturbing messages that seem to hint at the murder of her parents. She enlists Rainey’s agency to find the stalker and Jasper, and Rainey recognizes similarities in their lives. As their relationship becomes more than just professional, Rainey will stop at nothing to find the culprit in this heart-pounding story of deception.
The Bequest by Joanna Margaret (October 18, 2022)
Isabel Henly is a PhD student who moves to Scotland only to find out that her advisor has died. While trying to find a new topic, she befriends Rose Brewster, who confesses to Isabel that she’s in trouble, and then disappears. Isabel is forced to follow Rose’s trail of clues or risk both of their lives. She travels from Genoa to Florence before reaching Paris where she’s drawn into a 400-year-old mystery that centers around family secrets, a cursed emerald, and betrayal—and solving it is the only way to ensure the safety of her and Rose’s lives.
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (October 18, 2022)
On a summer night in 1985, three teenagers are drinking, and one of them gets behind the wheel and changes everything on Division Street. A young doctor, Ben Wilf, arrives on the scene and his life, along with the three teens, is shattered. But the Wilf family’s connection to the fatal accident is a secret so dangerous it can never be spoken of. Years later, the Shenkmans arrive, and their lonely son Waldo befriends the retired Dr. Wilf. The secrets and events of the past come rushing back in a way no one could have expected.
The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin (November 1, 2022)
This epic fantasy is full of culture, identity, magic and myths as the Great Cities Duology comes to a conclusion. Every great city has a human avatar that personifies the city’s heart and uses its magic. New York has six. Brooklyn, Manny, Bronca, Venezia, Padmini and Neek held off the Woman in White’s invasion, but the strange Enemy is posing a new threat. There’s also a new candidate for mayor that preaches gentrification and xenophobia. To defeat him and the Enemy, the avatars will have to join forces with the other Great Cities of the world.
A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (November 8, 2022)
This short-story collection consists of ten twisty and mind-bending plots that are wickedly original. From a mysterious graffiti piece to a creepy hat box, C.J. Tudor uses a variety of mundane things to create bone-chilling tales. With apocalyptic themes, thwarted love, revenge, and mistaken identity, these stories are thrilling and wild, sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Flight by Lynn Steger Strong (November 8, 2022)
For the first Christmas without their mother Henry, Kate, and Martin meet at Henry’s House with their spouses three days before the holiday. Their sole inheritance from the family’s matriarch is her Florida home, and the siblings are at odds over what to do with it. While everyone attempts to keep old traditions, bitter feelings from the past are brought back into play. And even as tensions rise, the entire group has to work together when a local mother and daughter need help. Told through the different voices of the family, this novel explores grief, ambition, family and joy.