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Our most anticipated books of 2024

The best resolutions are reading resolutions, and a new year introduces so many titles to get excited about! Here are the 22 books we’re most looking forward to.
Available 2/06/2024

This picture book by the late Where the Wild Things Are author was previously available only as a pamphlet created for the Rosenbach Museum in 1970. Now, for the first time, it’s seeing a wide release. Sendak invites readers to learn numbers at Mino’s magic show, where the little magician struggles to keep a succession of rascally—yet insanely adorable—rabbits under control.

Available 2/06/2024

Tia Williams broke out in a big way in 2021 with her emotional second-chance romance, Seven Days in June, and her follow-up novel sounds like a intriguing change of pace. A romantic and exuberant tale set around a flower shop in Harlem, A Love Song for Ricki Wilde follows the titular character as she attempts to strike out on her own, away from her wealthy and judgmental Atlanta family, only to encounter a mysterious and charming musician.

Available 2/13/2024

Beloved for her enthralling science fiction, which includes The Lunar Chronicles series and the Renegades trilogy, Marissa Meyer also proved herself a cross-genre champion with Instant Karma, her bestselling (as usual) first rom-com. In With a Little Luck, she’s taking fans back to the coastal town of Fortuna Beach to meet Jude, whose ordinary life—working at his parents’ vinyl store, drawing comics and playing Dungeons & Dragons—is transformed when he finds a special 20-sided die that gives him incredible luck. But what happens when this luck runs out? 

Available 2/13/2024

The stunning, evocative cover of this historical novel is reason enough to add it to your TBR: a lone woman in red walks through winter wilderness, reflected in a frozen pond as a snow-white fox. Of course, readers of The Night Tiger would be eagerly awaiting Yangsze Choo’s next book even if the cover were a paper bag. This epic adventure set in Manchuria at the very end of the Qing Dynasty promises to bring together mystery and legend to vibrant effect.

Available 3/05/2024

Xochitl Gonzalez is back with a campus novel entwining the stories of two women: an artist, Anita de Monte, who died mysteriously in 1985, and an art history student, Raquel, who is determined to uncover what happened to Anita and bring new attention to her art. Like she did in her bestselling, award-winning debut, Olga Dies Dreaming, Gonzalez turns a sharp, thoughtful eye to the costs of success, this time in the elitist, and often racist and sexist, worlds of art and academia.

Available 3/05/2024

We love a reinvention story almost as much as we love drag. Long before Her Highness RuPaul set the stage for his outrageously popular “Drag Race,” he was a poor, queer kid in San Diego. He found escape, acceptance and family in performance . . . and, much later, fame, fortune and 12 Emmy awards. The House of Hidden Meanings promises to be a vulnerable self-portrait of a queer icon.

Available 3/19/2024

Much of the plot of Téa Obreht’s extraordinary 2011 debut, The Tiger’s Wife, sprang from mythical stories surrounding main character Natalia’s grandfather. Like her historical second novel, Inland (one of our Best Books of 2019), The Morningside maintains a connection to magic and folklore, but this time Obreht steps into the near future, following a mother and daughter who have taken refuge in a dilapidated luxury apartment in an abandoned island city.

Available 3/19/2024

After a thriller set in 17th-century Boston and a suspenseful tale of an Old Hollywood safari gone wrong, Chris Bohjalian is back with another impressively original novel. The setting is modern-day Las Vegas and the protagonist is Princess Diana impersonator Crissy Dowling, whose messy life gets even messier when her boss is murdered.

Available 3/19/2024

Faridah Abiké-Iyimidé won a 2022 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her debut novel, Ace of Spades, a heart-pounding thriller about two Black senior class prefects at a prestigious private academy. So it’s with bated breath that we anticipate Where Sleeping Girls Lie, another mystery set at an elite school that promises just as many twists and turns, on top of Abiké-Iyimidé’s thoughtful, multilayered social commentary.

Available 3/19/2024

History will remember the four hours that a woman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it considered the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. In her long-awaited memoir, Christine Blasey Ford recounts her decision to publicly accuse the justice of sexual assault, the overwhelming aftermath and how she’s continued to persevere since.

Available 3/26/2024

In the first section of this book Hanif Abdurraqib addresses his readers directly as “beloveds.” As is always the case with the poet and cultural critic, you know you are in safe hands that will bear you through both joy and pain. This book is about basketball. But it is also about what he calls “close readings of pleasure,” his father, belonging and grace. As in the National Book Award finalist A Little Devil in America, Abdurraqib imbues the things he loves—A Tribe Called Quest, Black performance, playing spades—with prayerful universality and ease.

Available 4/02/2024

The latest from beloved writer Julia Alvarez has a captivating premise: The Cemetery of Untold Stories is about author Alma Cruz, who inherits a plot of land in the Dominican Republic and decides to create a cemetery to bury her unfinished manuscripts. Cared for by the cemetery’s groundskeeper, Filomena, the characters from Alma’s drafts begin to speak from beyond their graves, seeking closure for their stories and inspiring both Alma and Filomena to reconnect with their family histories, including that of Alma’s father, who grew up during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.

Available 4/09/2024

In a certain way, Leigh Bardugo is the fantasy genre’s Taylor Swift—hear us out. Bardugo began with a series of works that were highly appreciated and loved within their genre (her young adult trilogy Shadow and Bone), then a critically acclaimed crossover darling (the Six of Crows duology) before fully moving into a new genre and unquestionably succeeding within it (the very adult fantasy that is Ninth House). Every time you think she can’t get bigger, she somehow does. A historical fantasy set during the Spanish Inquisition, The Familiar could bring Bardugo’s unforgettable characters and spellbinding prose to an even larger audience.

Available 4/16/2024

More than 30 years after an Iranian leader called for his assassination, master storyteller and literary icon Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed at a public appearance in 2022, suffering life-threatening wounds. He describes the attack and his recovery in Knife. Rushie has called it “a necessary book for me to write: a way to take charge of what happened, and to answer violence with art.”

Available 4/23/2024

Does household name Lois Lowry need any introduction? The two-time Newbery medalist has captivated entire generations with her classic, unforgettable novels, which include The Giver and Number the Stars. Tree. Table. Book. is her latest, and it follows two best friends and neighbors named Sophie: One is 11 years old, while the other is 88 and beginning to struggle with her memory. The younger Sophie’s attempts to help her beloved friend lead to stories about the older Sophie’s experiences in World War II, which most assuredly will be delivered with Lowry’s signature power and grace.

Available 4/30/2024

Erik Larson’s books are comprehensively researched, vividly rendered and narratively spry—sometimes reading more like novels than nonfiction. He’s a master at creating suspense, be it in the cramped quarters of a submarine, a stately garden or a municipal planning meeting. The bestselling author of The Devil in the White City returns with an account of the five tense months before the Civil War, when President Lincoln tried in vain to avert a cataclysm from happening in the first year of his presidency. The Demon of Unrest promises to be a political horror story with teeth.

Available 4/30/2024

Kellye Garrett’s Like a Sister was among the most poised and gripping thrillers of recent memory, so expectations are high for her next novel. Breanna, a Black woman on vacation, wakes up one morning to find her boyfriend gone and the internet’s latest obsession, a missing white woman named Janelle Beckett, dead in their rental home.

Available 6/11/2024

The best music critics balance accessible writing with their own obsessive attention to the history and analysis of sound. Author and NPR music critic Ann Powers has been laying it on the line for decades, and her upcoming biography of Joni Mitchell is sure to earn the author more admiring fans. Drawing on extensive archival research and interviews with Mitchell’s peers, Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell examines not just the artist’s life and music, but also the competing nature and, at times, kinship, of biography and fandom.

Available 6/18/2024

It’s hard to think of another current author with Akwaeke Emezi’s genre-disrupting range. After following up their bestselling literary novel The Death of Vivek Oji with the gorgeous romance You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, Emezi is pivoting again, this time in a darker direction. Following five friends over the course of one chaotic, devastating weekend, the thrilling Little Rot is sure to be a page turner, and we can’t wait.

Available 8/06/2024

Eliza Griswold won a 2019 Pulitzer for Amity and Prosperity, which chronicled the devastating impact of fracking in a small Pennsylvania town. Now, the journalist and poet turns her attention to Circle of Hope, a progressive Anabaptist church that relies on both scripture and public protest as articles of faith. Circle of Hope: A Reckoning with Love, Power, and Justice in an American Church follows the congregation’s reckoning with the pandemic, our country’s religious landscape and internal rifts as it fights for its survival.

Available 8/06/2024

Two exes. On the same food and wine tour of Europe. By Casey McQuiston. Is there anything else to say? Fine: McQuiston is one of our finest purveyors of rom-coms working today, capable of delivering pure joy and happy tears alike, and people will be screaming about this book from its release until the end of 2024.

Available 8/20/2024

Whether she’s writing horror (The Hollow Places, A House With Good Bones) or fairy tale-inspired fantasy (Nettle & Bone), T. Kingfisher’s work is a pitch-perfect blend of the hopeful and the grim, the macabre and the magical. The worlds she creates are often bleak, but bright spots can always be found in her characters’ irrepressible humor and love for one another. Her next novel will be inspired by the Brothers Grimm’s “The Goose Girl,” and if it’s anything like her marvelous novella Thornhedge, which flipped the tale of Sleeping Beauty on its head, A Sorceress Comes to Call will be full of nasty surprises and bursts of hope alike.

Most anticipated by genre

Previous most anticipated coverage

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The best resolutions are reading resolutions, and a new year introduces so many titles to get excited about! Here are the 22 books we're most looking forward to.
STARRED REVIEW
February 9, 2024

Lift every voice

Black history month offers fresh looks at freedom fighters John Lewis, Harriet Tubman and Medgar and Myrlie Evers.
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Black history month offers fresh looks at freedom fighters John Lewis, Harriet Tubman and Medgar and Myrlie Evers.
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As a 19-year-old undergraduate, Antonia Hylton read an academic paper that mentioned Crownsville State Hospital, known at its founding as the Hospital for the Negro Insane. That reference triggered an obsession with the hospital’s bleak history that has carried her through the 10 years it took to produce Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum. Hylton brings both her journalistic talent and a deep, personal engagement to something she unabashedly describes as a “passion project.” In it, she recounts the 93-year life of Crownsville, tying that painful history to the story of the treatment of mental illness in the United States, especially in communities of color, and to her own family’s experiences with mental health.

Speaking via video from a conference room at NBC headquarters in New York City, Hylton brims with energy and enthusiasm. “If I could understand everything there was to know about Crownsville,” she says, “I would understand my family and my country better.” In her mind, “doing this would be cathartic; it would help me have conversations or fill in blanks that I was struggling to fill in otherwise.”

Hylton calls her book a “tribute to oral history,” and the more than 40 interviews she conducted with former staff and patients—some of them in their 80s or older—and her own family members deeply enrich the story. “This book came to life because of the stories people shared with me,” she says.

One of the greatest challenges in collecting those stories was gaining access to the patients, many of them deeply traumatized by their experiences at Crownsville. “To find patients who were ready to go on the record comfortably was an incredible challenge,” Hylton says, “and it took a lot of trust-building and community outreach. I really had to accept that it was going to be a one-person-at-a-time kind of thing.”

“In addition to putting years of reporting on the page, I put my heart out there.”

Thankfully, there are few people better prepared for this specific kind of work than Hylton. In less than a decade following her graduation from Harvard University, Hylton has already accumulated an impressive set of professional credentials and honors, including Emmy and Peabody awards. After several years as a correspondent and producer for VICE Media, she joined NBC News and MSNBC, where she works as a correspondent on stories at the intersection of politics, education and civil rights.

Book jacket image for Madness by Antonia HyltonBeginning in 2014, she spent long hours in the Maryland State Archives combing through Crownsville’s files, woefully incomplete thanks to shoddy record keeping and the destruction of decades of documents by the state. The paucity of documents would have been far worse had it not been for the efforts of Paul Lurz, a longtime Crownsville staff member who served as an unofficial preservationist. Hylton acknowledges feeling “really angry” that “no one had thought to dignify or track this information in the first place.”

Hylton follows the history of the hospital from its inception in 1911, when 12 Black men were transported to rural Maryland to begin constructing the facility that eventually would house them as its patients, to its closure in 2004. It’s a story of an institution where treatment was often crude and callous, though there were, at times, some who tried to treat their patients with humanity. Most notable among the latter was Jacob Morgenstern, a Holocaust survivor who became Crownsville’s superintendent in 1947, and who recruited a group of fellow survivors to serve as staff.

It’s hard not to read Madness without a mingled sense of anger and sadness, as Hylton patiently chronicles the decades when Black patients received substandard care in an overcrowded, understaffed hospital that deemed them less worthy of quality treatment than Maryland’s white mentally ill, even using some patients as subjects in scientific studies without their consent. The hospital was not desegregated until 1963, but in the ’60s and ’70s, as the approach to treating mental illness focused on shifting patients from large institutions like Crownsville to community mental health centers, its former patients were released into the population without access to the resources they needed to make that transition successfully.

Hylton says that what kept driving her to tell Crownsville’s anguished history was the door it opened into her own family’s painful past. She twines an institutional story with a deeply personal one, unearthing the stories of her cousin Maynard and great-grandfather Clarence, whose lives were tragically impacted by mental illness and then largely written out of her family’s history. “I’m going to resurrect Maynard and Clarence,” she says. “I’m going to give their lives some dignity. I’m going to give their struggles some context that wasn’t there decades ago.” Indeed, Hylton reveals, excavating these stories encouraged some family members to seek therapy to heal their own psychological wounds.

Read our starred review of Madness by Antonia Hylton.

The Maryland legislature has appropriated an initial $30 million for Anne Arundel County to turn the hospital grounds into a memorial, park and museum. Local historian and community organizer Janice Hayes-Williams has created an annual service she calls “Say My Name” at the site, to recall the some 1,700 patients buried there.

Hylton brings Madness to a moving climax with a scene she says “just poured out of me,” describing the 2022 commemoration at the onsite cemetery. On an April morning, she followed in the steps of community elders, clutching multicolored rose petals and a piece of paper bearing the name of Frances Clayton, a woman from Baltimore who died at Crownsville in 1924 at age 41. Kneeling down to place the petals on the ground, Hylton pressed her palm to the ground “to feel the pulse of the earth.” She writes that at that moment, she thought, “They’ve been waiting for us.”

“If I can inspire even just one family to have some of the conversations my family has been able to have as a result of this reporting, that’s what I want,” she says. The responses of some of her early readers “have already made me feel very whole, even with a story that is heartbreaking. In addition to putting years of reporting on the page, I put my heart out there.”

Photo of Antonia Hylton by Mark Clennon.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist chronicles the decades-long history of Crownsville State Hospital, where patients lived in prisonlike conditions.
Interview by

Kacen Callender dedicates their first foray into young adult fantasy, Infinity Alchemist, to “the younger me who always wanted to write a YA fantasy.” While this might make one imagine a teenage Callender dreaming of a future as an author, Callender explains it is actually in reference to their early days of their career, when they struggled to write fantasy. “It was very difficult at that time, for whatever reason, to get the story out,” they say. ”Infinity Alchemist had been percolating for a lot of years, so it felt like a massive triumph for me to finally write it.”

What made this book such a challenge in those early days? Callender points to their struggle to pull together all the many necessary threads of this narrative into a cohesive storyline: “I didn’t quite understand plotting yet. Now, hopefully, I do.”

Some readers might view this focus on plot and action as a departure from Callender’s previous books, which are character-driven and move at a slower tempo, titles that might be deemed “quiet” by the publishing industry. In Infinity Alchemist, “there’s a lot of fighting scenes, a lot of explosive battles, a lot of excitement, alongside the emotional depth,” Callender says. Yet with its theme of learning about one’s self-worth, Infinity Alchemist still has a characteristic Callender feeling to it.  “With all of my books, I tend to focus on a theme, some sort of internal healing and a message that I hope will resonate with readers,” they say.

Read our review of ‘Infinity Alchemist.’ 

One of the guiding principles of the fantasy world of Infinity Alchemist is that everyone has equal access to alchemy, but people still experience different degrees of success in learning alchemy, often due to the deliberate manipulation of the system by those in power. Protagonist Ash Woods is unusually gifted, but he has been denied access to the training that would make his power legitimate. Regarding the tension that creates, Callender says, “For me, it was always important that there not be a Chosen One, to include the idea that everyone is powerful and everyone is magical, and everyone is Chosen in the eyes of the Source or the Creator or what have you. I wanted to explain how power is internal; power is realizing that you are worthy without being gaslit by the idea of societal power.” But Callender adds: “You can feel power for yourself and feel that self-worth, but there are still other people who have the power to decide that you aren’t worthy. I wanted those different versions of power to be in conversation.”

“I wanted to explain how power is internal; power is realizing that you are worthy without being gaslit by the idea of societal power.”

Callender has a history of telling the stories of characters whose identities aren’t often represented in media, and Infinity Alchemist continues that work with a diverse cast of queer, trans, and polyamorous characters. Ramsay Thorne, for instance, is genderfluid, and the book seamlessly shifts pronouns throughout the character’s arc. This technique foregrounds Ramsay’s story more than Ramsay’s pronouns. “Ramsay comes to life in that way because it is going to be different for every reader, depending on where they last left the character. For example, I’m writing the sequel now, so for me the last I saw Ramsay, he was using he/him pronouns. But for you, having just read Infinity Alchemist, she was using she/her pronouns.”

Whether through the use of shifting pronouns or depicting a trusting polyamorous relationship, Callender’s work makes more visible the lived realities of countless people, and Infinity Alchemist is flooded with empathy and compassion. “That’s one of the great beauties of being able to write about these identities,” Callender says, as they explain how the imaginative act of reading allows anyone to “become” a character. “Even though you as a reader might not ever understand all the ways an identity can work, you can for a moment become that queer Black trans kid, and you’re understanding all of their wounds and their traumas and their grief and their healing.”

Callender builds on this idea: “Regardless of identity, that’s where a character is built: inside the idea that we all have these wounds that we either inherited or experienced. From my perspective, life is the story arc of healing those wounds.”

“That’s where a character is built: inside the idea that we all have these wounds that we either inherited or experienced.”

That wisdom comes through in every page of Infinity Alchemist. In the book, as Ash and Ramsay are coming to trust each other, Ramsay lists some of Ash’s more frustrating qualities, claiming him to be “selfish . . . and hot-tempered, and irrational, and you act without thinking.” Then Ramsay pivots to Ash’s kindness and curiosity, explaining, “It’s lazy to put a multifaceted human being, created from the alchemy of the universe, into a box of good or bad. No one is only one of the two.” When I ask Callender about the apt specificity of “lazy” here, they laugh and agree that it’s the perfect word. “It’s easy to decide that someone is good or bad instead of wanting to do the work. It’s a lot of work to look at a person and consider their traumas and wounds and all that has built them to be the person who they are today.”

We closed our time by discussing the relationships depicted in Infinity Alchemist and the way “polyamory reflects the concept of healing in the book, where everyone is worthy of love, and the idea that love cannot be limited.” Callender says, “I understand that some readers might ask why polyamory, or might not understand what it is as an identity. But it’s my hope that as there are more books with the topic of polyamory, it will be more accepted.”

Acceptance, self-worth, healing, love. “What’s better than that?” I ask, to which Callender replies, “Exactly.”

Photo of Kacen Callender by Bella Porter.

Having conquered several other genres, the acclaimed author discusses their young adult fantasy debut, Infinity Alchemist.

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