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Never fear, our contributors are here to topple your October To-Be-Read stacks with their new release recommendations! Whether we’ve read them and can’t wait to see them on the shelves, or we’ve heard tell of their excellence in the book world and have been (not-so) patiently waiting to get our hot little hands on them, these are the new titles we’re watching our libraries and bookstores for this month.
What books are you looking forward to in October? Let us know in the comments below!
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (October 17, Berkley): A family is quarantined together under one roof for seven days over Christmas, after one of them comes home from an epidemic-ridden country. Apparently it’s perfect for fans of One Day and Richard Curtis films—I love those things. The description reminds me a bit of Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, which I really enjoyed, too. And it was a “One To Watch” pick in the Bookseller in the UK, where it’s out on 19th October.
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera (October 3, Tor): I first heard about this title nearly a year ago, and I fell in love almost immediately after starting it. O-Shizuka and Barsalayaa Shefali are two of my favourite characters of the year, and their story is at once heart-pounding and beautifully intimate. Rivera makes the second person POV an invitation into their world, one where women dominate almost every page, something I wish we had more of in high fantasy novels. If you know nothing else about this book, know that no less than three Book Rioters (including me) almost ended up in a virtual fistfight over who would get to write about it in this post—it’s that good.
Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (October 17, Simon & Schuster): Da Vinci is a figure that has always fascinated me, though I’ve never really explored his life and work as much as I would like. And who better to chronicle his achievements and eccentricities than the acclaimed biographer of Einstein and Steve Jobs? In addition to providing a life history, Isaacson explores the nature of da Vinci’s genius, asserting it “was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.”
Righteous (IQ #2) by Joe Ide (October 17, Mulholland Books): A great new series with a great follow-up novel: be still my beating heart! Isaiah Quintabe is a great character who was being raised by his brother until a hit-and-run accident changed the course of his life. It’s why his social skills aren’t always the best, and he really doesn’t have close friends or relationships. What he does have is a brain for deducing and solving problems, which is why he’s a successful PI in East Long Beach—even if some clients can only pay him in the form of a chicken. This time around he’s going to solve his brother’s hit-and-run while also taking a case that puts him on yet another gangs’ enemy list. Another of this year’s best mystery releases that is satisfying from beginning to end with fantastic characters. And if you’re a fan of Walter Mosley don’t miss this series.
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty (October 3, WW Norton): I love, love, loved Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and this looks to be a less gruesome version of that. Doughty travels the world to witness death rituals—an open pyre in a remote area in the US, Dia De Los Muertos celebrations in Mexico, among a bunch of others—and simply shares the stories. She offers the history of the rituals and the only opinion is her snarky commentary on being the outsider. Maybe don’t eat this with your breakfast, though.
This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis (October 10, Katherine Tegen): I really can’t say much about this book without giving anything away, so let me just say that this book is a mindf–k from start to finish. It’s twisted, weird, and seriously messed up—but I still enjoyed it immensely. I was completely invested the entire way through. Sasha Stone is your seemingly stereotypical “good girl’: first chair clarinet, good student, perfect daughter. Then she discovers that she absorbed a twin sister in the womb aka she’s a parasitic twin. Things start happening that she can’t explain. People seem to know her well when she doesn’t recognize them. I’m just going to let your mind wander and pick up this book.
A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe (October 31, Avon): A Daring Arrangement is the first book in Shupe’s new series, The Four Hundred, with Avon. When I picked up the book, I couldn’t help but compare it to her other works. In my mind, there was no way she’d be able to live up to the magnificence that was her previous Gilded Age romance series. I’m so entirely happy to say she proved me wrong! Although I’m not quite done with the book yet, the bulk of Honora and Julius’ story is quite witty, entertaining and thoughtful.
Origin by Dan Brown (October 3, Doubleday): The Renowned Dan Brown is back! Brown is an unlikely auto-buy for me, but he’s definitely on the list. What can I say, I’m a sucker for novels about art, and I always give him props for thorough research. I’m curious to see how Brown will approach modern art with Origin and integrate it into the type of cabal organization/international conspiracy plot he’s known for. It promises to be an entertaining, escapist read in any event, and imma not gonna say no to that.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Glaser (October 3, HMH): I’ve been edge-of-my-seat excited about this book since I first stumbled upon the author’s paragraph-long pitch for it on her website years—literally years—ago. (Full discloser: Glaser is a fellow Book Rioter.) The fun and cleverness and sheer middle-grade-tastic panache Glaser managed to pack into a paragraph convinced me that the book-length version was going to be utterly amazing. And it turns out I was right. Telling the story of a pack of kids (and their pets) trying to save their home from a cranky landlord, The Vanderbeekers is both sweet and stylish. It recollects middle grade classics of yore while building a distinctive, diverse, and delightful world that is very much its own.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao (October 10, Philomel Books): A witch’s niece has the potential to become an empress. Xifeng, an eighteen-year old “peasant” in the words of the summary, just has to sacrifice a future with the boy she loves, as well as her integrity. How hard could it be? We have a good number of evil queen stories, especially with references to Snow White, but I haven’t read one with POC. We also don’t get many antihero POC leads, and Xifeng has to become an antihero to get what she wants. The journey promises to be dark and delightful.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (October 3, Scribner): When I think Egan, I definitely picture the PowerPoint presentation chapter in A Visit from the Goon Squad. Basically, I always saw Egan as an experimenter, a stylist. Manhattan Beach breaks that mold for me. Realistic and poetic, with that same satisfying prose that Egan does so well, Manhattan Beach centers around Anna, a diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard in the 1930s. It has everything I want in a historical novel: rich details, feisty characters, and little-known tidbits that make the book a more than worthwhile read.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan (October 3, Disney-Hyperion): The kids and I (ages 5, 7, and 39) have been waiting for this book to arrive since…well, the second we finished book two (The Hammer of Thor). We are huge Riordan fans in this house, as well as giant mythology geeks, and in my humble opinion, this is his best series to date. Beyond the obvious joy and enthusiasm of the storytelling and his usual phenomenal characterizations, Riordan is tackling some important issues including: teen homelessness, family dynamics, cultural diversity and conflict, and gender fluidity and sexuality. Hurry up, October 3rd!
HelloFlo: The Guide, Period by Naama Bloom (October 17, Dutton Books for Young Readers): I’m a huge fan of HelloFlo.com, the website started by Naama Bloom to change the way that women and girls think and talk about their menstrual cycles. When I heard that Bloom was writing a nonfiction middle grade book based on the principles behind HelloFlo.com, I was ecstatic! If the book is anything like the website, it will be funny, informative, and hella feminist.
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (October 3, Graywolf Press): Machado’s debut is the most blisteringly brilliant story collection of the fall! Plagues, prom dresses, plastic surgery, houseguests, ghosts, Law & Order, and girls with bells for eyes are just a few of the things you’ll find on these fantastic pages. Machado’s provocative, genre-bending stories about women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies is a “how is this a debut??!” book, for sure, and perfect for fans of Karen Russell and Kelly Link. And it has been longlisted for the National Book Award!
Without Merit by Colleen Hoover (October 3, Atria Books): I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan, and geek out over everything she does. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of her next book and it’s almost here! I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this bad boy and I loved it. Not exactly typical fare for CoHo, Without Merit is a young adult title without much romance. There is some romance, but it’s not a romance. I went in pretty blind and really enjoyed it. It’s a story about family, secrets, and truth. I can’t for everyone to read it!
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates (October 3, One World): Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of our most important writers, and this book is about the Obama years. Enough said, right? It covers what it means that we had Obama as president and what it means that Trump is the one who followed him. It’s about what is happening with race in America and how Coates experienced and understood the Obama years. If this isn’t essential reading, I don’t know what is.
Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding (October 3, Picador): I’m super excited for this one because it feels like we’ve reached a fever pitch of bs with 45 right now, and with DeVos demolishing Title IX protections, this is not a drill. This book is a rallying cry, and we are more than ready. Nasty women and bad hombres, who’s with me?
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (October 10, Dutton Books for Young Readers): I’m a fan of John Green’s other books, but I’m especially excited to read this one because it draws on some of his own experiences with OCD and anxiety. The book centers around 16-year old Aza and her ever-worsening thought spirals as she and her best friend set out on a quest to find an elusive billionaire. Mental illness isn’t always portrayed very well or very authentically in literature, and there is so much stigma and misunderstanding around it that good, honest portrayals are badly needed. I’m really hoping that between Green’s skill as a writer and his own experiences with mental illness, he can create an honest glimpse into Aza’s struggles.
Code Girls by Lisa Mundy (October 10, Hachette): I am very into the explosion of books about the role women played behind the scenes of some of the greatest scientific achievements of our time—Rise of the Rocket Girls, Hidden Figures, The Girls of Atomic City, and more. Code Girls by Lisa Mundy is the latest in this trend, a look at the 10,000 American women who served as Army and Navy codebreakers during World War II. Many were recruited right out of college and made significant contributions to the war effort, but were sworn to secrecy about their work. It’s only decades later that some of their stories have come to light. I’ve finished about half of this one and, so far, it’s excellent.
Djinn City by Saad Hossain (October 24, The Unnamed Press): I’ve been on a djinn reading kick lately, and since I’ve enjoyed everything featuring djinn so far, I see no reason to stop. This one is a YA novel that mixes djinn and Arabian mythology in a contemporary, Bangladesh setting. I’m also a fan of mythology and folklore in contemporary settings, so I’m all about giving this novel a try.
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha (October 10, Oneworld Publications): I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover art for The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is what drew me in because it’s just beautiful—bold and vibrant and whimsical, which, as you might have guessed, could describe Euridice herself. Euridice has resigned herself to being the perfect daughter and a model wife and mother, but the thing is, Euridice can’t help but be enterprising, confident, a maker and a doer and a seeker of more, more, more in her life. She is scrappy and industrious, and it was a pleasure to get to root for her throughout this novel.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (October 17, Knopf Books for Young Readers): As you might guess from the title, Julia is not anyone’s perfect Mexican daughter. But her older sister Olga was, until she dies suddenly in a tragic accident. Except, in her grief Julia learns that Olga had some secrets of her own. Now, with a little help, she begins investigating her sister’s double life while trying to chart the course of her own. I love sister stories, so I was thrilled to get to read an advanced copy of this one. It is beautiful, gritty, and intersectional. Don’t just trust me, it was just put on the long list for the National Book Award!
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (October 3, Catapult): A teenage girl goes missing in an English village. The police investigate, and neighbors help search. Sounds like the setup for a typical mystery/thriller, right? It’s not. The disappearance becomes just one of many incidents in the life of this town. As years pass, babies are born, people die, relationships begin and end, students graduate and go away, maybe to return again. Life goes on, and the disappearance becomes one of many memories that haunt the town. McGregor chronicles these events in a way that captures the rhythms of ordinary life, noting details of the natural world and the passing of time. This was my pick to win the Man Booker prize, but, alas, it didn’t make the shortlist. But I recommend it over most of the books that did.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone (October 18, Crown Books): I’ve been super excited about Dear Martin for a while now. Another book that deals with police brutality in modern day America, written by a black author? The world definitely needs this! After the success of Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, I’m hoping Dear Martin not only lives up to the hype, but sees similar success!
Siege Line by Myke Cole (October 31, Ace): Siege Line is the final installment of Myke Cole’s The Reawakening Trilogy, which also happens to be the prequel to Cole’s The Shadow Ops series. The Reawakening Trilogy follows Jim Schweitzer, an undead NAVY Seal on a mission to put a stop to the government agency that killed him and brought him back from the dead to serve their purposes. In Siege Line, it’s time for the final confrontation, deep in the wilderness of arctic Canada. I have read every book that Myke Cole has published so far, and I have genuinely enjoyed all of them. The original publishing date for Siege Line was earlier this year, and now the wait is finally over.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (October 10, Scholastic Press): For me, Maggie Stiefvater is one of those authors whose books I’ll read no matter what. All the Crooked Saints is a magical realism novel heavily inspired by authors like Marquez and Allende, centering on the Soria family in Bicho Raro, Colorado. The Soria’s have the ability to perform miracles but cannot interfere after the fact. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding this book concerning cultural appropriation as the genre of magical realism is heavily rooted in Latin American tradition, but I’m excited to read the book for myself and form my own opinions.
Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller (October 3, Viking Books for Young Readers): Oh, I loved this picture book! The writing is clever and the pictures are charming, but where this story shines is when the author and illustrator use their powers to demonstrate selective reporting. Is what we’re reading on the page the truth, or are we to draw our own conclusions based on what we see? A great book for fans of the first book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be In This Book), as well as readers new to the irresistibly introverted crocodilian.
What Counts as Love by Marian Crotty (October 15, Iowa University Press—2017 John Simmons Short Fiction Award Winner): I’m a sucker for short story collections, and Crotty’s had me right from the get-go. I mean, how can you resist a sentence like this? “That summer, while Emily’s mom painted pictures of Iranian militiamen in the garage, we watched Sarah Morrison have sex.” Any book that opens with this kind of bold pronouncement holds my interest. Well, of course, it’s not just a good first sentence—throughout, Crotty’s stories, mostly about young women, shine with detailed prose and emotional complexity. I care for the people in these stories, and I want to spend time in these pages.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (October 3, Feiwel & Friends): Anna-Marie McLemore’s books have quickly become must-buys for me. Her writing is lush and gorgeous and magical, and I devoured an early copy of this novel about five cursed cousins who live in a magical garden and are in love with the same girl. Wild Beauty has a compelling family mystery at its center, and a couple of twists that kept me on my toes. I’ll definitely be picking up a finished copy to add to my collection.
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (October 23, PRH India): I am extremely excited by the premise of this King Lear retelling, set all across contemporary India. The book follows the struggle for power the Devraj family faces after its ageing patriarch resigns and hands over his legacy to his two daughters—Radha and Gargi. I have always loved adaptations of Shakespearean stories to modern contexts, and am especially looking forward to the brutal politics of King Lear playing out in luxury hotels and spas in India.
Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh (October 3, Ten Speed Press): Even if you’re not baking-obsessed, crazy for complicated and fancy desserts, and already an avid fan of Yotam Ottolenghi (like me), you’re still going to want to read this cookbook, if only to drool over the stunning photos. And then you’re going to want to drop it in the lap of the people in your life who do like to bake and make pouty eyes at them until they promise to bake you up one of these fabulous and mouthwatering recipes.
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki and Brooke Allen (October 10, Amulet Books): The Lumberjanes comic series from BOOM! Studios is the reason I now read comics. I picked up volume one at the Book Riot Live after-party last year and promptly fell in love. So I can’t help but be intrigued by the forthcoming middle-grade book series spin-off. Will I love it just as much?!
Leah Rachel von Essen
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor (October 3, Viking Books for Young Readers ): If you were a fan of the first novel in Okorafor’s YA series, Akata Witch, I can assure you that this one only gets better. Sunny is navigating her new world and new powers, still haunted by the vision of a burning city she once saw in the flame of a candle, and by the fear that Ekwensu will return to end the world. Okorafor’s world-building glistens, particularly the magical creatures she creates. This is an excellent sequel, and combines tales of soccer and friendship with tales of magic, fear, and saving the world that are all wholly original.
To My Trans Sisters edited by Charlie Craggs (October 19, Jessica Kingsley Publishers): Though Craggs’s collection of heartfelt letters is written by trans women for trans women (“trans” being up to the writers of the letters, and helping to represent a spectrum), there is so much to learn from To My Trans Sisters for any reader. With well over one hundred letters from the well-known to the more obscure trans women of today, I was so struck by the range of messages and advice throughout this book. It’s both practical and emotional and adds up to a truly empowering book for anyone, whether you read it straight through or if you pick selected letters to hang on the ceiling above your bed for daily encouragement. I can’t state this clearly enough: read this book!