If your New Year’s resolution involves reading more books, you’re in for an absolute treat this month. With the beginning of the new year comes a plethora of intriguing new titles from debut authors like Robert Jones, Jr. (“The Prophets“) to highly anticipated memoirs from beloved writers like Nadia Owusu (“Aftershocks“) and plenty of romantic comedies, mystery thrillers and fantastical tales in between.
No matter what genre you’re looking for, January 2021’s new book releases are full of captivating stories of love, heartbreak, triumph, self-discovery, feminism, race, sexuality, identity, bravery and more. Scroll down to browse our top 20 picks for the most exciting new book releases coming this month.
After losing both her parents at a young age and dealing with the weight of her stepmother’s manipulative lies, author Nadia Owusu details the emotional toll that her nomadic and traumatizing childhood has on her adult life and how she managed to overcome it by writing her own story into existence. This moving memoir is about hope, identity, overcoming grief and, most of all, love.
After 13 years of marriage, Cinderella’s life and relationship are far from perfect. When she seeks help from an old witch, she doesn’t ask for a love spell to win Prince Charming back — she wants him dead. “The Charmed Wife” is a modern take on the story of Cinderella, marriage, divorce and love that’s surprising, darkly comedic and enchanting.
This thrilling sci-fi tale follows a young girl named Sankofa who is turned into the Angel of Death’s adopted daughter after coming in contact with an ancient alien artifact. From there on out, Sankofa’s only companion is her fox, and everything she touches dies. This captivating story of feminism, empowerment and community is as thought-provoking as it is complex, and bound to become one of your favorite reads of the new year.
Every seven years, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals where they are hunted by men who are eager to kill them and seize their divine power and immortality. As the next hunt begins, Lore Perseus is offered an alliance from the goddess Athena against their mutual enemy and the murderer of her family. But will this be enough to stop the rise of a new god? You’ll have to read this captivating tale of bravery, love and power to find out.
Looking for a new romantic comedy? Then you’ll love reading “The Ex Talk” by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Shay Goldstein, a public radio station producer, and her colleague Dominic Yun despise each other. But when their boss appoints them to be the new co-hosts of a radio talk show where exes deliver relationship advice, they’re forced to put their differences aside. As the show skyrockets up the radio charts, they find themselves starting to fall for each other, but will they risk everything for love? Or their jobs?
This thrilling tale is a Southern Gothic twist on “Jane Eyre” that’s full of suspense, twists and turns. When Jane, a broke dog walker with a suspicious past, moves to Birmingham, Alabama, to work in the uppity gated community of Thornfield Estates, she meets Eddie Rochester, a recently widowed resident. As the two fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by his deceased wife’s legend. But Eddie has secrets of his own. The story of this twisted love triangle will have you on the edge of your seat all the way until the end.
“The Divines” is one of the most anticipated books of the new year. This coming-of-age story follows Josephine, a former student at St. John the Divine, an elite all-girls English boarding school that closed its doors after a violent and mysterious act left it disgraced. But 15 years later, Josephine’s newfound obsession with her teenage identity brings her dangerously close to uncovering the school’s scandalous secrets. But is the truth worth unraveling her entire life, career and marriage for? You’ll have to read to find out.
In 1913 on New Year’s Eve in Bombay, Madeline Bright, an English transplant, meets Luke Devereaux, who shows her the wonder and beauty that the city has to offer. As the two fall in love, the world around them begins to fall apart in more ways than one: Her mother disapproves of Luke, and World War I threatens to tear them apart. This heartbreaking and beautiful love story is one that will bring tears to your eyes and resonate with you long after you turn the last page.
“Concrete Rose” is a tale of loyalty, revenge and courage that will tug at your heartstrings. From the author of “The Hate U Give” comes a coming-of-age story that follows Maverick Carter, a 17-year-old gang member who slings dope in order to provide for his family. But when he unexpectedly becomes a father, his whole world changes and he’s offered an out from the King Lords gang. But walking away is easier said than done. Can he prove he’s different in a world that has set him up for a life of crime?
This captivating historical fiction novel is full of love, heartbreak and new beginnings. In it, the tales of five women living across three decades are drawn together by the Highbury House garden and its long-hidden secrets. Full of twists, turns, tragedy and hope, the intertwined stories of the five women highlight the importance of female friendship and the power of sisterhood.
Reese is living the life that previous generations of trans women could only dream of in New York City. The only thing missing is a child. But when her girlfriend detransitions to become Ames, their relationship is lost. Then Ames’ boss and lover becomes pregnant with his child, giving him hope of rekindling his life with Reese, but can the three be one big happy family? This provocative and modern love story navigates the taboos around sex, gender, identity and relationships and is surely one story you won’t want to put down.
Through a collection of short stories and seven essays, George Saunders expertly explores the art of writing fiction and the questions that come along with reading such works. This masterclass in writing, reading and immersing oneself in the curiosity that accompanies such literary training is a must-read for any and all writers.
“A Thousand Ships” is a witty and fiercely feminist retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of Amazon princesses, Greek goddesses and Troy women whose lives were drastically altered by the war. This modern tale is full of wisdom, love, revenge and courage.
Robert Jones, Jr.’s powerful debut novel is about a brutally run plantation in the Deep South and the love between two enslaved men, Isaiah and Samuel. When a fellow slave turns on them for personal gain, tensions rise and the plantation slaves begin to turn on one another — including Isaiah and Samuel, whose love is now seen as a dangerous sin. This beautifully written story is heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.
When marketing manager Henley Evans is sent on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands with her archnemesis, Graeme, the remote social media manager who’s also up for the same promotion, she’s less than thrilled. But as they explore the island together, Henley realizes Graeme isn’t who she thought and begins to fall for him. This romantic comedy is charming, witty and sure to whisk you off your feet.
When Sera follows the clues hidden in her favorite true crime podcast in an effort to help find Rachel, the missing host, she’s lured into an unfamiliar world centered around an isolated ranch outside of her hometown. Sera is convinced the investigation will make Rachel proud, but as she digs deeper she soon realizes that all is not what it seems and that Rachel isn’t the first woman to go missing there. This twisted and riveting thriller is one that will keep you up late at night with suspense.
Emma Lourd’s “You Have a Match” is a heartfelt coming-of-age story that follows Abby after she takes a DNA test and finds out that she has an older sister who is none other than famed Instagram star Savannah Tully. When the two meet up at summer camp, along with Abby’s best friend and love interest, in hopes of piecing together their family history, things begin to unravel. This charming tale is full of love, life lessons, family drama and self-discovery.
Acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the conversations we have with our inner selves through behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies. This compelling collection of stories examines the power that we have to harness our positive and negative thoughts through the conversations we have with ourselves in silent and the incredible that’s already within us to embrace our highest self.
When forestry researcher Cadie receives an urgent message from her long-estranged best friend, Daniela, she returns to her childhood home. There the two are forced to face the dark secret that ended their friendship years earlier — but it comes at a cost. With wildfires, droughts and tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals blazing, Cadie must decide if she’s willing to sacrifice protecting the people and forest she loves or give up everything she stands for to protect the one secret that has haunted and shaped her entire life.
One day Jamie wakes up and can read and erase people’s minds, but he’s lost all memory of his past. The same happens to Zoe, who wakes up to find she’s gifted with superhero strength and speed but has no recollection of who she was prior. The two become archrivals until they meet in a memory-loss support group where they realize that the key to unlocking their pasts is through each other. But when an ongoing threat puts people’s lives at stake, the two have no choice but to trust each other. Can they become the heroes the world needs?