Second in my new monthly feature, looking at 10 books coming out each month I'm excited for. Once again, it was REALLY hard to narrow these down.
Also once again, if you're looking for a much more comprehensive guide to upcoming releases I can MASSIVELY recommend signing up for the Pop! Goes The Reader Patreon, which has saved me a ridiculous amount of time because it has pretty much everything I could ever dream of wanting to read included!
If you want to buy any of the below books, you can find them on my Bookshop on this page - please note, I get a percentage if you use this.
The Girl Who Wasn't There by Penny Joelson (3rd Nov, Sourcebooks Fire)
I know what I saw.
Nothing ever happens on Kasia's street. And Kasia would know. Her illness keeps her home for days at a time, with little to do but watch the world from her bedroom window. So when she witnesses what looks like a kidnapping, she's not sure she can believe her own eyes...
So she sets out to find the only other witness. The girl in the window across the street. The girl who was also watching when things went down.
But what Kasia discovers shocks her more than the kidnapping itself.
There is no girl.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: Joelson's debut, I Have No Secrets, about a girl with cerebral palsy who knows her carer's boyfriend committed a violent crime but is unable to communicate this, was a gripping thriller. Jemma, the MC, was an outstanding lead, and I'm looking forward to another exciting read and to meeting another of Penny Joelson's heroines.
White Ivy by Susie Yang (3rd Nov, Simon & Schuster)
A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.
Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.
Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.
Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: Dark obsession, coming-of-age story, and classmate tick so many boxes for me - I love reading about college students and ghosts from the past resurfacing!
Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao (10th Nov, Simon Pulse)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda.
Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.
Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.
When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.
But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: I raced through both American Panda and Our Wayward Fate last weekend and thought both were fabulous - Gloria Chao is a new favorite author of mine on the strength of them, and I'm super-excited to have discovered her just before a new book came out! She writes complex family dynamics perfectly and since fake dating is a favorite trope of mine, I'm hugely looking forward to this book.
Teen Killers Club by Lily Sparks (10th Nov, Crooked Lane Books)
Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars--and discovers her own true self--in this mesmerizing debut novel.
Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she's convicted of her best friend Rose's brutal murder, she's designated a Class A--the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn't fit in. She's squeamish around blood. She's kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that's because Signal's not really a killer. She was framed for Rose's murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose's real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal's strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: This sounds like the kind of plot which has the potential to be either utterly amazing or entertainingly terrible. Thankfully, early Goodreads reviews seem strongly on the side of it being fantastic. I love mismatched groups and the idea of an innocent girl with a sunny attitude rubbing off on (presumably?) actual killers just sounds hilarious.
Light For The World To See by Kwame Alexander (17th Nov, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events. A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,” Light for the World to See is a rap session on race. A lyrical response to the struggles of Black lives in our world . . . to America’s crisis of conscience . . . to the centuries of loss, endless resilience, and unstoppable hope.
Includes an introduction by the author and a bold, graphically designed interior.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: A few years ago, I'd never have described myself as a poetry fan, but I've read some amazing books over that time and fallen in love with several poets - Kwame Alexander up there with Elizabeth Acevedo as the absolute best. The Crossover, The Rebound and Booked are all outstanding and I'm excited for this collection.
Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch (10th Nov, Simon Pulse)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Love & Gelato comes a Mamma Mia–inspired tale about a teen girl finding romance while trying to connect with her absent father in beautiful Santorini, Greece.
Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity.
But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle.
And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: The Mamma Mia comparison and the idea of someone bonding with their father over Greek myths would definitely have me interested whoever wrote it - I was obsessed with Greek myths as a kid, while Mamma Mia is me and my wife's favorite movie to watch together - but in addition, Love & Gelato is a cute contemporary I adored, so more from Jenna Evans Welch is always good!
Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon (17th Nov, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
From the bestselling author of Frankly in Love comes a contemporary YA rom-com where a case of mistaken identity kicks off a string of (fake) events that just may lead to (real) love.
When Sunny Dae—self-proclaimed total nerd—meets Cirrus Soh, he can’t believe how cool and confident she is. So when Cirrus mistakes Sunny’s older brother Gray’s bedroom—with its electric guitars and rock posters—for Sunny’s own, he sort of, kind of, accidentally winds up telling her he’s the front man of a rock band.
Before he knows it, Sunny is knee-deep in the lie: He ropes his best friends into his scheme, begging them to form a fake band with him, and starts wearing Gray’s rock-and-roll castoffs. But no way can he trick this amazing girl into thinking he’s cool, right? Just when Sunny is about to come clean, Cirrus asks to see them play sometime. Gulp.
Now there’s only one thing to do: Fake it till you make it.
Sunny goes all in on the lie, and pretty soon, the strangest things start happening. People are noticing him in the hallways, and he’s going to football games and parties for the first time. He’s feeling more confident in every aspect of his life, and especially with Cirrus, who’s started to become not just his dream girl but also the real deal. Sunny is falling in love. He’s having fun. He’s even becoming a rocker, for real.
But it’s only a matter of time before Sunny’s house of cards starts tumbling down. As his lies begin to catch up with him, Sunny Dae is forced to wonder whether it was all worth it—and if it’s possible to ever truly change.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: I love rom-coms, I love people lying about who they are, and I love characters developing in confidence through the course of a novel. 3 for 3 here, by the looks of things!
Malcolm and Me by Robin Farmer (17th Nov, SparkPress)
Philly native Roberta Forest is a precocious rebel with the soul of a poet. The thirteen-year-old is young, gifted, black, and Catholic—although she’s uncertain about the Catholic part after she calls Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite for enslaving people and her nun responds with a racist insult. Their ensuing fight makes Roberta question God and the important adults in her life, all of whom seem to see truth as gray when Roberta believes it’s black or white.
An upcoming essay contest, writing poetry, and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X all help Roberta cope with the various difficulties she’s experiencing in her life, including her parent’s troubled marriage. But when she’s told she’s ineligible to compete in the school’s essay contest, her explosive reaction to the news leads to a confrontation with her mother, who shares some family truths Roberta isn’t ready for.
Set against the backdrop of Watergate and the post-civil rights movement era, Malcolm and Me is a gritty yet graceful examination of the anguish teens experience when their growing awareness of themselves and the world around them unravels their sense of security—a coming-of-age tale of truth-telling, faith, family, forgiveness, and social activism.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: There have been lots of superb YA books looking at civil rights over the last few years; most I've read have been contemporary, though. I was hugely impressed by Christina Hammonds Reed's The Black Kids, set during the Rodney Kings Riots, and this sounds like another excellent book about a pivotal time in US history.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (17th Nov, Margaret K McElderry Books)
Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
Why I Can't Wait To Read It: I'm a huge Romeo and Juliet fan, who loves retellings, so this sounds very up my street. Add in gangs, flappers, monsters, and a fight for a city, and I'm SOLD! Doesn't hurt that Chloe's awesome on Twitter and I've been desperate to read this since I first saw her tweet about it.