December 2022 Most Anticipated New Book Releases

Contemporary & Literary Fiction

A Dangerous Business

Jane Smiley

From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author of A Thousand Acres: a mystery set in 1850s Gold Rush California, as two young prostitutes—best friends Eliza and Jean—follow a trail of missing girls.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
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No One Left to Come Looking for You

Sam Lipstye

Manhattan’s East Village, 1993. Dive bars, DIY music venues, shady weirdos, and hard drugs are plentiful. Crime is high but rent is low, luring hopeful, creative kids from sleepy suburbs around the country.

One of these is Jack S., a young New Jersey rock musician. Just a few days before his band’s biggest gig, their lead singer goes missing with Jack’s prized bass, presumably to hock it to feed his junk habit. Jack’s search for his buddy uncovers a sinister entanglement of crimes tied to local real estate barons looking to remake New York City—and who might also be connected to the recent death of Jack’s punk rock mentor.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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The Light Pirate

Lily Brooks-Dalton

For readers of Station Eleven and Where the Crawdads Singcomes a hopeful, sweeping story of survival and resilience spanning one extraordinary woman’s lifetime as she navigates the uncertainty, brutality, and arresting beauty of a rapidly changing world.

As Florida unravels, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
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Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion

Bushra Rehman

Razia Mirza grows up amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, with her best friend, Saima, by her side. When a family rift drives the girls apart, Razia’s heart is broken. She finds solace in Taslima, a new girl in her close-knit Pakistani-American community. They embark on a series of small rebellions.

When Razia is accepted to Stuyvesant, a prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between the person she is and the daughter her parents want her to be, widens. At Stuyvesant, Razia meets Angela and is attracted to her in a way that blossoms into a new understanding. When their relationship is discovered by an Aunty in the community, Razia must choose between her family and her own future.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Flatiron Books
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How to Turn into a Bird

María José Ferrada

From the award-winning author of How to Order the Universe, María José Ferrada beautifully details the life and lessons of an unconventional man and the boy who loves him. With sharp humor and a deep understanding of a child’s mind, How to Turn Into a Bird is a powerful tale of coming of age, loss of innocence, and shifting perspectives that asks us: how far outside of our lives must we go to really see things clearly?

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Tin House Books
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Scatterlings

Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

A lyrical, moving novel in the spirit of Transcendent Kingdom and A Burning—and the most awarded debut title in South Africa. In 1927, South Africa passes the Immorality Act, prohibiting sexual intercourse between “Europeans” (white people) and “natives” (Black people). Those who break the draconian new law face imprisonment—for men of up to five years; for women, four years.

Abram and his wife Alisa have their share of marital problems, but they also have a comfortable life in South Africa with their two young girls. But then the Act is passed. Alisa is black, and their two children are now evidence of their involvement in a union that has been criminalized by the state.

At first, Alisa and Abram question how they’ll be affected by the Act, but then officials start asking questions at the girls’ school, and their estate is catalogued for potential disbursement. Abram is at a loss as to how to protect his young family from the grinding machinery of the law, whose worst discriminations have until now been kept at bay by the family’s economic privilege. And with this, his hesitation, the couple’s bond is tattered.

Publication date: December 13
Publisher: HarperVia
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The Book of Everlasting Things

Aanchal Malhotra

On a January morning in 1938, Samir Vij first locks eyes with Firdaus Khan through the rows of perfume bottles in his family’s ittar shop in Lahore. Over the years that follow, the perfumer’s apprentice and calligrapher’s apprentice fall in love with their ancient crafts and with each other, dreaming of the life they will one day share. But as the struggle for Indian independence gathers force, their beloved city is ravaged by Partition. Suddenly, they find themselves on opposite sides: Samir, a Hindu, becomes Indian and Firdaus, a Muslim, becomes Pakistani, their love now forbidden. Severed from one another, Samir and Firdaus make a series of fateful decisions that will change the course of their lives forever. As their paths spiral away from each other, they must each decide how much of the past they are willing to let go, and what it will cost them.

Publication date: December 27
Publisher: Flatiron Books
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Ms. Demeanor

Elinor Lipman

Jane Morgan is a valued member of her law firm—or was, until a prudish neighbor, binoculars poised, observes her having sex on the roof of her NYC apartment building.  Police are summoned, and a punishing judge sentences her to six months of home confinement. With Jane now jobless and rootless, trapped at home, life looks bleak. Yes, her twin sister provides support and advice, but mostly of the unwelcome kind. When a doorman lets slip that Jane isn’t the only resident wearing an ankle monitor, she strikes up a friendship with fellow white-collar felon Perry Salisbury. As she tries to adapt to life within her apartment walls, she discovers she hasn’t heard the end of that tattletale neighbor—whose past isn’t as decorous as her 9-1-1 snitching would suggest. Why are police knocking on Jane’s door again? Can her house arrest have a silver lining? Can two wrongs make a right? 

Publication date: December 27
Publisher: Harper Perennial
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Historical Fiction

The Circus Train

Amita Parikh

Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in this World War II debut about a magnificent travelling circus, a star-crossed romance, and one girl’s coming-of-age during the darkest of times.

1938. Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the circus, even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Theo. Brilliant and curious, Lena—who uses a wheelchair after a childhood bout with polio—yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, her mind stronger than the limitations placed on her by society. Then her unconventional life takes an exciting turn when she rescues Alexandre, an orphan with his own secrets and a mysterious past.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights

Kitty Zeldis

For fans of Fiona Davis, Beatriz Williams, and Joanna Goodman, a mesmerizing historical novel about three women in 1920s New York City and the secrets they hold.

As New York City enters the jazz age, recently arrived from New Orleans, Beatrice is working to establish a chic new dress shop with help from Alice, the orphaned teenage ward she brought north with her. Down the block, newlywed Catherine is restless in her elegant brownstone, longing for a baby she cannot conceive.

When Bea befriends Catherine and the two start to become close, Alice feels abandoned and envious, and runs away to Manhattan. Her departure sets into motion a series of events that will force each woman to confront the painful secrets of her past in order to move into the happier future she seeks.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Harper
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The Seamstress of Sardinia

Bianca Pitzorno

A bestselling Italian writer makes her American debut with this delightful dramedy of manners, family, romance, and fashion that is set on the island of Sardinia at the end of the nineteenth century–a dazzling and original literary blend of Jane Austen and Adriana Trigiani.

In 1900 Sardinia, a young woman’s remarkable talent with a needle earns her a position as a seamstress with a wealthy family. Inside this privileged world far different from her own humble beginnings, the skilled sewer quietly takes measurements, sketches designs, mends hems—and in the silence, hears whispered secrets and stories of all those around her.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Harper Perennial
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The Sunshine Girls

Molly Fader

1967 Iowa. Nursing school roommates BettyKay and Kitty don’t have much in common. BettyKay has risked her family’s disapproval to pursue her dreams away from her small town. Cosmopolitan Kitty has always relied on her beauty and smarts to get by and to hide a painful secret. Yet the two share a determination to prove themselves in a changing world, forging an unlikely bond on a campus unkind to women.

Before their first year is up, tragedy strikes, and the women’s paths are forced apart. But against all odds, a decades-long friendship forms, persevering through love, marriage, failure, and death, from the jungles of Vietnam to the glamorous circles of Hollywood. Until one snowy night leads their relationship to the ultimate crossroads.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Graydon House
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The Lipstick Bureau

Michelle Gable

Inspired by a real-life female spy, a WWII-set novel about a woman challenging convention and boundaries to help win a war, no matter the cost.

1944, Rome. Newlywed Niki Novotná is recruited by a new American spy agency to establish a secret branch in Italy’s capital. One of the OSS’s few female operatives abroad and multilingual, she’s tasked with crafting fake stories and distributing propaganda to lower the morale of enemy soldiers.

Despite limited resources, Niki and a scrappy team of artists, forgers and others—now nicknamed The Lipstick Bureau—find success, forming a bond amid the cobblestoned streets and storied villas of the newly liberated city. But her work is also a way to escape devastating truths about the family she left behind in Czechoslovakia and a future with her controlling American husband.

Publication date: December 27
Publisher: Graydon House
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Romance

A Dash of Salt and Pepper

Kosoko Jackson

Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he’s right back home in Harper’s Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life.
 
Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him—he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Berkley
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The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique

Samantha Vérant

A talented chef discovers how spices and scents can transport her—and, more importantly, how self-confidence can unlock the greatest magic of all: love.

Kate is about to throw in the kitchen towel on her lifelong dream when Garrance offers to use her mastery of scents and spices to help her, but it comes at a price: Kate must work with Garrance’s son, Charles, a world-class chef and total jerk. After Kate hesitantly concedes to the deal, she slowly learns to open her heart and mind to new concepts, not quite sure if the magic she’s experiencing comes from Garrance’s spices, from within herself, or from the growing chemistry with Charles. One thing is certain, though: her kitchen is getting increasingly hot.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Berkley
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The Key to My Heart

Lia Louis

Sparkly and charming Natalie Fincher has it all—a handsome new husband, a fixer-upper cottage of her dreams, and the opportunity to tour with the musical she’s spent years writing. But when her husband suddenly dies, all her hopes and dreams instantly disappear.

Two and a half years later, Natalie is still lost. But when someone begins to mysteriously leave the sheet music for her husband’s favorite songs at the station’s piano, Natalie begins to feel a sense of hope and excitement for the first time. As she investigates just who could be doing this, Natalie finds herself on an unexpected journey toward newfound love for herself, for life, and maybe, for a special someone.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books (Atria)
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Twice in a Lifetime

Melissa Baron

The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Oona Out of Order in this imaginative and moving debut novel of a love more powerful than time.

Isla has fled the city for small-town Missouri in the wake of a painful and exhausting year. With her chronic anxiety at a fever pitch, she gets a text from a man who seems to think he’s her husband. Obviously, a wrong number—except when she points this out, the mystery texter sends back a picture. Of them—on their wedding day.
 
Isla cautiously starts up a texting relationship with her maybe-hoax, maybe-husband, who claims to be reaching out from a few years into the future. But he’s also grieving, because in the future, he and Isla are no longer together.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Alcove Press
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Well Traveled (Well Met, #4)

Jen DeLuca

A high-powered attorney from a success-oriented family, Louisa “Lulu” Malone lives to work, and everything seems to be going right, until the day she realizes it’s all wrong. Lulu’s cousin Mitch introduced her to the world of Renaissance Faires, and when she spies one at a time just when she needs an escape, she leaps into the welcoming environment of turkey legs, taverns, and tarot readers. The only drawback? Dex MacLean: a guitarist with a killer smile, the Casanova of the Faire… and her traveling companion for the summer. Forced to spend days and nights together on the road, Lulu’s interest in the kilted bad boy grows as he shows her a side of himself no one else has seen. 

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Berkely
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In It to Win It

Sharon C. Cooper

Though Morgan Redford.’s never had to worry about money, she’s determined to make a name for herself on her own terms. Her new venture won’t be an epic fail. This time, through the nonprofit she cofounded, Morgan is doing something meaningful—helping teens who are aging out of foster care—and she’s got her eye on a property that could house these kids. But the competition is steep, and one of the bidders is someone she never expected. . . .
 
When real estate developer Drake Faulkner learns that his ex—the one who ghosted him years ago—is a potential buyer for the property his eccentric mentor is selling, his competitive streak amps up. No way is he letting her win the property he wants. Bitter? Yes. Petty? Probably. But his mentor has a stipulation: potential buyers must participate in an Ironman competition of sorts for the property.

Publication date: December 13
Publisher: Berkely
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Thrillers, Mysteries, & Horror

A History of Fear

Luke Dumas

A creepy reimagining of the devil-made-me-do-it tale following the harrowing downfall of a tortured graduate student arrested for murder. A History of Fear is a propulsive foray into the darkness of the human psyche, marrying dread-inducing atmosphere and heart-palpitating storytelling.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Atria Books
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The Ingenue

Rachel Kapelke-Dale

My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.

When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother’s unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother’s will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past–and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life–for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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The Last Invitation

Darby Kane

Over the last few years, prominent people—a retired diplomat, beloved basketball coach, the CEO of an empire—have died in a series of fluke accidents and shocking suicides. There’s no apparent connection, no signs of foul play. Behind it all is a powerful group of women, the Sophie Foundation, who meet over wine and cheese to review files of men who behave very, very badly, and then mete out justice. They meet the second Tuesday of every month and vote…and then someone dies.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: William Morrow
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The Opportunist

Elyse Friedman

When Alana Shropshire’s seventy-six-year-old father, Ed, starts dating Kelly, his twenty-eight-year-old nurse, a flurry of messages arrive from Alana’s brothers, urging her to help “protect Dad” from the young interloper. Alana knows that what Teddy and Martin really want to protect is their father’s fortune, and she tells them she couldn’t care less about the May–December romance.

But when Ed and Kelly’s wedding is announced, Teddy and Martin kick into hyperdrive and persuade Alana to fly to their father’s West Coast island retreat to perform one simple task in their plan to make the gold digger go away. Kelly, however, proves a lot more wily than expected, and Alana becomes entangled in an increasingly dangerous scheme full of secrets and surprises. Just how far will her siblings go to retain control?

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: MIRA
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The Widowmaker

Hannah Morrissey

Ever since business mogul Clive Reynolds disappeared twenty years ago, the name “Reynolds” has become synonymous with “murder” and “mystery.” And now, lured by a cryptic note, down-on-her-luck photographer Morgan Mori returns home to Black Harbor and into the web of their family secrets and double lives. The same night she photographs the Reynolds holiday get-together, Morgan becomes witness to a homicide of a cop that triggers the discovery of a long-buried clue.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Minotaur Books
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Someone Had to Do It

Amber & Danielle Brown

Brandi Maxwell is living the dream as an intern at prestigious New York fashion house Simon Van Doren. Still, she can’t help but fangirl over Simon’s it-girl daughter, Taylor. Until one night, at a glamorous Van Doren party, when Brandi overhears something she shouldn’t have, and her fate becomes dangerously intertwined Taylor’s.

Publication date: December 27
Publisher: Graydon House
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Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Magical Realism

A Fire Endless (Elements of Cadence, #2)

Rebecca Ross

In the stunning conclusion to the Elements of Cadence duology, A Fire Endless finds the delicate balance between the human and faerie realm threatened by Bane, the spirit of the North Wind, whose defeat can only come through fire, song, and heart-rending sacrifice.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Harper Voyager
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The Tatami Galaxy

Tomihiko Morimi 

An unfulfilled college student hurtles through four parallel realities to explore the what-might’ve-been and the what-should-never-be in this Groundhog Day meets The Midnight Library–esque novel from one of Japan’s most popular authors.

The inspiration behind the much-loved anime series, Tomihiko Morimi’s contemporary classic is a fantastic journey through time and space, where a half-eaten castella cake, a photograph from Rome, and a giant cavity in a wisdom tooth hold the keys to self-discovery. A time-traveling romp that speaks to everyone who has wondered what if, The Tatami Galaxy will win readers’ hearts over . . . and over . . . and over again.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: HarperVia
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Young Adult

Nine Liars

Maureen Johnson

Stevie Bell solved the case of Truly Devious, and now she’s taking her detecting skills abroad when she becomes embroiled in a mystery from 1990s England. Another pulse-pounding and laugh-out-loud stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Publication date: December 27
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
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Short Stories

Cursed Bunny

Bora Chung

From a rising star of Korean literature, Cursed Bunny is unique and imaginative, blending horror, sci-fi, fairytales, and speculative fiction into stories that defy categorization. By turns thought-provoking and stomach-turning, here monsters take the shapes of furry woodland creatures and danger lurks in unexpected corners of everyday apartment buildings. But in this unforgettable collection, translated by the acclaimed Anton Hur, Chung’s absurd, haunting universe could be our own, illuminating the ills of contemporary society.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Algonquin Books
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Nonfiction

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

Sabrina Imbler

A queer, mixed race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature: the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs, the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams, the bizarre Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena), and other uncanny creatures lurking in the deep ocean, far below where the light reaches. Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a book that invites us to envision wilder, grander, and more abundant possibilities for the way we live.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
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Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood

Jessica Grose

In this timely and necessary book, New York Times opinion writer Jessica Grose dismantles two hundred years of unrealistic parenting expectations and empowers today’s mothers to make choices that actually serve themselves, their children, and their communities. In Screaming on the Inside, Grose weaves together her personal journey with scientific, historical, and contemporary reporting to be the voice for American parents she wishes she’d had a decade ago.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Mariner Books
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Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul

Evette Dionne

In this insightful, funny, and whip-smart book, acclaimed writer Evette Dionne explores the minefields fat Black woman are forced to navigate in the course of everyday life. From her early experiences of harassment to adolescent self-discovery in internet chatrooms to diagnosis with heart failure at age twenty-nine, Dionne tracks her relationships with friendship, sex, motherhood, agoraphobia, health, pop culture, and self-image.

Publication date: December 6
Publisher: Ecco Books
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