25 Fall New Books That Are Must Reads

Are you ready for the autumn season? Apart from the leaves changing color and the crisp autumn air, one of my favorite things about the Fall season is the abundance of exciting books that come during that time! And Fall 2021 is no different from previous years. We have the latest book from bestselling author Sally Rooney to the next YA issue-oriented by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. So get your journals, Goodreads or StoryGraph accounts ready, here are 25 upcoming releases that will have you wanting the fall season to start tomorrow!

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Expected publication: September 7

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?  (Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and illustrated by Tom de Freston

Expected Publication Date: September 2

The shark was beneath my bed, growing large as the room, large as the lighthouse, rising from unfathomable depths until it ripped the whole island from its roots. The bed was a boat, the shark a tide, and it pulled me so far out to sea I was only a speck, a spot, a mote, a dying star in an unending sky…

Julia has followed her mum and dad to live on a remote island for the summer – her dad, for work; her mother, on a determined mission to find the elusive Greenland shark. But when her mother’s obsession threatens to submerge them all, Julia finds herself on an adventure with dark depths and a lighthouse full of hope…(Credit: Hachette Children’s Group)

Ten Steps To Us by Attiya Khan

Expected Publication: September 9

What if you met the boy of your dreams but loving him was forbidden? Aisha Rashid is used to being invisible or bullied and overshadowed by best friend Isabelle. So no one is more surprised than her when Darren Brady, the hot new boy in school, takes an interest in her and not Isabelle. But Aisha is a devout hijab-wearing Muslim and Darren is off limits. Does she follow her heart even if it means losing her own identity? And is Darren really all that he seems? If only there was a way she could keep the boy and her faith. Maybe there is a way? All it takes are ten steps…(Credit: Hashtag Press)

Assembly by Natasha Brown

Expected US Publication Date: September 14

Come of age in the credit crunch. Be civil in a hostile environment. Go to college, get an education, start a career. Do all the right things. Buy an apartment. Buy art. Buy a sort of happiness. But above all, keep your head down. Keep quiet. And keep going.

The narrator of Assembly is a black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend’s family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can’t escape the question: is it time to take it all apart?

Assembly is a story about the stories we live within – those of race and class, safety and freedom, winners and losers. And it is about one woman daring to take control of her own story, even at the cost of her life. With a steely, unfaltering gaze, Natasha Brown dismantles the mythology of whiteness, lining up the debris in a neat row and walking away. (Credit: Little Brown and Company)

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Expected Publication Date: September 14

In this joyful exploration of the Black Lives Matter motto, a loving narrator relays to a young Black child the strength and resonance behind the words. In family life, through school and beyond, the refrains echo and gain in power, among vignettes of protests and scenes of ancestors creating music on djembe drums. With deeply saturated illustrations rendered in jewel tones, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers a gorgeous, moving, and essential picture book. (Credit: Candlewick Press)

Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs and illustrated by Trish Forstner

Expected Publication: September 21

It’s scary being the new dog.

In this suspenseful new series, readers meet Sophie, a dog who can’t remember what happened. She doesn’t know how she ended up in this house. She doesn’t recognize any of these other dogs. She knows something terrible happened but she just… can’t… recall… Wait! Where’s her lady? It’s all coming back to her now, and it’s enough to raise Sophie’s hackles. Now Sophie has to figure out where she is, what’s happening and how she’s going to survive this.

They say there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just bad owners. (Credit: Image Comics)

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

Expected publication: September 28

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim—the Thursday Murder Club—are still riding high off their recent real-life murder case and are looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet at Cooper’s Chase, their posh retirement village.

But they are out of luck.

An unexpected visitor—an old pal of Elizabeth’s (or perhaps more than just a pal?)—arrives, desperate for her help. He has been accused of stealing diamonds worth millions from the wrong men and he’s seriously on the lam.

Then, as night follows day, the first body is found. But not the last. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim are up against a ruthless murderer who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can our four friends catch the killer before the killer catches them? And if they find the diamonds, too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus? You should never put anything beyond the Thursday Murder Club. (Credit: Pamela Dorman)

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

Expected US Publication Date: September 28

Pip’s good girl days are long behind her. After solving two murder cases and garnering internet fame from her crime podcast, she’s seen a lot.

But she’s still blindsided when it starts to feel like someone is watching her. It’s small things at first. A USB stick with footage recording her and the same anonymous source always asking her: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? It could be a harmless fan, but her gut is telling her danger is lurking.

When Pip starts to find connections between her possible stalker and a local serial killer, Pip knows that there is only one choice: find the person threatening her town including herself–or be as good as dead. Because maybe someone has been watching her all along…(Credit: Delacorte Press)

Own Your Period : A Fact-filled Guide to Period Positivity by Chella Quint and Illustrated by Giovana Medeiros

Expected Publication Date: September 28

This fact-filled guide to periods is bursting with positive, honest advice on managing and understanding menstruation. Having a period is an incredible thing – Own Your Period celebrates what the body can do and provides young people (age 9+) with everything they need to be prepared… and empowered. (Credit: QEB Publishing)

Tomorrow Is Beautiful by Sarah Crossan

Expected Publication Date: September 30

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. This poetry anthology provides the antidote, offering calm, hope and peace to all. Focusing on positivity, this is the perfect collection to dip into whenever you need a boost. Containing a selection of classic poems from Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, as well as contemporary poems chosen by Sarah Crossan – the go-to verse novelist in the UK – this beautiful book will lift your spirits time and time again. (Credit: Bloomsbury)

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

Expected Publication Date: October 5

With challenges undermining their friendship, Eleanor and Chanel must navigate their senior year in a time of uncertainty. When the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season’s first football game, their act of rebellion has disastrous consequences. Chanel, who is black, is singled out as the ringleader and is the only student suspended from school. Eleanor, however, starts a relationship with star quarterback Three, who may or may not have her back as other students protest their school’s actions. A bittersweet, sometime humorous, but always compelling look at issues of friendship, privilege, sports, and race. (Credit: Sourcebooks Fire)

Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell and illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

Expected US Publication Date: October 5

One night Sylvie awakens to an incredible sight: a glowing figure tiptoeing across her floor, with enormous feathery wings wafting from his back. He’s muttering to himself, trying to remember his orders, for this is his first flight. Could he really be the same angel she made last winter in the snow? Sylvie’s angel says she isn’t supposed to see him. He has been sent to save her life, and when the danger is past, she won’t remember he was there. But she does remember. She thinks of him every day. And when nothing Sylvie does, no matter how risky, can make him reappear, she realizes he’ll always be there unseen when she truly needs him. In a contemporary tale told with humor and warmth, paired with Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini’s enchanting artwork, Maggie O’Farrell weaves the story of a spirited girl who finds a way to bring magic into her own house—and enlist it to bring a sense of wonder to those she loves. (Credit: Candlewick Press)

Five Strangers by E.V. Adamson

Expected US Publication Date: October 5

With its grassy hills and breathtaking city views, London’s Hampstead Heath is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends and loved ones—and on an unseasonably warm Valentine’s Day, the lawns are especially full. So when an aggressive lovers’ quarrel breaks out, there’s an audience of park goers nearby to hear the shouts traded back and forth, and to watch as the violence escalates suddenly to murder, then suicide. 

For the five strangers who observed the gruesome act, the memory of the gore is unshakable. But one of them—disgraced journalist Jen Hunter—is compelled to question the truth of what she thought she saw. Are the facts of the case plain as day, or were they obscured, in the moment, by the glaring sunlight?

As she mounts an obsessive investigation for a seemingly-impossible alternative, the lives of the other witnesses begin to unravel, each in its own particular way. Soon one thing becomes clear: the crime they witnessed was more terrible, more twisted, and more far-reaching than they ever could have imagined. (Credit: Scarlet)

Empress & Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams

Expected Publication Date: October 7

When Empress starts at Aniya’s school, they’re not exactly best friends. But, when the two teenage girls accidentally cast a spell on their 16th birthday and end up switching bodies, they quickly learn that friendship is the most important magic of all. South London’s answer to ‘Freaky Friday’, Empress and Aniya is a moving portrayal of the importance of real friendship and the ups and downs of being a teenager. (Credit: Knights of Media)

A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford

Expected Publication Date: October 7

Scotland, 1949: Caroline Gillan and her new husband Alasdair have moved back to Kelly Castle, his dilapidated family estate in the middle of nowhere. Stuck caring for their tiny baby, and trying to find her way with an opinionated mother-in-law, Caroline feels adrift, alone and unwelcome.

But when she is tasked with sorting out the family archives, Caroline discovers a century-old mystery that sparks her back to life. There is one Gillan bride who is completely unknown – no photos exist, no records have been kept – the only thing that is certain is that she had a legitimate child. Alasdair’s grandmother.

As Caroline uncovers a strange story that stretches as far as the Arctic circle, her desire to find the truth turns obsessive. And when a body is found in the grounds of the castle, her hunt becomes more than just a case of curiosity. What happened all those years ago? Who was the bride? And who is the body…? (Credit: Atlantic Books)

Ferryman by Clarie McFall

Expected Publication Date: October 12

When Dylan wakes up after her train has crashed, she thinks she has survived unscathed. But she couldn’t be more mistaken: the bleak landscape around her isn’t Scotland, it’s a wasteland—a terrain somehow shaped by her own feelings and fears, a border to whatever awaits her in the afterlife. And the stranger sitting by the train track isn’t an ordinary teenage boy. Tristan is a Ferryman, tasked with guiding Dylan’s soul safely across the treacherous landscape, a journey he has made a thousand times before. Only this time, something’s different. The crossing, as ever, is perilous, with ravenous wraiths hounding the two at each day’s end, hungry for Dylan’s soul. But as Dylan focuses her strength on survival, with Tristan as protector, challenger, and confidant, she begins to wonder where she is truly meant to be—and what she must risk to get there. (Credit: Walker Books US)

The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights

Expected Publication Date: October 12

Long before Dickens and James popularized the tradition, the shadowy nights of winter have been a time for people to gather together by the flicker of candlelight and experience the intoxicating thrill of a spooky tale.

Now nine bestselling, award-winning authors – all of them master storytellers of the sinister and the macabre – bring the tradition to vivid life in a spellbinding new collection of original spine-tingling tales.

Taking you from the frosty fens of Cambridgeshire, to the snow-covered grounds of a country estate, to a bustling London Christmas market, these mesmerizing stories will capture your imagination and serve as your indispensable companion to cold, dark nights. So curl up, light a candle, and fall under the ghostly spell of winters past. (Credit: Little, Brown Book Group) 

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

Expected US Publication Date: October 19

When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.

Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line. 

When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who? (Credit: HarperCollins)

The Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

Expected Publication Date: October 19

Keum Suk Gendry-Kim was an adult when her mother revealed a family secret: She had been separated from her sister during the Korean War. It’s not an uncommon story—the peninsula was split across the 38th parallel, dividing one country into two. As many fled violence in the north, not everyone was able to make it south. Her mother’s story inspired Gendry-Kim to begin interviewing her and other Koreans separated by the war; that research fueled a deeply resonant graphic novel.

The Waiting is the fictional story of Gwija, told by her novelist daughter, Jina. When Gwija was seventeen years old, after hearing that the Japanese were seizing unmarried girls, her family married her in a hurry to a man she didn’t know. Japan fell, Korea gained its independence, and the couple started a family. But peace didn’t come. The young family of four fled south. On the road, while breastfeeding and changing her daughter, Gwija was separated from her husband and son. (Credit: Drawn and Quarterly)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Expected UK Publication Date: October 21

Expected US Publication Date: November 30

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church. The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, Small Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness. (Credit: Faber & Faber)

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

Expected Publication Date: October 26

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Academy. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Esvez arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle. (Credit: Sourcebook Fire)

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

Expected Publication: November 2

Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive—her white boss, Michael.

But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael… and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.

And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.

But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…(Credit: HarperCollins)

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Expected US Publication Date: November 2

From the marvelous author of Heartstopper comes an exceptional YA novel about discovering that it’s okay if you don’t have sexual or romantic feelings for anyone . . . since there are plenty of other ways to find love and connection.

This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends.  (Credit: Scholastic)

Lily: A Tale of Revenge by Rose Tremain

Expected Publication: November 11

Nobody knows yet that she is a murderer…

Abandoned at the gates of a London park one winter’s night in 1850, baby Lily Mortimer is saved by a young police constable and taken to the London Foundling Hospital.

Lily is fostered by an affectionate farming family in rural Suffolk, enjoying a brief childhood idyll before she is returned to the Hospital, where she is punished for her rebellious spirit. Released into the harsh world of Victorian London, Lily becomes a favoured employee at Belle Prettywood’s Wig Emporium, but all the while she is hiding a dreadful secret…

Across the years, policeman Sam Trench keeps watch over the young woman he once saved. When Sam meets Lily again, there is an instant attraction between them and Lily is convinced that Sam holds the key to her happiness – but might he also be the one to uncover her crime and so condemn her to death? (Credit: Vintage Publishing)

The Fell by Sarah Moss

Expected Publication Date: November 11

At dusk on a November evening in 2020 a woman slips out of her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two week quarantine period, but she just can’t take it anymore – the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And anyway, the moor will be deserted at this time. Nobody need ever know.

But Kate’s neighbour Alice sees her leaving and Matt, Kate’s son, soon realizes she’s missing. And Kate, who planned only a quick solitary walk – a breath of open air – falls and badly injures herself. What began as a furtive walk has turned into a mountain rescue operation…

Unbearably suspenseful, witty and wise, The Fell asks probing questions about the place the world has become since March 2020, and the place it was before. Sarah Moss’s novel is a story about compassion and kindness and what we must do to survive, and it will move you to tears. (Credit: Pan Macmillan)


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