There is no worse feeling than going to a bookstore and having absolutely no idea what book you are in the mood for. You find yourself idly wandering the aisles, reading staff pick cards, flipping over paperbacks to read the synopses, you’re in the mood for something, you just don’t know what. Sound familiar? Well, we’re here with a recommended list of the most hyped books coming out in 2023 to get you through the next year without ever having to fear the dreaded book slump.
My only goal when setting out to craft this 2023 reading list was to pick books with premises that would hook you right away. Whether it’s a new thriller from a popular, bestselling author or a tear-jerker from a debut novelist, every book on this list is one of the most anticipated books being talked about in literary circles.
18 New Books to Read Between January-May 2023
There are so many good books coming out in 2023 that it was nearly impossible to narrow it down, so we decided to stick to only fiction novels publishing this winter and spring to get us started.
The Ferryman: A Novel
If you are a fan of the mega-bestselling series, The Passage, get ready for this thrilling standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn’t what it seems. The Ferryman promises Justin Cronin’s signature world-building, complete with twists and turns to keep you on your toes until the very last page.
Romantic Comedy: A Novel
When the bestselling author of Eligible, and Rodham set out to write Romantic Comedy, above all else, she wanted to write something fun. Hilarious and observant, this highly anticipated rom-com from literary darling Curtis Sittenfeld follows a comedy writer who has sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star flips the script on all her assumptions.
A cross-genre blend of neo-noir, speculative fiction, and ’80s detective shows, Flux is the debut novel from Jinwoo Chong. For fans of surrealist authors such as Haruki Murakami and Philip K. Dick, Flux is about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his employers have inadvertently discovered time travel and are covering up a string of violent crimes.
How to Sell a Haunted House
If you love your horror with a dash of humor, then Grady Hendrix is the novelist for you. The bestselling author of The Final Girl Support Group is back with a highly anticipated book that takes on the classic haunted house trope when a young woman returns to her small Southern hometown after the death of her parents and gets the house ready for its Zillow debut.
Sing Her Down: A Novel
No Country for Old Men meets Killing Eve in this gritty, feminist Western thriller from the award-winning author, Ivy Pochoda. Gripping and immersive with blistering prose, Sing Her Down is a new take on the classic Western that sets two indelible women on a path to certain destruction and an epic, stunning showdown.
Everything is Fine Volume One
With over 43 million views, Everything is Fine is one of the most popular WEBTOON comics of all time. Collecting episodes 1–16 for the very first time in one graphic novel volume, Everything is Fine is the story of a couple doing their best to get by in a world where things are absolutely, totally, and unquestionably fine.
The Writing Retreat: A Novel
Those who have read an early copy of The Writing Retreat have been calling this thriller one of the most suspenseful books they’ve ever read. Aspiring writers who have ever considered joining a writers’ retreat may want to be wary when reading this hotly anticipated debut, it’s about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez
Planning your 2023 book club picks? Add this one to your list. A strong, voice-driven story that’s both funny and poignant, What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is the story of a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who set out to bring their long-missing sister home once they discover she is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show.
Small Mercies: A Novel
Set in Boston during the sweltering summer of 1974, Small Mercies is a brutal depiction of criminality and power, and an unflinching portrait of the dark heart of American racism. This widely anticipated thriller is a return to the themes and Boston Irish world of Dennis Lehane’s iconic masterpiece, Mystic River.
Dykette: A Novel
For fans of Luster, HBO’s Search Party, and Detransition, Baby, readers looking for darkly hilarious and unusual stories should add Jenny Fran Davis’ anticipated debut novel to their 2023 reading list. Addictive, absurd, and sexy, Dykette is a story about a young woman who embarks on a ten-day getaway with her partner and two other queer couples.
The Salt Grows Heavy
These aren’t the kind of mermaids that sing alongside flounders and crabs. With Cassandra Khaw’s signature creeping dread and delicious gore, The Salt Grows Heavy takes the mythology of mermaids and twists it into something sharp, dangerous, and hungry. At 112 pages, this eerie novella is the shortest book on our list but don’t worry, it still packs a knockout punch.
Once More with Feeling: A Novel
Elissa Sussman exploded onto the romance scene with Funny You Should Ask, a book that went viral on TikTok, and now she’s back in 2023 with Once More With Feeling. A former pop star finds herself back in the spotlight—along with an old flame from her past in this highly anticipated “friends to lovers” meets “enemies to lovers” romance.
Old Babes in the Wood: Stories
A dazzling collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments. Publishing spring of 2023 in ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats, Old Babes in the Wood features stories that look deeply into the heart of family relationships, marriage, loss and memory, and what it means to spend a life together.
When Stephen King called this book, “…a modern classic…,” we are inclined to pay attention. From the bestselling author of Ohio, Stephen Markley is back with a new climate thriller–a masterful American epic charting a near future approaching collapse and a nascent but strengthening solidarity.
Someone Else’s Shoes: A Novel
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars is back with a highly anticipated story of friendship and love. In Someone Else’s Shoes, two very different women’s lives are altered irrevocably when they accidentally swap gym bags and have to step into each other’s shoes—literally—and into new lives for themselves.
American Mermaid: A Novel
When I first heard the premise of American Mermaid, it was an automatic add-to-cart for me: A brilliantly funny debut novel that follows a writer lured to Los Angeles to adapt her feminist mermaid novel into a big-budget action film, who believes her heroine has come to life to take revenge for Hollywood’s violations.
Chain Gang All Stars: A Novel
A dystopian not so far removed from our present, Chain Gang All-Stars is the explosive, and hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Friday Black. The story follows Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker as they fight for freedom from the Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of a highly-popular, highly-controversial program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry.
The Disenchantment: A Novel
Set in 17th-century Paris, The Disenchantment is the thrilling and sensual debut novel about a passionate love affair between two noblewomen who wish to free themselves from their repressive Parisian society, no matter the cost. This one is a perfect book club read for fans of The Song of Achilles and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.