So you got a Kindle Unlimited subscription in 2023 but you’re a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to even begin reading. I get it, the catalog is HUGE. I recently got the subscription myself, and I have spent countless hours pouring through it to pick my next read. The good news is, now you don’t have to! In this list, I’ll give you some of the best Kindle Unlimited books 2023 has to offer. That way you can pick one and kick-start your reading year with some seriously amazing stories.
A few things before I get into it though. There are technically over a million titles you can access through Kindle Unlimited. So of course this list is by no means complete or comprehensive. These are just some of the best Kindle Unlimited books you can read this 2023. I also decided not to include audiobooks or magazines. If you don’t see them on this list, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great picks! On that note, this time around I also picked books that are more popular or well-known from a wide variety of genres. Whether you like nonfiction, graphic novels, fantasy, suspense, or romance — anyone can find their next great read!
But without further ado, let’s get into 25 of the best Kindle Unlimited books for this 2023.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books: 2023 Nonfiction
Token Black Girl: A Memoir by Danielle Prescod
Let’s kick things off with this incredible memoir about pop culture, media, the fashion and beauty industries — and the pressure to be perfect. In Token Black Girl, Danielle Prescod explores these topics (and many more) as she tells the story of how she grew up as a Black woman in a primarily white community that basically made her entire identity invisible. Prescod also dives into her experiences in the beauty industry, where she overlooked several toxic ideals in order to climb up the ladder. After decades of doing this, Prescod couldn’t bury her emotions anymore. So she decided to look inwards and confront what motivated her to stay unhappy for so long.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Did you know that this incredibly popular true crime memoir is actually available on Kindle Unlimited? I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the story of how Michelle McNamara became obsessed with the Golden State Killer. She investigated his horrible crimes decades after they were committed, and she was able to piece together a lot of evidence that helped advance the investigation. Sadly, she died before he was unmasked. So her husband Patton Oswalt and journalist Billy Jensen helped complete McNamara’s true crime masterpiece.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
This might be one of my favorite memoirs, and I’m so excited more people get to read it now that it’s on Kindle Unlimited! In the Dream House is written in short, essay-like vignettes, and each of them follows a classic narrative trope. Machado uses this format to talk about her experience in an abusive same-sex relationship — as well as the expectations of Queer relationships in general. It all comes together thanks to Machado’s beautiful and lyrical writing style, which makes this read unforgettable.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Comics and Graphic Novels
Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
Maybe you liked Netflix’s Sandman adaptation and you’re thinking about reading the graphic novels. If so you’re in luck! The first nine volumes are available on Kindle Unlimited — kicking things off with the 30th anniversary edition of Vol. 1 Preludes & Nocturnes. The story begins when an occultist tries and fails to capture Death. Instead, he traps her younger sibling Dream (a.k.a. Morpheus). Dream is locked away for 70 years before he manages to escape. Now, he has to embark on a quest to retrieve his lost objects of power.
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Moving on to a beautiful graphic memoir about gender identity, Gender Queer is Maia Kobabe’s exploration of eir self-identity (and one of the most challenged books in 2022, because people are the worst). From eir childhood, to adolescent crushes, eir relationships and the trauma of pap smears. Kobabe dives deep into eir life story as a Queer person with this memoir. Add to that eir own drawings, and this graphic novel packs quite the emotional punch!
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
This YA graphic novel weaves together three stories steeped in Chinese culture and mythology. The first storyline follows a kid named Jin Wang. All he wants is to fit in at school, but as the only Chinese American student he gets bullied constantly. Then there’s another student named Chin-Kee, who constantly ruins his cousin Danny’s life every time he visits. The third story follows none other than the Monkey King, one of the best-known Chinese legends. As separate as these stories may seem, they all come together in a way you won’t expect!
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
Next comes another graphic memoir that is absolutely worth reading! They Called Us Enemy talks about George Takei’s time in an American concentration camp for Japanese people during WWII. He was only four when every person of Japanese descent in the west coast was sent to these “relocation camps.” His parents were just trying to get by on a daily basis, and it was especially hard for him to understand what was going on as a child. The graphic memoir jumps around from that period of time to the present. Where it also discusses the repercussions of growing up behind barbed wire.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Historical Fiction
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
If you want a sprawling historical fiction that follows one family through generations, you’re in the right place! The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois follows an African American woman named Ailey Pearl Garfield. Du Bois’s words resonate deeply with Ailey, especially what he calls “Double Consciousness.” Ever since Ailey was young, she has struggled to belong. So in order to understand who she is, she decides to look back at her family’s past and the trauma they have been carrying for generations.
The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel
This is a story about love, survival and redemption set in 1940s Shanghai. The Last Rose of Shanghai follows Chinese heiress Aiyi and Jewish refugee Ernest. They meet in the streets of Shanghai, when she hires Ernest to play the piano at her Jazz club. Soon after, he becomes quite famous, making Aiyi’s club the newest sensation. Slowly but surely, the two start to develop feelings for each other — even though she is already engaged. As war starts to escalate, Ernest and Aiyi will have to decide what they value more: their love or their survival.
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
The Night Tiger will transport you to 1930s Malaysia. The story follows two people with a common goal: to return a severed finger to its owner. On one side there’s Ren, an 11-year-old whose master just died. He tasked Ren with finding the finger he lost years ago right before he died. Then there’s Ji Lin, who moonlights as a dancehall girl to help pay her mother’s debts. That’s how she came upon a horrific gift: a severed finger. It feels like a very bad omen, so she enlists the help of her stepbrother to return it to its owner. Both Ren and Ji Lin have 49 days to complete their task — as they also avoid the strange tiger that has been prowling through town.
The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia
Next comes a great work of historical fiction that incorporates magical elements. Translated from Spanish, The Murmur of Bees follows a boy named Simonopio. He was found as a baby, with a cleft palate and covered in a blanket of bees. A couple named Francisco and Beatriz Morales adopt him, and Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder, partly because of his powers. The boy can see visions of the future, and he’s always protected by a swarm of bees. Both gifts will help Simonopio keep his new family safe as his destiny unravels before him.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Contemporary and Literary Fiction
The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
If you want a heartwarming and delightful contemporary about three women coming together in times of crisis, then you should definitely check out The Vibrant Years! The story follows three generations of Desai women: 65-year-old Bindu Desai, her daughter-in-law Aly, and Aly’s daughter Cullie. All of them have their own difficulties to overcome, but they are brought together by Cullie, who needs their help conducting research to develop a new dating app. What could go wrong?
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
This sprawling literary fiction jumps around from the present day to the 1800s, from Cuba, to Mexico, to the U.S., following five generations of Cuban women. It especially focuses on Jeanette and her mother Carmen. Carmen escaped Cuba years ago, leaving her own mother behind. Now she’s trying to give Jeanette a life worthy of the American Dream. But all Jeanette wants is to understand her family’s past. Their lives will also intersect with two immigrants from El Salvador named Gloria and Ana. How? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Horror, Mystery, and Thrillers
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
The Last House on Needless Street is one of the most popular horror books of 2021 — and it’s definitely one of the best Kindle Unlimited books of 2023! Catriona Ward has crafted a super twisty story about a serial killer and a missing child. It’s mostly narrated by Ted, the man who lives in a strange house on Needless Street. His cat Olivia is there, too, as is sometimes his daughter Lauren. Something is off about the whole situation, as you can tell by Ted’s constantly erratic behavior. Things get more complicated when Dee moves in next door. She’s looking for her sister, who went missing years ago near this very street.
The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
Several of Stephen Graham Jones’s books are available in KU — including the more experimental The Last Final Girl! Written like a screenplay, this novel tells the story of Izzy. She’s a Slasher aficionado who suddenly gets to live her very own horror movie. It all begins when homecoming princess Lindsay survives the attack of a man in a Billie Jean mask. She’s a final girl — and not the only one. With the masked killer still on the loose, who will be the last final girl?
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Next, how about a thriller set in the publishing industry? The Other Black Girl follows Nella Rogers. She’s an editorial assistant, and the only Black woman at Wagner Books. That is, until Hazel arrives. Hazel quickly becomes the office darling, and that’s when a string of menacing notes start to appear on Nella’s desk. Could Hazel really be responsible for those notes? Either way, Nella becomes obsessed with finding out the truth — and it might cost her a lot more than her career.
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
Razorblade Tears follows two fathers bent on revenge for their murdered sons. On one hand there’s Ike Randolph, a Black man who has been out of jail for 15 years. His son Isiah and Isiah’s white husband Derek were brutally murdered. Enter Buddy Lee — Derek’s father and another ex-con. Grieving and desperate for justice, Buddy and Ike join forces to find out who killed Derek and Isiah. Their path will be bloody and violent, but they won’t stop until they rain vengeance on whoever killed their sons.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Now that Hell Bent is upon us, it’s a great time to reread Ninth House! For those of you who are new to this story, it’s a dark academia fantasy set in Yale. The story follows freshman Alex Stern, who has earned a place at the prestigious university thanks to her ability to see ghosts. She was actually recruited as part of Yale’s Ninth House — one of the university’s secret societies. Their mission? To regulate the other houses’ occult activities. But when one of their spells goes wrong, and Alex’s partner Daniel goes missing, it’s up to her to find out what is really going on at campus.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
What do you get when you mix a historical reimagining with elements of fantasy? Well, She Who Became the Sun of course! Set in 1300s China, the story follows Zhu Chongba. She is destined for nothingness, while her brother is destined for greatness. But when he unexpectedly dies, she decides to take his name and his fate. With a burning desire to survive and thrive, she’ll do anything to get what she wants and avoid her own fate.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This is not the only Becky Chambers book available on KU, but it’s a great place to begin reading cozier sci-fi! The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet follows Rosemary Harper and the ragtag crew of the Wayfarer. The ship has seen better days, but it’s the perfect opportunity for Rosemary to let go of her past and travel across the galaxy. Things take a turn when they are offered the job of a lifetime: tunneling wormholes through space. It’s a lucrative yet dangerous enterprise, but they accept the offer, which sends them on the adventure of a lifetime.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Everyone’s favorite Murderbot is available on KU! All Systems Red is the first novella in a series that follows the sarcastic and hilarious SecUnit. In this particular story, Murderbot is supplied to a team of scientists working on a distant planet. What they don’t know is that it has hacked its governor module and given itself free will. Murderbot doesn’t like humans all that much. But it’ll work hard to keep its new friends alive from those who want the resources of this planet for themselves.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
For anyone who wants a softer magical element, this amazing book translated from Japanese features time travel! Before the Coffee Gets Cold is definitely one of the best Kindle Unlimited books for this 2023. The story is set in a café in which you can travel back in time to visit your loved ones — as long as your coffee stays warm. The novel follows four characters who go back for different reasons: to confront the one who left them, to receive a letter, to see someone for the last time, and to meet the daughter they never knew.
Best Kindle Unlimited Books 2023: Romance
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Romance books are huge on KU, and Boyfriend Material might be one of the most popular ones! The story follows Luc O’Donnell, the son of a famous rockstar who is trying to clean up his image. In order to do so, Luc needs a nice (fake) relationship. Enter Oliver Blackwood, a barrister and the perfect boyfriend material. The two have very little in common, but they still strike a deal and pretend to date in public. But as we all know, fake-dating can easily feel like real-dating.
Digging Up Love by Chandra Blumberg
For those of us who love culinary romance novels, Digging Up Love is a sweet must-read! The story follows Alisha Blake. She’s an ambitious baker who helps out in her grandfather’s restaurant. One day, a dinosaur fossil is unearthed in her backyard, which is how the handsome paleontologist Quentin Harris winds up in her small town. Alisha and Quentin immediately like each other, but fate might have other plans — and Alisha’s definitely scared of falling in love.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Last but absolutely not least, Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is absolutely one of the best Kindle Unlimited books for 2023! The story follows August, she’s cynical about the supposed “cinematic magic” of New York City — until she meets Jane during one of her subway commutes. August immediately develops a crush on Jane, and soon finds out that the cool rocker aesthetic Jane wears isn’t merely a stylistic choice. Jane is from the 1970s, and she was literally displaced in time. August vows to help her, even if they might never see each other again.