The Best New Book Releases Out December 12, 2023

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

The new year, somehow, is right around the corner, and Liberty Hardy has a great list of 36 books to look forward to in 2024. If your feet are still firmly planted in 2023, The Atlantic has offered up their list of the best books of the year, and has shared a list of the most popular audiobooks.

New releases-wise, this is an interesting time. There are indie releases out or coming out — like Only For the Brave At Heart: Essays Rethinking Race, Crime, and Justice by Leon Pettiway, a Buddhist monk who seeks to reframe our views around humanity and race; and When Language Broke Open, edited by Alan Pelaez Lopez, an anthology of 45 queer Black Latine writers who use poetry, prose, and visual art to tell their stories.

There are also a couple of adorable kids’ books coming out. Keyana Loves Her Friend by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, tells the story of a fabulous slumber party; and The Last Slice: A Three Kings Day Treat by Melissa Seron Richardson, illustrated by Monica Arnaldo, is a funny story surrounding a holiday dessert.

Apart from these books, the name of the game for new releases this week is Mystery & Romance. And, honestly, I get it. Seeing as we are firmly in the holiday season for many, mysteries and romances offer a special kind of cozy comfort.

Get ready for gamer love, a Tokyo mystery, a historical gothic mystery, and more.

cover of Game On by Seressia Glass

Game On by Seressia Glass

Samara Reynolds is a DEIA consultant who uses her expertise to advocate for diversity in the gaming world anonymously. When she records her critique of the popular game Legendsfall, she foresees there being a response to it, but not it going viral. And she definitely doesn’t foresee a job offer from Aron Galanis, the handsome CEO of the company that made the game. As Aron and Samara work together to improve the company — first as adversaries, then as more — the two have to decide how they want to handle their relationship publicly.

cover of The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino, translated by Giles Murray

The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino, translated by Giles Murray

This is the final book in a popular Japanese detective series, the nature of which means you don’t really need to have read the other books. Here, a Tokyo detective reaches out to detective Kyoichiro Kaga about two cases — one involving a woman mysteriously far from home using a fake name and the other a houseless man. Turns out there is a connection to the death of Kaga’s mother, who ran away from her family and died over a decade ago.



Kalvin is a sophomore with a pretty solid, low-key candy-selling hustle at his high school when his crush, Sterling, comes crashing into his candy supply closet, dealing with a broken heart. Suddenly, after helping her, Kal, the son of two well-known therapists, becomes known as a relationship therapist himself. Now, he has a new hustle, a plan to keep his parents’ crumbling marriage together, and maybe even a path forward with Sterling. But he soon finds out that not everything is so easy, and his views around relationships — familial, romantic, and platonic — are due to be reevaluated.

cover of Our Cursed Love  Julie Abe

Our Cursed Love by Julie Abe

In this sparkling YA romance, Remy has been wanting more than a just-friends relationship with Cam for a minute. When the childhood besties are on a winter break trip to Japan, Remy gets some bad news from a tea leaves reading: she and Cam are not meant to be together. Then a clandestine back alley apothecary the two stumble upon grants them a soulmate elixir with damning consequences. Cam has forgotten who Remy is, and if she can’t help him remember her by midnight on New Year’s Eve, they’ll both forget each other forever.

cover of Death in the Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan

Death in the Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan

Here’s another series continuer, this time involving cryptids. Since Morgan solved the case of the monster living in Lake Michigan, her life as a cryptid hunter has gotten better. When she hears of a man dying from a vicious attack in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, she goes with her dog Newt to investigate. The lies and other nefarious activities she uncovers point to there actually being a dangerous creature living in the forest, and it may even be Bigfoot, as the rumors claim, but finding out has put her on a list of potential victims.

cover of The Curse of Penryth Hall

The Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong

One more mystery! This time a gothic one set in the Cornish countryside. American heiress Ruby is running a rare bookstore in Exeter after the Great War when she gets a request to deliver books to a folk healer in Cornwall. The trip brings her right back to the last place she wants to be: Penryth Hall. Now, the hall’s bells ring for the first time in 30 years, the husband of Ruby’s friend Tamsyn is found dead, and Ruby has to get to the bottom of what the locals are calling a curse returned.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!