The Best New Book Releases Out January 2, 2024

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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_.

This is the first new releases roundup of the new year, but if you feel like last year went by way too fast, there are a couple of things grounding us a bit in 2024. For one, romantic fantasy is still having a moment. Right out the gate, A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft promises a “romantic fantasy of manners” that follows a magic seamstress as she designs the wardrobe for a royal wedding.

And would it even be the 2020s without a Greek mythology book by Natalie Hynes that shouts out The Girls? Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth looks at the women of Olympus, specifically the Furies.

YA is also starting off strong with the graphic novel Ghost Roast by Shawneé and Shawnelle Gibbs, illustrated by Emily Cannon, which is basically Ghost Busters in New Orleans; and Just Happy to Be Here by Naomi Kanakia, a contemporary novel about the first out trans girl at an all-girls school.

But what new releases do I have for you below? There’s a mother’s terrible secret during the 1945 Japanese occupation in Malaya, drunk demon saving, a missing sister, a queer theater kid rom-com, and more.

cover of The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

In Malaya in 1945, Cecily Alcantara is walking on a tightrope trying to keep (what’s left of) her family intact during a brutal Japanese occupation. Her son is missing, her eldest daughter has to contend with drunk Japanese soldiers at the tea house where she works, and Cecily’s youngest daughter is kept in the basement to stop her from becoming a comfort woman. But Cecily can’t really complain because everything is kind of her fault…

cover of Heartstopper #5 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper #5 by Alice Oseman

With my love of sweet stories, graphic novels, and YA, I’m surprised I haven’t started this series yet. Listen, I’m slacking, alright? But that doesn’t mean you have to. The fifth installation of this mega-hit series finds Nick and Charlie in love but preparing to deal with a new challenge: University. Will Nick’s first year as a university student change everything?

Book cover of That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

Finally, finally, finally, the paperback edition of this funny romantasy is here. That cover is fire, and the title — though she be long — is pretty accurate. Cinnamon is just minding her business, enjoying a libation or five, when she comes across the demon Fallon Ozul, who needs her help. Soon, she’s roped into going on a quest to save demons from Myva, who is masquerading as a goddess but is actually preying on demons’ weakness. Also, Fallon keeps burning off his shirt, so…yuh.

cover of Nonfiction by Julie Myerson

Nonfiction by Julie Myerson

“This is definitely not a ghost story.”

Doesn’t that grab you by the esophagus real quick? It did me. Whoever wrote that book blurb copy deserves flowers, okay? As I continued reading the book’s description to find out if, indeed, it is not a ghost story — and even if it is truly nonfiction (it’s not) — I realized instead that it is a story of mothers and daughters. The writer main character has a daughter made difficult by her struggle with substance abuse and a mother who was another kind of difficult. Past and present interlock to form the narrative, but — as with the title and the ghost story statement — it’s not clear whether the story being presented is actually what’s going on.

cover of Cupid's Revenge  Wibke Brueggemann

Cupid’s Revenge by Wibke Brueggemann

This queer rom-com navigates some tricky waters. When Tilly’s bestie Teddy first asks her to help him get the attention of the girl he likes — actress Katherine Cooper-Bunting — Tilly is only concerned about her lack of talent and the audition she needs to help with. But then she starts to like Katherine herself…and Katherine might like her back. She doesn’t want to hurt Teddy, and she’s not even sure she wants anything romantic since her grandfather’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis is still looming large over her family.

cover of Rabbit Hole by Kate Brody

Rabbit Hole by Kate Brody

(content warning for mentions of self-harm)

Theodora “Teddy” Angstrom’s sister Angie has been missing for the past 10 years. Once her father dies by suicide, Teddy ends up falling down the same Reddit rabbit hole he had that was obsessed with Angie’s disappearance. And she keeps falling — falling into it with her boyfriend, her half-brother, and even with the elite school she teaches at. She also falls into amateur sleuth Mickey’s orbit, whose presence leads her to become more out of touch with her sense of morality. She’s either going to find out what happened to her sister all those years ago or totally wreck her life.

But if you’re in a different kind of mystery mood, and “underworld cabaret troupe that might be a dangerous cult” (!!) is more your speed, there’s Here in Avalon by Tara Isabella Burton.

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!