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Most Anticipated Books of 2023


Every item on this page was chosen by an ELLE editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

<i>The Survivalists</i> by Kashana Cauley

The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

Credit: Soft Skull

Rich with the wit and insight that has made Kashana Cauley such a joy in comedy writers’ rooms and on Twitter, The Survivalists is the author’s fiction debut, and an ambitious one: The story follows Aretha, a talented lawyer who finds her career—and, perhaps, sanity—slipping away as she descends into the paranoid world of her boyfriend’s survivalist roommates. Capturing our modern terrors with both humor and tact, The Survivalists is a surprisingly fun read for such a dire topic. —Lauren Puckett-Pope, culture writer

Out now.

The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer

<i>The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise</i> by Pico Iyer

The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer

Credit: Riverhead Books

Humming with wisdom and a profound appreciation of nature’s inherent contradictions, Pico Iyer’s meditation on paradise—where it is, what it means, if it can be found on Earth—is much more than a diary of his country-spanning travels. It’s a work of philosophy, probing the scientific and the spiritual to understand why the most beautiful places often become such sources of pain, and how paradise might be re-discovered. —LPP

Out now.

Spare by Prince Harry

<i>Spare</i> by Prince Harry

Spare by Prince Harry

Credit: Random House

The man on the cover needs no introduction, nor is his story one the world is unfamiliar with. As one of the most famous sons of one of the planet’s most famous families, Prince Harry is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of celebrity. And yet, his memoir, Spare, promises to tell us a few things we don’t know about his aching upbringing, his romance with Meghan Markle, and the future he’s still figuring out in America. —LPP

Out now.

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Vintage Contemporaries by Dan Kois

<i>Vintage Contemporaries</i> by Dan Kois

Vintage Contemporaries by Dan Kois

Credit: Harper

In this warm fiction debut, Slate editor Dan Kois skewers the myth of the “one right path” through life, while gently acknowledging our continued belief in it. A coming-of-age story built on unlikely friendships, Vintage Contemporaries is a novel of contradictions; it’s all there in the name. The story zigzags between the 1990s and the 2000s, and at its center is Em/Emily, a New York City transplant caught up in the diverging lives of her two very different friends, who have two very different things to teach her about the creative crossroads of adulthood. —LPP

Out now.

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

<i>Really Good, Actually</i> by Monica Heisey

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

Credit: William Morrow & Company

Held aloft by television writer Monica Heisey’s light touch—you’ll recognize her voice from series like Workin’ Moms and Schitt’s CreekReally Good, Actually is an uproarious millennial existential crisis novel: At 29, Maggie is already a divorcée with a languishing graduate thesis and an empty bank account, and she’s about to start dating again. Don’t worry; it’ll be fine. Really! —LPP

Out now.

The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen

<i>The End of Drum-Time</i> by Hanna Pylväinen

The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen

Credit: Henry Holt & Company

A monumental feat of melodic prose and astute observation, Hanna Pylväinen’s historical fiction novel The End of Drum-Time transports readers to the otherworldly tundra of Scandinavia, circa 1851, where minister Lars Levi is “always after” the “heart” of the native Sámi reindeer herders, whom he seeks to convert. When one of these Sámi falls for Lars’s own daughter, the resulting adventure is one as powerful and profound as the book’s awe-inspiring setting. —LPP

Out now.

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Central Places by Delia Cai

<i>Central Places</i> by Delia Cai

Central Places by Delia Cai

Credit: Ballantine Books

Journalist Delia Cai has always possessed an uncanny—and entertaining—ability to sift the truth from troubled waters, but it’s a treat to see her turn that skill inward and outward. Drawing settings, questions, and hilariously specific humor from her own Midwestern upbringing, Cai’s Central Places follows New York transplant Audrey Zhou as she returns home to Hickory Grove, Illinois, for the holidays. With her is her white fiancé, whom she’s wary of introducing to her Chinese immigrant parents. Then there’s the old high-school sweetheart she bumps into in a Walmart parking lot. The stakes feel as high as they did in all our aching days of adolescence, and the result is a gentle, frustrating, and whole-hearted tale of love and acceptance. —LPP

Out now.

Maame by Jessica George

</i>Maame</i> by Jessica George

Maame by Jessica George

Credit: St. Martin’s Press

Already set to be adapted for television—an announcement came the same day it was published—Maame by Jessica George is a vivacious debut. The story follows 25-year-old Londoner Maddie, the daughter of Ghanian immigrant parents, one of whom has Parkinson’s and is dependent on her care. Forced into early maturity, she discovers a sudden, wrenching bout of freedom when a tragedy rewires her understanding of her role in the world. The resulting journey is as overwhelming—and bright—as the book’s colorful cover. —LPP

Out now.

What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

<i>What Napoleon Could Not Do</i> by DK Nnuro

What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

Credit: Riverhead Books

A carefully captured account of sibling rivalry, diverging ambitions, and the rot at the heart of the American Dream, What Napoleon Could Not Do follows Jacob and Belinda Nti, siblings both born in Ghana. Belinda accomplishes what Jacob did not: She moves to America and marries a wealthy professional, Wilder. Yet neither Belinda, Wilder nor Jacob share the same opinions of what their lives have become. —LPP

Out now.

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Brutes by Dizz Tate

<i>Brutes</i> by Dizz Tate

Brutes by Dizz Tate

Credit: Catapult

With easily one of the most cinematic covers of the year’s new release slate, Dizz Tate’s Brutes is marketed as The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project. That’s an apt comparison, considering the violent, dangerous pleasures lurking in this coming-of-age story, which follows a group of young girls who flock around the radiant local televangelist’s daughter—until she one day disappears. This is a riveting tale, one that refuses to sacrifice nuance nor insight for the sake of its propulsive narrative. —LPP

Out now.

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

<i>Victory City</i> by Salman Rushdie

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Credit: Random House

One of the world’s most acclaimed authors, Salman Rushdie, is back with his first novel after narrowly surviving an attack on his life in August 2022. Victory City is a fitting title for such a book, which features all the hallmarks of Rushdie’s best work: An epic adventure stoked in magic, the story follows a nine-year-old girl who becomes a vessel for the goddess Pampa, breathing the great city of Bisnaga to life. —LPP

Out now.

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez and translated by Megan McDowell

<i>Our Share of Night</i> by Mariana Enriquez and translated by Megan McDowell

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez and translated by Megan McDowell

Credit: Hogarth Press

Astounding in its ambition, this translation of Mariana Enriquez’s Our Share of Night jumps between countries and time periods to flesh out the tale of a father and son, united in grief—and in their shared family legacy, a cult-like Order obsessed with the pursuit of immortality. Wicked, wise, and stuffed with supernatural intrigue, Our Share of Night is a mighty feat of creative prowess. —LPP

Out now.

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Venco by Cherie Dimaline

<i>Venco</i> by Cherie Dimaline

Venco by Cherie Dimaline

Credit: William Morrow & Company

A delight for fans of urban fantasy and legends with a twist, VenCo is no ordinary tale of witchcraft. Its very title is an anagram of “coven,” as well as the name of a front company for a group of witches gathering in traditionally feminine spaces—think Tupperware parties and pilates classes—to share their power. But as these witches (and the women they seek to champion) rise, so too does the witch-hunter set against them. —LPP

Out now.

Culture: The Story of Us, from Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner

<i>Culture: The Story of Us, from Cave Art to K-Pop</i> by Martin Puchner

Culture: The Story of Us, from Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner

Credit: W. W. Norton & Company

As much a book of philosophy as a sweeping history, Martin Puchner’s Culture is calculated but bold in its approach to traversing and analyzing centuries of art, entertainment, and knowledge. Culture hops through countries and eras to deliver a resonant argument for the necessity of our common creativity. —LPP

Out now.

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

<i>I Have Some Questions for You</i> by Rebecca Makkai

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

Credit: Viking

The Pulitzer-nominated author of The Great Believers has returned this year with the kind of murder mystery Netflix seems all-but-guaranteed to snap up, set at a boarding school in New Hampshire. Film professor and podcaster Bodie Kane never wanted to return to The Granby School, but an old tragedy—the death of a fellow student—and the promise of leading a two-week class draw her back, and deeper into a mystery she’d once thought resolved. —LPP

Out now.

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Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears by Michael Schulman

<i>Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears</i> by Michael Schulman

Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat, and Tears by Michael Schulman

Credit: Harper

You’ve likely already read one, if not many, of Michael Schulman’s viral New Yorker stories. (His Jeremy Strong profile in 2021 caused quite the stir.) But even if you’re not familiar with Schulman’s unique talent for capturing Hollywood madness, you’re sure to find something of intrigue in Oscar Wars, Schulman’s comprehensive volume on that glittering, golden show, birthplace of the Moonlight fiasco and the slap heard ’round the world. —LPP

Out now.

Users by Colin Winnette

<i>Users</i> by Colin Winnette

Users by Colin Winnette

Credit: Soft Skull

As irresistible as it is horrifying, Users is not your average treatise on the dangers of our tech-obsessed today (and tomorrow). The novel presents itself as an immersive spiral into the mind and reality of Miles, a VR developer whose new product, “The Ghost Lover,” simulates an ex-lover haunting what feels like the user’s very real life. But when the product earns some furious backlash, the stakes in Miles’ own life grow more and more serious. —LPP

Out now.

Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

<i>Monstrilio</i> by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

Credit: Zando

Bizarre and brilliant, Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s Monstrilio is a sort of modern Frankenstein, in which a mother’s grief materializes in Monstrilio, a creature born from the lung of her deceased son. There is some solace in this renewed life, she finds, but that solace soon turns to horror as grief—as always—has its way. —LPP

Out now.

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Confidence by Rafael Frumkin

<i>Confidence</i> by Rafael Frumkin

Confidence by Rafael Frumkin

Credit: Simon & Schuster

Perhaps we’ve always lived in the era of con artists, but there’s something about the rise of wellness empires that threatens to reinvent the term altogether. And so enters Rafael Frumkin’s Confidence, about friends-turned-lovers Ezra and Orson, who meet as teenagers and go on to found Nulife, a corporation that promises its buyers a life of happiness. What could possibly go wrong? —LPP

Out now.

Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell

<i>Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock</i> by Jenny Odell

Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell

Credit: Random House

By now a legend thanks to the simple but impactful wisdom of her first book, How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell furthers her argument for escaping the so-called “attention economy” in Saving Time. This volume’s focus is the corporate clock, and particularly the ways it orders and re-arranges every facet of our lives. As she argues that time is not, in fact, determined by money, so she also stirs up her audience’s kinship with the planet, that other entity so ravaged by consumerist culture. —LPP

Out now.

Headshot of Lauren Puckett-Pope

Culture Writer

Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE. 

Lettermark

Features Editor

Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.

 

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