The 10 Most Anticipated Novels to Read This Winter

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After the decade that has been 2020, I think we all deserve to look forward to something. Fortunately for us readers, the next few months promise a bevy of new books to help us escape into a good story (or 10). Anticipated bestsellers in the new year include historical fiction from Kristin Hannah, young adult fiction from Angie Thomas and Courtney Summers, and mysteries from Tarryn Fisher and Jane Harper. Romance fans can look forward to Alyssa Cole’s series debut—which was originally scheduled for May and is finally publishing!—and YA author Sandhya Menon is releasing her first adult romance under the name Lily Menon. In addition to those powerhouse publishing names, here are 10 more books publishing between December and February that you won’t want to miss.


Sophie Cousens

This Time Next Year

Described as a “moving, joyful love story” by the publisher, this novel features a man and a woman who were born on the same day in the same hospital and find themselves in a chance meeting. Early reviews have compared "This Time Next Year" to the movie "Love Actually" and the book "One Day in December," which sounds like the heartwarming read we need to celebrate the close of this year.

December 1, 2020

Denise Williams

How to Fail at Flirting

Get ready for some dad-joke-level banter in this debut romance about a university professor who goes out looking for a one-night stand and finds something more. Amid the lighthearted dialogue and steamy bedroom scenes, Denise Williams also addresses more serious topics including intimate-partner violence and sexual harassment.

December 1, 2020

Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

One of the Good Ones

This much-buzzed-about YA novel follows two young women who take an American road trip inspired by "The Negro Motorist Green Book" in memory of their sister, who died after being arrested at a protest in Los Angeles. Sadly, stories about police brutality are not uncommon in contemporary young adult fiction, but this one has layers you haven’t seen before.

January 5, 2021

Eliza Jane Brazier

If I Disappear

We know there’s a heavy contingent of true crime podcast fans among our TEG readers, and if that describes you, “If I Disappear” is the thriller you need to read in 2021. Set in remote Northern California, this novel features a young woman who embarks on a solo and ill-advised search to find the missing host of her favorite true crime podcast.

January 26, 2021

Eman Quotah

Bride of the Sea

The publisher’s blurb for this book begins with “spanning four decades and two continents,” so you know I was immediately hooked. I adore multicultural family sagas that transport me across the world and through time, and this debut novel by Saudi-American writer Eman Quotah promises to do just that.

January 26, 2021

Dantiel W. Moniz

Milk Blood Heat

Raise your hand if you also judge books by their covers! Good to see I’m not alone. Fortunately, the description of this debut short story collection sounds just as vibrant as the colorful cover design. Set in Florida, these are the stories of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary moments, and the collection has been blurbed by incredible short story authors including Nafissa Thompson-Spires and Danielle Evans.

February 2, 2021

Leesa Cross-Smith

This Close to Okay

Leesa Cross-Smith’s 2020 short story collection was one of my favorite books of the whole year, so I was thrilled when I saw she had a full-length novel coming in 2021. My favorite thing about Cross-Smith is the beautiful way she writes about relationships, and I expect her writing will shine in this story about two strangers who spend the weekend together after meeting on a bridge one rainy night in Kentucky.

February 2, 2021

Nancy Johnson

The Kindest Lie

One of my favorite and most trusted bookstagrammers (@spinesvines, follow her if you don’t already!) recommended this book for fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson, and that was all I needed to hear. This debut novel follows a woman who leaves Chicago for her Indiana hometown and reckons with class and racial inequalities amid the financial crisis of 2008.

February 9, 2021

Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones

“The Gilded Ones” is the first book in a planned fantasy trilogy, and I am here for it! When teenage Deka is revealed to have golden blood, her community deems her impure and sentences her to a terrible fate, but then she is given another opportunity: the chance to join an army of young women just like her, warriors with golden blood.

February 9, 2021

Loan Le

A Pho Love Story

Food-inspired romances are my favorite sub-genre of romance novels, so I was delighted to learn about this young adult novel featuring two Vietnamese-American teens who form a relationship despite the long-standing feud between their families, who own competing pho restaurants. I can’t decide if I’m more excited for the descriptions of Vietnamese dishes or the star-crossed drama!

February 9, 2021


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