7 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in December

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Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (cookie prep! gift shopping!), it’s important to set aside a little time for self-care and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea (or glass of wine—we won’t judge). But what book, specifically, should you curl up with? We’d suggest one of these seven new releases, from a psychological thriller about a young theater critic with a secret to a sweet rom-com about second chances. 

42 Books to Gift Everyone on Your List This Year

december books faulkner

1. The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner 

When a young nanny in London is found dead, Tash, a new mother, is intrigued, particularly because she’s been looking for a story to launch her freelance journalism career. At the same time, she’s searching for new friends to help her navigate motherhood. She meets said friends, a group of sleek, sophisticated and wealthy women, at her son’s play group. But when another young woman is found dead, it’s clear there’s much more to the community than meets the eye, and the more Tash investigates, the more she’s led uncomfortably close to the other mothers. Are these women really her friends? Or is there another reason why they’ve accepted her into their world so quickly? 

december books soloski

2. Here in the Dark by Alexis Soloski

A young theater critic is drawn into a dangerous game in this debut psychological thriller. Vivian is a former actress, who now works as the junior theater critic at a major Manhattan magazine. Angling for a promotion, she reluctantly agrees to an interview that ends up revealing secrets she thought she had long since buried. Then her interviewer disappears—and she was the last person to have seen him alive. When the police refuse to investigate, Vivian assumes the role of amateur detective, slowly realizing that the boundaries between theater and the real world are more tenuous and dangerous than even she could have believed. 

december books wiesner

3. The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner

Calling all rom-com lovers: Melissa Wiesner’s (It All Comes Back to You) charming latest centers on Sadie Thatcher, a woman whose life has fallen apart in one fell swoop. When a fortune teller offers her one wish, Sadie jumps at the chance to redo her year. When she wakes up the next morning, she’s in her former apartment with her former boyfriend, and her former boss is expecting her at work. Checking the date, she realizes it's January 1—of the previous year. As Sadie navigates her second-chance year, she begins to see the red flags she missed in her relationship and in her career as she tries to figure out what really matters in life.

december books kane

4. The Engagement Party by Darby Kane

A young woman went missing from her affluent liberal arts school on graduation weekend. At the same time, a quiet loner who most people on campus didn’t think much of died by suicide. One text bound the two dead students together and was enough for law enforcement to close the case. But they got it wrong. Twelve years later, college friends gather to celebrate an engagement on a swanky private island in Maine, where one guest, Sierra, senses something is wrong. Soon, the group finds a dead man in the trunk of a car with a note: time to tell the truth. As a storm strands them together, the group’s secrets come to the surface as they try to survive this deadly party, in the latest from best-selling thriller writer Darby Kane (Pretty Little Wife).

december books veasna so

5. Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes by Anthony Veasna So

The late writer Anthony Veasna So was known for his funny, soulful essays in n+1, The New Yorker and more, plus his acclaimed debut story collection, Afterparties. This posthumous collection of stories and essays includes already published pieces and new fiction, all written with razor-sharp wit. Mining his youth in California and the lives of his refugee parents, Songs on Endless Repeat is full of vivid explorations of family, queer desire, pop culture, race and more.

december books wilkes

6. Where the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes

Abandonment, betrayal and cannibalism all play into Bram Stoker Award-nominated Ally Wilkes’s (All the White Spaces) eerie gothic novel. William Day should’ve been an acclaimed Arctic explorer until he led a failed expedition—in which his remaining men only survived by eating their dead comrades—and returned in disgrace. Thirteen years later, his second-in-command goes missing in the same frozen waters, and William thinks it could be his chance to restore his reputation. Following a trail of cryptic messages and old bones, the search becomes more and more unnerving, and the rescue mission becomes an uncanny journey into his past, forcing Day to face the things he’s done.

december books kennedy

7. The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac: Stories by Louise Kennedy

The stories in Irish novelist Louise Kennedy’s (Trespasses) new collection center on women in contemporary Ireland and the decisions that make—or break—their lives. In one story, an expectant mother’s worst fears about her husband’s entanglement with a teenage girl are confirmed; in another, a woman struggles to forgive herself after an abortion threatens to destroy her marriage. For fans of Annie Proulx, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac is equal parts gritty, intense and beautiful. 

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...