9 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in January-

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The start of a new year means lofty resolutions, clean slates and, most excitingly, a fresh crop of books to devour. Spanning continents and decades, January’s nine most highly anticipated releases span everything from murder mysteries on private Greek islands to how have Sex with a Brain Injury.

The Best Books PureWow Editors Read This Year

january books saintclare

1. Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare

Already drawing comparisons to Raven Leilani’s and Candice Carty-Williams’s Queenie, this debut novel by UK-based writer Celine Saintclare is poised to be a must-read.The novel begins with Agnes, a mixed-race 21-year-old who still lives at home, works as a cleaner and is searching for distractions. Then she meets Emily, the daughter of one of her cleaning clients, who lives in London and works as a model and a sugar baby, dating rich older men for money. As Emily pulls Agnes into her world, Agnes’s religious mother kicks her out of her family home, forcing her to move in with Emily and the other sugar babies who, like Emily, have safety nets Agnes does not. As she jumps from one precarious relationship to the next, she finds herself searching for fulfillment just as desperately as she was before.

january books kumar

2. Say You’ll Be Mine: A Novel by Naina Kumar

Finding out that an ex-boyfriend is getting married is enough a bummer. Now, imagine that same ex asks you to be his best man. That’s exactly the situation Meghna, a 20-something teacher, finds herself in in this sweet rom-com. The solution? Pretend to be engaged to Karthik, a handsome but grumpy suitor with no intention of marrying anyone (but whose mother is hellbent on finding a wife). As the fake couple goes through the motions, they find common ground, grow protective of each other and start to fall for the traits they originally thought they hated. But what happens when their expectations and insecurities threaten their initial deal?

january books kahler

3. Where You End: A Novel by Abbott Kahler

Creepy thriller, anyone? When a woman named Kat wakes up from a coma, she sees Jude, her twin sister. Jude’s face and name are the only memories Kat has from before her accident, and as she tries to make sense of things, she thinks Jude will provide all the answers. Jude, for her part, sees the situation as an opportunity to give her sister a brand-new past that’s worlds away from their actual lives. But if everything was so perfect, who are the mysterious people following Kat? And why is she having uncontrollable flashes of violent anger? Duped by the one person she trusted, Kat begins to investigate what Jude has been telling her, without having any idea of the Pandora’s box she’s opening. 

january books myerson

4. Nonfiction: A Novel by Julie Myerson

Myerson’s (Something Might Happen, The Stopped Heart) latest is a deeply moving love letter from a mother to a daughter that touches on damage and addiction, recovery and creativity and compassion and love. The mother, a novelist, attempts to understand her only child—who seems determined to destroy her own life—along the way revisiting her own uneasy, unresolved relationship with her mother. Throughout the novel, you’ll likely find yourself wondering whether this story is about  Myerson’s own life, as she previously wrote a memoir about her son’s addiction, The Lost Child, which received some backlash.

january books liontas

5. Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery by Annie Liontas 

Annie Liontas (they/she) is an author (Let Me Explain You) and a professor of writing at George Washington University who suffered multiple concussions in their thirties. Their powerful memoir-in-essays is about facing fear, rage, physical suffering and the effects of head trauma on her marriage and other relationships. Combining history, philosophy and personal accounts, Liontas examines the role of brain injury in culture, the criminal justice system and through historical figures like Henry VIII and Harriet Tubman, along the way offering both insight and hope.

january books oluo

6. Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World―and How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo 

You’ve likely heard of (and hopefully read) Ijeoma Oluo’s best-selling 2018 book So You Want to Talk About Race (or 2020’s Mediocre). Her latest spotlights powerful systems—including education, media, housing and policing—and shows what people are doing to create change for intersectional racial equity, and how readers can bring some of this important work to their own lives. Urgent and inspirational, it’s about taking our conversations on race and racism out of a place of pain and trauma, and into a place of loving action. 

january books vardiashvili

7. Hard by a Great Forest: A Novel by Leo Vardiashvili

As a child, Saba fled the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with his older brother, Sandro, and father, Irakli, for asylum in England. Two decades later, all three are struggling to make peace with the past when Irakli decides to return to Georgia. Within weeks of his arrival, Irakli disappears, and the final message his sons receive from him says: “I left a trail I can’t erase. Do not follow it.” Ignoring his father’s warnings, Saba decides to retrace his father’s footsteps to discover what remains of their homeland and its people. Ultimately, this debut novel is about the individual and collective trauma of war, and the indomitable spirit of people determined to survive—and to remember those who didn’t.

january books michaelides

8. The Fury by Alex Michaelides

The latest thriller from Alex Michaelides (The Silent Patient, The Maidens) centers on Lana Farrar, a reclusive ex–movie star who invites her closest friends to her idyllic private Greek island every Easter. Only this year, the trip is upended by a murder. Narrated by one of Lana’s guests, The Fury explores how fake friendships and revenge plots and lead to disaster.

january books mccauley

9. You Only Call When You're in Trouble: A Novel by Stephen McCauley

This warm and moving family saga demonstrates the beauty or dysfunction (or both) of the ties that bind families together. (Great for that post-holiday comedown, no?) Here, we begin with Tom, an architect who finally has an opportunity to build his masterpiece. After a lifetime of taking care of his sister and his cherished niece, he’s ready to put himself first. That’s when, of course, the phone rings, and Cicely, his niece, is embroiled in an investigation at the college where she teaches that threatens her career and relationship. As if that weren’t enough, Tom’s sister wants him to help her tell Cecily the real identity of her father. So begins a journey that will change all of their lives.  

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...