The Best Books of 2024

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the best books of 2024 so far

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Sugar, Baby

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Sugar, Baby

Living at home and cleaning houses for a living, 21-year-old Agnes feels like her life is going nowhere. That changes when she meets her client’s daughter, Emily, who works as a sugar baby. Enraptured, Agnes follows Emily into her line of work, thereby estranging herself from her religious mother and setting out on a dark path of self-discovery.

The Fetishist

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The Fetishist

When Kyoko’s mother Emi dies by suicide, Kyoko blames washed-up musician Daniel Karmody—the man who seduced and then abandoned Emi. Now in her twenties, Kyoko is ready to take her revenge. Armed with a knife, she sets out to kidnap and murder Karmody, only for her plans to swiftly go awry.

Martyr!

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Martyr!

Cyrus Shams—the Iranian-American protagonist of accomplished poet Akbar’s first novel—may be several years sober, but that doesn’t mean he’s not self-destructive in other ways. Haunted by the deaths of his mother (when he was a child) and father (after his first year of college), Cyrus is nearing 30 and still loitering around his old college town when he decides to try and make sense of his parents’ passing the only way he can think of: by writing a book of poetry about martyrs through history. When he learns of an Iranian artist who has been diagnosed with cancer and has decided to turn her final days into a work of performance art, he sets off across the country to meet her.

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Come and Get It

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Come and Get It

Come and Get It

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In her sophomore effort, the much-lauded scribe of 2019’s Such A Fun Age takes clever aim at the social stratifications and warped value systems of academia. When a white visiting professor named Agatha offers Black college senior and resident assistant Millie an opportunity to make some money arranging interviews with students for a book Agatha is writing, Millie sees the job as an easy way to make some extra cash. But the enterprise quickly spirals out of hand as the two become wrapped up in the messy lives of three female suitemates living in Agatha’s dorm.

Good Material

Good Material

The beloved author of Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love is back with her fourth book and second novel in less than six years. In the wake of a devastating breakup, aspiring standup comedian Andy is left to sift through the wreckage of his most recent relationship. If he can figure out why Jen fell out of love with him, he figures, maybe he can win her back. But every relationship has two sides, and Andy is about to learn Jen’s version of the story.

Greta and Valdin

Greta and Valdin

This laugh-out-loud-funny debut novel follows the titular gay children of a Maori mother and Russian immigrant father living in Auckland, New Zealand. (They also have an older brother, Casper, but he’s straight and therefore less interesting.) Gre and Val navigate love, family, and career angst as they make their way through their twenties, all amid a cast of friends and family just as colorful as they are.

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Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

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Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

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Coming as it does from an author known for writing essays that braid together personal narrative with meticulous research, Splinters marks a departure for Leslie Jamison: though she’s written herself into prior books, this one is her first straightforward, unadulterated memoir. Chronicling the birth of her child and attendant breakdown of her marriage, Jamison captures the magic of simultaneous love and loss as only she can.

Great Expectations

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

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Naming your debut novel after the ubiquitous Charles Dickens classic is a bold move, but it pays dividends in the case of Cunningham’s sweeping tale of a young, Black single dad who finds work as an aide on a young, Black politician’s historic presidential campaign. Clearly inspired by the author’s own experiences as a staffer on Obama’s campaign (and then in the White House), this formidable debut ultimately digresses into a reality all its own.

Fire Exit

Fire Exit

After winning widespread acclaim for Night of the Living Rez, his debut collection of short stories, Talty is back with a first novel that cements his status as a writer to watch. When his twentysomething-year-old neighbor Elizabeth goes missing, Penobscot tribal member Charles Lamosway grows worried—not least because of the secret Charles has been keeping for Elizabeth’s entire life: Elizabeth is Charles’s daughter.

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Wandering Stars

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Wandering Stars

Wandering Stars

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The long-awaited follow-up to Orange’s lauded debut novel—There There, released in 2018—is sort of a prequel, sort of a sequel, and yet ultimately something entirely independent and original. Following the descendants of a single Cheyenne survivor of the Sand Creek massacre, Wandering Stars stirringly spans the 160 years between the 1864 tragedy and the present day before ultimately depositing us neatly in the aftermath of the events of Orange’s first book.

Memory Piece

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Memory Piece

In her decades-spanning latest novel, Lisa Ko probes the distances that accumulate between ambition and reality. As teenagers in the 1980s, Giselle Chin, Jackie Ong, and Ellen Ng are united by their shared worldview and sense of alienation. As adults, all three women—now a performance artist, a coder, and a community activist, respectively—their dreams have grown more complicated, and so have their conflicting definitions of success.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last

Anita de Monte Laughs Last

Anita de Monte Laughs Last

As a first-generation art history student living in New York City, Raquel is used to feeling like an outsider. But when a chance encounter flings her into the public eye of the art world, she finds herself increasingly fascinated by—and connected to—the story of Anita de Monte, a once-rising artist whose burgeoning career was cut short by her tragic death in 1985. (Author Gonzalez took inspiration for de Monte’s fictional life story from that of real-life conceptual artist Ana Mendieta, who passed away that same year.)

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Mariner Books Annie Bot

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Annie Bot

Mariner Books Annie Bot

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If there’s one thing artists are going to do to sort out our feelings about autonomy and free will in the age of artificial intelligence, it’s imagining how robots and humans would have sex. Such is the case in Greer’s darkly clever new novel about the titular Annie Bot, an artificial intelligence created to be the perfect companion for her human owner, Doug. But as Annie learns how to better mimic a “real woman,” she begins to wonder whether she can ever lay claim to any humanness of her own.

Worry

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Worry

Described by its publisher as “Frances Ha meets No One Is Talking About This,” Tanner’s Brooklyn-set debut novel about two sisters’ coming-of-anxiety is both riotously funny and wryly existential. It’s 2019, and 28-year-old Jules Gold is reeling from a breakup when her younger sister Poppy—relatively fresh off of a suicide attempt that no one except Jules knows about—invites herself to move into Jules’s apartment. Together, over the course of the year leading up to the global covid pandemic, the Gold sisters scramble to find their footing and figure out their respective futures.

Who’s Afraid of Gender?

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Who's Afraid of Gender?

Who’s Afraid of Gender?

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Arriving at a time when LGBTQ+ rights in states across the U.S. are increasingly under attack, this new treatise by legendary gender theorist Judith Butler is a much-needed balm to counter the right wing’s ever-escalating wave trans panic. In this incisive and vital new volume, Butler traces the current anti-trans movement to its roots in xenophobia, fascism, and misogyny.

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The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality

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The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality

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After tackling our relationship with the English language, the bestselling author of Cultish and Wordslut is ready to challenge the uniquely 21st-century cognitive biases that rule us all. In Magical Overthinking, Montell dives into a slew of topics, from our hero worship of celebrities to the stranglehold that the “sunk cost fallacy” has on our dating lives, all with her trademark flavor of incisive wit.

Little Rot

Little Rot

A prolific genre-hopper, Akwaeke Emezi has already conquered the genres of literary fiction, romance, memoir, and YA fantasy. Now, Emezi turns their sharp, lyrical eye to noir with a novel spanning the seedy underbelly of New Lagos, Nigeria. When Kalu attends his friend Ahmed’s exclusive sex party, hoping to get his mind off his devastating breakup with ex-girlfriend Aima, Kalu makes an impulsive decision that will irrevocably alter the lives of everyone around him.

All Fours

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All Fours

July’s new novel marks the author, artist and filmmaker’s first new novel in almost a decade, since the January 2015 release of her acclaimed debut The First Bad Man. In July’s sophomore novel, a semi-famous artist leaves her husband and child at home in L.A. to drive across the country to New York City—only to almost immediately go rogue from her own plan and embark on a different sort of journey altogether.

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Exhibit

Exhibit

Living in the Bay Area with her college sweetheart Philip, photographer Jin Han is young, brilliant, and married. But is she happy? She’s never thought to question it—until she attends a party in the well-moneyed hills just outside of San Francisco, where she meets ballet dancer Lidija Jung. In her latest novel since 2018’s acclaimed The Incendiaries, Kwon once again holds nothing back.

Ambition Monster: A Memoir

Ambition Monster: A Memoir

Ambition Monster: A Memoir

At the top of her game, Jennifer Romolini had it all: a “girlboss” dream job, a total catch of a husband, and a beautiful child. So why was she so unhappy? And when did it all fall apart? These are the questions Romolini seeks to answer in her intimate, intensely resonant memoir about workaholism, unresolved trauma, and the “addictive nature of ambition.”

Headshot of Keely  Weiss

Keely Weiss is a writer and filmmaker. She has lived in Los Angeles, New York, and Virginia and has a cat named after Perry Mason.

 

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