Welcome to part two of my series on books published in 2017 that you should know about. If you missed part one, which covers January to March 2017, you can catch up here.
There are normally more books published in the second half of the year than in the first, and big authors tend to release books in the lead-up to Christmas (particularly in September and October). Unfortunately a lot of those details aren’t shared beyond publishing houses until April or May or thereabouts, so the books listed from August onwards is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s coming. It’s just all I can find this early in the year.
There are three books I’m incredibly excited about in April, and I’m lucky enough to have advance copies of two of them (I truly do love my job). The first one is Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. It’s a horror-thriller set in a video store, where mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut. Darnielle is the lead singer of The Mountain Goats, and this book sounds wonderfully unsettling. A close second in terms of anticipation is See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, a re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders. The good people at Hachette are really excited about this book and were kind enough to provide me with an advance copy, so I’ll be picking this up soon. The third one I can’t wait to get stuck into is The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster, which I’m also lucky enough to have a digital proof of. Arabella Lane, senior executive at a children’s publisher, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. Sara Foster, you’ve got me! April normally brings a new standalone novel from Nora Roberts, so hopefully I’ll be able to add that to my list as well.
Other adult fiction titles that I’m looking forward to in April include Things We Lose in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez, a macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina, and Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. Translated into English for the first time by Megan McDowell, this short novel is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. White Tears by Hari Kunzru sounds very intriguing. It’s described as a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music. Two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues record collecting, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past, and fortunately it has an Australian publisher locked in so I’ll be tracking that one down as soon as it’s out.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti, another Hachette title that’s getting some early buzz, is both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, so I’ll definitely be picking up that one, and Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton is a debut thriller about the mysteries of the past and how they manifest in dark ways in the present. There’s also American War by Omar El Akkad, about a second American Civil War in 2074, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself, and Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell, a bleakly comic debut tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, about a woman who tries to piece together the suicide of her adoptive brother.
April will bring The Gulf by Anna Spargo-Ryan, which I can’t wait to read considering how much I loved her first novel The Paper House, Domina by L.S. Hilton, the sequel to 2016’s Maestra, The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, a story that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of Bulgaria, and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. If graphic novels are your thing, Roughneck by Jeff Lemire, about a brother and sister who come together after years apart to break the cycle of abuse and violence that has cursed their family, is highly anticipated.
There are a couple of non-fiction titles (again, I’m really sorry for the lack of NF in these posts but it’s really not my thing) that are out in April that I’m interested in. The first is Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin, and the second is The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron and her first memoir.
On the YA side, Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, edited by Danielle Binks, is out in April and I can’t wait to read this collection (plus the cover is downright amazing!). The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak is also out this month. It’s a YA debut and a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence — with a dash of old school computer programming. Finally, I’m looking forward to The Silent Invasion by James Bradley, a YA series opener. It’s 2027 and the human race is dying. Plants, animals and humans have been infected by spores from space and become part of a vast alien intelligence. I loved his book Clade, so this is on my must-read list for sure.
The Hot Guy by Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris is one of my most-anticipated books in May. I follow film critic Mel on Twitter, and it’s written by her and fellow critic Anthony Morris, and is a funny, warm, and savvy rom-com packed with movie-related humour. I’m also excited to read BuzzFeed culture writer Doree Shafrir’s debut novel Startup, about the difficulties of real life connection in the heart of New York City’s tech world, The Wanderers by Meg Howrey, which has been described as Station Eleven meets The Martian in a brilliantly inventive novel about three astronauts training for the first-ever mission to Mars, and I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland, a sharp and satirical debut about the politics of women’s bodies and women’s work.
There are two thrillers I’m keen to check out this month, the first of which is I Found You by Lisa Jewell. A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesic man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama. Also, Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito sounds intriguing. The publisher’s blurb says ‘there could be two sides to Maja Norberg that shift silently like quicksand: the question is, which one do you believe?’
Big names are back in May, and I’m looking forward to the second book from Paula Hawkins, Into the Water. A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town… Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. I never loved The Girl on the Train, but I’m always intrigued by the second novels from authors whose debuts become multi-million copy bestsellers. Haruki Murakami also has a new book published in May called Men Without Woman: Stories. Across seven tales, Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.
The tale of Beren and Lúthien by J. R. R. Tolkien was an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World. It will be published for the first time in May, perhaps before a certain novel by a certain author who also has R.R. in his name…
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, a novel in stories, is also published in May. Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, this new book reverberates with the themes of love, loss, and hope. M.R. Carey is also back this month with The Boy on the Bridge. It’s a prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts and can be read completely independently, apparently. Skitter by Ezekiel Boone, the sequel to 2016’s The Hatching, is released this month. There’s also New Boy by Tracy Chevalier, an Othello retelling as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project. Readers are transported to 1970s Washington, D.C., where an 11-year-old black boy arrives at an all-white school. But it’s when his attention is drawn to one of the girls in class that the trouble really begins. I’ve really been enjoying the Hogarth project, so I’m looking forward to more retellings in 2017. Finally, Colm Tóibín has a new novel coming, called House of Names.
Locally, Eva Hornung (The Last Garden) and Hugh Mackay (Selling the Dream) have new novels coming out, but I don’t know more details than that at the moment. Richell Prize-winner Sally Abbott’s climate-change story Closing Down is also published in May, but I couldn’t find details for that either.
A new Patrick Ness novel is coming our way in May. Release is a YA novel inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, and tells the story of one day in the life of Adam Thorn.
In June I can’t wait to read Indigo, a collaborative crime-solving novel that includes writing from Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and James A. Moore. The authors I’m familiar with here are all very good, so I have high hopes for this. Arundhati Roy is back for the first time in two decades with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. The God of Small Things is an exquisite book, and a new novel from Roy will be a big publishing event in 2017.
We get Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake in June, which I remember being intrigued about in 2016, Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, and Perennials by Mandy Berman, a sharp, poignant coming-of-age novel about the magic of camp and the enduring power of female friendship. I’m also keeping an eye out for Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett, a follow-up to best-selling The Versions of Us that will be released simultaneously with a companion album, and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, a first novel about politics, feminism, sex, and love.
June marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Bloomsbury is releasing a limited Hogwarts House series of Philosopher’s Stone editions. I don’t need them, but I definitely want them. Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield is published in June, and it sounds brilliant: Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe. That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf. Now I Rise by Kiersten White, the sequel to 2016’s And I Darken, is also out this month.
Finally, another token non-fiction book: Selfie by Will Storr, about our age of perfectionism. Every day, we’re bombarded with the beautiful, successful, slim, socially-conscious and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self. We see this person constantly in shop windows, in newspapers, on the television, at the movies and all over our social media. We berate ourselves when we don’t match up to them – when we’re too fat, too old, too poor or too sad. This book investigates this awful and sometimes deadly cycle.
Second half of the year books (not necessarily in July) include new novels from Michelle de Kretster (Life to Come), Sofia Laguna (The Choke), Alex Miller (The Passage of Love), and Jane Harper. There’s also a collaborative novel Stephen King and his son Owen King called Sleeping Beauties, but there’s also no set date for that yet either.
Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth is out in July. Told by the voices of five extraordinary women – the wives and mistresses and muses of the famous artists of the Pre-Raphaelite circle – Kate’s latest novel tells the story of love, desire, obsession and tragedy that lies behind the creation of the famous depiction of Sleeping Beauty.
Michael Fitzgerald’s The Pacific Room, about Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa, Dennis Glover’s The Last Man in Europe, about how Orwell came to write Nineteen Eighty-Four, Get Poor Slow by David Free are all out in July, but I can’t find more details than that right now.
The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne is set to be one of the thrillers of 2017, I reckon! Check out the description on Goodreads, and I dare you not to add it to your 2017 TBR pile. Finally, I’m looking forward to Gap Year in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor. It’s described as smart and snappy ghost hunting adventures, which could be the perfect book to read after Karen Dionne’s thriller.
The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy sounds awesome, and I’ve got a very early digital proof of this that I’ll get into over the next few weeks. Hell on earth is only one click of a mouse away, which is something you all know if you spend time on Twitter, but this horror novel sounds wickedly good. Another interesting title in August in Brian Allen Carr’s Sip, which is set in a world where people get high by drinking on their own shadows, or the shadows of others, and where people become shadow addicts. It’s an interesting premise, I reckon!
Taboo from Kim Scott is released in August, and so is The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, the final novel in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
The publication date for The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes (authors of I Am Pilgrim) has changed repeatedly, but I have seen ‘August 2017’ a couple of times now, so fingers crossed that it doesn’t shift years again!
Friends Anonymous by Fiona Wood, Cath Crowley, and Simone Howell is a big #LoveOzYA title to look out for in September, along with new novels from fellow Aussie’s Stephanie Bishop and Emma Viskic (called And Fire Came Down).
Tracy Sorenson’s The Lucky Galah has been described as “Madame Bovary with red dust and tropical cyclone Steve”, so I’ll definitely be checking that out, along with Chris Womersley’s tale of 17th-century witchcraft, City of Crows.
A New England Affair by Stephen Carroll is the final novel in the six-part Glenroy series and will be out in September, and the fifth book in the Millennium series is also out this month.
Origin by Dan Brown headlines October, if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’m more excited about Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner. It’s the debut novel from the creator of Mad Men, and sounds brilliant.
October will also bring the final book in the Zeroes trilogy by Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan, and Scott Westerfeld, a retelling of King Lear from Edward St Aubyn, and Atlantic Black by 2016’s Miles Franklin Award winner, A. S. Patric.
Illuminae #3. It’s no secret that I’m a gigantic fan of this series, and while I’ll be sad to see it end I think it will go out with a bang. Hopefully not literally…
Holy heck, friends! That’s it. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations and thanks for sticking with me. Leave me a comment and let me know what your most anticipated books of 2017 are!