The August 2024 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the August 2024 Indie Next List flier.

The August title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the July Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on      

The 25 August Indie Next List Picks

#1 Pick: The Wedding People: A Novel
By Alison Espach
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250899576, $28.99, July 30, Fiction)

The Wedding People hits the absolute sweet spot of compulsively fun to read while asking serious questions about life, love, and a lavish destination wedding. Alison Espach’s mix of light and dark makes for deeply authentic characters.”
—Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

The Pairing
By Casey McQuiston
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250862747, $20, Paperback, Aug. 6, Romance)

The Pairing is Casey McQuiston’s masterwork. This was sensual, lush, and decadent in all the best ways. I fell in love with Theo and Kit, and I can’t wait to reread it and experience the magic all over again.”
—Amanda Olmstead, The Book Burrow, Pflugerville, TX

Hum: A Novel
By Helen Phillips
(S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781668008836, $27.99, Aug. 6, Fiction)

“Helen Phillips takes us on a wild, anxious ride into the (near?) future: an AI-driven world. Fast-paced and tense, Hum ponders the current state of technology and its effect on human behavior. A brilliant, futuristic page-turner!”
—Caroline Buchta, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

A Sorceress Comes to Call
By T. Kingfisher
(Tor Books, 9781250244079, $27.99, Aug. 6, Fantasy)

“In T. Kingfisher’s retelling of the Goose Girl fairytale, there’s an emphasis on found family, and finding strength in yourself that you didn’t know you had. I would like Hester and Cordelia to be my new best friends, please and thank you.”
—Cora Kelly, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT

The Au Pair Affair: A Novel
By Tessa Bailey
(Avon, 9780063308435, $18.99, Paperback, July 16, Romance)

“I am head over heels in love with Burgess and Tallulah! I mean, an overprotective hockey captain that falls first and falls hard, and nicknames her gorgeous? You can’t go wrong. Tessa Bailey knows how to bring the swooning full force.”
—Mandy Harris, Angel Wings Bookstore, Oxford, NC

The Dead Cat Tail Assassins
By P. Djèlí Clark
(Tordotcom, 9781250767042, $20.99, Aug. 6, Fantasy)

“When undead assassin Eveen is contracted to kill a person who appears to be her own younger self, forbidden magics and lethal shenanigans ensue. This is a delicious, funny, unexpectedly heartwarming story with just the right amount of viciousness.”
—Milo Michels, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Bright Sword: A Novel of King Arthur
By Lev Grossman
(Viking, 9780735224049, $35, July 16, Fantasy)

“You know a book’s good when it starts with a quote from Monty Python. I utterly loved it from the first page to the last. Witty, serious, magical, and with an amazing cast of characters, this is everything an Arthurian epic should be.”
—Emily Pate, Word After Word Books, Truckee, CA

Slow Dance: A Novel
By Rainbow Rowell
(William Morrow, 9780063380196, $28, July 30, Romance)

“Shiloh and Cary quickly became two of my favorite characters ever. Rowell uses dual POV and a non-linear timeline to explore a stunning relationship between two utterly flawed, brilliantly eccentric best friends.”
—Ebani Filbert, The Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, NE

The Lost Boy of Santa Chionia: A Novel
By Juliet Grames
(Knopf, 9780593536179, $29, July 23, Fiction)

“Set in an isolated Italian village, this is so rich in detail, so deep in characterization, that it’s like eating dessert in a fine restaurant: savoring each bite, letting it linger on the palette. Easily one of my favorite books of the year so far!”
—Pete Mock, McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC

Pearl: A Novel
By Siân Hughes
(Knopf, 9780593802564, $25, July 30, Fiction)

“A shatteringly beautiful story of a woman’s search for answers about her mother’s disappearance. Through shifting memories, the reader moves through Marianne’s trauma and changing understanding of her mother. This aches and amazes in equal measure.”
—Allyson Howard, Invitation Bookshop, Gig Harbor, WA

Lady Macbeth: A Novel
By Ava Reid
(Del Rey, 9780593722565, $28.99, Aug. 13, Historical Fiction)

Lady Macbeth is the gothic fantasy retelling of my dreams! Ava Reid stuns once again with their attention to historic detail as they maintain the magic of Macbeth. This book is dreamy, lush, and had me spiraling for days after reading it!”
—Haley Calvin, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

The Lost Story: A Novel
By Meg Shaffer
(Ballantine Books, 9780593598870, $29, July 16, Fantasy)

“Can you feel nostalgic about a book you just read? Apparently yes, if it reminds you of when you were a child who believed in magic. Like any fairy tale, there is darkness, but only enough to make the light more brilliant.”
—Laura Kendall, Second Flight Books, Lafayette, IN

Nicked: A Novel
By M. T. Anderson
(Pantheon, 9780593701607, $28, July 23, Historical Fiction)

“A truly immersive, boisterous, playful, and earnest heist story from so far in the past it becomes magical. With a writing style as elusive as the plot twists, a colorful cast of thieves and priests, and a breathless romance, it’s not one to miss.”
—Bridget Fenner, BookPeople, Austin, TX

The Truth According to Ember: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Danica Nava
(Berkley, 9780593642603, $19, Paperback, Aug. 6, Romance)

“Ember is tired of her dead-end job, of being broke, and never getting ahead as a Chickasaw woman. So, she lies. As these lies pile up, how can Ember be real? Emotional, witty, and tender, this debut Native rom-com is a perfect workplace romance!”
—Coco Zephir, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

Five-Star Stranger: A Novel
By Kat Tang
(Scribner, 9781668050149, $27, Aug. 6, Fiction)

“A completely modern look at the way we live, regarding hurt, protection, and connection. As the protagonist tries to make himself into a blank slate so he can rent himself to strangers, the faded outline of his real self keeps threatening to peek through.”
—James Crossley, Leviathan Bookstore, St. Louis, MO

Catalina: A Novel
By Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
(One World, 9780593449097, $28, July 23, Fiction)

Catalina is such a delightful book — funny and quick-witted, but also thoughtful and heart-rending. I loved Catalina’s smart, singular voice. This is a perfect read for lovers of Lily King's Writers & Lovers, or fans of Sally Rooney’s work.”
—Shannon Guinn-Collins, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

The Ex Vows
By Jessica Joyce
(Berkley, 9780593548424, $19, Paperback, July 16, Romance)

“A swoony story about two best friends finding their way back to each other after breaking up five years ago. Georgia and Eli must work together for their best friend Adam’s wedding and realize they left a lot unsaid. I had butterflies the whole time!”
—Claire McWhorter, River & Hill Books, Rome, GA

The Horse: A Novel
By Willy Vlautin
(Harper, 9780063346574, $25.99, July 30, Fiction)

“Al Ward is flawed — alcoholism, a never quite good enough country guitarist and song writer. When a blind horse shows up at his isolated shack on a snowy, freezing night, the best of Al comes out. Yes, Al is flawed, but you'll root for him.”
—Karen Emmerling, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

I Was A Teenage Slasher: A Novel
By Stephen Graham Jones
(S&S/Saga Press, 9781668022245, $29.99, July 16, Horror)

“My heart aches for the slasher? This cannot be right. Tolly, the slasher, tells his bloody, horrific story in a voice so real and raw that you can almost hear him, as though seated right beside you, and feel every detail of his inescapable pain.”
—Nancy Sims-West, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

Burn: A Novel
By Peter Heller
(Knopf, 9780593801628, $28, Aug. 13, Fiction)

“In the spirit of Station Eleven, there is only one thing humankind understands when it must survive: it cannot be done alone. You read this novel and wonder how such a painful book can be so damn beautiful. Gorgeous writing meets heart-pounding thriller.”
—Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Unmothers: A Novel
By Leslie J. Anderson
(Quirk Books, 9781683694298, $18.99, Paperback, Aug. 6, Horror)

“Anderson beautifully blends a small-town mystery with the supernatural (and a little feminist rage) to deliver this cathartic punch of a story. If you loved the what-the-hell-is-going-on energy of classic X-Files, then read this book.”
—Jennifer Martin, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

Smothermoss: A Novel
By Alisa Alering
(Tin House Books, 9781959030584, $17.95, Paperback, July 16, Thriller)

“Beautiful, surreal, and otherworldly, I fully fell into Alering’s supernatural mystery. Their use of sound grounds the reader in Sheila and Angie’s strange and difficult life on the margins of society in some of the best writing I’ve seen.”
—Amanda Scroggins, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Banal Nightmare: A Novel
By Halle Butler
(Random House, 9780593730355, $28, July 16, Fiction)

Banal Nightmare crackles with humanity. You may hate these feckless — at times ugly — characters, or recognize yourself in them (and still hate them). But it’ll thrill you in its fearlessness. Either way, this will leave a mark on you. It blisters.”
—Matt Nixon, A Cappella Books, Atlanta, GA

Mystery Lights: Stories
By Lena Valencia
(Tin House Books, 9781959030621, $17.95, Paperback, Aug. 6, Short Stories)

Mystery Lights is a collection of dark and beautiful short stories that will leave you breathless. A woven tapestry of women and girls living their lives amongst the desert and its mysteries.”
—Elisa McIntosh, The Bookstore Plus Music & Art, Lake Placid, NY

Charlotte Illes Is Not a Teacher
By Katie Siegel
(Kensington, 9781496741004, $17.95, Paperback, July 23, Mystery)

“Siegel’s humor and heart shine as we follow Charlotte to her new job as a substitute teacher at her old middle school, as she helps her new colleagues solve a mystery. Fan favorites Lucy and Gabe are back to help and their banter remains delightful.”
—Andi Richardson, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

Bright Young Women: A Novel
By Jessica Knoll
(S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781501153235, $18.99, Aug. 6, Thriller)

“We all know the names of serial killers, but not the victims. Jessica Knoll tells their stories with compassion and respect. You’ll be shocked by the multiple miscarriages of justice that cut short the lives of so many bright young women.”
—Susan Kehoe, Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, DE

The Militia House: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By John Milas
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250857088, $17.99, July 9, Horror)

The Militia House ensnares the reader in its unsettling atmosphere. The commentary around the military industrial complex and PTSD is subtle, casting a critical eye that never fully dives into polemic. A wild, immersive ride.”
—Wesley Minter, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Other Half: A Novel
By Charlotte Vassell
(Vintage, 9780593685969, $18, Aug. 6, Mystery)

“First in a series about British Detective Camus Beauchamp, this mystery takes us into London’s high society to solve the murder of one of the gentry’s ‘It’ girls. DI Beauchamp is intriguing — I’m looking forward to more of his cases.”
—Camille Kovach, Completely Booked, Murrysville, PA

By Helen Macdonald, Sin Blaché
(Grove Press, 9780802163400, $20, July 16, Science Fiction)

Prophet hooked me with its uncanny Twin Peaks x Twilight Zone mise-en-scène. This page-turning thriller is deceptively fun despite a deadly serious, thought-provoking core. I was delighted by the sly pop culture nostalgia!”
—Amanda Qassar, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

The Square of Sevens: A Novel
By Laura Shepherd-Robinson
(Atria Books, 9781668031131, $20.99, July 16, Historical Fiction)

“Come for the orphaned, Dickensian fortune teller in 18th-century Cornwall and stay for a sweeping epic of Georgian high society, mystery, and divination. Deeply researched and intricate, this is outstanding historical fiction.”
—Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

Sword Catcher
By Cassandra Clare
(Del Rey, 9780525620013, $20, July 16, Fantasy)

“I grew up reading Cassandra Clare. Here I am as an adult, reading her adult debut, a masterwork of worldbuilding and beautiful respect for her own history woven in. Sword Catcher is the next unstoppable force in the world of adult fantasy.”
—Caitlyn VanOrder, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC