The December 2023 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the December 2023 Indie Next List flier.

The December 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 about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program 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 November Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on      

The 25 December Indie Next List Picks

#1 Pick: The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel
By Nita Prose
(Ballantine Books, 9780593356180, $29, Nov. 28, Mystery)

“Molly is back with another entertaining mystery to solve at the Regency Grand Hotel. This time, a famous author is under scrutiny, featuring a pack of rabid fans and a peek into Molly’s past. Pour a nice cup of tea and enjoy Molly’s next case!”
—Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

Second Chances in New Port Stephen: A Novel
By TJ Alexander
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9781668021965, $17.99, Paperback, Dec. 5, Romance)

“I can't stop talking about Second Chances in New Port Stephen! Such a beautiful, fun love story, and the ways queerness and transness are just simply accepted are so important. There is so much packed into this sweet romance — it’s a miracle!”
—Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

The Other Mothers: A Novel
By Katherine Faulkner
(Gallery Books, 9781668024782, $28.99, Dec. 5, Thriller)

The Other Mothers was a wonderful exploration into imposter syndrome and what it’s like trying to fit in, but also how quickly it happens when you don’t even realize you’re trying to do it. I loved Sophie’s POV as well. Very well written!”
—Amy Williams, As The Page Turns, Travelers Rest, SC

The Fake Mate: A Novel
By Lana Ferguson
(Berkley, 9780593549377, $17, Paperback, Dec. 5, Romance)

“Expect fake dating, wolf shifters, spice galore, true love, and workplace romance! It’s not only spicy, but it also has fantastic banter and lots of hilarious plot points, while wonderfully explaining the lore of the Omegaverse world.”
—Olivia Determan, Books Around the Corner, Gresham, OR

The Frozen River: A Novel
By Ariel Lawhon
(Doubleday, 9780385546874, $28, Dec. 5, Historical Fiction)

“Based on the life of Martha Ballard, an 18th-century midwife in Maine, The Frozen River is mesmerizing. Martha is brilliant and strong in a period when women were lucky to read. Throw in a murder mystery with vivid characters? Heaven.”
—Mary Hembree, House of Books, Kent, CT

Raiders of the Lost Heart
By Jo Segura
(Berkley, 9780593547465, $17, Paperback, Dec. 5, Romance)

“The tension between Corrie and Ford is hotter than the jungle heat in this adventurous romance! Set in Mexico on an archaeological dig, witness the extreme circumstances that push these rivals to share their true feelings for each other.”
—Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Cacophony of Bone: The Circle of a Year
By Kerri ní Dochartaigh
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571311573, $26, Nov. 14, Essays)

“A gorgeous, elegiac meditation on time, the natural world, and all the aspects of life that we can only understand through our mind’s eye. Kerri ní Dochartaigh is a gifted writer and Cacophony of Bone is a joy to read.”
—Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

Plot Twist: A Novel
By Erin La Rosa
(Canary Street Press, 9781335458117, $18.99, Paperback, Nov. 14, Romance)

“A great friends-to-lovers romance, with a realistic representation of sobriety/alcoholism that doesn’t gloss over the reality of addiction. Sophie figures out what went wrong, and Dash accepts that even in recovery, he is worthy of love.”
—Stephanie Rivera, Chapter Two...a Bookstore, Lompoc, CA

The Last Love Note: A Novel
By Emma Grey 
(Zibby Books, 9781958506288, $16.99, Paperback, Nov. 28, Fiction)

“I fell in love with the characters in this book. I rooted for all of them. I wanted them to do well. I wanted their love stories to work. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and scream like a teenager. I loved it.”
—Andrea Iriarte, Molly’s Bookstore, Melrose, MA

Other Minds and Other Stories
By Bennett Sims
(Two Dollar Radio, 9781953387356, $18.95, Paperback, Nov. 14, Short Stories)

“A perfectly unsettling collection about memory, perception, self-doubt, Hegel, and amateur chicken butchering that goes horrifically wrong. Sims masterfully explores the horror in mundane situations. Highly recommended!”
—Caitlin Baker, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

Yours for the Taking: A Novel
By Gabrielle Korn
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250283368, $29, Dec. 5, Fiction)

“With multiple narrators with diverse backgrounds and ideas, this book kept me guessing. This story is all about how different decisions one makes (as well as society), no matter the intention, can negatively harm what follows.”
—McKenna Moran, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

A True Account: Hannah Masury’s Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself: A Novel
By Katherine Howe
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250304889, $28.99, Nov. 21, Historical Fiction)

“This book has everything I love in a good historical fiction novel: fierce female protagonists, pirates, smashing the colonial patriarchy, twentieth-century academia. It will make for a great book club selection — I can’t wait to share it!”
—Sarah Danforth, Reads & Company, Phoenixville, PA

Welcome Home, Stranger: A Novel
By Kate Christensen
(Harper, 9780063299702, $28.99, Dec. 5, Fiction)

“Rachel lives an independent life. When her mom dies back home in Maine, Rachel’s return opens up wounds that she might finally be able to examine and heal. Complex, insightful and real, this moving story of lifelong relationships is resonant.”
—Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

By Constance Fay
(Bramble, 9781250330413, $18.99, Paperback, Nov. 14, Romance)

“A great debut that will appeal to a large audience. The characters feel real, and it’s great to read sci-fi with romance that doesn’t feel forced. I’ll recommend this to fantasy romance readers who are looking to branch out.”
—Scott Patnesky, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Other Half: A Novel
By Charlotte Vassell
(Anchor, 9780593685945, $27, Nov. 21, 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

The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac: Stories
By Louise Kennedy
(Riverhead Books, 9780593540923, $28, Dec. 5, Short Stories)

“Kennedy displays why she was able to make her name, writing with a delicateness that articulates a great love for these characters as they weave through domestic peril. Her ability to fit complex characters into a short window is remarkable.”
—Richard Dixon, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Inheritance: The Lost Bride Trilogy #1
By Nora Roberts
(St. Martin’s Press,
9781250288325, $30, Nov. 21, Romance)
“This book has it all. Not only is the storyline wonderful, but the characters fit it perfectly and are well developed. There’s a reason why Nora Roberts is considered the queen of romance: no one does it better. This is a winner.”
—Sandi Cararo, The Book Dragon, Staunton, VA

By Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle (Illus.), Niki Smith (Illus.)
(First Second, 9781250769350, $28.99, Nov. 28, Romance/Graphic Novel)

“This graphic novel reflects so many of the emotions one feels while reading a historical romance novel. We see the blushes, the crooked smirks, and the awkwardness of stilted courtship roles. I love that there were no punches pulled!”
—R. Aimee Chipman, The Bluestocking Bookshop, Holland, MI

Wings of Red: A Novel
By James W. Jennings
(Soft Skull, 9781593767099, $16.95, Paperback, Nov. 21, Fiction)

“Somewhere between autofiction and a neo-Beat style bildungsroman, Wings of Red is the story of a young artist in a city that cares little for his art and less for his life. Through Jennings’ vibrant prose, June Papers becomes someone you root for.”
—Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Fiction Writer: A Novel
By Jillian Cantor
(Park Row, 9780778334187, $17.99, Paperback, Nov. 28, Fiction)

“Jillian Cantor explores the fiction writers’ storytelling dilemma of writing a story that is fresh and has not been told before. Cantor’s entertaining novel has many twists that keeps you guessing until the very end.”
—Connie L. Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Shelbyville, IN

Alice Sadie Celine: A Novel
By Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
(Simon & Schuster, 9781668021590, $26.99, Nov. 28, Fiction)

“Written in gorgeous prose that dives deeply into each of the three women’s characters and backstories, with a level of suspense that kept me wondering how things would turn out in the end. This novel is unique and surprising. A great read.”
—Christine Bell, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

The Wildest Sun: A Novel
By Asha Lemmie
(Dutton, 9780593185711, $28, Dec. 5, Historical Fiction)

“Asha Lemmie grants us a new look into her creativity with a novel about a woman who embarks on a mission to find her father: Ernest Hemingway. A homage to the dreams we hold dear; This is a book of adventure, expectations, love and hope. Enjoy!”
—Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel
By Shahnaz Habib
(Catapult, 9781646220151, $27, Dec. 5, Essays)

“A thought provoking read about the origins of travel and how it intersects with class, race and colonialism. Habib interweaves her life experience with her own migration and travel. This is subtitled as irreverent — it’s anything but.”
—Audrey I-Wei Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

By Sara Cate
(Sourcebooks Casablanca, 9781728282169, $17.99, Paperback, Dec. 5, Romance)

“This book brought me to tears in the most amazing way. It was sexy, emotional, healing all in one. I have devoured this series like no other and have never felt so seen as I have with Sara Cate’s writing.”
—Amanda Anderson, The Last Chapter Book Shop, Chicago, IL

Meet the Benedettos: A Novel
By Katie Cotugno
(Harper Perennial, 9780063324145, $17.99, Paperback, Dec. 5, Fiction)

“Simply scrumptious. Meet the Benedettos has the same captivating, fast-paced nature as everything Cotugno’s written. The characters were great, and the romantic chemistry palpable. I was intoxicated by this novel; I loved it so, so much.”
—Mallory Melton, BookPeople, Austin, TX


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

All the Broken Places: A Novel
By John Boyne
(Penguin Books, 9780593653449, $19, Nov. 28, Historical Fiction)
“Gretel Fernsby is a character for the ages! She’s a 91-year-old full of guilt with stories to tell. Boyne writes her with great compassion — maybe more than she deserves — and brings alive a story spanning decades and continents.”
—Claire Benedict, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT

Blaze Me a Sun: A Novel About a Crime
By Christoffer Carlsson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (Transl.)
(Hogarth, 9780593449370, $18, Nov. 28, Thriller)

“If you love a good Swedish crime novel or are a fan of Stieg Larsson then this book is for you! A runaway bestseller in Sweden, this is the American debut for the author and a can’t put down thriller that had me guessing until the end.”
—Kathy Clemmons, Sundog Books, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember
By Lauren Graham
(Ballantine Books, 9780593355442, $18, Nov. 14, Memoir)

“This book is like sitting down with an old friend! Learn about an actor’s climb to the top, what book she keeps by her bedside, and what she thinks about when she walks around town. I read it as quickly as her Lorelai Gilmore character talked!”
—Margaret Walker, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

A Quiet Life: A Novel
By Ethan Joella
(Scribner, 9781982190989, $16.99, Nov. 21, Fiction)

“A touching novel that is meant to be read with a warm cup of tea. A Quiet Life beautifully explores how loss, in its many forms, can lead to new hope in the most unexpected places.”
—Angela Pursel, The Next Chapter Bookstore, Hermiston, OR

Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul
By Evette Dionne
(Ecco, 9780063076372, $17.99, Dec. 5, Memoir)

“Dionne’s essays cover fat-shaming, plus-size characters, love and sex, the pain of weight loss due to illness, and weight-discrimination legislation. Based both on research and her own experiences, there’s much here to think about.”
—Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Winterland: A Novel
By Rae Meadows
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250834515, $17.99, Nov. 7, Thriller)

“Rae Meadows’ Winterland is more than a story of women, and more than an expose of the abuse young gymnasts endure. It is a moving portrait of an authoritarian country and how hard it is to know when or how to stand up to what we know is wrong.”
—Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS