The September 2023 Indie Next List Preview

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

The September 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 August Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on      

The 25 September Indie Next List Picks

#1 Pick: The Vaster Wilds: A Novel
By Lauren Groff
(Riverhead Books, 9780593418390, $28, Sept. 12, Fiction)

“Lauren Groff is at the height of her power as a writer. The Vaster Wilds explores how one young woman’s experience of survival defines her. Rich in nuance, gorgeous, and full of the mystery of spirit, this novel meditates on life itself.”
—Deirdre Kidder, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Rouge: A Novel
By Mona Awad
(S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781982169695, $28, Sept. 12, Fiction)

“We all have complicated relationships with family; this book holds a mirror up to a mother-daughter relationship. Obsessed with beauty, this spiral of grief wraps around your throat and you’ll gasp for breath! So raw and superbly genius.”
—Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

Happiness Falls: A Novel
By Angie Kim
(Hogarth, 9780593448205, $28, Aug. 29, Fiction)

“A fantastic blend of suspense, family relationships, and medical drama makes this book a winner. Mia is an utterly engaging narrator, and the plot twists will leave readers guessing until the final pages.”
—Sarah Rettger, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The River We Remember: A Novel
By William Kent Krueger
(Atria Books, 9781982179212, $28.99, Sept. 5, Fiction)

“Although I love the Cork O'Connor books, I think William Kent Krueger’s absolute best work resides in his stand-alone titles. This book will reside in my heart for quite a time to come. Great message of truth, love, and forgiveness.”
—Katie Lancaster, Back Forty Books, Two Harbors, MN

Amazing Grace Adams: A Novel
By Fran Littlewood
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250857019, $27.99, Sept. 5, Fiction)

“A moving novel about a mother grappling with a past tragedy and oncoming perimenopause. Estranged from her daughter and with a pending divorce, she fights back and shows her family who she really is and how she will not give up on them. Or herself.”
—Alexandria Hammett, Serendipity Books, Chelsea, MI

The Book of (More) Delights: Essays
By Ross Gay
(Algonquin Books, 9781643753096, $28, Sept. 19, Essays)

“Oh, to have delights again! No one writes about the dearness of our human frailty with the generosity and good humor of Ross Gay. I can’t wait to wear these delights out to the same degree as the first, and become more present in doing so.”
—Abbey Paxton, Storyhouse Bookpub, Windsor Heights, IA

My Roommate Is a Vampire: A Novel
By Jenna Levine
(Berkley, 9780593548912, $17, Paperback, Aug. 29, Romance)

“Clever, charming, steamy — all a reader could want from a paranormal romantic comedy. Part Kate & Leopold; part What We Do in the Shadows; and witty, warm prose that makes it feel refreshing. It sunk its teeth into me and I was a willing victim!”
—Sarah Jackson, The Book & Cover, Chattanooga, TN

He Who Drowned the World: A Novel
By Shelley Parker-Chan
(Tor Books, 9781250621825, $28.99, Aug. 22, Fantasy)

“The perfect follow up to She Who Became the Sun. Parker-Chan’s latest continues to expertly explore themes of power, desire, and gender queerness. An absolutely riveting and intricate sequel. This book will make you feel all the things!”
—Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare: Stories (Indies Introduce)
By Megan Kamalei Kakimoto
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639731169, $27.99, Aug. 29, Short Stories)

“Overflowing with female sexuality and Hawaiian mythology, Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare punches out one fearless story after the next. Kakimoto gives us a raw Hawai'i, one that exists far from the colonized romanticism often promoted.”
—Beth Shapiro, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts
By Loren Grush
(Scribner, 9781982172800, $32.50, Sept. 12, History)

The Six introduces us to the real first women astronauts, who faced incredible scrutiny. The awesomeness of space exploration, the Challenger tragedy, the unreasonable press questions — experience it all with this accomplished group.”
—Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

The Secret Hours: A Novel
By Mick Herron
(Soho Crime, 9781641295215, $27.95, Sept. 12, Thriller)

“As the Monochrome is disbanded, two members are slipped info about a mission in Cold War Berlin with serious consequences. Filled with hairpin plot twists, cutting dialogue, and dark humor, this spy novel is my favorite book of 2023 so far.”
—Timothy Benz, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The September House: A Novel
By Carissa Orlando
(Berkley, 9780593548615, $27, Sept. 5, Horror)

“This was a ride! With a seemingly unreliable narrator and a house full of either real or imagined horrors, The September House is a story of mental illness, domestic abuse, and the resilience of women. This was an incredibly layered novel.”
—Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD

The Breakaway: A Novel
By Jennifer Weiner
(Atria Books, 9781668033425, $28.99, Aug. 29, Fiction)

“A scenic bike tour, tricky love triangle, emotionally honest family drama, and fascinating food for thought about body image all come together in this breezy summer read with something to say about the joys of early-middle age.”
—Jesse Post, Postmark Books, Rosendale, NY

Terrace Story: A Novel
By Hilary Leichter
(Ecco, 9780063265813, $28, Aug. 29, Fiction)

“This novel blew me away. Each successive story opens up the world a bit further, digs a bit deeper, much like the space-building theme at the collection’s center. I loved these four fables and their exploration of endings and beginnings.”
—Santiago Nocera, Greedy Reads, Baltimore, MD

What Kind of Mother
By Clay McLeod Chapman
(Quirk Books, 9781683693802, $21.99, Sept. 12, Horror)

“Just when I settled in to the rhythm of this novel, it knocked me off my feet.  It did that a couple times, and I absolutely loved it. It is essentially a meditation on parenthood and how that can change a person — for better or worse.”
—Daniel Jordan, Pearl’s Books, Fayetteville, AR

While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence
By Meg Kissinger
(Celadon Books, 9781250793775, $30, Sept. 5, Memoir)

“Every child, every parent, every sibling — every one of us — must read this book. We all share the experience of loving someone with mental illness. We can take a step toward greater compassion by reading Meg’s insightful, personal story.”
—Beth Stroh, Viewpoint Books, Columbus, IN

Fall of Ruin and Wrath
By Jennifer L. Armentrout
(Bramble, 9781250750198, $27.99, Sept. 12, Fantasy)

Fall of Ruin and Wrath introduces a compelling and well-designed new world of intuition, rulers who feed on the pleasure of the lowborn, and the terrifying knowledge of what is to come for the people you love. A read you won’t want to put down.”
—Katie Varner, The Same Page, Claremore, OK

Knockout: A Hell’s Belles Novel
By Sarah MacLean
(Avon, 9780063056794, $9.99, Mass Market, Aug. 22, Romance)

“Imogen, Tommy — that’s it, that’s the perfect romance. The chemistry between these two leaps off the page! I loved the stakes in this story. Just when you thought this series couldn’t get any better, Sarah MacLean knocks it out of the park.”
—Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Fraud: A Novel
By Zadie Smith
(Penguin Press, 9780525558965, $29, Sept. 5, Fiction)

“Zadie Smith is a literary genius. The last time I stopped to marvel at the beauty of a book’s writing was in the Neapolitan novels. This has the same notes of immersive world building and rich, complex characters. One of my favorite reads of 2023!”
—Michelle Zhang, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Mother-Daughter Murder Night: A Novel
By Nina Simon
(William Morrow, 9780063315044, $30, Sept. 5, Mystery)

“I adored this twisty thriller set in the beauty of the marshlands of California. A grandmother, mother, and daughter try to solve a murder while also healing their troubled relationships. Highly recommend!”
—Elizabeth Barnhill, Fabled Bookshop & Café, Waco, TX

Creep: Accusations and Confessions
By Myriam Gurba
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982186470, $27, Sept. 5, Essays)

“Through a historical and literary lens, Creep exposes racist dog whistles you may not be aware of, biases you don’t even realize, and shines a light on oppression marginalized people face. It is full of heart, humor, and hard truths.”
—Alana Haley, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

The Square of Sevens: A Novel
By Laura Shepherd-Robinson
(Atria Books, 9781668031124, $29.99, Sept. 5, 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

Everything/Nothing/Someone: A Memoir
By Alice Carrière
(Spiegel & Grau, 9781954118294, $28, Aug. 29, Memoir)

Everything/Nothing/Someone depicts the non-linear trajectory of mental health, relationships, and memory. Carrière intimately unravels the personal to convey the journey of getting better, even when it doesn’t feel like an option.”
—Jesse Bartel, BookHampton, East Hampton, NY

The Heart of It All: A Novel
By Christian Kiefer
(Melville House, 9781685890810, $19.99, Paperback, Sept. 12, Fiction)

The Heart of It All ’s beauty is its subtlety. Set in working-class Ohio, it shows the struggles and grace of people for whom the American Dream has slipped away. This is not a tale of good or evil, it’s a bridge to understand our modern times.”
—Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA

In the Lobby of the Dream Hotel: A Novel
By Genevieve Plunkett
(Catapult, 9781646220489, $28, Aug. 15, Fiction)

In the Lobby of the Dream Hotel — a place two lovers who can’t be together in the real world might meet — is a beautiful meditation on love, madness, motherhood, and art. Plunkett’s writing is achingly gorgeous and Portia is a character for the ages.”
—Stefanie Kiper, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
By R. F. Kuang
(Harper Voyager, 9780063021433, $20, Aug. 29, Fantasy)

“Finishing a book like this is equal parts pleasure and pain: pleasure in reading something so striking and beautiful juxtaposed by the pain of it ending. Few books have brought tears to my eyes; Kuang’s Babel is now numbered among them.”
—Maxwell Leaning, Paragraphs Bookstore, Mount Vernon, OH

Heart of the Sun Warrior
By Sue Lynn Tan
(Harper Voyager, 9780063031371, $19.99, Aug. 29, Fantasy)

“This was such a satisfying sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess. The pacing is fantastic and the story is unpredictably magical and exciting. I really loved the world building and appreciated the romance.”
—Hillary Smith, Black Walnut Books, Hudson Falls, NY

One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World
By Michael Frank, Maira Kalman (Illus.)
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982167233, $19.99, Sept. 12, Biography)

“Saturday after Saturday, Stella Levi’s story forms the lively, tragic tale that is One Hundred Saturdays. This is the best book I’ve read all year, and with Maira Kalman’s brilliant illustrations it may be the best book of the decade.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Our Missing Hearts: A Novel
By Celeste Ng

(Penguin Books, 9780593492666, $18, Aug. 22, Fiction)
“Set in an uncomfortably plausible dystopian near-future, Our Missing Hearts pulls no punches. Ng wrestles with how to find hope for ourselves and our children against forces that bend toward authoritarianism and nationalism.”
—Allyson Howard, Invitation Bookshop, Gig Harbor, WA

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six: A Novel
By Lisa Unger
(Park Row, 9780778334224, $18.99, Aug. 15, Thriller)

“This has family drama, secrets and great characters — so clear your weekend. Every book establishes Lisa Unger as a fantastic thriller writer and storyteller. This will bring even more fans in her camp (or cabin?). She is in her prime!”
—Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

The Winners: A Novel
By Fredrik Backman
(Washington Square Press, 9781982112806, $19.99, Sep. 12, Fiction)

“I savored every page, every word of this well written story of a hockey community; love, death, marriage, human nature, and all for the love of Hockey. Fredrik Backman will take you out of the cold and into your heart.”
—Karen Piacentini, Fenton’s Open Book, Fenton, MI