The September Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the September 2021 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 Indie Next Great Reads for September

#1 Pick: Matrix
By Lauren Groff
(Riverhead Books, 9781594634499, $28, Sept. 7, Fiction)
“Lauren Groff has created an incredibly powerful portrait of the compelling Marie de France, banished to 12th-century England to live in a failing abbey. I fell in love with Marie and the sisters she lives with.”
—Rosanna Nissen, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

Feral Creatures
By Kira Jane Buxton
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781538735244, $28, Aug. 24, Fiction/Fantasy)
Feral Creatures is dark, hilarious, and apocalyptic. It has all the same heart, tenderness, bizarre humor, and hilarity as Hollow Kingdom. This is a follow-up not to be missed!”
—Michelle Malonzo, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

Harlem Shuffle
By Colson Whitehead
(Doubleday Books, 9780385545136, $28.95, Sept. 14, Fiction)
“A love letter to 1960s Harlem that’s also a heist novel, a family saga, and so much more. Colson Whitehead proves once again that he’s always at the top of his game!”
—Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina
By Zoraida Córdova
(Atria Books, 9781982102548, $27, Sept. 7, Fiction/Fantasy)
“This story sparkles and enchants! It’s a rich and layered multigeneration saga featuring strong women and a mystery veiled in magical realism that will tease and feed your imagination.”
—Grace Rajendran, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Lightning Strike (Cork O’Connor Mystery Series #18)
By William Kent Krueger
(Atria Books, 9781982128685, $27, Aug. 24, Fiction/Mystery)
“In this prequel set in 1963, we meet 12-year-old Cork’s family as his father investigates a murder. Even as Cork believes he will never be a cop, we can see Cork’s inevitable future as an investigator.”
—Carol Blizzard Dunn, Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI

My Heart Is a Chainsaw
By Stephen Graham Jones
(Gallery / Saga Press, 9781982137632, $26.99, Aug. 31, Fiction/Horror)
“Jade isn’t the final girl; she doesn’t fit the requirements for a typical slasher flick. When her town becomes the setting for a real-life slasher case, she fills the role of wise woman to the appropriate final girl.”
—April Gosling, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint
By Maggie Nelson
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450628, $27, Sept. 7, Essays)
“I have long anticipated Maggie Nelson’s newest work and On Freedom does not disappoint. Who doesn’t want to know her thoughts on art, sex, drugs, and climate?”
—Dartricia Rollins, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

Beautiful Country: A Memoir
By Qian Julie Wang
(Doubleday Books, 9780385547215, $28.95, Sept. 7, Memoir)
“In this brutally honest coming-of-age memoir, Qian Julie Wang comes to terms with the deprivations and struggles of her undocumented Chinese upbringing in New York City in the 1990s.”
—Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, WI

The Guide
By Peter Heller
(Knopf, 9780525657767, $27, Aug. 24, Fiction)
“This follow-up to The River is just as pitch perfect, with each bit of suspense doled out at just the right time. You don’t need to read The River before reading The Guide, but it will definitely deepen the experience.”
—Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA

The Night She Disappeared
By Lisa Jewell
(Atria Books, 9781982137366, $28, Sept. 7, Fiction/Thriller)
“Lisa Jewell is indeed a master of suspense with The Night She Disappeared. Multiple timelines add to the suspense as the characters’ lives began to interweave and the story builds to an unexpected climax.”
—Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Never Saw Me Coming
By Vera Kurian
(Park Row, 9780778311553, $27.99, Sept. 7, Fiction/Thriller)
“This stunning psychological suspense novel will have you reading well into the night. That ending! Fans of Gillian Flynn and Caroline Kepnes will love this intense book.”
—William Carl, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

No Gods, No Monsters (Convergence Saga #1)
By Cadwell Turnbull
(Blackstone Publishing, 9781982603724, $26.99, Sept. 7, Fiction/Fantasy)
“Cadwell Turnbull weaves fantasy with current events to reveal how difficult it is to hold onto your humanity when society denies your existence or, worse, systematically erases you.”
—Nicole A. Johnson, Baltimore Read Aloud, Baltimore, MD

Velvet Was the Night
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
(Del Rey Books, 9780593356821, $28, Aug. 17, Fiction/Thriller)
“From the author of Mexican Gothic comes a classic noir with a side of romance based on the Mexican government’s suppression of dissent in the ’60s and ’70s and the involvement of the CIA and KGB.”
—Rebecca Dowling, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE

Dare to Know
By James Kennedy
(Quirk Books, 9781683692607, $22.99, Sept. 14, Science Fiction)
“A company can tell you with 100% accuracy when you are going to die. But what happens when you live beyond your expiration date? As you read Dare to Know, your sense of reality will melt away.”
—Bob Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Lakewood, NY

The Love Hypothesis
By Ali Hazelwood
(Berkley, 9780593336823, paperback, $16, Sept. 14, Fiction/Romance)
“If, like me, your catnip is the taciturn, brainy, hot hero who is secretly a big squishy marshmallow at heart, look no further than this awesome debut!”
—Angela Trigg, The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile, AL

Empire of the Vampire
By Jay Kristoff
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250245281, $29.99, Sept. 14, Fiction/Fantasy)
“In the vein of The Name of the Wind, a vampire hunter recounts his life to his executioner. This epic dystopian fantasy is dark and seductive. The violence! The expletives! The smut! What’s not to love?”
—Leah Atlee, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

Beautiful World, Where Are You
By Sally Rooney
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374602604, $28, Sept. 7, Fiction)
“Another incredible story! The characters are vibrant and familiar, and the intimate moments are uniquely painted. It’s as if a close friend is confessing their life to you and you are seeing yourself in it.”
—Katie Kenney, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Charm Offensive
By Alison Cochrun
(Atria Books, 9781982170714, paperback, $17, Sept. 7, Fiction/Romance)
“While Dev believes in fairytale romances, Charlie most certainly does not. That doesn’t stop the two of them from stumbling into their own romantic comedy that will leave you absolutely charmed.”
—Lauren Homza, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South
By Margaret Renkl
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571311849, $26, Sept. 14, Essays)
“Margaret Renkl’s essays alternate between balm for the soul and outrage at the world with all of its injustices. She makes me think and see things in a different light, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
—Jayne Rowsam, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI

A Slow Fire Burning
By Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead Books, 9780735211230, $28, Aug. 31, Fiction/Thriller)
“I remember the addictiveness of Girl on The Train and Into the Water, and Paula Hawkins did not let readers down with this new book. A Slow Fire Burning was an amazing read that I couldn’t put down.”
—Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
By Mary Roach
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9781324001935, $26.95, Sept. 14, Nonfiction/Science)
“Human encounters with wildlife are increasing as land development shrinks wildlife habitat. Roach recounts dangerous engagements, some head-shaking practices, and plenty of laugh-out-loud turf wars.”
—Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Fault Lines
By Emily Itami
(Custom House, 9780063099807, $27.99, Sept. 7, Fiction)
“Emily Itami has given us an incredibly engaging, hilarious, and relatable narrator in Mizuki as she navigates the fault lines in her marriage, in her past, and within herself.”
—Danielle Raub, Itinerant Literate Books, Charleston, SC

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
(Harper, 9780062942937, $28.99, Aug. 24, Fiction)
“This is the best book I’ve read this year. An ambitious debut novel tracing the history of one family against the backdrop of American history and showing the stories that are remembered and the ones that are forgotten.”
—Benedict Tanter, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

Hao: Stories
By Ye Chun
(Catapult, 9781646220601, $26, Sept. 7, Short Stories)
“A wonderful collection of short stories that span the Chinese and Chinese American diaspora through time and place. These women, strong yet powerless, find their own meaning of hao (good).”
—Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

The Archer
By Shruti Swamy
(Algonquin Books, 9781616209902, $26.95, Sept. 7, Fiction)
The Archer is the story of a young Indian woman who longs to be a classical dancer — to feel that rhythm, to have that as her life focus — yet is continually buffeted by her choices and those made for her.”
—Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

The Big Door Prize
By M.O. Walsh
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735218505, $17, Aug. 31, Fiction)
“M.O. Walsh weaves quintessential Southern charm with a quirky scenario in a novel that questions what measures a life well-lived and answers with an entertaining tale of a grand machine in a modest town.”
—Mary Garner Rees, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Just Us: An American Conversation
By Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450635, $20, Sept. 7, Essays & Poetry)
“Rankine seamlessly weaves poetry, memoir, and cultural/racial research and criticism while probing how Black and white Americans can both occupy the same spaces in such disparate circumstances.”
—Angela Maria Spring, Duende District, Albuquerque, NM, and Washington, DC

Magic Lessons: Book #1 of the Practical Magic Series
By Alice Hoffman
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982108854, $17, Sept. 7, Fiction)
“No one tells a story like Alice Hoffman, and I only hope she finds a way to bring the magical Owens family back to us in the future. I simply loved this book — a great story of love and magic!”
—Julie Slavinsky, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

Nine Shiny Objects
By Brian Castleberry
(Custom House, 9780062984418, $16.99, Aug. 17, Fiction)
“Nine characters’ stories entwine over 50 years in a novel that will make you think, work through the characters, and come out with a complex but beautiful story describing America since 1947.”
—Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, CO

The Talented Miss Farwell
By Emily Gray Tedrowe
(Custom House, 9780062897718, $16.99, Aug. 24, Fiction)
“Watch and wonder as the talented Miss Farwell keeps all the plates spinning in this totally absorbing study of obsession and deception.”
—Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

What Could Be Saved
By Liese O’Halloran Schwarz
(Washington Square Press, 9781982150624, $17, Aug. 31, Fiction)
What Could Be Saved is a moving, powerful story of loss and regret, loyalty and redemption. These beautifully drawn, tragically flawed characters will remain with me long after turning the last page.”
—Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL