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The Best New Books of September 2021 Are Almost Here!

Book covers for "Good Anxiety," "Cloud Cuckoo Land," and "Harlem Shuffle"
Atria Books/Scribner/Doubleday

What books are you adding to your shelves this September? The month ahead is filled with exciting new releases, including much-anticipated titles from Pulitzer winners, can’t-put-down genre fiction, and nonfiction titles that could change your whole worldview. Before your next trip to your favorite bookstore, take a peek at the titles you’ll want to be on the lookout for!

The Bennet Women

More of a reimagining than a beat-for-beat update, Eden Appiah-Kubi’s novel focuses on three friends living in a women’s dorm at an elite university. Ambitious EJ anchors the crew, guiding her friends along as she herself deals with major career questions. Things only get more complicated when Lee, the sweet son of a Hollywood producer, enrolls on campus, bringing along with him his arrogant actor best friend Will. Out Sept. 1

Taking Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights

Martin Dugard’s nonfiction book weaves together the stories of significant figures in the occupation and liberation of Paris during World War II. After the shocking invasion in 1940, Paris became a center for the resistance, but that fight came at an enormous price. The story covers all the heart-stopping decisions from the fall of Paris to its restoration and beyond. Out Sept. 7.

The Shaadi Set-Up

A debut rom-com from Lillie Vale about mismatches and second chances. Rita has a sweet boyfriend and a successful furniture restoration business, but it’s all thrown into chaos when her high-school love Milan reenters her life. He’s just looking for her furniture expertise, but when a matchmaking website pairs Rita with Milan—not her boyfriend—she finds herself reevaluating the truths she’s tried to ignore. Out Sept. 7.

Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion

a nonfiction look at the emotion we’ve all been feeling a lot of. The neuroscientist author, Dr. Wendy Suzuki, explains how anxiety can actually be part of an emotionally and physically healthy life. She also dives into how we each can manage this potentially scary feeling to instead set us on a path to the lives we want to live. Out Sept. 7.

Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes

From Alexa Martin comes the story of Jude and Lauren, two very different but very close best friends. Jude is an Instagram influencer whose life is a mess behind the scenes, while Lauren has put her med school dreams on hold after unexpectedly becoming a single mom. Now, they’re moving in together to try to support each other, but their combined struggles are a lot more than either of them bargained for. Out Sept. 7.

Mad Women's Ball: A Novel

In the 1880s Paris of Victoria Mas’s novel, the Salpetriere Asylum hosts any number of patients, including women locked up by their families for the simple offense of disobeying. The head doctor is famed for his methods, which he displays — along with his patients, indifferently—to the public at an annual “ball.” When a new young patient is forced into the asylum, she reveals a secret to jaded nurse Genevieve that forces a shift in everything she thought she knew and valued. Out Sept. 7.

The Charm Offensive: A Novel

Alison Cochrun’s debut romance starts as a Bachelor satire, then turns into a funny and heartfelt rom-com about finding love and finding yourself. Reality TV producer Dev is tasked with guiding scandal-ridden tech genius Charlie through a season of a reality TV dating show. Instead, as Dev becomes the only person to get through Charlie’s awkward exterior, both men—and the friends around them—-start to question what finding love is actually supposed to feel like. Out Sept. 7.

Apples Never Fall

It’s the latest domestic thriller from bestselling author Liane Moriarty. The Delaney family—Stan, Joy, and their four adult children—seem to be the paragons of perfection and success to their community. When Joy goes missing after she and Stan help a stranger, Stan is immediately questioned by police. Two of their children believe their father’s claims of innocence, but the other two do not—and all four are in for some rude awakenings about their family’s past. Out Sept. 14.

A Lot Like Adiós: A Novel (Primas of Power, 2)

Alexis Daria’s latest is a crackling story about second chances. After burning out in the corporate world, Michelle builds a thriving freelance career, despite the worries of her Puerto Rican-Italian family. When her newest client turns out to be her childhood best friend—who she hasn’t heard from in thirteen years—Michelle isn’t sure if it’s a second chance at what she missed or just another disappointment waiting to happen. Out Sept. 14.

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

A new novel from two-time Pulitzer winner Colson Whitehead. This novel centers on Ray Carney, a furniture salesman in 1960s Harlem, who does his best to hide his criminal origins. When his cousin gets him involved in a heist gone wrong, Ray’s business and family is put on the line. As Ray tries to navigate his dangerous double life, he soon realizes that just staying alive may be victory enough. Out Sept. 14.

Water: A Biography

Giulio Boccaletti chronicles the history of the Earth through one particular lens: water. Tracing history through millennia, this nonfiction books dives deep into the role water has played in the creation of civilization, technological advancements, and modern-day laws and infrastructure. Combining research on agriculture, sociology, politics, urban planning, environmental concerns, and more, it’s an in-depth analysis of one thing we can’t live without. Out Sept. 14.

The Love Hypothesis

To get her meddling BFF off her back, PhD student Olive decides to fake a relationship in Ali Hazelwood’s new romance. Of course, Olive accidentally chooses Adam, fellow scientist and well-known jerk. To her surprise, Adam agrees to help her out, both with the fake dating and when a science conference goes wrong. Suddenly, Olive isn’t so sure that her no-dating rule is so important after all, but does Adam feel the same way? Out Sept. 14.

Working Backstage: A Cultural History and Ethnography of Technical Theater Labor

If you think the performing arts is just about jazz hands and glitter, think again. Christin Essin’s in-depth nonfiction title digs into the history of technical theatre, with archival information and interview with over 100 technicians. It covers everything from the in-depth technical know-how to the role of unions and much more, all while exploring how these never-seen people make shows happen. Out Sept. 20.

Iron Widow

History, myth, and sci-fi collide in this creative, vivid fantasy by Xiran Jay Zhao. In Huaxia, boys and girls both are recruited to pair up and pilot enormous transforming robots to fight invaders—but the battles almost always kill the female pilots. Zetian volunteers for this dangerous job to assassinate the pilot who allowed her sister to die. Instead, she becomes one half of a rare true match with another scandal-ridden pilot, and together, they’re ready to seize power no matter the cost. Out Sept. 25.  

Other People's Things: A Novel

To most people, Nicole is a disappointing, burnout, ex-con who’s lucky to have a job at her sister’s cleaning business. Kerry Anne King’s latest protagonist isn’t an ordinary petty thief, though: She hears objects call to her that need to be relocated. After Nicole moves a simple book from one client’s home to another, decades of secrets start to unravel, all as Nicole’s charming ex starts to reveal his own true colors—not that anyone believes Nicole now. Out Sept. 25.

Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart)

In this new fantasy novel from Stephanie Garber, romantic Evangeline is devastated to learn that her “true love” is marrying someone else. Desperate to stop the wedding, she makes a dark bargain with an immortal being called the Prince of Hearts. It’s not long before she realizes that being tied to the Prince is much more dangerous than she thought, but there’s no backing out now. Out Sept. 28.

The Duchess: A Novel of Wallis Simpson

Wendy Holden’s intriguing novel centers on Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom a British king (in)famously abdicated his throne. From her arrival in England as the bored wife of a dull husband to her chance encounter with a prince and beyond, the story follows her up through the scandal that rocked an entire country and the controversial decisions she makes. Out Sept. 28.

Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel

Pulitzer-winning author Anthony Doerr is back with a sprawling story spanning fifteenth-century Constantinople, present-day Idaho, and a futuristic spaceship. In these three very different times, three sets of people find hope in the myth of Aethon, who longs to be a bird in the sky. In every era, these people under siege read the same story and find strength in this thread that connects them, even as their own stories take unexpected turns. Out Sept. 28.

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales

If you think you know everything about fairytales and folklore, think again. In Soman Chainani’s collection of short stories, every fairytale you’ve grown up with gets turned on its head. Heroes become villains, endings are just beginnings, but just like all good stories, they each reveal something important about all of us. Out Sept. 28.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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