2023 has been absolutely packed with amazing book releases. Here is a compilation of some of the best reads of the past year from EMILY KAINE, as well as a few from earlier years that are fast-paced page-turners perfect to take away on your next holiday. There is something here for everyone, whether you are a fan of self-help books, memoirs, romance, family drama, mystery, or fantasy!
1. Lola in the Mirror, Trent Dalton
The newest book from highly acclaimed Australian author Trent Dalton explores themes of trauma, identity, belonging and family narrated by a seventeen-year-old homeless girl sleeping rough on the streets of Brisbane. Like all Dalton’s past work, it is set against a gritty, Australian backdrop and is full of beautiful prose that has become one of his trademarks.
2. Yellowface, R.F Kuang
This gripping story from young novelist R.F. Kuang has certainly been one of this year’s most talked-about books. June and Athena are friends and both authors, but June has always been jealous of Athena’s success in the literary industry as her less successful peer. When Athena unexpectedly dies, June decides to seize her chance, stealing Athena’s manuscript and passing off the finished book as her own. This book is truly impossible to put down!
3. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin
While not a 2023 release, it was only this year that this novel started really gaining attention. Zadie and Sam, the two main characters, meet as children, lose contact, and meet again as adults. They then strike up an unlikely working partnership developing video games and starting their own video game company. It is a wonderful ode to friendship that explores what it means to be a friend over a lifetime.
4. Good Material, Dolly Alderton
Dolly Alderton is one of those authors who keeps setting the bar higher every time she releases a new book. This book, however, differs from her other works as it is written from the perspective of a male protagonist. Andy is a struggling comedian fumbling his way through a breakup. It is touching and often frustrating to accompany him on his journey of self-discovery, during which he makes many infuriating mistakes. But with a beautiful ending and all the elements that make a perfect book, this novel was one of the best of 2023.
5. I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy’s memoir was equal parts touching and disturbing. The way McCurdy captures how childhood trauma affects an individual’s psyche is deeply impactful. The perspective she offers on the complicated feelings involved with being a child star is also incredibly interesting. This one is great if you love memoirs that read like fiction.
6. Happy Place, Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s newest release may just be her best yet. Happy Place follows the story of two exes, Harriet and Wyn. As their annual vacation with their friends approaches, they decide to pretend to be together as normal to preserve their friendship group for one more year. What follows turns out to be a disastrous trip, as secrets, lies and tensions in the group all bubble to the surface, and Harriet and Wyn try their best to find a way to move forward.
7. The Mother-In-Law, Sally Hepworth
If you are into great murder mysteries, The Mother-In-Law is a fantastic page-turner for your holidays. Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, has always treated her differently. When Diana is abruptly found dead, accompanied by a suicide note, Lucy ends up a suspect in the middle of a murder investigation as the cracks in Diana’s family start to show.
8. Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros (The Empyrean Series)
If fantasy is your preferred genre, Fourth Wing (as well as its just-released sequel), are two books you cannot miss. Magic, dragons, adventure and romance all combine to make this the most talked-about fantasy series of the year.
9. Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business and Life
Entrepreneur and host of chart-topping Diary of a CEO podcast Steven Bartlett released his second book this year. It is packed full of important life lessons and wisdom from one of Britain’s most successful businessmen. If you are a fan of self-help books, this one is for you.