New textbooks aren’t the only pages you should be reading now school has started again. Here are some of the books due out this autumn we’re excited about.
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
The author’s last book was the phenomenal The Lie Tree, a vividly painted melodrama about family, secrets and a plant that feeds off human falsehoods. This new tale, about a girl who is possessed by the spirit of a bear, promises to be as captivating.
Uncanny by Sarah Fine
A psychological thriller about a girl trying to work out how her stepsister died, with the help of a state-of-the-art AI companion. People suspect Cora of being involved in the unexpected death, but she can’t remember enough of the night it happened to even defend herself. As she starts to look into Hannah’s death, Cora starts to uncover even more secrets about her past – and about herself.
The Secret Island of Edgar Dewitt by Ferrill Gibbs
When Edgar moves to a new town with his family, he quickly realises it’s not going to be easy to make friends. In fact, the first person he meets is the school bully. But he soon finds a place of his own: a passage through the centre of the Earth that takes him to a tiny, secret island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Unlikely? Obviously, but Edgar’s literal voyages, as well as that of his self-discovery, sound fascinating to us.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In her first novel, the devastating but beautiful Everything I Never Told You, Ng recounted the events leading up to the death of a teenage girl in 1970s Ohio. Ng, who excels at exploring the push and pull of family, culture and community, returns to the same suburbs in Little Fires Everywhere, about the Richardson family and their attraction to a mysterious mother and daughter who become tenants.
All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Imagine a world in which every word you utter, and every gesture you make is protected by intellectual property laws. People in this world have the literal opposite of free speech: on their 15th birthday, they are fitted with an electronic bracelet that charges them for every word they speak. If you can’t afford the cost, you are harshly punished. As the novel opens, Speth turns 15 – and then tragedy strikes. Instead of putting her family in debt by expressing her grief, Speth decides to stop talking completely, defying tradition and expectations, and making everyone around her question everything they thought they knew.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
Winner of the National Book Award for The Round House, Erdrich has spent her career weaving stories around the fascinating people of an Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. Now she turns her hand to a dystopian novel about a young mother-to-be in a world in which women are giving birth to a primitive species. If that plot doesn’t give you chills, nothing will.
The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle
Emilie has always been home-schooled, and she’s loved it, but then her mum decides to send her to school with other students. This change would be hard enough for anyone, but Emilie has a secret: she’s epileptic. Added to the general challenges of being a teenager at a new school, she has to manage her condition, and hope she doesn’t suffer a seizure in front of a whole new group of strangers. The title is a quote from a poem by Emily Dickinson and refers to hope – something Emilie needs now more than ever.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
In his novel Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore book, Sloan unravelled a mystery about a web designer who takes a job in a peculiar all-night Bay area book shop. New technology clashed, then melded, with classic history. Sourdough promises a similar sort of tech and analogue mash-up, in this case involving the food industry: a software engineer learns to bake bread and uncovers a secret underground market. We’re already hungry for it.
Trell by Dick Lehr
Written by a former reporter on the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team (their investigations form the plot of the Oscar-winning 2015 movie), this novel is inspired by a true story. Trell Taylor was a baby when her father was convicted of murdering a teenage girl. Not everyone is convinced of his guilt, and Trell undertakes a dangerous search to help a rookie lawyer and a seasoned reporter find evidence that his trial was unfair.
Runebinder by Alex R
The first in a series of books set in a dystopian world where magic is real, and once-human monsters called Howls roam the streets, threatening anyone who crosses their path. The only hope for mankind are those known as Hunters, of whom the protagonist Tenn is one. But higher powers have bigger plans for Tenn's skills - plans that could put the future of humankind at risk.
The Disappearance of Gillian Chan
Jacob lives at a group home for troubled boys, where he is bullied because he doesn't speak. But when Mike, who is usually something of a bully, arrives, the two form an unlikely bond, with Jacob exhibiting an unexplained knowledge of Mike's past, and Mike finding himself inexplicably wanting to protect Jacob. And then Jacob goes missing...
Edited by Ginny Wong