January’s Must-Read Books

Look no further for your next read. The amount of great new books hitting shelves each month can be overwhelming. Here, we’ve rounded up twelve of the best books coming out this January, no matter what genre you’re interested in. Have you read any of these new releases? If not, you’ll want them on your TBR!

Little Gods by Meng Jin

Start your literary year with a trip to China: Meng Jin’s debut novel follows 17-year-old Liya who is on a journey to uncover answers about her parents’ past. She was born in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. Her mother, Su Lan, whisked them both away to America soon after, and never spoke of Liya’s father. When her mother passes away, Liya makes the journey back to her native country in the hopes of discovering who her father was and why her mother left. Through jumps in time, Little Gods slowly reveals the answers that Liya seeks.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

Did Rise of Skywalker leave you craving more space adventures? Pick up Simon Jimenez’s debut! Nearly 1,000 years after humans left an uninhabitable Earth, spaceship captain Nia discovers a mysterious boy named Ahro, who only communicates through music played on a wooden flute. When it becomes clear that Ahro possesses special abilities (ones that the corporations that own the galaxy would use in their quest to take over planets), Nia vows to protect him with the help of Fumiko, an aerospace engineer.

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore breathes new life into Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes” in this YA retelling. For a week every year, Briar Meadow is filled with magic. This year the glimmer, as it’s called by the townspeople, compels people to follow their hearts. But Rosella finds herself instead forced to dance by the red shoes she can’t take off her feet. Her childhood friend Emil believes he knows the cause, for a similar event occurred in Strasbourg in 1518 and his Romani ancestor Lavinia was blamed by the town. To save Rosella, the two work to uncover the mystery of what truly happened in Strasbourg 500 years ago.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Looking for some romance this month? Tessa Bailey has you covered with the second installment in the Hot and Hammered series. Chemistry always came easy for Rosie and Dominic, and years of dating and marriage haven’t changed their passion for each other. But when their communication breaks down and seems beyond repair, Rosie knows it’ll take something big to save their marriage. The two start attending therapy, where they’re surprised to find healing and newfound connection through learning each other’s love languages. But Dominic’s been holding back, and when his secret comes to light it threatens to ruin everything they’ve built together.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Tochi Onyebuchi’s novella chronicles the bond between a brother and sister and the way police brutality, injustice, and violence against Black Americans shape their futures. Ella Jackson becomes a big sister on April 29, 1992–the same day a jury acquits the four police officers who brutally beat Rodney King. Shortly after the birth of her brother Kev, Ella begins to develop powers that she doesn’t know what to do with, such as the ability to destroy things with her mind and dark premonitions of what’s to come. When Kev is wrongfully arrested and imprisoned at Rikers Island, Ella becomes determined to create a different future for them both.

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

Robin Ha’s graphic memoir follows her journey from Seoul, Korea to Huntsville, Alabama after her mother decides to remarry. Far from home and thrust into a new school, 14-year-old Chuna struggles to acclimate, especially when dealing with bullying from both her classmates and new stepfamily. Things begin to change for the better when the family moves once more to Virginia, where Chuna starts to find her place in a drawing class that reunites her with her love of comics. This moving story about identity, family, and belonging is sure to be a hit with both YA and adult readers.

Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon

If you’re looking for some historical fiction this month, pick up Paul Yoon’s Run Me to Earth. The story begins in war-torn Laos in 1969 and follows three orphans across decades of their lives. Teenagers Alisak, Prany, and Noi work at a hospital under the guidance of Vang, a French doctor. When danger arrives at their doorstep and they’re forced to evacuate, the group is separated. Yoon follows each character, tracking what becomes of them, how their experiences in childhood shaped them, and whether or not they ever crossed paths with their friends again.

The Blaze by Chad Dundas

With three starred trade reviews, Chad Dundas’ latest is one of this month’s buzziest thrillers. Army veteran Matthew Rose returns to Montana following the death of his father. After being injured in Iraq, his memory is spotty at best and it’s surreal to be in a place where everyone knows his name but he can’t recall who they are or what they used to be to him. He starts piecing together the puzzle of his past with the help of Georgie Porter, a local reporter and his old high school sweetheart. When an arsonist strikes and kills a college student, it sparks a memory in Matthew of a cold case from 15 years ago. Together, Matthew and Georgie begin digging through related cases to see if they can catch the killer.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Brigid Kemmerer enchanted readers with her debut YA fantasy, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and now she’s back with the second installment in the Cursebreaker series. The curse has been broken, yet Prince Rhen is plagued by rumors that he isn’t the true heir of Emberfall. There are whispers that Grey, Rhen’s missing guardsman, is meant to sit on the throne. Grey doesn’t wish to rule, but when a new threat rises against Emberfall, he’s faced with impossible choices. Does he dare go against Rhen, even if it means saving the land they love?

The Missing American by Kwei Quartey

Armchair detectives, this one’s for you. Kwei Quartey’s new series transports readers to Accra, Ghana to follow a young detective just starting to make a name for herself. Emma Djan hoped to become a homicide detective like her father, but when those dreams are dashed she finds herself working with a private detective agency instead. It’s there that she learns about Gordon Tilson, an American widower who traveled to Ghana to meet with a woman he spoke with online. He’s disappeared and his son, Derek, is desperate to find out what happened to him. This mystery will keep you guessing until the final pages.

Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series is back this month with a brand new hockey romance. Ryan Price is known for his legendary fights on the ice, but when he’s traded to yet another team he begins to realize his career no longer makes him happy. Thankfully, he soon reunites with musician Fabian Salah, who helps to bring out Ryan’s confident side. As teenagers, they unknowingly crushed on each other, and fate seems to have stepped in to give them a chance to be together. But Fabian’s wary of getting involved with a hockey player, and Ryan’s struggling with feeling unworthy of love after years of acting as a villain on the ice. Reid’s latest romance will tug at readers’ hearts while underscoring the importance of therapy and support in managing mental health.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

A game of Truth or Dare turns deadly in this follow-up to Karen M. McManus’ YA bestseller One of Us Is Lying. Minor characters from the first book take center stage as an anonymous texter begins to threaten the students of Bayview High. It begins with a mysterious message: “Truth or dare?” Students who complete a dare are safe, while those who pick truth find their darkest secrets revealed in texts sent to the entire school. When the game takes a deadly turn, four students must take matters into their own hands before anyone else is hurt.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.


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