Top 10 Must-Read Books for 2024

Reading: Top 10 Must-Read Books for 2024


Top 10 Must-Read Books for 2024

With Everything from nail-biting thrillers to unputdownable novels to historical fiction, this list will get your year started off right

By Robin Kall

Happy New Year, readers! 2024 is gearing up to be possibly one of my favorites and we’re just getting started. From nail-biting thrillers to unputdownable contemporary novels and historical fiction from some of our most beloved authors with a few newbies in the mix, I’ve got a sneak peek into the top books 2024 readers will be hearing about in the coming months. There are so many books I’m excited about. It was tough to choose 10 favorites. Get ready, your TBR stack is about to explode!

After Annie ($30, by Anna Quindlen)

Anna Quindlen’s poignant novel,
After Annie, navigates the intricacies of love and loss. When Annie dies suddenly, her husband, children, and closest friend are devastated. She was the glue that held them all together. Bill struggles as a now widowed father of 4, while Annemarie — Annie’s best friend — confronts old demons. The eldest, Ali, is forced to shoulder new responsibilities at a time when just being a teenager is hard enough. Annie’s essence remains a guiding and loving force throughout this gorgeous story. This endearing novel had me thinking about the things we leave behind, how we are remembered, and how meaningful it is to share with our loved ones what’s truly important to us. It delves into the transformative nature of adversity, portraying the enduring impact of a loved one’s legacy. A true testament to hope. 

The Switch ($29, by Lily Samson)

Elena and Adam, eager to house-sit in a posh London area, encounter a captivating couple, Sophia and Finn. Elena is drawn to Finn’s mystique and falls into a twisted game suggested by Sophia — to secretly swap partners. Seduced by the forbidden, Elena dives into an affair, unaware that Sophia has a hidden agenda. The idyllic setting hides sinister secrets as Elena’s infatuation with Finn grows deeper, leading to a dangerous liaison. Wild fantasies turn ominous in this dark domestic thriller, and we all know how that turns out. I was literally unable to put down this twisty thriller. I finished this one early one morning and it was worth the extra coffee to get my day going.

Swift River ($28, by Essie Chambers)

Essie Chambers’ debut,
Swift River, is set in a fading New England mill town in 1987. Diamond Newberry, the only Black person in Swift River, grapples with her missing father and weight-based teasing. Essie and her mother have a plan to declare Essie’s father legally dead for the insurance, which they sorely need. A letter from a family member finds its way to Diamond, and that’s how she finds out about her dad’s family and meets her African American relatives spanning generations. Through their history she pieces together her identity. This coming-of-age novel is about family secrets, forging bonds, and navigating a complicated past. I loved Diamond’s voice and how it grew stronger throughout the story. Sharing a debut novel is always an honor, and I can’t wait to read whatever Chambers is working on next.

The Cliffs ($29, by J. Courtney Sullivan)

There is nothing like an old Victorian house at the center of a novel! The author spins a captivating tale set in Maine,  blending family, secrets, and a mysterious seaside Victorian house. Jane is drawn to the abandoned home’s mystery as a teen and returns home after her career implodes. Shocked by its transformation into a glossy mansion, Jane, now a Harvard archivist, uncovers its haunting past. The new owner, Genevieve, has reason to believe the house is haunted and seeks Jane’s help to unravel its history. Brimming with mediums, past lives, and the legacies we inherit, this unputdownable novel (yes, another one!) explores the stories of the women who came before us. This is Sullivan’s 6th novel and I’ve read and loved every one of them. 

Darling Girls ($29, by Sally Hepworth)

In Hepworth’s 9th novel, we meet Alicia, Jessica, and Norah, whose bond goes way back to a farm with a strict foster mother, Miss Fairchild. They fled her and her rules, thinking they were free, until bones surfaced under their childhood home. Called in by the police, they’re forced to confront their past and the daunting Miss Fairchild. The story delves into the demons we conceal and whether the past can stay buried. This clever and addictive page-turner will have you thinking about what someone might truly be capable of given the right circumstances. I’ve been a fan of Hepworth’s novels since The Secrets of Midwives. Sally is a masterful storyteller with such recognizable characters you’d swear you know these people. She is clever, and so even if you’re looking for the “aha”moment, you won’t see it coming!

Women Of Good Fortune ($29, by Sophie Wan)

Lulu faces a dilemma: a wealthy suitor proposes, promising to solve her family’s financial struggles. She has her doubts but is pressured into saying yes. Lulu confides in her friends, Rina and Jane, both of whom crave something tied to money: time, freedom, beauty. Seeing Lulu’s over-the-top wedding as their chance for upgrades, they plan a heist for cash gifts. Naturally, complications arise, straining the relationships. They come to realize that “having it all” comes at great cost and they’ll need to reckon with whether the price is worth the risk. This is one of my favorite rom-com tropes because we know it will all turn out okay in the end. It’s a treat of a novel, and as I read it I easily imagined this book on the big screen. If Hollywood is reading…

The Sicilian Inheritance ($28, by Jo Piazza)

Piazza’s latest novel is personal — imbued with her own family history — centering on a long-awaited trip to Sicily, an inheritance, and a family secret some would kill to protect. When Sara Marsala’s beloved great-aunt Rosie dies, a grieving Sara is handed an unexpected opportunity — a trip to Sicily, a deed to potentially valuable land — and a shocking family secret. While there, Sara learns about the hidden story of her great-grandmother Serafina’s tragic fate. Racing against danger, Sara follows Serafina’s courageous journey while confronting her own obstacles. This is a gripping multigenerational mystery celebrating the resilience of ordinary women, set against the backdrop of picturesque Italian landscapes. 

Family Family ($29, by Laurie Frankel)

Aspiring actress India Allwood speaks up about Hollywood’s cliched portrayal of adoption in her new movie. An adoptive mother herself, India challenges the film’s portrayal of adoption solely through tragedy. After candidly (a no-no) critiquing the film to a journalist, she ignites a media frenzy, facing backlash from all sides. Amidst the chaos, she leans on her family, revealing the complexity of their bonds. India knows family isn’t defined by blood or love alone… it’s complicated, which makes this book a real conversation starter. There are many ways to create a family and adoption is sometimes one of those topics that not all people feel comfortable talking about. It’s stories like these that help people be seen and feel heard.

The Stolen Child ($28, by Ann Hood)

Haunted by a wartime choice, Nick seeks closure before his life comes to an end. In 1974, he recruits Jenny, a young woman who craves adventure, to uncover the mystery of a vanished artist and her child. Jenny, a hopeless romantic, and curmudgeonly Nick embark on a journey that takes them to Parisian galleries and an unexpected Museum of Tears. This timeless story weaves together secrets, rediscovered love, and the nature of forgiveness. I was completely captivated by Nick’s connection to what happened to him during the war and how that drives his future. The relationship that develops between Nick and Jenny is a deep connection of their hearts.

Missing White Woman ($29, by Kellye Garrett)

This thriller from the author who brought us Like A Sister kicks off with Breanna waking up to a nightmare: a stranger’s dead body in their rental and her boyfriend having seemingly vanished. What is supposed to be a romantic NYC getaway turns into anything but. As a Black woman alone in a city, Breanna is caught in a whirlwind — especially when the victim is a highly publicized missing person. #JusticeForJanelle becomes the all-consuming social media story. In a world where appearances deceive, can Breanna uncover what really happened that fateful night? I get chills thinking about the cat and mouse game that unfolds as Breanna follows the mess she has unwittingly found herself in. This was another book that kept me up way past my bedtime. 

Robin Kall is a literary influencer who over the past two decades has built a devoted and passionate following. In addition to her radio talk show, Robin has hosted countless “can’t miss” author events including “Summer With Robin” and “Evening With Authors.” She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their corgi, Benny. Follow Robin on X @robinkallInstagram, or Facebook. Read more book lists by Robin.

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