Upcoming Book Releases We’re Excited About | Fall 2023
by Joe Walters & the IBR Staff
Put your trust in indie books in Fall 2023.
You won’t regret it.
We received pitches for thousands of indie books this year. Our inbox is overflowing with creativity and uniqueness and bold steps taken away from those by the big five publishers.
National Book Award finalists like Mónica Ojeda stride alongside debut indie authors in this list of exciting books coming out in Fall 2023. It’s not the name that matters to us, the publishing house, the publicity; it’s the book.
What genres are you looking for? We review them all. This list includes literary fiction, speculative fiction, thrillers, middle grade books, and beyond. So get that pre-order finger ready. I think this season looks awesome.
Here are 23 upcoming book releases that we’re excited about in Fall 2023.
Mónica Ojeda’s last book, Jawbone, was impressive. Good psychological thrillers can rile you up and make you think at the same time, and Ojeda is so damn good at both. This follow-up novel is a techno-horror story about artists and video games, and it might be just as explosive.
2. The Glassman
Available September 2023
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Print Length: 151 pages
A lead singer survives a devastating accident only to discover that he can now control and create glass. What would you even do with this power? How could it help? Or could it only hurt? The Glassman is a dark fantasy that sings.
3. The Liberators
Don’t even get me started on this cover. (Okay, do. It’s incredible.) But it’s the generational family story that pulls me deeper into this one. If you’re fascinated in the ways the past influences the present, check out this debut novel that Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), called, “Spare, beautiful and richly layered.”
Lai captures the intersectionality of art, feminism, and environmentalism in this moving debut novel
A major focus of this novel is destruction and what it means to create anew; destruction often is not the end but a site for rebirth. Though Penelope has devoted so much of her life to the preservation of [an art archive], in its demolition, she is able to transition into a new future…Landscapes is beautiful, provocative, and accessible. It will remind you that destruction is rarely the end and that we all must continue forward.
– Samantha Hui, Independent Book Review
5. Peach Pit
Deesha Philyaw. Lauren Groff. Sarah Rose Etter. Should I just keep listing the badass women authors in this book? This star-studded story anthology is filled with monstrous female characters who are tired of being told to play nice.
6. Somewhere in the Gray Area
Available October 2023
Author: Jeffrey K. Davenport
Genre: Thriller / LGBTQ
Print Length: 328 pages
An overconfident character in over their head? Sign me up. And make it dangerous while you’re at it. This thriller features a programming intern who gets caught up in a police coverup that takes the lives of his boss and the rest of the program’s interns. Naturally, he joins up with a team of operatives, led by a team leader with an eye only for his work. For now.
7. The River, The Town
A deep and powerful work of literary climate fiction
The River, The Town follows Baadal, his wife Meena, and his mother Raheela over a lifetime from their rural landscape to the faraway dream of the City, as they try and fail and try again to love each other. As the title suggests, the Town depends on the river, a relationship just as fraught as the relationships between the humans that the river feeds.
With straightforward prose and a roving point of view, Ali traces the echoes between water and thirst, person and place, in this meditation on regionalism, poverty, and family trauma.
– Nick Rees Gardner, Independent Book Review
8. Veil of Doubt
A scintillating retelling of a true crime story from Reconstruction-era Virginia! One mother is accused of killing her husband, children, and aunt. Obviously you’re wondering if she did it. Just wait until you see the ending.
9. Wild Geese
Three years into her transition, Phoebe is finally setted in her new life in Copenhagen. Then her ex-girlfriend comes back, bringing all of what Phoebe tried to leave behind with her. A tale of dislocations and relocations, of migrating like the majestic honking birds in the sky. Julián Delgado Lopera (Fiebre Tropical) calls it, “A terrific read that looks at a trans experience unflinchingly….Sassy, cataclysmic, and full of life.”
10. Soul Jar
Where are all the people with disabilities in fantasy fiction? Shapeshifter, demons, Mars! This imaginative anthology is a vibrant one. It’s even edited by a bookseller, Annie Carl, owner of The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds, WA. I love this whole project.
11. The Strange Beautiful
A glimpse into the lives of ten tenants in one apartment complex in Spokane, WA over a period of 100 years. This linked story collection offers so much, from the Spanish flu to a mannequin protagonist. Jane Wong (Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City) says: “Full of surreal wonder, each story moves us forward in time with visceral, inventive, and intimate language – replete with winged women and oceanic Fugu poison.”
12. Sea Glass Memories
Available October 2023
Author: Anne Marie Bennett
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Print Length: 205 pages
A cozy novel with the charm of small-town life and the reassurance that we are resilient and capable of love
Anne Marie Bennett’s Sea Glass Memories explores the strength it takes to move beyond grief. Readers will follow the emotional growth of the main character and become encouraged to take their lives back into their own hands. This novel reminds us that to grieve is to love and to love is to carry on.
– Samantha Hui, Independent Book Review (forthcoming)
13. Sister Golden Calf
Road trip fiction, but heavy on the weird? Yes please! A motorcycle gang, a taxidermied eight-legged calf, a ghost town. The characters are worth the price of admission alone in this novella.
14. Rows of Praise
Available September 2023
Author: J.D. Reid
Genre: Literary / Metaphysical
Print Length: 343 pages
A loving look at how mundane moments can feel like epic adventures
Rows of Praise is the story of one man’s “life-flashing-before his eyes” as he comes to terms with where he finds himself. But it is also a story about many different kinds of love and different kinds of family. It is about building a life despite—or even because of—the tragedies that occur simply as a part of living. And about how a lifetime can be re-lived in just a few momentous hours.
– Erica Ball, Independent Book Review
14. Sanctuary Motel
You may have seen Orloff’s name before, like in The Best American Mystery Stories (2018) or one of his Agatha winning books. This time, he’s written about a proprietor who opens up his motel to the unfortunate, only to bring danger to his doors.
15. Weather and Beasts and Growing Things
Imagine cultivating a garden atop a condemned apartment building in the year 2079. The city doesn’t want Stevven or their sentient plant, so they have to find a new home. But how do you find or make a home in a cyberpunk future riddled with oil cults and cannibals?
Feel like you don’t have time to read? Peep our 10 easy ways to read more.
Cursebreakers is nonstop action, pierced with so much heart and heightened emotion on both ends of the scale. These characters come alive off the page in a way that is rare and precious, and will no doubt fuel the rise of a powerful fandom.
The book follows Professor Adrien Desfourneaux, who finds himself entangled in the life-threatening position of preventing a magical coup linked to a rapidly increasing number of comatose victims—while he is experiencing a significant flare-up of his bipolar disorder symptoms.
– Andrea Marks-Joseph, Independent Book Review (STARRED)
17. The Confession of Hemingway Jones
A car accident claims his father’s life. But maybe it’s not the end of it? Hemingway Jones hijacks the lab in which he interns, a cryogenic preservation research center, and brings his father back to life. But now his skin is grey and he can’t be in 56 degree weather. He eats weird food too. So should he really do it again?
18. Facing the Beast Within
Available September 2023
Author: Mark Cheverton
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Print Length: 208 pages
An earnest reminder to be courageous and honest
Cameron Poole is anxious and is mocked daily. To make matters worse, supernatural creatures from a parallel dimension start appearing, and Cameron must defeat them to save their summer camp from the clutches of evil.
In addition to a fast-paced plot, Cheverton uses Cameron’s anxiety to demonstrate some tried-and-true coping methods from psychologists. This includes breathing exercises and many different mental distraction activities. I was pleased that the presence of these methods did not detract from the overall story; rather, including these in the book not only provides them as tools for kids and pre-teens to use in daily life, but it also offers visibility, inclusion, and normalization of these issues and coping methods.
– Audrey Davis, Independent Book Review (Forthcoming)
Speaking of reading for kids… Have you seen our gifts for kids who love to read?
19. The Boy from Nowhere
Moving around during 1960s America, Richard Robison Jr. knows about disconnection and loss, of hope and change. This personal story will resonate with readers interested in a vivid snapshot of the time period and the desire to know oneself when you keep moving.
20. Move Like Water
Not only do readers get to spend time sailing the North Sea, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Celtic Sea, and the Caribbean in this memoir, but they are led by the rhythmic prose of a deeply invested and poetic marine biologist. Great for people who love marine animals too!
21. Attic of Dreams
This lyrical memoir is about protecting the outer world and the journey to wholeness. Julia Alvarez (In the Time of the Butterflies, Afterlife) says, “Neagley’s memoir addresses issues so critical now: how to take care of our natural world, of each other, of ourselves—we need magic attics of imagination and stories that inspire our activism.”
22. Dark Beds
A sensual, earthly collection of poetry centered around motherhood, marriage, and desire
Diana Whitney’s second collection of poems explores the double entendre of “dark beds,” referring both to garden beds and to the bedroom. The lines are rich with images of the natural world and delve into experiences of motherhood, sexuality, and even infidelity.
Whitney’s poems contain a kind of breathless tension that draws in the reader and compels them through each page, caught up in possibilities and what ifs. This is poetry of confession, ripe and ready to envelop the senses with its passion
– Genevieve Hartman, Independent Book Review (STARRED)
23. No Spare People
A sharp, decisive look at life on the margins. It rejects the “acceptable losses” stemming from inequalities of gender, race, and class. Whiting Award winner Cate Marvin (World’s Tallest Disaster), says, “NO SPARE PEOPLE recalls to me the sobering effect of encountering Adrienne Rich’s work in the late ’80s… This is a deeply intellectual and expertly wrought collection.”
Which upcoming book releases are you most excited about?
About the Curator
Joe Walters is the founder and editor-in-chief of Independent Book Review. When he’s not doing editorial, promoting, or reviewing work, he’s working on his novel or trusting the process. Find him @joewalters13 on Twitter.
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