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The 11 Best New Books to Add to Your September 2019 Reading List!

by  | September 3

Fall is in the air. While some folks are trying to hang on to the final days of summer, others are diving right into the season where pumpkin spice reigns supreme. With the turn of the seasons and kids heading back to school, publishers are releasing the most heavy hitting titles of the year. 

We’re sharing our favorite new reads releasing this month—books that have us hiding under the covers; books that turn us into a weeping mess; and books that make us laugh out loud.

The Institute

The Institute

by Stephen King

Nick's Pick:

Literally four days after It: Chapter 2 hits the big screen, this one is going to drop. We are getting sooooo spoiled with Stephen King content for the month of September, and I CANNOT wait! Like It, this one stars a bunch of badass kids, but this time they come equipped with superpowers like telekinesis and telepathy. They get abducted from their homes and sent to a place called The Institute. Here, they are surrounded by other kids who have similar powers to themselves. They’re troubled with trying to find a way out, while the staff of The Institute is trying to extract their powers and keep them from ever leaving. Trying to escape sounds great and all, but no one has ever done so…

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The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

by Alice Hoffman

Erin's Pick:

When I picked up this book, I didn’t think I needed another World War II story, but I was definitely wrong. Alice Hoffman has crafted a beautiful, sweeping tale of three women attempting to survive in 1941 Nazi Germany and France. Beginning with a mother creating a rare and mystical golem to protect her daughter, this novel combines the fantastical with historical fiction, taking readers from Berlin to Paris to a convent in western France. Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman’s Rules of Magic and The Dovekeepers, I couldn’t put this searing story down.

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The Only Plane in the Sky

The Only Plane in the Sky

by Garrett M. Graff

Erin's Pick #2:

If you want a book that will make you cry every single time you pick it up, this is that book. This is the most intense and gripping account of 9/11 I’ve ever read, and while I’m not a huge nonfiction reader—and I definitely didn’t think I needed to read more about 9/11—I’m so glad I picked this book up. It is the story of exactly one day, September 11, 2001, through firsthand accounts of those who were in New York, DC, Pennsylvania, and across the country during the attacks. It’s a human look at the individuals who survived the day—and those who did not—compiled into a haunting story that reads like fiction, but is ever more powerful every time you remember it’s not.

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This Tender Land

This Tender Land

by William Kent Krueger

Dana's Pick:

This Tender Land is the kind of book you can hand to anyone and know for certain that they are going to love it. It ticks all the boxes.
Historical fiction? Check. ☑️
Coming of age? Check. ☑️
Fascinating characters? Check. ☑️
Twists and turns? Check. Check. Check. ☑️☑️☑️

The storytelling will transport you down to the banks of the mighty Mississippi and the four orphans will steal your heart without you even knowing you’ve been robbed. There’s action, adventure, and danger at every turn, but there’s also human kindness and growth and hope in a time of desperation. William Kent Krueger is a master storyteller and This Tender Land is truly a once in a lifetime novel.

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Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Out of Darkness, Shining Light

by Petina Gappah

Cara's Pick:

Out of Darkness, Shining Light is the kind of book that I never expected to pick up, since historical fiction is pretty low on my reading list. But I have been utterly entranced by this novel. Once I picked it up, I quickly finished it without realizing how fast I was flying through the pages. The novel tells the story of Halima, Jacob Wainwright, and the rest of the group of Africans who carry the body of David Livingstone—the Scottish explorer and missionary who died during their late 19th century journey with him—out of Africa. It’s a powerful and sweeping story that pulls you into a tale that you might not have considered reading before. And I’m convinced that everyone is going to be talking about it this fall!

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The Testaments

The Testaments

by Margaret Atwood

Sara's Pick #1:

In the decades since Margaret Atwood wrote the incredibly poignant dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, a lot has changed...and also a lot has not. It is this mirror of anxieties past and present through which the sequel, The Testaments, seems perfectly suited to continue the story. Taking place some fifteen years after Offred's removal from the Waterford household, but before the fall of Gilead, this new tale follows three different female narrators. Atwood has promised to give us a better look at Gilead, its inner workings and beliefs, that will likely remind readers around the globe of the chaining political tides of our own nations. While there's little information out there on the plot (and let me be frank, I don't want to know a thing about the story until I get the book in my hands), the hype for learning more about this haunting world is real.

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The Grace Year

The Grace Year

by Kim Liggett

Saimah's Pick:

If you’re a fan of speculative fiction, you won’t want to miss Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year. I got an advanced copy of this book at BookExpo earlier this year and could not stop turning the pages! At the age of sixteen, young women are banished, sent to live on a remote island to release their “magic” into the wild so they can return purified and able to marry and bear children. The magic is said to be a powerful aphrodisiac that makes men crazed with lust and women consumed with jealousy.

While on the island, the girls are forced to fight for their lives—banding together for protection against the elements and the poachers who are said to kill girls and sell them on the black market. But the real threat may be within their own ranks…. This book has already been optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks, so make sure to read the story before it hits the screen!

UPDATE: Publication is now October 8, 2019

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Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone

by Jacqueline Woodson

Taylor's Pick:

Red at the Bone is sure to be one of the literary events of the season. Just check out the Oprah.com cover reveal if you don’t believe me. A beloved, award-winning author of young people’s literature, Jacqueline Woodson has penned an extraordinary new novel (for adults) about two very different families joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the ways in which young people often have to make huge decisions about their lives.

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The Nightjar

The Nightjar

by Deborah Hewitt

Sara's Pick #2:

If you're anything like me, your daydreams often revolve around suddenly becoming privy to a world behind the one we already see, living with us but not among us. That's why I am so excited for The Nightjar, Deborah Hewitt's latest work, which will make you think about life, death, and even birds in a whole new light. Alice always seems to be surrounded by birds, and yet she has no idea why until a man called Crowley tells her that she's special. More specifically, that she's an aviarist, someone who can see magical birds called nightjars, which guard each human’s soul. Things get even trickier when Alice's best friend gets into a car accident, causing Alice to hone her skills in an alternate London called the Rookery, where her life is in danger at every turn. Who can you trust and who can you betray is the name of the game in this novel, and the twisting turns of a girl discovering herself and hell-bent on saving her friend make this book the perfect prelude to autumn.

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SLAY

SLAY

by Brittney Morris

Nicole's Pick:

I have been waiting for months to yell about this book, and the time is finally here! As soon as I saw the cover art and read the synopsis, I knew this story would be everything I ever wanted. And it was. SLAY follows Kiera, a young black gamer who attends high school as your average teenager by day, but by night runs the expansive online RPG world known as SLAY. SLAY is unique because it was built as a place for people of color to truly be themselves. The world of SLAY is built so beautifully and with such care. I won’t go into the mechanics of the game because the author, Brittney Morris, details it in the most magical way. But suffice it to say, I wish I could go play SLAY right now!

Reading this book, I felt like I knew Kiera. I was Kiera—the girl who acted one way in her “real life,” only to rush home and escape into a world where she could actually be herself; the girl who was one of a handful of POC in her friends group.

Kiera’s world is turned upside down, however, when she learns a SLAY player is murdered because of an in-game dispute, and an anonymous troll threatens to sue her for anti-white discrimination.

SLAY is Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give. But it’s more than that. SLAY gives voice to the millions of black gamers and blerds (black nerds) out there looking for safe spaces to be themselves in a world so ready to take those spaces away.

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Love on Lexington Avenue

Love on Lexington Avenue

by Lauren Layne

Heather's Pick:

Autumn in New York is a special time of year, and not just because there’s a movie called Autumn in New York. The air is crisp, the leaves golden, the fashion on point. The only thing that could make it better is the second installment of Lauren Layne’s New York–set Central Park Pact series, Love on Lexington Avenue. Claire’s a young widow with zero interest in falling in love again after learning her late husband was unfaithful. Scott is the equally cynical, grumpy new contractor she’s hired to renovate her Upper East Side townhouse. You know you want to see him knock down the walls around her heart.

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