Find some good books to read in 2023 that are my most anticipated new books to look forward to this year, as a full-time book blogger who reads 100+ books per year.
I’ve actually never written a list like this list of good books to read in 2023, but because I have already penciled into my calendar the upcoming books for 2023 that are already of most interest to me, I thought I’d share my list and my thought process with you too so that you can plan ahead for yourself or your book club.
Most hail from authors whose work I already know and love!
As the year progresses, I plan to keep this list of good books to read in 2023 updated with personal thoughts after I read the books and to add new books to the list.
(Of note, it’s always very helpful to the authors to pre-order the new book releases for 2023 that you plan on reading. It helps them get marketing money, and it all factors into their first-week sales reporting.)
I can’t wait for these books in 2023! Below you will find my full list of good books to read in 2023 pulled straight from my own reading journal, including the release dates and why each book made the list.
Good Books to Read in 2023
Below are several good books to read in 2023.
The Audrey Hepburn Estate by Brenda Janowitz
Release date: April 18, 2023
In The Audrey Hepburn Estate, Emma returns for a final visit to the Long Island estate where her family lived — over the garage, like Audrey Hepburn’s character in the film Sabrina.
There, she’s reunited with Henry (her ex who lived in the estate) and Leo (the driver’s son and her best friend). She’s caught between these two men as the estate is about to be demolished and a family secret is revealed.
My post-reading thoughts: This book had a lot that made it unique and interesting, from Audrey Hepburn nostalgia to mystery and romance. I enjoyed it!
Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman
Release date: April 4, 2023
Why it made the list: I was a fan of the author’s last book, Read with Jenna’s book club pick, The Comeback, a drama about a young starlet coping with trauma.
In Before We Were Innocent, Bess and Joni were cleared of involvement in their friend Evangeline’s death ten years prior, but they are forever changed by the media exposure.
While Joni capitalized on her fame by becoming a motivational speaker, Bess created a very small, controlled life. But now, Joni is entangled in a similar crime and seeks Bess’s support, as the past and present intertwine.
Post-reading thoughts: Five-star read and one of my favorite books of 2023 so far! Berman is a really smart writer that executes her concepts really well. She took a storyline that feels sort of familiar (past meets present crimes) and make it totally unique, suspenseful, mysterious, and twisty, while also offering commentary on true crime in the publics’ eyes and for those at the center of it. Bravo!
Community Board by Tara Conklin
Release date: March 28, 2023
Why it made the list: I was a fan of the author’s last book, Read with Jenna’s book club pick, The Last Romantics, an epic family saga.
In Community Board, Darcy’s world falls apart and she returns home, where she becomes involved in the community’s message board, both online and in real life.
It’s clear the times have changed, and she grapples with what she can ask of a community and what she owes it.
Post-reading thoughts: I did not finish this book. It was definitely well-written, but I just did not like the main character and didn’t want to live inside her world any longer. As many readers have said, she was a thirty-year-old who acted fifteen, and it was just hard to be present with someone so immature and self-absorbed.
Evil Eye by Etaf Rum
Release date: September 5, 2023
Why it made the list: I was a fan of the author’s last book, Read with Jenna’s book club pick, A Woman is No Man, a shocking family drama.
In Evil Eye, Yara was raised in a conservative Palestinian Brooklyn household, but she thought she freed herself by obtaining an education, a good job, an entrepreneurial husband who took her to the suburbs, and two daughters. Still, it doesn’t feel like “enough.”
After she responds to a racist provocation, she’s placed on probation at work and must seek counseling. Her mother blames a family curse, and Yara can’t help but believe she’s repeating the same mistakes. She must reconcile with her past in order to create a better future for her daughters.
The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand
Release date: June 13, 2023
Why it made the list: I always read Elin Hilderbrand’s books! She’s the queen of the beach reads.
In The Five-Star Weekend, Hollis is a food blogger whose husband is tragically killed. In the aftermath, she invited her best friend from each stage of her life for a weekend on Nantucket. Naturally, this weekend comes with its share of drama.
Brooke, Hollis’s adult friend, meets with the leaders of the group that ousted her. Childhood friend Tatum’s husband brings Hollis’s first love along, stirring up old feelings. Meanwhile, college friend Dru-ann, a Black female sports agent, is in the middle of a Twitter storm after something she said was misconstrued. And Gigi is a mystery to all — she’s Hollis’s internet friend.
As the weekend gets underway, Hollis’s student documentarian daughter films it ALL.
Post-reading thoughts: I flew through this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I do also have some critiques. I felt as though the setup was that of a guilty pleasure Bravo reality show, but the payoff wasn’t totally there. Most of the drama occurred within the minds of the women and, even when it came to the surface, the interactions amongst the women weren’t as impulsively passionate, alcohol and anger-fueled, or wildly intense as I expected given the premise.
The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane
Release date: May 2, 2023
Why it made the list: I adored Keane’s last novel, The Tonight Show Summer Reads pick, Ask Again, Yes, an epic saga about families and neighbors bound by love and tragedy.
In The Half Moon, Malcolm is a bartender who finally buys the bar where he works. Meanwhile, his wife is a successful attorney who realizes she may never become a mother.
In Malcolm’s first week of ownership, discovers shocking news about his wife, a patron goes missing, and a blizzard hits the town.
It’s a story of a marriage in crisis and the meaning of family.
My post-reading thoughts: It wasn’t a perfect novel, as some logic felt lacking to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the truly unique literary journey this book took me on. It felt like an Ann Patchett novel, with lots of character drive and a slow burn, especially in that the story occurred in the midst of an atmospheric snowstorm, yet the last 100 pages also left me glued to the couch late at night, as they mystery of the missing patron unraveled, unlike any mystery I’ve ever read.
There’s a lot to read between the lines here for literature lovers.
And lastly, I definitely want to make note of a major trigger warning that’s a persistent theme here: infertility.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Release date: April 25, 2023
Why it made the list: Emily Henry books are some of the most popular modern romance books on the market right now. This one is bound to be a hit.
In Happy Place, Harriet and Wyn WERE the perfect couple. They have broken up but are pretending otherwise for their annual Maine vacation with friends.
They play their parts as the week progresses and they are forced to figure out how it really feels to pretend to love each other.
Post-reading thoughts: Overall, I thought it lived up to the hype of an Emily Henry book. It had the same smart, sharp writing, plus it delivered a pretty unique plot for a second-chance romance. I also liked the fact that it incorporated a whole group of friends and heavier, real-life topics, including grief and purpose.
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Release date: March 14, 2023
Why it made the list: I was a huge fan of the author’s last book, Read with Jenna’s book club pick, Dear Edward, a dramatic coming-of-age story about the sole survivor of a plane crash.
As a college freshman, however, he meets a woman named Julia who lifts his spirits along with her three unique sisters, who hail from a loving family, hearkening to the sisterhood set forth in Little Women.
When the past resurfaces, William’s, Julia’s, and all the Padavano’s lives are inexplicably changed for generations. It’s an epic family saga told in beautiful literary prose that imparts themes of family, love, anger, forgiveness, and so much more.
Post-reading thoughts: THIS is the book to beat for book of the year. It absolutely blew me away, and it’s actually my favorite book I’ve read in the past several years. The characters feel so alive that I actually referred to them as real people at one point, and their actions leave you with the most massive amount of topics to think about and discuss. If you like literary fiction and/or family dramas, you absolutely cannot miss it.
Read more in my review of Hello Beautiful with book club questions.
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
Release date: February 21, 2023
Why it made the list: Makkai’s prior novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, The Great Believers, a story of friendship, family, and the AIDS epidemic, was one of the best-written and most memorable of many, many years.
In I Have Some Questions For You, Bodie is a film professor and podcaster who seeks to forget her family tragedy and the 1995 murder of her classmate, Thalia, for which the school trainer was convicted.
But, when she speaks at her alma mater, she sees flaws in the old case and, as she digs even deeper, she must reckon with the past.
Post-reading thoughts: A lot of readers will love this one. It’s really well-executed, but for me, the intermingling of so many common storylines kept it from feeling truly fresh.
A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson
Release date: March 14, 2023
Why it made the list: The plot totally intrigued me, as I love a good book-within-a-book mystery.
In A Likely Story, the child of a famed American male writer struggling with the unexpected death of her mother and her own failing writing career, when she discovers a web of family secrets that change everything she thought she knew about her life.
It’s a book-within-a-book about a woman who wants the spotlight from a man who cheated his way to success, leaving questions about what’s true and who wrote it.
Post-reading thoughts: I started it, but didn’t finish it. It wasn’t connecting with me at the moment, but I may pick it back up again.
Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
Release date: May 2, 2023
Why it made the list: Fortune’s debut book, Every Summer After, was the “it” book of last Summer, so this one’s sure to be popular as well.
In Meet Me at the Lake, Fern and Will have a one-day adventure in the city that leaves its mark on Fern. But, Will doesn’t show up to their meeting one year later.
Years later, Fern is back at home, running her mother’s run-down lakeside resort. Will appears to help, but he’s a completely different person, and Fern seeks to rescue him.
My Post-Reading Thoughts: Not quite as impactful as Every Summer After, but it still lived up to the hype and the expectations for a sizzling, yet emotional modern Summer romance book. It will definitely be one of the most popular books of the season.
The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley
Release date: March 28, 2023
Why it made the list: This is one of those books I’m already starting to see good early buzz about, so it caught my attention.
In The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise, Tanner is a 21-year-old video gamer who takes a job as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman, named Louise, who doesn’t want one.
They try to ignore each other, but Tanner can’t help but notice on the news that the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history looks a lot like Louise. When Louise then insists they leave town in the middle of the night, they must face their past mistakes in order to have future adventures.
Post-reading thoughts: I thought it was light, sweet, interesting, engaging, and well-written! It makes for an easy-breezy, feel-good escape or beach read. I think most readers will enjoy this reading experience, especially since there’s a bit of a surprise at the end.
The Only One Left by Riley Sager
Release date: June 20, 2023
Why it made the list: I read all of Riley Sager’s books and love the way he tells a good modern thriller.
The Only One Left is a chilling 1980s Gothic tale about a caregiver named Kit who must work for a woman named Lenora, accused of a gruesome massacre in 1929.
Lenora has been rendered mute by a stroke but wishes to tell her side of the story over a typewriter.
Post-reading thoughts: This was a 5-star read for me and Riley Sager at his finest, in my humble opinion. The vibes were spooky and the twists were super twisty.
Reign by Katharine McGee
Release date: August 29, 2023
Why it made the list: I want to complete the American Royal series, which left off with a cliffhanger in the last book.
Reign begins with chaos in the American royal family. Princess Beatrice has run away with her boyfriend, and Queen Beatrice is in a coma, which leaves something no one expected — Prince Jefferson on the throne. This leaves his longtime, ambitious girlfriend, Daphne, with her dreams achieved.
There’s sure to be a lot more drama and romance in store amidst this backdrop.
Spare by Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex
Release date: January 10, 2023
Why it made the list: We FINALLY get to hear Prince Harry’s story FROM Prince Harry himself (and in his voice, if you listen on audio). I pre-ordered it.
In Spare, Prince Harry reveals what he was really thinking and feeling in the iconic moments the world watched him from afar, from the internationally televised funeral of his mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, to finding love after grief and having a royal wedding.
Post-reading thoughts: While at times drawn out and unbalanced (in leaving out childhood experiences and only offering one side of many stories), overall I felt that Spare lived up to the hype and was worth reading, particularly given that Prince Harry’s main point is that his family and the British media have always delivered the stories of his life, rather than he himself, and that this has ultimately caused the rift in the family that now exists. It’s also a powerful rumination on childhood trauma and grief.
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
Release date: April 4, 2023
Why it made the list: Hepworth’s modern mysteries are so indulgent and quick. I wouldn’t miss her latest one.
In The Soulmate, Gabe’s and Pippa’s coastal cottage is set on cliffs that have become a popular spot for people to die by suicide.
Gabe finds himself literally talking them down, but he doesn’t always succeed. And one victim is someone he knew, leaving a trail of questions behind.
Post-reading thoughts: It was definitely an enjoyable read, as her novels always are. But, the payoff wasn’t enough to really captivate me into labeling this one of my top reads of the year.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
Release date: August 8, 2023
Why it made the list: I will read anything Ann Patchett writes, period.
In Tom Lake, it’s Spring 2020, and Lara’s three daughters visit the family’s Northern Michigan orchard, where they ask her to retell the story of the famous actor with whom she once shared both the stage and a love affair.
This story causes the daughters to rethink their lives and relationships. It’s both a family drama and a story of love and the forms it takes at various times in our lives.
Post-reading thoughts: I don’t know how Ann Patchett does it. This is an absolutely masterful work of fiction, just like the play performed in it, Our Town. It’s both immersive and captivating, in methodically revealing part of a mother’s life that her children didn’t experience with her. It showcases that which we leave in our youth for a more fulfilling adulthood. And, If Our Town is about all the little, fleeting moments that make up a life, Tom Lake is about the beauty that comes passing it down through storytelling.
By the way, actress Meryl Streep’s narration of the audiobook is, expectedly, sublime.
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
Release date: January 3, 2023
Why it made the list: Hawkins’s prior novel, The Wife Upstairs, was a solid debut thriller. This one’s Italian setting caught my attention too!
In The Villa, Emily and Chess are thirtysomethings with a strained friendship, who reunite for a trip to Italy.
Back in 1974, their villa was rented by a famous rockstar, who invited a musician to stay there with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s stepsister. One ended up writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, one composed a platinum album, and one was brutally murdered.
As Emily dives into the villa’s storied past, she also finds herself at odds with Emily. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, the past threatens to repeat itself.
Interestingly, this book is inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle, where Frankenstein was born.
Post-reading thoughts: This book definitely lived up to my expectations. In fact, I read it in one day! It’s quick, yet fully developed and extremely twisty, both in the past and present storylines.
The Whispers by Ashley Audrain
Release date: June 6, 2023
Why it made the list: Audrain’s prior book, The Push, was a multi-layered thriller I still think about. I expect this too will push boundaries.
In The Whispers, a wealthy neighborhood hosts a Summer barbecue. Surprisingly, their prim and proper hostess loses her temper at her son. Later, the boy falls from his window and his life remains in jeopardy, as his mother sits by his side and refuses to speak.
Over the coming days, everyone present at the barbecue must dig beneath the surface to figure out what led to this fateful event.
Post-reading thoughts: This book was a 5-star read for me. It wasn’t perfect and was overly dramatic at times for me, but it still totally delivered on so many things, from an immersive and compelling storyline to suspense and mystery, the drama of families and neighbors, a fast-paced plot, complex real life issues to think about, and even a shocking ending. I mean, what more could I ask for?
Some readers will dislike the content, which is very raw in many regards, including infertility and infidelity, but if you liked The Push, I think you will like this too.
Zero Days by Ruth Ware
Release date: June 20, 2023
Why it made the list: I’ve read Ruth Ware’s entire catalog of books. Why stop now?!
In Zero Days, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are a team hired to break into buildings and security systems.
When Jack finds Gabe dead, she’s on a race against time to figure out who did it, as the police are narrowing in on her as their lead suspect.
Post-reading thoughts: This was a middle-of-the-road read for me. While I enjoyed the reading experience (especially on audio) there was nothing that made it especially great to me.
I hope you enjoy these good books to read in 2023.
So far, my top pick (BY FAR) is Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano, an Oprah’s Book Club pick. I also gave Before We Were Innocent five stars and placed it on my best books of 2023 list. And, since I first wrote this post, I am also interested in Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me.
Which of these good books to read in 2023 are you most anticipating?