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Read-Alikes for ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ by Sally Rooney | LibraryReads


Child of Light

Brooks’s (The Last Druid) latest series launches in an exciting new world filled with juxtapositions of magic and machine, Fae and human, and introduces the one young woman who may be able to bridge the gaps.

Fight Night

Swiv’s narrative voice, by turns angry, sardonic, and full of both love and exasperation for her mother and grandmother, provides much of the charm and appeal of the novel. Elvira is a force of nature, charming everyone around her with her zest for life. Despite the dark elements in the story, the humor and love between the characters shine through. Recommended.

We Know You Remember

While still full of very grim crimes, this mystery’s setting in the countryside during the summer makes for a less bleak setting than usual for the genre. Alsterdal plots enough twists to keep the police procedural interesting and writes a great woman protagonist; fans of international mystery will be happy to discover her.

The Wrong End of the Telescope

The great strength of this latest novel from National Book Award finalist Alameddine (An Unnecessary Woman) lies in how it deftly combines the biographical with the historical; the small, more personal moments often carry the most weight. A remarkable, surprisingly intimate tale of human connection in the midst of disaster.

The Missing Hours

The plot is intriguing but doesn’t quite hit the gritty climax readers might expect. Still, Dahl provides a timely story about an always relevant topic.

Never Saw Me Coming

Readers won’t want to put down this fast and engaging debut novel, and they’ll root for the characters who’ve been cast as villains; Chloe is a particular paradox, simultaneously deplorable and charming. Kurian seamlessly interweaves multiple perspectives, though there are enough different points of view to overwhelm some readers. Those with a strong sense of justice might also be turned off by the fact that Chloe’s crimes go unpunished.

The Man Who Died Twice

This entertaining follow-up to Osman’s first mystery reveals more about the main characters’ lives, especially Elizabeth’s. Excerpts from Joyce’s diary provide many humorous moments, as well as another perspective of the events of the novel. Recommended for fans of British cozies, especially Simon Brett’s “Fethering” series and Ann Purser’s “Lois Meade” series.

Don’t Look Now

With plenty of possible suspects, Burton’s (Never Look Back) latest will appeal to readers who want light romance and heavy suspense.


While the plot appears to be highly dramatic, Lo’s writing is far from it. The contemplative narrative has some merit in addressing relationships between fathers and sons, including Lo’s role as a father to his own son, but the prose is often flat and meandering

A Marvellous Light

Marske’s debut is a delightful blend of Edwardian fantasy and romance, with enough twists and questions to have readers clamoring for the next in the planned series.

Portrait of a Scotsman

Dunmore (Bringing Down the Duke; A Rogue of One’s Own) delivers a novel that is delectably sexy and profoundly romantic at its core. It’s sure to delight fans of the series as well as new readers, thanks to Dunmore’s trademark mix of historical fiction, British feminist history, and steamy Victorian romance.

The Italian

Winner of the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Literature, this first novel by Tunisian university professor Mabkhout deftly illustrates how government repression and culture clashes have affected an entire generation of idealistic young people. In this accomplished translation, it can now be appreciated by a wider audience.

A Seaside Summer

Fans of classic Regency romance will fall for these charmingly sweet summertime love stories and seek out more by Kilpack (“A Culinary Mystery” series), Keyes (The Road Through Rushbury), and Moore (The Paper Daughters of Chinatown).

The Book of Mother

In this touching tribute to her eccentric mother’s life and death, which also offers a wild view of swinging Paris during the 1960s and 1970s, Huisman is sardonic, furious, and sometimes humorous but always affectionate toward her mother. Her prose seems urgent, pulling the reader along, as if she’s trying to outrun her grief. Highly recommended.

Five Tuesdays in Winter

A series of beautifully written character studies brimming with insight into the human condition.

First Love, Take Two

Patel’s formulaic companion to The Trouble with Hating You leans too hard on tropes, though it’s recommended for readers who enjoyed the first book and want an HEA that wraps up conflict.

The Stolen Lady

Morelli (The Night Portrait) explores the power of art and ideas to expand the world, even in the darkest times. As Anne works with the French Resistance and museum staff to save an enduring work of art, readers will understand how vital art is to our understanding of ourselves. And the enigmatic Mona Lisa remains, with her soft smile, wearing mourning clothes

The Finder of Forgotten Things

In a hardscrabble 1930s setting, complex characters wrestle with justice, mercy, inequality, honesty, and the fact that they are all prodigals still searching for the way home. Loudin Thomas (The Right Kind of Fool) delivers a stunning tale of one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history, underlined with a moral imperative to love one’s neighbor that still hits home today.

The Heart Principle

Readers of Hoang’s other “Kiss Quotient” books may be surprised by this third installment’s heavy plot points, which weigh down the narrative. Hoang writes a sparkling romance between Quan and Anna, but this novel is very much about Anna’s finding her voice and setting boundaries.

The Dark Remains

An essential purchase to complete crime fiction collections or where international police novels are popular.

The Ninja Betrayed

Eldridge’s series just keeps getting better. While readers can enjoy this book without having read the first two, a series highlight is Lily’s evolution and the complexity and growth of her relationships. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy strong heroines forging their own paths, like Deanna Raybourn’s Victoria Speedwell, S. J. Rozan’s Lydia Chin, and Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones.

Bright Burning Things

Through Harding’s realistic writing, one feels the profound desperation and pain of addiction. Readers won’t soon forget this viscerally raw immersion into addiction.

The Orphan Witch

The novel’s intricate Western European–inspired worldbuilding and layered characters make it a fit for fans of Alice Hoffman and Deborah Harkness.

Striking Range

Mizushima’s follow-up to Hanging Falls still leaves questions about Mattie’s past. The tension and drama of this series installment will satisfy fans of K-9 partners and solid police procedurals.

Smile and Look Pretty

Readers will cheer Pellegrino’s shattering of the glass ceiling in this fast-paced, millennial-centric, you-go-girl novel about workplace empowerment.

The Night of Many Endings

Payne (Memories in the Drift) has crafted an emotional, character-driven novel about addiction, perceptions of others, and learning to let go. The Night of Many Endings is ultimately one of hope as the darkness brings forth the dawn of many beginnings.


Much like Updike, Franzen is keenly aware that human struggle is defined by understanding and acceptance and that it is generational, ideas he admirably captures here.

The House of Ashes

A considerable departure from the author’s well-known police series, this psychological thriller is not for the fainthearted.

Love in the Big City

Centering on relationships (or the lack thereof), this work offers readers honest characterizations of flawed individuals from different walks of life who are all looking to find contentment regardless of their circumstances. Park’s writing is introspective and relatable, and the broad-ranging themes make this a good candidate for book group discussions.

After the Sun

Set in a dystopian universe, the stories describe each character’s attempt to find meaning and intimacy as an antidote to loneliness and alienation. Eika’s ability to combine foreboding with magic realism generates excitement in this English-language debut.

Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship

Abbs (The Joyce Girl) has written a fascinating, long overdue tribute to the unconventional Eliza Acton, the woman who revolutionized the English cookbook. Ann’s and Eliza’s drives for independence is inspiring, and their passion for cooking will awaken readers’ inner chef.

A Single Rose

Barbery takes risks in creating a self-involved and somewhat irritating main character. Yet with elegant and careful prose, she offers descriptions of Kyoto and Japanese culture that transcend the genre of a travelogue. This novel will appeal to readers who long for happy endings and escape.

The Singles Table

This third novel in Desai’s “Marriage” series (after The Dating Plan) can be read as a standalone. Recommended for all public library collections.


Writing with the same remarkable attention to detail found in his Pulitzer Prize–winning The Overstory, Powers has created a world and characters that will suck readers in and keep them fixed until the literally bitter end.

The Matzah Ball

A fun read and a good addition to holiday romance collections.

The Fastest Way To Fall

Williams’s sophomore effort (after How To Fail at Flirting) is a body-positive, feel-good romance with highly relatable protagonists.

The Lost Notebook of Édouard Manet

Reminiscent of Victorian fiction, this epistolary novel reads as intimately as a found artifact from Manet himself. Readers may find it difficult to extract themselves from the story to recall that this is not in fact a primary source but rather a constructed narrative. This compelling and revealing book furthers a cultural understanding of Manet’s place in time and art, a difficult task for a difficult character. Very well done.


As a 25-year-old, Jestin stunned France with this debut novel, which captured the prestigious Prix Femina des Lycéens in 2019. Six years out from his teen years, he had forgotten nothing about the messiness of adolescence and how quickly bad choices can turn to tragedy. From its first sentence to its last, this short novel packs an outsize, unforgettable punch.

A Flicker of Light

Powner (The Sowing Season) delivers a powerful sophomore novel in which helping hands and faithful prayers are flickers of light that pierce the darkness of suffering. Fans of thoughtful contemporary fiction such as Susie Finkbeiner’s Stories That Bind Us and Cynthia Ruchti’s Facing the Dawn will want to add Powner to their lists.

A Holly Jolly Diwali

Suggest to readers looking for holiday fun along with their romance.

A Song of Flight

A delightful fantasy full of folklore and strength that highlights the power of the individual, family, and comradeship.

True Dead

Hunter’s latest installment in the long-running series raises the stakes, ups the action, and expands the world and characters in exciting ways.

A Most Clever Girl

The smashing plot piledriver is the confrontation between Elizabeth and Catherine, a vengeful young orphan whose mother’s death may have been caused by Elizabeth’s espionage. The wily Elizabeth snatches center stage and propels readers through the Red Scare and the opening years of the Cold War. Even though fictional, Thornton’s interpretation rings true and tragic.


Defending Britta Stein

This historical novel highlights a lesser-known aspect of World War II and features strong women characters. A good choice for book clubs.

Harsh Times

The publication of a new work by Vargas Llosa is always a major event, but in this go-round, though treading new territory, he relies too heavily on recycled themes, indistinguishable characterizations, and documentary to carry the weight.

Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness

This unique collection is proof that good things come in small packages.

Dream Girl

Lippman’s (Lady in the Lake) fans will want to have this audio alternative. Is it a great psychological mystery, or a long, contrived journey to Gerry’s demise? Lots of humorous literary allusions make it a writer’s book. Recommended.

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb

Recommended for fans of inclusive narratives, historical romances (especially ones set in Georgian London), the friends-to-lovers trope, and the author’s other works.

The Other Black Girl

This thought-provoking novel will appeal to listeners looking for a socially conscious, horror-laced version of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.

One Last Stop

This sweet yet passionate love story with a fresh twist of time-traveling mystery is well worth a listen.

Oslo, Maine

Well-narrated by Charlie Thurston, this is a compelling, character-driven novel that thoroughly engages the listener.


Recommended for all public libraries.

Seven Days in June

A perfect recommendation for listeners who enjoy intricately plotted and character-driven romance stories. Already a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, this is a must-have for all library audiobook collections.

Hour of the Witch

Recommended for historical fiction readers and fans of the author.

How To Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days

The novel’s premise, which rests on celebrity stalking, is problematic, but fans of friends-to-lovers romance might find it an enjoyable read.

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Rooney’s third novel deals with some of the emotional dynamics and ideas explored in Conversations with Friends and Normal People but expands and enriches them by depicting human dramas against vast historical backdrops, amplifying art’s essential status in human life. Once again, she has written a masterly and significant work of fiction that is both traditional and innovative.


The Last Checkmate

Fans of World War II fiction with strong female leads, such as Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter and Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz, will enjoy this story. The recurring theme of chess is also reminiscent of Walter Tevis’s The Queen’s Gambit.

The God of Lost Words

Hackwith’s poignant, imaginative series sends readers on an amazing journey, with profound prose that will capture hearts and minds.

Read-Alikes for 'A Slow Fire Burning' by Paula Hawkins


Seven-Year Witch

This cozy mystery has the right balance of suspense and quirky, small-town humor. The tone is always cute and lighthearted, and Josie’s magical connection to books is a refreshing spin on witchcraft. Recommended for fans of Lynn Cahoon and Esme Addison, and cozy mystery enthusiasts who like a little sprinkle of the paranormal.

Catch Us When We Fall

A well-paced story of addiction and redemption, told with sparks of humor and full of warmly drawn characters, this will appeal to fans of the issue-based fiction of Jodi Picoult or the emotional tug of Jojo Moyes. Readers who enjoy stories of hardship with happy endings will want to read this book.

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

Following his debut, Bright’s Passage, singer-songwriter Ritter displays his storytelling gifts in a rollicking narrative featuring tall tales, outrageous characters, and hair-raising adventure in the waning days of Idaho lumberjacks. A deeply genuine must-read story.

The Devil’s Own Duke

Some much-needed historical context and a steamy, satisfying romance between the two well-written leads tempers some of the silliest aspects of this delightful, well-written romance.

The Bounce Back

An optional purchase where the author circulates well.

The World Played Chess

In this follow-up to The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Dugoni again turns away from his legal thrillers to write a riveting story of boys becoming men and the risks they take along the way. Weaving together three timelines with ease, he recreates the horror of war and its effects on the survivors, with a message that will bring many to tears.

Beware the Mermaids

Talick’s debut is a fun, breezy, and inspiring beach read.

Just Haven’t Met You Yet

At times heartbreaking and incredibly hopeful, Cousens’s delightful read is a sweet romance that gives Laura the freedom to grow as a character. Readers of Jill Mansell or Mhairi McFarlane will definitely enjoy.

Several People Are Typing

Existing in the slipstream of humanity’s and technology’s mutual march forward, this is a welcome if lightweight oddity that cuttingly observes the horror and humor of the modern condition.

The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year: 2021

Purchase for large collections where short story collections and anthologies are popular.

The Book of Form and Emptiness

Rich to overflowing and utterly engaging, Ozeki’s work wants us to listen to the world.

Broody Brit

Recommended where Simone and the “Cocky Hero Club” series are popular, but also for other libraries looking for more contemporary romance.

Ticket Me More

Perfect for readers looking for a quick diversion.

All These Ashes

Fans of Brad Parks’s “Carter Ross” crime series, also set in Newark, will appreciate Queally’s latest story featuring reporter-turned-investigator Avery.

The Perfume Thief

While the concept, the characters, and the well-researched details of the setting are intriguing, the plot drags, resulting in an underwhelming read.

Under the Bayou Moon

Luesse’s latest will have huge cross-over appeal for general fiction readers. Hand it to fans of Lisa Wingate’s The Book of Lost Friends and Susie Finkbeiner’s Stories That Bind Us.

The Gold Persimmon

The characters are captivating, the drama compelling, and the atmosphere haunting. When this fever dream of a ride is over, readers will get back in line to go again.

Battle Royal

With a perfect trifecta of endearing characters, superb use of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and a chemistry-laden slow burn, this excellent start to Parker’s newest series is one readers will rush to dive into.

The Paris Connection

A lighthearted, charming romance that readers will fall in love with; those with wanderlust will want to plan a trip to Paris. Fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December will be keen to read Brown’s debut.

Dawn Unearthed

Recommended for all libraries with active paranormal romance collections.

Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdo

This bilingual edition sparkles with life even as it exudes the poignancy and bittersweet reminiscences of the dreams that eventually eluded Corina. Recommended for most fiction collections.

Fit for Consumption

Readers hungry for something dark and queer will find much to chew on in Berman’s bold collection.

Read-Alikes for ‘The Madness of Crowds’ by Louise Penny | LibraryReads


Unbroken Bonds

While Hogan’s novel has a thoughtful and engaging story line, the prose is stilted and choppy, and the voice is often inconsistent. The novel doesn’t handle the passage of time well, as it’s much too short to adequately cover 25 years of the characters’ lives, especially in the time period in which it’s set.

Read-Alikes for ‘The Noise’ by James Patterson and J. D. Barker | LibraryReads


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Best Debuts: 37 Key Summer and Fall 2021 Titles


The Keening

The details of daily life in Gaelic Ireland (the wars, the feasts, the poetry) don’t make this historical mystery an easy read, but the intricately developed story may appeal to fans of Cora Harrison’s “Burren” mysteries.

The Summer of No Attachments

The perfect summer read has memorable characters and heartfelt family drama. Fans of Foster and new readers alike will be pleased with her latest offering.

When Ghosts Come Home

Cash excels at conveying realistic family and community dynamics and creating complex characters, at least with the Barneses. Other characters, especially the cartoon-like villain, are not as deftly written. Mystery readers might quibble with a sizable plot hole and a rushed but shocking ending, but Cash’s fans and readers of Southern stories will enjoy.

At Summer’s End

This well-written, engaging debut will delight fans of historical fiction. Includes a reading guide for book clubs.

The Second Season

Adrian’s latest isn’t just for basketball lovers; fans of the sport will enjoy the view of an eventful NBA season from the locker rooms and the sidelines, while non-sporty readers will enjoy the complex characters managing very public and sometimes messy lives.

The Reading List

This thoughtful and heartwarming debut joyfully joins Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook, and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop as yet another homage to the power of books and reading. An absolute delight to read, it will be catnip to book groups craving a story to remind them why we read and how very important libraries and book shops are.

In Search of True North

Readers of character-driven Christian fiction will appreciate Mallory’s character and her struggle to not be defined by her mistakes. Fans of Cynthia Ruchti and Jennifer AlLee will want to put Neely on their watch list.

The Royal Correspondent

For readers who enjoy feisty heroines, fashion history, and the British royal family.

Up North

Temple (Out & About) launches the “Compass Stars” series about actors and their loves with a solid, enjoyable read. Jack’s lack of knowledge about movies and Hollywood is hard to buy in this age of social media, but Temple does an excellent job of making it believable. Recommended.

Palm Beach

Adkins offers great fodder for book club discussions; her novel should appeal to readers who enjoyed Cristina Alger’s The Darlings, Julian Fellowes’s Snobs, or Sophie McManus’s The Unfortunates.

A Calling for Charlie Barnes

A sly and self-referential novel about the subjectivity of memoir, or a Franzenesque portrait of a dysfunctional American family. Take your pick.


Highly recommended for fans of Annabeth Albert’s “Out of Uniform” series, S. E. Jakes’s “Men of Honor” series, and L. A. Witt’s “Anchor Point” series.

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