Family, Friends, Lovers: Contemporary Fiction, Aug. 2023, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Finding ways to care.

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Avery. Lara. The Year of Second Chances. Morrow. 384p. ISBN 9780063273757. $30. CONTEMPORARY

Award-winning YA author Avery (The Memory Book) goes adult with the story of newly widowed young widow Robin Lindstrom, who discovers that her husband signed her up for a dating service before he died because he didn’t want her to be alone. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Burdette, Lucy. The Ingredients of Happiness. Severn House. Jul. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781448311149. $31.99. CONTEMPORARY

Taking a break from her multi-prize-short-listed “Key West Food Critic” mystery series, Burdette shares “the Ingredients of happiness” with the story of 32-year-old happiness guru Dr. Cooper Hunziker, whose picture-perfect life includes everything but happiness until she confronts a troubled past.

Dinan, Nicola. Bellies. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Aug. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781335490889. $30. LGBTQIA+

In Hong Kong/Kuala Lumpur–raised, London-based Dinan’s debut, two queer students connect wholeheartedly at a university drag-night event and launch a life together in London. Then Ming announces her intention to transition. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Gundar-Goshen, Ayelet. The Wolf Hunt. Little, Brown. Aug. 2023. 320P. ISBN 9780316423472. $28. Downloadable. FAMILY

In this latest from Sapir Prize–winning Israeli author Gundar-Goshen, Black teenager Jamal dies of a drug overdose at a party held at the home of Israeli immigrants amid rumors of bad blood between him and the family’s son, Adam. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Leichter, Hilary. Terrace Story. Ecco. Aug. 2023. 208p. ISBN 9780063265813. $28. FAMILY

Annie and Edward live in a tiny apartment with daughter Rose, but a spacious terrace appears in the closet whenever friend Stephanie visits. Still, there are repercussions. Based on a National Magazine Award–winning story and following Temporary, a finalist for NYPL Young Lions and Center for Fiction First Novel honors; with 75,000-copy first printing.

Lyon, J. Vanessa. Lush Lives. Roxane Gay: Grove Atlantic. Aug. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780802161987. $28. CONTEMPORARY/BLACK LIFE

Artist Glory Hopkins isn’t thrilled about inheriting her Aunt Lucille’s Harlem brownstone until she meets dynamic house appraiser Parkie de Groot. Still, theirs is a rocky relationship, and the house presents its own subtle mysteries. The second title from Roxane Gay Books.

Meltzer, Jean. Kissing Kosher. MIRA: Harlequin. Aug. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780778308096. $30; pap. ISBN 9780778334408. $18.99. ROMANTIC COMEDY/JEWISH LIFE

In this fitting follow-up to Meltzer’s big-hit debut, The Matzah Ball, the heir to a kosher baked-goods empire sneaks undercover at a family-owned Jewish bakery to steal their celebrated Pumpkin Spiced Babka recipe. Instead, his heart is stolen by the owner’s granddaughter.

Murphy, Tim. Speech Team. Viking. Aug. 2023. ISBN 9780593653845. $28. CONTEMPORARY

In Christadora author Murphy’s latest, an old friend’s suicide note leads four characters to confront a high school teacher whose vicious comments back in the 1980s undermined them all. Billed as The Breakfast Club all grown up.

Novak, Brenda. Talulah's Back in Town. MIRA: Harlequin. Aug. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780778308089. $30; pap. 368p. ISBN 9780778386179. $9.99. ROMANCE

In a series starter from the mega-best-selling Novak, Talulah returns to her Montana hometown 14 years after having left her fiancé at the altar. Though she plans to sell her late aunt’s house and rush back to Seattle, love has other plans. With a 300,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Steel, Danielle. Happiness. Delacorte. Aug. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781984821928. $28.99. lrg. prnt. CONTEMPORARY

Despite her writing, thriller author Sabrina lives a tamped-down life in the Berkshires until inheriting a title and an estate near London—and meeting the handsome estate attorney who escorts her around the grounds.

Wurzbacher. Ashley. How To Care for a Human Girl. Atria. Aug. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781982157227. $27.99. CONTEMPORARY

A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree for the story collection Happy Like This, Wurzbacher returns with the story of two sisters wresting with past betrayal—and unplanned pregnancies—two years after their mother’s death.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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