My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021

Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021

If you missed yesterday’s episode of the Sarah’s Bookshelves Live podcast (listen above), Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books and I covered 17 books we’re excited about coming out this Fall. I’m talking about 6 of them again in today’s blog post (noted by each book)…but, check out the podcast to hear about the rest! Just click on the time stamp link next to each book and it will take you right to the place in the podcast where we talk about that book.

Additional Winter 2021 Releases I Covered in the Podcast

As always, my Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021 list is mostly made up of books from trusted sources who, in as many cases as possible, have already read the book. I did not look at a single publisher’s catalog to create this list. I’m sharing the recommendation source for each book and will specify if that source has or has not read it yet.

I use my “Rock Your Reading” Tracker (available for purchase for $14.99) to keep an ongoing eye on my most trusted recommendation sources…and improved my reading success 42%!

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021


The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington (January 5, Algonquin Books)
Discussed on the podcast [7:13]
Tarkington’s debut, Only Love Can Break Your Heart (my review), was 5 stars for me and his sophomore novel did not disappoint (4.5 stars)! It’s a “wealthy people behaving badly” and “rich, unsupervised teens” (thank you, Bad on Paper Podcast) story with excellent commentary on race, class, and privilege that reminded me of Gossip Girl set in Tennessee.

When Charlie Boykin was young, he thought his life with his single mother on the working-class side of Nashville was perfectly fine. But when his mother arranges for him to be admitted as a scholarship student to an elite private school, he is suddenly introduced to what the world can feel like to someone cushioned by money. 

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME…and Annie Jones (From the Front Porch Podcast) and Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books.

The Push by Ashley Audrain (January 5, Pamela Dorman Books)
Discussed on the podcast [13:40]
A super dark, unsettling story about motherhood and the societal expectations placed on mothers. This book isn’t for everyone, but I loved it (4.25 stars) and Ashley Audrain will be on the podcast in February!

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME!

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (January 5, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
I love the sound of a satirical take on being a black man in a cult-like sales department. This debut was a January Book of the Month add-on.

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by Tina at TBR, etc and Liz Hein.

What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz (January 12, Atria Books)
Discussed on the podcast [20:15]
A crowd-pleasing family drama with some elements that set it apart (Bangkok setting and a spy element) from others that reminded me of The Most Fun We Ever Had and The Last Romantics (4.25 stars).

An enthralling, redemptive novel set in Bangkok in 1972 and Washington, DC, in 2019 about an expatriate child who goes missing, whose family is contacted decades later by a man claiming to be the vanished boy.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME…and Susie from Novel Visits.

The Divines by Ellie Eaton (January 19, William Morrow)
A coming of age with some mystery set at an elite British girls’ boarding school that one of my reading twins rated 4.5 stars! 

Moving between present-day Los Angeles and 1990’s Britain, The Divines is a scorching examination of the power of adolescent sexuality, female identity, and the destructive class divide.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by…Susie from Novel Visits.


The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed Masood (February 2, Doubleday)
Discussed on the podcast [26:48]
The story of two immigrant families that become intertwined told with irreverent humor sounds appealing. And, the Goodreads reviews are great!

Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America.

Recommendation Source(s): None…it just looks good!

Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. by Laura Tremaine (February 2, Zondervan)
I love Laura’s podcast, 10 Things to Tell You. She has a relatable, thoughtful take on issues facing women including motherhood, maintaining adult friendships, figuring out your beliefs, etc and encourages openness and vulnerability. 

Part memoir and part guidebook, Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. is the invitation you’ve been waiting for to show up with your whole self and discover the intimate, meaningful relationships you long for.

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted podcast host…and already read and loved by Annie Jones (From the Front Porch Podcast).

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (February 9, Harper)
This debut novel is being marketed for fans of Sally Rooney and Maria Semple…and I heard a guest on Laura Tremaine’s 10 Things to Tell You podcast rave about it.

A compulsively readable debut novel—spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark, and tender—about a woman on the edge that combines the psychological insight of Sally Rooney with the sharp humor of Nina Stibbe and the emotional resonance of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by Mary Beth Keane (author of Ask Again, Yes).

Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic (February 16, Gallery / Scout Press)
Discussed on the podcast [29:20]
Y’all know I love dark stories and female athlete protagonists and this debut novel combines both into a story about an equestrian and her overbearing sports father.

A darkly gripping debut novel about a teenage girl’s fierce struggle to reclaim her life from her abusive father.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by Susie from Novel Visits


What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster (March 2, Grand Central)
Discussed on the podcast [37:31]
This book is being compared to An American Marriage and Such a Fun Age and Goodreads reviews say the writing is “lyrical.”

A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the span of the next twenty years.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by Mary Beth Keane (author of Ask Again, Yes).

Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (March 2, Little, Brown)
Annie Jones said this is debut novel is for fans of Tangerine (my review) and Social Creature (my review), both dark, twisty books I really liked.

For readers of The Silent Patient – a taut, twisty, character-driven suspense novel about a famous novelist and a small-town striver locked in a struggle for fortune and fame.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by Annie Jones (From the Front Porch Podcast).

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (March 30, Algonquin)
Discussed on the podcast [48:28]
I don’t normally read a lot of historical fiction, but this sophomore novel from the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman is the kind of non-traditional historical fiction that can work for me. I love that Greenidge’s characters are facing modern issues in the time of Reconstruction.

Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.

Recommendation Source(s): None…it just looks good!

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads (edited for length).

What Winter 2021 books are you looking forward to?

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Most Anticipated Books Winter 2021


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  1. Wendy wrote:

    I just finished The Push–I was just drained after reading it. I couldn’t put it down but wow! what difficult read. She really captured motherhood angst.

    Posted 1.8.21 Reply

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