Every month, The Bookseller's expert previewers highlight a selection of the new fiction, non-fiction, children's and paperback titles coming out. Here, we share their top picks for January's new releases.
Fiction Book of the Month
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publication date: [publication has now been moved to March]
Books editor Alice O'Keeffe has selected Elizabeth Russell's "devastating and brilliant" debut novel as her Book of the Month. My Dark Vanessa tells of the sexual relationship between a 15-year-old girl and her 45-year-old high school English teacher. O'Keeffe says: "In many ways the novel's subject matter is ripped from the headlines, and so timely in the wake of #MeToo, but this sensitively and beautifully written literary novel serves to deepen our understanding of consent and coercion."
Perfect for fans of: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Non-Fiction Book of the Month
Motherwell: A Girlhood by Deborah Orr
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication date: 23rd January 2020
The “utterly riveting, often darkly comic, and astonishingly honest” memoir from the late award-winning journalist Deborah Orr is non-fiction previewer Caroline Sanderson’s Book of the Month. In Motherwell, Orr explores her family bonds, particularly her relationship with her mother, and the impact of her decision to leave the Scottish town where she was raised. Pick it up for its insightful understanding of how the places and people we come from make us who we are.
Perfect for fans of: Don't Let's go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Children's Book of the Month
The Boy Who Fooled the World by Lisa Thompson
Publication date: 2nd January 2020
The new book from “major talent in Middle Grade fiction” Lisa Thompson is children’s previewer Fiona Noble’s Book of the Month. In The Boy Who Fooled the World, characteristic themes of friendship and finding your way in the world are coupled with the page-turning mystery of a famous painting. Thompson's writing is full of heart, warmth and humour but she's not afraid to address thought-provoking questions. This is recommended for its well-observed family dynamics, real complex characters and a lightness of touch that makes it accessible and commercial.
Perfect for fans of: What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford
Paperback Book of the Month
Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 16th January 2020
Paperback previewer Alison Flood describes her Book of the Month as “a necessary prescription for combating the miseries of January”. Nina Stibbe's Reasons to be Cheerful is the hilarious, spiky, warm story of a teenager, Lizzie, who takes a job as a dental assistant to a terrible boss and tries to make her way in the world. Flood writes: “I found myself reading bits aloud, snorting with laughter, to anyone who would listen. It's just a delight. And Lizzie—clever, insightful, but slightly out of step with the world—is a triumph of a literary creation.”
Perfect for fans of: Sue Townsend's series of Adrian Mole novels
For more expert opinions on new book releases, check out the Books in the Media site, which pulls together all the latest book reviews.