Back to school. Time to read. All the books. September 2013.
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September is upon us, and you know what that means—the end of summer. It’s back to work and back to school, with the joyous, carefree days of summer behind us. But that also means publishing houses are cranking their gears once again, which makes September one of the best months of the year in terms of new books. We have quite a few handpicked releases for you to choose from, ranging from debut authors to literary heavyweights such as Jhumpa Lahiri. Enjoy the coming of fall and celebrate the end of humid days and sultry nights by curling up with a book! —Swapna

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell (September 3, Little, Brown & Co.) An astonishing marvel of  scope, imagination, and execution. Woodrell's absence from the scene is justified by this slim, gem of a novel, masterfully chronicling one woman's determination to piece together events leading to a 1929 dance hall explosion that killed her sister and changed the lives of her family and the town for generations. —Nicole Bonía, Linus's Blanket
Editor's pick: Mind. Blown. Words like game-changer come to mind. —Nicole

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (September 17, Amy Einhorn Books) Timothy Wild and the brand new New York City police force return in Lyndsay Faye’s Seven for a Secret.  This time around there’s no need for a setup, so Faye can give her readers more than 400 pages of mystery, intrigue, and action as Timothy works to end the kidnapping into slavery of free blacks in the city.  —Jen Karsbaek, Devourer of Books

Editor’s pick: Think Gangs of New York meets your favorite big-hearted mystery protagonist. A super-fabulous series. —Jen

The Explanation for Everything
by Lauren Grodstein (September 3, Algonquin Books) Grodstein expertly depicts the faith–science debate through the prism of a biology professor who believes that science leaves no room for God. However, in an impulsive act of pity, he agrees to a student’s intelligent design study. Stunning and well written, this book will provoke strong feelings from readers. —Swapna Krisha, S. Krishna's Books

Let Him Go by Larry Watson (September 3, Milkweed) Stripped to its essence under Watson's keen hand, this is a stunning spare tale of two families, as worn and battered as their native northern Plains, who are pushed to the limits in their unwavering need to hold on to their own. Watson's unerring observations and well-tuned pacing are brilliantly showcased in this unforgettable story of mothers and sons. —Candace B. Levy, Beth Fish Reads

 Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (September 10, Little, Brown & Co.) Hannah Kent has done a masterful job with this novel, based on the last days of Agnus Magnusdottir, a woman executed for murder in 19th-century Iceland. The setting, the narration, and the writing all come together to give the Hester Pryne of Iceland a darkly compelling voice. —Kelly Massry, Read Lately
More Love From: Nicole Bonía, Linus's Blanket & Michelle Shannon, That's What She Read

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (September 3, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) Black’s version of a vampire story is dark and conflicted, with nary a sparkle in sight. She masterfully creates drama and tension beyond the typical young adult fare, touching on the timeless topics of revenge, loyalty, friendship, and love. This horror/coming-of-age story is an excellent reboot of the vampire subgenre and a welcome addition to Black’s stellar body of work.  —Michelle Shannon, That's What She Read 
More Love From: Jenn Lawrence, Jenn's Bookshelves

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (September 17, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Leila Sales brings her impeccable comic timing to a dark, raw book about a teen outcast who creates a suicide playlist. Despite her rough lot, you can’t help but smile at Elise's keen observations and turns of phrase as she discovers—through DJ’ing—reasons to live. —Lenore Appelhans, Presenting Lenore  
More Love From: Jamie Miller, The Perpetual Page-Turner

The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer (September 17, Open Road Media) Conner Joyce, a once-popular novelist whose book tour now boasts only small audiences at each increasingly pathetic stop, is offered a life-changing sum of money to write a thriller for one reader only. His friend and fellow writer Adam Langer narrates Joyce's suspenseful tale of literature, love, and money. —Jenn Ravey, The Picky Girl    

Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?: Teaching Lessons from the Bronx by Illana Garon (September 1, Skyhorse Publishing) Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens? is an uncensored look at inner-city education. It is about a young teacher coming of age with her students as she tries, incrementally, to make a difference. You'll find outlandish, dangerous tales in these pages but also several crystallized moments of sweetness. —Kelly Massry, Read Lately

Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (September 10, Simon & Schuster) The new U.S. boundary lies 90 miles north of the Gulf Coast. Following years of devastating hurricanes, the government can no longer provide services or protection for coastal communities. Bound to his Mississippi home by the loss of his wife, Cohen is eventually forced off his land, beginning a journey north through the stunning, relentless landscape of Smith’s Rivers. —Shannon Nemer, River City Reading

Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois (September 24, Random House) While studying in Argentina, Lily Hayes is charged with murdering her roommate. From that moment she, her father, her lover, and her prosecutor are forced to confront who they are, their choices, and what is true. As the details leading up to the murder are fleshed out, loyalties shift with the persona each has worked so hard to craft. —Jennifer Conner, Literate Housewife

Duplex by Kathryn Davis (September 3, Graywolf Press) Excitingly weird and delicious, Davis’s novel goes off the beaten path to explore a town on the cusp of the real and the magical. Disappearing teachers, sketchy sorcerers, and a family of robots are just a few of the striking cast of characters you’ll meet alongside the novel’s centerpiece, star-crossed lovers Mary and Eddie. —Nicole Bonía, Linus's Blanket

Margot by Jillian Cantor (September 3, Riverhead Trade) In Margot, Cantor creates an alternate history for Anne Frank’s sister, Margot, now living in the United States as Margie Franklin. Margie’s life in Philadelphia working in a Jewish law firm is revelatory both as an examination of postwar attitudes and as a view of the sister that history has all but forgotten. —Jen Karsbaek, Devourer of Books

Help for the Haunted by John Searles (September 17, William Morrow) A suspenseful, scary psychological thriller about a family whose parents help people who are haunted by ghosts. After a tragedy, the younger daughter attempts to discover the truth behind family secrets and what is really in the basement. Fans of the movie The Conjuring will love this one. Read it with the lights on. —Diane LaRue, bookchickdi
More Love From: Alison Skap, Alison's Book Marks & Michelle Shannon, That's What She Read & Jenn Lawrence, Jenn's Bookshelves & Michele Jacobsen, A Reader's Respite

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (September 10, St. Martin’s Griffin) Fangirl is one of those rare young adult novels that will speak to the book geek of any age. Cath and Wren are twins who spent their formative years in the Simon Snow fandom. Now freshmen in college, Wren wants to move on but Cath doesn't like change. Beautifully written. —Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Bookalicious
More Love From: Jamie Miller, The Perpetual Page-Turner

I Don't Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't) by Leah Hager Cohen (September 12, Riverhead Books) In her latest book, Cohen waxes poetic about ignorance, why we fear it, and when we should just admit we don't know. Cohen examines the fear of uncertainty, sharing insights on the consequences of lying about what we don’t know and how our background affects what we’re willing to admit. Readers will long think about the power of the unknown. —Natasha Vasillis, 1330v

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (September 24, Knopf) Jhumpa Lahiri's luminous second novel takes the reader across the oceans, from India during the 1960s to the United States. Two brothers, one who leaves home to study in America and the other who becomes involved in India's Naxalite movement, form the core of this gorgeous story, which tells us about family and the meaning of unbreakable bonds. —Swapna Krishna, S. Krishna's Books

The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton (September 10, Minotaur Books) Reeve has spent years trying to regain her life after having survived a kidnapping. When she is asked to help a girl in a similar situation, she discovers she must also protect her from a predator who continues to run free. A compelling psychological thriller about a young woman tired of being a victim, forced to face her deepest fears.  —Jenn Lawrence, Jenn's Bookshelves  
More Love From: Swapna Krishna, S. Krishna's Books

The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga
by Sylvain Tesson, trans. Linda Coverdale (September 17, Rizzoli Ex Libris) This book is to be savored word by word. It is the diary of a man who spent six months by himself in a cabin on a Siberian lake. It contains beautiful and very evocative descriptions on the landscape, on solitude, on life, and on his numerous readings. —Emma Cazabonne, Words and Peace

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler (September 10, Scribner) After a stroke, journalist Butler’s 80-year-old father was given a pacemaker, which kept his heart pumping while his mind and body shut down, impeding his natural death. Butler looks at the personal toll of a medical system incentivized to treat patients at any cost. With frustration and love, Butler exposes her family’s struggle to help her father die with dignity.  â€”Kim Ukura, Sophisticated Dorkiness

 Rose under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (September 10, Miramax) In Rose under Fire, Wein returns to the stories of female pilots during World War II and the horrors they survived and the deep friendships they forged. Gripping, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, Rose's story lingers long after the last page has been turned. —Amy Riley, My Friend Amy
More Love From: Amanda Snow, A Patchwork of Books

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford (September 10, Ballantine Books) An exquisitely written, heartbreaking novel recounting generations of pain, suffering, and sacrifice, and the strength to endure. What begins as the mere fantasy of a young orphan boy, who believes his mother is silver screen star Willow Frost, turns into a beautiful tale of love and hope. —Alison Skap, Alison's Book Marks

The Book of Someday
by Dianne Dixon (September 3, Sourcebooks Landmark) The Book of Someday is an exquisite novel that looks at how our past haunts us and releases us. These three women’s stories will break your heart, making you want to release your past and embrace the present. The stories will make you wonder what happened and what will happen.  â€”Julie Caldwell, Girls Just Reading

Goat Mountain by David Vann (September 10, Harper Books) Not for the faint of heart, David Vann’s Goat Mountain leaves the reader reeling from its gut-wrenching exploration of violence and its consequences on an 11-year-old boy. Vann’s brutally vivid prose creates a chilling and visceral haunting story that burrows its way under the reader’s skin, leaving a permanent impression. —Michelle Shannon, That's What She Read

My Mother's Secret
by J. L. Witterick (September 5, Putnam Adult) Four voices chime in with their versions of how one fearless mother saved the lives of three families hidden in her house in Nazi-occupied Poland. All the more powerful for its stunning simplicity, this novel will touch your heart and renew your faith in the courage of the individual facing atrocity.  â€”Nicole Bonía, Linus's Blanket
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas (September 17, Crown) A first-rate psychological thriller, Mother, Mother takes the dysfunctional family to a new level.  The fast-paced plot combined with just the right amount of tantalizing clues makes it nearly impossible to put the book down as it rises in a crescendo to its shocking conclusion. —Michele Jacobsen, A Reader's Respite

The Bones of Paris
by Laurie R. King (September 10, Bantam) This macabre mystery will take you to Paris and its underground world in the years between the two world wars, when it was brimming with artists of all kinds. You will meet Man Ray, Hemingway, Sylvia Beach, and others, in a very intriguing and hair-rising story. Haunting and unforgettable plot and characters. —Emma Cazabonne, Words and Peace

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (September 24, Katherine Tegen Books) A frightening and raw story of one girl's survival in a dangerous world where water is scarce and it is her job to protect the pond that keeps her alive from those who want to take it away from her—at whatever cost. —Jamie Miller, The Perpetual Page-Turner

Sky Jumpers
by Peggy Eddleman (September 24, Random House Books for Young Readers) Four decades after Earth is almost destroyed by World War III, the town of White Rock prizes the ability to invent, but 12-year-old Hope always fails. Her other skills count little until bandits invade, looking for antibiotics, and she comes up with a daring plan to save the town. A page-turning book with a young heroine and realistic world building. —Natasha Vasillis, 1330v

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (September 10, Crown) Five Days at Memorial examines events at Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina and depicts the harrowing events that eventually led to criminal charges against several doctors. Fink's impeccable research and narrative style ensure that readers will be absolutely consumed by this vivid portrait of desperation and tragedy. —Swapna Krishna, S. Krishna's Books

The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill (September 24, Vintage) Lovers of Gothic tales set in disturbing English settings will take delight in The Small Hand and Dolly, two Susan Hill novellas published together for the first time. Readers will be set on edge just enough to get chill bumps while being safe to read alone in the dark. Maybe. —Jennifer Conner, Literate Housewife
More Love From: Jenn Lawrence, Jenn's Bookshelves
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