From page-turning thrillers to a new novel from the author of 'Call Me by Your Name'.

| By Sukriti Wahi | Journal

The 12 Best Books of 2024 (So Far) That You Won’t Want to Put Down

From page-turning thrillers to a new novel from the author of 'Call Me by Your Name'.

There’s nothing quite like a juicy read that makes you forget all sense of time.

And if you’re due for the next one, this year has thankfully been abundant in the book department, with some of the world’s top-selling authors and a slew of buzzy debut writers all recently releasing novels that have captured readers’ hearts – and charts – all over the globe.

Ready to add your nightstand? From ‘romantasy’ to page-turning thrillers and more – below, find the best books of 2024 (so far).

1. Table For Two by Amor Towles

It seems fitting to kick off this list with a book that’s been dubbed an “instant New York Times bestseller”. Written by the acclaimed Amor Towles, Table For Two is a collection of six short stories and a novella taking place in New York City in the 2000s and Golden Age Hollywood, respectively. In each one, life-altering events unfold after a single conversation at a table for two. Delving into themes like love, social class, and marriage through poignant prose and witty dialogue, it’s a delightful escape that will leave you longing for more.

2. The Work by Bri Lee

The must-read first novel by award-winning Australian author and journalist Bri Lee, The Work is a dazzling debut about art, power, love and money. Centring around Lally, a respected Manhattan gallerist, and Pat, a junior antiquities dealer from Sydney, the pair meet at New York’s Armoury Show and their chemistry is immediate. With an ocean separating them, they try to get back to work, each wrestling with inner conflict around money, ambition and the love of the art that attracted them to this unique world to begin with. However, as their long-distance romance flows through highs and lows, their drive to succeed goads them towards career-ending mistakes, begging the question: what price do we pay for wanting it all?

3. Funny Story by Emily Henry

Rom-com lovers rejoice! Emily Henry – one of the genre’s reigning queens and the mastermind behind global bestsellers like Beach Read and Happy Place – is back with a heartwarming tale about a happily-ever-after that wasn’t. Stranded in a too-small town over one sizzling summer, Funny Story follows Daphne, who got tossed to the side when her ex-fiancé Peter left her for a “happily ever after” with his childhood best friend Petra. When Daphne unexpectedly winds up sharing an apartment with Petra’s own former fiancé, Miles, the pair plot to fake a relationship on Instagram to get their exes’ attention. A fool-proof plan where no one falls for the other? Perhaps not – but that’s all the better for us, we say.

4. The Women by Kristin Hannah

Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, The Women is a New York Times bestseller with good reason. Penned by Kristin Hannah – who also wrote the beloved novel Firefly Lane, which also became a successful Netflix show – the protagonist is 20-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath who, upon hearing the words “women can be heroes”, has an epiphany. As the mid-60s sees the world shift, Frances dares to envision more for her life than the halcyon haze of Southern California where she grew up, deciding instead to join the Army Nurse Corps and serve in Vietnam. While overwhelmed by experiencing war firsthand, the real battle begins when Frankie and her veteran friends return to a different and divided America – one that wants to forget Vietnam ever happened. Deep, searing and vividly drawn, it’s a tale that sheds light on the oft-forgotten women of war and their unsung sacrifices.

5. First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

Fancy a recommendation from none other than Reese Witherspoon? Let First Lie Wins take the lead. One of the award-winning actress and producer’s 2024 book club picks, the psychological thriller centres around Evie Porter, who has all the things a nice, Southern girl could want: “a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends”. The catch? Evie Porter doesn’t exist. Intrigued? Let’s just say, knowing less is more when it comes to this one, so don’t read any more about the plot and just get the book in your hands and a blanket ready, pronto.

6. The Gentleman From Peru by André Aciman

Sensual and intriguing, The Gentleman From Peru is the latest novel from the international bestselling author of Call Me By Your Name. Unfolding against the sunbaked backdrop of a luxury hotel on the Amalfi Coast, a group of friends finds themselves stranded while their boat is being repaired. While marooned, they can’t help but notice the daily routine of another hotel guest – a mysterious older gentleman who smokes a cigarette, or two, on the verandah every night. And after the elegant stranger seems to heal one of the friends’ injured shoulders with just a touch, the curious posse invites the white-bearded traveller to have lunch with them, unprepared for the mystical abilities, wisdom and life-altering mark he will leave on one of them in particular.

7. The Teacher by Freida McFadden

Does a twisty tale of long-awaited revenge sound appealing? Put The Teacher at the top of your stack – stat. By the bestselling writer of The Housemaid, this gripping mystery is about Eve, whose everyday life is ideal: wake up, kiss her husband, Nate, teach maths at Caseham High School, repeat. Life is good – except for one thing. The year prior, Caseham High became infamous for a teacher-student affair, with one student, Addie at the eye of the scandalous hurricane. And this year, much to Eve’s dismay, Addie’s in her class. And while everyone says Addie isn’t to be trusted, no one knows the real her or her secrets that could ruin her – and she will do anything to keep it that way.

8. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

If you’ve got a penchant for historical fiction and fantasy, The Familiar is the spellbinding fusion you’ve been waiting for. Set in Madrid during the Spanish Golden Age, scullery maid Luzia Cotado uses scraps of magic to carry her through days of unending labour – unbeknownst to her conniving mistress, who, when she finds out, demands Luzia use her gifts to curry favour with the royal court. Seeing this as her escape from a life of toil and trouble, Luzia finds herself falling down a rabbit hole filled with power-hungry nobles, desperate kings, holy men and seers, to a place where magic, science and fraud blur together. Here, she must use her wit and will to survive, succeed and hide her ancestry – even if that means seeking the help of an immortal familiar whose own secrets could cause her undoing.

9. A Fate Inked In Blood by Danielle L. Jensen

One for ‘romantasy’ fans — bonus if Norse mythology piques your interest — A Fate Inked In Blood is sure to hit the spot. Ideal for those who devoured books like Fourth Wing and A Court of Thorns and Roses, it follows Freya, a 20-year-old woman who yearns to become a warrior but is instead trapped in an unwanted marriage to a boorish and cruel fisherman. When her abusive husband betrays her, Freya ends up in a fight to the death with their power-hungry king’s fiery son Bjorn, forced to reveal her deepest secret: that she possesses a drop of a goddess’ blood and has the power to repel any attack – a magic that was prophesied to unite the fractured nation of Skaland under a king who controls the shield maiden’s fate. Cue: a fanatical king and a binding oath, a fierce heroine desperate to prove her strength and save the kingdom – and a forbidden attraction that risks not only her own fate but that of all the people she swore to protect.

10. How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

One for enemies-to-lovers addicts? Tick. In How to End a Love Story, Helen Zhang is a “bestselling author who can’t seem to write her own ‘happily ever after’”. On the other end is Grant Shepherd, “a screenwriter with movie-star looks who can’t afford his therapist”. Thrown together to adapt Helen’s books for TV, it’s a project that should spell a dream come true for both of them – except Grant is the last person Helen wanted to see again after what happened thirteen years ago. Cue: flying sparks and an inescapable attraction that keeps you glued to the page. Need more convincing? First-time author Yulin Kuang is also an independent filmmaker tapped to adapt Emily Henry’s Beach Read into a movie, so you know you’re in very good hands.

11. Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Following up her bestselling debut novel Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid returns with the tension-filled Come and Get It. Per its official synopsis, it’s a story of “desire, consumption and bad behaviour”. Set in 2017 at the University of Arkansas, Millie Cousins is a senior resident assistant who wants three things: to graduate, get a job and buy a house. So when Agatha Paul, a writer and visiting professor researching attitudes towards weddings and money, offers Millie an easy but unusual opportunity, she leaps at the chance. As the pair form an unlikely alliance, they soon find themselves entangled in a “world of roommate theatrics, vengeful pranks and illicit intrigue”, forced to wonder just how much of themselves they are willing to compromise to get what they want.

12. Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

If edge-of-your-seat material is in order, Listen for the Lie is the one to heed the call. A darkly funny mystery thriller that will keep your reading light firmly on, the story is about Lucy Chase, who in the blurb describes herself as: “the woman who doesn’t remember murdering her best friend”. How’s that for a hook? After being found wandering the streets covered in her best friend Savvy’s blood, everyone in their small Texas town thinks she’s guilty. Years later, after that wasn’t enough evidence to put her away, Lucy moved to Los Angeles and began a new life. However, when the ultra-popular true crime podcast “Listen for the Lie” and its highly attractive host Ben Owens decide to investigate Savvy’s death for the show’s second season, Lucy has to go back to the town she swore she’d never return to so she can finally solve her friend’s murder – even if she’s the one who did it.

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