Our 17 Most Anticipated Books of 2023 – Chicago Review of Books


With the New Year comes a new list of books to get excited for. But where should you start when it comes to building your 2023 reading list?

To help you get started, we asked some of our favorite Chicago booksellers and authors what books they’re hotly anticipating in 2023. They’ve never let us down before, so we’re confident there will be more than a few releases you’ll want to keep you eye out for too!

Extended Stay
By Juan Martinez
University of Arizona Press
January 17, 2023

I’m looking forward to Juan Martinez’s debut novel, Extended Stay, a horrific, gorey look at the way racial capitalism brutally exploits immigrant labor.
– Sarah Kokernot, StoryStudio Programs Curator

The In-Betweens 
By Davon Loeb
West Virginia University Press
February 1, 2023

I discovered Davon Loeb’s writing this past year, through some of the incredible essays he published online, including one that was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2022. I’m very excited about his forthcoming lyrical memoir, The In-Betweens. The book is described as a “biracial coming-of-age journey of a boy from Black and Jewish families.” Anyone familiar with Loeb’s writing knows his work is arresting and his debut memoir promises to be a notable 2023 release. 
– Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books Daily Editor

Promises of Gold
By José Olivarez

Henry Holt & Company
February 7, 2023

Too often, love gets underrated as a political and social force, reduced to a narrow romantic definition. That’s why I’m looking very much forward to poet Jose Olivarez’s second collection, Promises of Gold, one of whose promises is to remind readers that love in all its multifarious forms is more abundant than we’re sometimes led to believe. Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal was a brilliant debut and I cannot wait for this sophomore effort.
– Kathleen Rooney, author of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

“Some truths are useless,” Olivarez writes in Promises of Gold, a collection in which one of our most brilliant poets demonstrates the profound usefulness of poetic truth.
– Jeff Deutsch, Seminary Co-Op Bookstores

Evil Flowers: Stories
Gunnhild Øyehaug
Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

February 14, 2023

I’m especially looking forward to the release of Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Evil Flowers in February 2023, which follows her highly-regarded Present Tense Machine (also translated by Kari Dickson). I never tire of short story collections, and Øyehaug’s “surreal stories about love, death, and metamorphosis” are sure to be striking, and unforgettable. (Not to mention, Kari Dickson is a stellar translator!)
– Mandana Chaffa, Chicago Review of Books Editor at Large

A Country You Can Leave
By Asale Angel-Ajani
February 21, 2023

I read an early draft of Asale Angel-Ajani’s debut novel and it was so electric and unforgettable, I can’t wait to read the published novel. A Country You Can Leave centers the relationship between a biracial teen and her fierce Russian mother after a move to the California desert and deals with identity, family, the legacy of violence and trauma, and womanhood.
– Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books Daily Editor

Birnam Wood
By Eleanor Catton
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
March 7, 2023

If you were one of the few readers who traversed Catton’s massive, complex 850-page 2013 Booker-winning novel, The Luminaries, you know she’s a writer who is just…different. Now she’s back with her first novel in nine years, a psychological thriller about a group of gardeners. Catton certainly succeeded in making 1866 New Zealand fascinating, so I can’t wait to see what she does here! 
– Greg Zimmerman, StoryStudio Marketing & Communications Manager & Bookseller at Roscoe Books

Dispatches from Puerto Nowhere: An American Story of Assimilation and Erasure
By Robert Lopez
Two Dollar Radio
March 14, 2023

I can always count on Two Dollar Radio to publish some of my favorite memoirs of the year. Robert Lopez’s Dispatches from Puerto Nowhere is a stunningly powerful work of family recollection on his grandfather, Sixto, his immigration to the United States in the 1920s, and the effort to assimilate that nearly erased the family’s heritage, culture, and language in just two generations.
– Michael Welch, Chicago Review of Books Editor-in-Chief

Brother & Sister Enter the Forest
By Richard Mirabella
March 14, 2023

I’m really looking forward to checking out Richard Mirabella’s debut novel. Described as “opening like a fairy tale and ending like a nightmare,” the novel is a queer coming-of-age story about a young man’s relationship with a violent older boyfriend, and how he and his sister survive a terrible crime.
– Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books Daily Editor

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories
By Kelly Link
Random House
March 28, 2023

I’m very much looking forward to Kelly Link’s new collection of short stories, White Cat, Black Dog, which focuses on one of my storytelling obsessions, the fairy tale.
– Sarah Kokernot, StoryStudio Programs Curator

The Last Animal 
By Ramona Ausubel
Riverhead Books
April 18, 2023

I had the chance to listen to Ramona Ausubel speak in 2017 and have been a huge fan ever since. Following two teenagers who discover a perfectly preserved, four-thousand-year old baby mammoth in the permafrost of Siberia, The Last Animal is a wild and epic read about human imagination on a changing planet.
– Michael Welch, Chicago Review of Books Editor-in-Chief

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl
By Renée Rosen
Berkley Books
April 25, 2023

I am looking forward to Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renee Rosen.  Although historic fiction, Renee consistently delivers a well-researched, fascinating retelling of Estee Lauder’s launch to success.
– Suzy Takacs, The Book Cellar

Let this Radicalize You: Organizing and the Revolution of Reciprocal Care
By Kelly Hayes & Mariame Kaba
Haymarket Books
May 16, 2023

See Also

Here at PCB we’re very excited about Let This Radicalize You: Organizing and the Revolution of Reciprocal Care, due from Haymarket on May 16th. The book is co-authored by longtime organizers Kelly Hayes (hosts of the podcast Movement Memos, an invaluable resource for activists and organizers) and Mariame Kaba (PIC abolitionist extraordinaire and founder of the Chicago Freedom School). With their deep roots in abolitionist organizing Hayes & Kaba have much to teach younger activists, especially those who might be experiencing burnout in the wake of several intense years of organizing following the uprising in 2020. We expect this book to be equal parts balm and call to action.
– Katharine Solheim, Pilsen Community Books

Good Night, Irene
By Luis Alberto Urrea
Little Brown and Company
May 30, 2023

– Rebecca Makkai, author of I Have Some Questions For You and The Great Believers

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea
By Rita Chang-Eppig
Bloomsbury Publishing
June 6, 2023

There are so many fabulous books coming in 2023, but I’m going to go with Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig. A pirate queen’s adventures in the South China Seas, based on the life of an actual early 19th-century icon—I’m sold a hundred times over on this debut.
– Julia Fine, author of The Upstairs House & Maddalena and the Dark

Maddalena and the Dark
By Julia Fine
Flatiron Books
June 13, 2023

I am eagerly anticipating Maddalena in the Dark by Chicago’s fabulous, funny, and feminist Julia Fine, forthcoming from Flatiron in June of 2023. If her previous books What Should Be Wild and The Upstairs House are any indication, this novel—about two music school students in Venice in the 1700s—should be a weird dark thrill.
– Kathleen Rooney, author of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

I can’t wait for Julia Fine’s Maddalena and the Dark. One, because I’m a fan of anything Julia writes, and two because the novel sounds enchantingly good.
– Sara Cutaia, StoryStudio Director of Signature Programs

Light Bringer: A Red Rising Novel
By Pierce Brown
Del Rey Books
July 25, 2023

Because I’ve been with him since the beginning, I’m anxiously awaiting Pierce Brown’s next installment in the Red Rising saga: Light Bringer. The books get heftier each step we take into the story, but I can’t get enough of the sci-fi space-opera chaos.
– Sara Cutaia, StoryStudio Director of Signature Programs

By Shannon Sanders
Graywolf Press
October 3, 2023

I cannot wait for Company by Shannon Sanders, out with Graywolf Press in October 2023 as I’m a big fan of her work. Sanders was a 2020 winner of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers and her debut story collection will undoubtedly be incredible. 
– Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books Daily Editor


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