The May 2024 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the May 2024 Indie Next List flier.

The May title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the April Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on      

The 25 May Indie Next List Picks

#1 Pick: The Ministry of Time: A Novel
By Kaliane Bradley
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781668045145, $28.99, May 7, Fiction)
The Ministry of Time is a rare story that mashes up favorite time-worn tropes — from Star Trek to spy thrillers to Victorian romances — in a crucible of colonialism and the pitfalls of diversity in a near-future London. Oh, and it’s sexy as hell.”
—Amanda Qassar, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

Funny Story
By Emily Henry
(Berkley, 9780593441282, $29, April 23, Romance)
“If Emily Henry has thousands of fans, I am one of them. If Emily Henry has one fan, I am that one. If Emily Henry has no fans, I am dead. Daphne and Miles are the comfortable reliability of your dinnertime game show & the warmest quilt of eccentricities. A beautiful friends-to-lovers story.”
—Nyawira Nyota, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

All Fours: A Novel
By Miranda July
(Riverhead Books, 9780593190265, $29, May 14, Fiction)
“A compulsively readable novel that follows a middle-aged artist as she undergoes a sexual and spiritual awakening. I loved this meditation on aging, restlessness, isolation, obsession, and the trials and triumphs of self-reinvention.”
—Caitlyn Lyles, Hooked Community, Lansing, MI

Real Americans: A Novel
By Rachel Khong
(Knopf, 9780593537251, $29, April 30, Fiction)
“Rachel Khong’s latest tells the story of a first generation American’s adulthood and her teenage son looking for answers 20 years later. Real Americans grapples with racial identity, family inheritance, and becoming one’s true self.”
—Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, KS

Long Island (Eilis Lacey Series)
By Colm Tóibín
(Scribner, 9781476785110, $28, May 7, Fiction)
“Eilis Lacey’s story continues in this superb follow-up to Brooklyn. Twenty years later, Eilis is stunned by her husband’s affair and the child he has fathered, and returns alone to her small Irish village. A beautiful, moving novel.”
—Marilyn Negip, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

The Paradise Problem
By Christina Lauren
(Gallery Books, 9781668017722, $28.99, May 14, Romance)
“A fake marriage trope with hints of Succession, all of the spice, and set on a beautiful private island? Sign me up! This had the predictability of a romance with enough intrigue to entertain. Christina Lauren just keep getting better!”
—Amy Dickinson, Book Ends Winchester, Winchester, MA

By Simon Van Booy
(David R. Godine, Publisher, 9781567927948, $26.95, May 7, Fiction)
“Simon Van Booy performs a special type of alchemy by taking the simplest of tales — a woman approaching the end of her life discovering a small mouse in her house — and turning it into an astonishingly moving story of love and resilience.”
—Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

By Layla Martínez, Sophie Hughes (Transl.), Annie McDermott (Transl.)
(Two Lines Press, 9781949641592, $21.95, May 14, Horror)
“Martínez bends a haunting to her will. Woodworm is an offbeat tale about intergenerational trauma, classism, and the measures we take to grasp at anything resembling justice. I could taste its righteous malevolence; I savoured every word.”
—Lauren Abesames, Wind City Books, Casper, WY

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies: A Novel (The Vacation Mysteries #1)
By Catherine Mack
(Minotaur Books, 9781250325853, $28, April 30, Mystery)
“A mystery writer, a con man, and a ex-boyfriend walk into the Colosseum…in the perfect book to sit by the pool and read as you sip an aperol spritz. Mack’s perfect vacation read is packed with murder, mayhem, and the funniest footnotes.”
—Katie Fransen, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade: A Novel
By Janet Skeslien Charles
(Atria Books, 9781668008980, $28.99, April 30, Historical Fiction)
“As a female Army combat veteran, I know all too well how women’s contributions get forgotten. Follow ‘Kit’ Carson as she and women from all walks of life bring hope and books to families devastated by the German occupation of France in WWI.”
—Casey Luke, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

A Letter to the Luminous Deep (The Sunken Archive #1) (Indies Introduce)
By Sylvie Cathrall
(Orbit, 9780316565530, Paperback, $18.99, April 23, Fantasy)
“Sylvie Cathrall wraps cozy aquatic academia, strange abyssal mysteries, and deeply endearing characters into one delightful epistolary novel that is sure to reel you in! A fun and cozy science fiction/fantasy that pulls at your heartstrings!”
—Oli Schmitz, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Reading the Room: A Bookseller’s Tale
By Paul Yamazaki
(Ode Books, 9781958846698, Paperback, $13.95, May 8, Memoir)
Reading the Room is a precious artifact, a rare transmission from a truly great mind. If you’re a bookseller, pull up a chair and learn from a master; if you’re a reader, you’ll walk away with an entirely new appreciation for your local indie.”
—Vanessa Martini, Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, CA

888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers: A Novel
By Abraham Chang
(Flatiron Books, 9781250910783, $29.99, April 30, Fiction)
“Young recalls the first five loves of his life while making his way through his sophomore year of college with his sixth love, Erena. The book is warm and loving, peppered with ’80s and ’90s pop culture references and so many possibilities.”
—Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA

The Z Word
By Lindsay King-Miller
(Quirk Books, 9781683694076, Paperback, $16.99, May 7, Horror)
“A gruesome, campy book that plays on the beautiful and messy dynamics of queer community, the seedy claws of rainbow capitalism, and every zombie killing method ever fantasized. The Z Word will leave you laughing between every shocked gasp!”
—Skye Euryale, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Summers at the Saint: A Novel
By Mary Kay Andrews
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250278388, $29, May 7, Fiction)
“While the cover screams ‘beach read,’ Mary Kay Andrews fans know there’s more to the story. An emotional ride through grief, friendships, secrets, two murder mysteries, new love, and doing whatever it takes to protect home.”
—Alecia Castro, Sweet Home Books, Wetumpka, AL

Darling Girls: A Novel
By Sally Hepworth
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250284525, $29, April 23, Thriller)
“Sally Hepworth has masterfully crafted another suspense about families, secrets, lies, and love. Three foster sisters struggle to deal with their horrific past when a child’s bones are found under the foster home where they grew up.”
—Sharon Davis, Book Bound Bookstore, Blairsville, GA

The Paris Novel
By Ruth Reichl
(Random House, 9780812996302, $29, April 23, Fiction)
“I long to be a ‘tumbleweed’! Reading a book every day, helping customers, going on errands, enjoying a crepe, and living in the City of Lights! The Paris Novel is an escape into food, art, and couture with mystery and a cast you’ll adore!”
—Sara Rishforth, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

A Magical Girl Retires: A Novel
By Park Seolyeon, Anton Hur (Transl.)
(HarperVia, 9780063373266, $21.99, April 30, Fiction)
“A quixotic blend of fantasy and reality. Magical girls are real, but so too are credit card debt, COVID-19, and mass unemployment. This strangely nostalgic, deceptively simple novel taps into both the dreams and anxieties of millenials.”
—Shay Shortt, Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond, WA

Colton Gentry’s Third Act: A Novel
By Jeff Zentner
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781538756652, $30, April 30, Romance)
“I loved this second-chance romance about a high school football star turned Country singer who heads back to Kentucky after his marriage and career fall apart. Zentner captures Colton and Luann’s nostalgia and reconnection beautifully.”
—Amy Traughber, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA

Ocean’s Godori (Indies Introduce)
By Elaine U. Cho
(Hillman Grad Books, 9781638930594, $28, April 23, Science Fiction)
“Elaine Cho articulates delicate, intergalactic celebrity politics and the nuances of queerness and racism in this incredible space opera, where we follow Ocean and her found-family crew setting off from a distant-future Korea.”
—Devon Overley, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

Loneliness & Company
By Charlee Dyroff
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639732081, $28.99, May 7, Fiction)
“Lee is an overachiever, but when she’s hired to teach an AI program the meaning of loneliness, her life skills are challenged. Dyroff draws an artful and memorable portrait of a woman trying to find answers in a world consumed by technology.”
—Manda Riggs, Elm Street Books, New Canaan, CT

Whale Fall: A Novel
By Elizabeth O'Connor
(Pantheon, 9780593700914, $27, May 7, Fiction)
“A debut and a paean to the forgotten cultures on the British Isles. An intelligent yet innocent protagonist is confronted with ethnographers from the mainland, as class, gender, and education meet, while the prose mirrors island life.”
—Richard Dixon, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War
By Erik Larson
(Crown, 9780385348744, $35, April 30, History)
“Larson vividly depicts Fort Sumter’s untenable position, the inpetitude of the Buchanan administration, and the impossibility of a remedy from Lincoln, exposing Southern planters who linked slavery, secession, and war in a corrupted Code of Honor.”
—Mike Hare, Northshire Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY

Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil
(Ecco, 9780063282261, $26.99, April 30, Essays)
“These essays are not just meditations on mouthwatering mastications of exotic fruits and savory favorites, but joyous and generous glimpses into the genius of a spirit that embraces the ascendance of the everyday into the sublime.”
—Emily Liner, Friendly City Books, Columbus, MS

How to Read a Book: A Novel
By Monica Wood
(Mariner Books, 9780063243675, $28, May 7, Fiction)
“A charming novel about the power of books to heal, connect, and teach. A prison inmate, her reading group teacher, and the man damaged by the inmate’s crime are drawn together by their love of reading and their need for human connection.”
—Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

Death Valley: A Novel
By Melissa Broder
(Scribner, 9781668024867, Paperback, $17.99, May 7, Fiction)
“A hike becomes a metaphysical journey straight into the center of grief, featuring literature’s most memorable cactus. Broder delivers us directly to the site of the wound and somehow makes us want to linger. Beautiful, exciting, and profound.”
—Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, Birmingham, AL

The Late Americans: A Novel
By Brandon Taylor
(Riverhead Books, 9780593332344, Paperback, $18, April 23, Fiction)
“With writing that is equal parts piercing and tender, this novel shifts through a cast of grad students and laborers, lovers and friends — many of them queer men — as they navigate sex, money, art, and uncertain modern life in Iowa City.”
—Owen Elphick, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

A Living Remedy: A Memoir
By Nicole Chung
(Ecco, 9780063031623, $19.99, April 30, Memoir)
“A heartbreaking, yet deeply loving memoir about the complexities of healthcare inequality. Chung draws on her experiences in her white adoptive family to understand how inequalities perpetuate distance and divisiveness.”
—Erin Pastore, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH

Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide
By Rupert Holmes
(Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, 9781451648225, Paperback, $18.99, April 30, Mystery)
“Dastardly, devious, and utterly delightful! Welcome to The McMaster’s Conservatory for The Applied Arts, a unique school that teaches you to get away with murder. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained! A unique, original and fun read.”
—Maxwell Gregory, Madison Street Books, Chicago, IL

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Penguin Books, 9781984881090, Paperback, $18, April 16, Fiction)
“J. Ryan Stradal captures so much about small town life and families in his stories. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club was like sitting down at The Club back in my hometown. There’s comfort and delicious food on every page.”
—Terri LeBlanc, Swamp Fox Bookstore, Marion, IA

Small Mercies: A Detective Mystery
By Dennis Lehane
(Harper Perennial, 9780062129499, Paperback, $19.99, April 23, Thriller)
“Lehane is one of the best writers of his generation. He depicts Boston like no one else can, and the story, the characters, as well as the deep dive into the social fabric of a place make this a must read.”
—Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS