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Best Fiction Book Gifts for Every Reader on Your List

These celebrated narratives are sure to delight.

Yes, the season of giving is fast approaching — which means it’s time to start matching the literary loved ones on your list with the book gifts they’ll adore this holiday season. Not sure where to begin? From bestselling family dramas and beguiling Southern mysteries to acclaimed psychological thrillers, we pulled together the best fiction book gifts to give this holiday season.

Looking for outstanding nonfiction recommendations? Check out our list of the best nonfiction book gifts to give this holiday season.

Joanne Camas

The Latecomer

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

For the book lover who enjoys a good family drama…

The Latecomer introduces us to the Oppenheimer family, a wealthy New York City–based clan with plenty of issues to unpack. Years ago, parents Salo and Johanna met under tragic circumstances; they then struggled to conceive until a successful IVF treatment bore them triplets. While siblings Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally do care for one another, they’re not particularly close; indeed, they’re more than happy to escape home and go their separate ways once college comes around. That’s when Johanna, who faces the prospect of an empty nest and an increasingly distant husband, decides to have a fourth child. But will the new baby shatter the Oppenheimers’ thin veneer of “family” or be the glue that finally holds them together? Korelitz’s slow-burn narrative teases out the trauma, secrets, and guilt as the Oppenheimers confront their new reality — making it an ideal book gift for lit fans who love some heated family drama in their reads.

Image for Alexis Schaitkin's book Elsewhere, featuring a fire in the foreground rising up to the Elsewhere text

Elsewhere

By Alexis Schaitkin

For the book lover who binge-watched The Handmaid’s Tale...

For fans of speculative fiction and books like The Handmaid’s Tale, Alexis Schaitkin’s Elsewhere makes a stellar gift. The acclaimed new narrative whisks you away to a remote mountain village high in the clouds, a place where girls are instructed to become wives and mothers but some women simply vanish without a trace. Schaitkin centers her novel on Vera, who lost her own mother years ago and is now on the verge of becoming a mother herself. As Vera’s due date approaches, she becomes increasingly uncertain about her community and the future of her unborn child. Where do the vanished women go? Why do only some women disappear? Will Vera get to see her own child grow up, or will she too vanish into the mist? Schaitkin’s previous novel, Saint X, dealt with losing a loved one. Elsewhere magnifies the trauma to haunting new heights, adding otherworldly intrigue and rich atmospherics into an unforgettable tale.

The Kingdoms of Savannah

By George Dawes Green

For the book lover who has never met a Southern gothic mystery they didn't like

In The Kingdoms of Savannah, author George Dawes Green uses a lush Georgia backdrop to pull you into his beguiling Southern mystery. Savannah socialite Morgana Musgrove is a force of nature, a domineering matriarch who inspires fear and admiration in equal measure. When a man is murdered at a local watering hole and his companion “disappeared,” Morgana takes up the case. Soon, she recruits her four adult children — all of whom are reluctant to engage with their mother — to assist in the search. Each Musgrove family member brings a unique skill set to the investigation, butting heads as they peel back the layers of Savannah’s dark history to unravel this baffling crime and find the true culprit. In addition to being a celebrated novelist, Green is the founder of the hit storytelling podcast The Moth. Here he writes of the city he knows so well, guiding readers from the gritty homeless encampments on the outskirts of Savannah all the way up to the city’s gilded mansions in search of the truth. Mystery fans on your gift list will devour this captivating new read.

We Are the Brennans

By Tracey Lange

For the book lover who adored Ask Again, Yes or The Nest…

And you think your family has problems….The Brennans present a unified front to the world. Behind closed doors, however, tensions mount. A few years ago, Sunday Brennan abruptly left her large Irish Catholic family and moved to Los Angeles. But after getting in a drunk-driving accident, she knows it’s time to return home. Sunday’s reentry into the family orbit is challenging enough; she has a bevy of disgruntled relatives to placate and an ex-fiancé to face. Then a dangerous man from Sunday’s past shows up and threatens the family pub business — forcing the Brennans to work through their past traumas if they hope to find a way forward together. Fans of compelling family dramas like The Nest or Ask Again, Yes are sure to love Tracey Lange’s instant New York Times bestseller. And bonus: We Are the Brennans just came out in paperback, making it the perfect book gift stocking stuffer!

The Maidens

By Alex Michaelides

For the book lover who can’t get enough psychological intrigue…

Anyone who’s read Alex Michaelides’ blockbuster psychological thriller The Silent Patient knows that he’s a master of suspense. In The Maidens, now out in trade paperback, he again mixes mystery and psychology with hints of Greek mythology, drawing readers into the darkened halls of Cambridge University, where a killer is on the loose. Cambridge alumna Mariana Andros uses her skills as a group therapist to launch her own investigation, and she identifies beloved classics professor Edward Fosca as her main suspect. There’s just one hitch to her theory: Fosca has an alibi. Moreover, he’s adored across campus and worshipped by The Maidens, an all-female secret campus society whose members follow in Fosca’s footsteps. Andros knows in her bones that Fosca’s to blame. But how far is she willing to go to reveal the truth and unmask the killer? Thriller fans on your gift list will scream with delight when they receive Michaelides’ gripping new narrative, which is chock full of compelling characters and clever twists.

The Shadows by Alex North

The Shadows

By Alex North

For the book lover in search of a scary story…

Alex North gave us sleepless nights with his fiendishly entertaining horror thriller debut The Whisper Man. North’s latest release, The Shadows, a stand-alone novel that exists in the same fictional world as The Whisper Man, is just as thrilling — and makes a monstrously good book gift for the horror fans on your list. After decades away, Paul must return home to care for his ailing mother. Being back is far from a pleasant experience for him. Many years ago, when Paul was just a teenager, a brutal ritual murder occurred in the dreary woods near his home that involved two of his classmates and spawned an undying urban legend. Now a copycat killer has struck in a nearby town. Detective Amanda Beck investigates the latest slaying, and soon uncovers a twisted trail of related cases. Paul is also searching for answers, and as their paths converge, both Amanda and Paul must reckon with what really happened in the woods all those years ago.

Cover of.Korelitz's book The Plot, which features a blue background with a white book and text THE PLOT superimposed onto the image

The Plot

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

For the book lover who enjoys literary suspense and characters going off the rails…

Horror maestro Stephen King recommends this bestselling literary thriller by Jean Hanff Korelitz, so you know it’s going to be good. When your best days appear to be behind you, how far are you willing to go to revive your career? Writing professor Jacob Finch Bonner was once a rising star in the literary world; now he’s teaching at a third-rate writing program and struggling to produce a decent page of prose. Bonner’s desperate for a second chance. So when an arrogant and enviably talented student of his dies unexpectedly, Bonner decides to claim the deceased’s work-in-progress as his own and produce a new novel. The gamble works…at first. Bonner’s newfound fame is so dazzling that he nearly forgets it’s all built on a lie. But then he receives a forbidding message from an anonymous sender: Someone knows about his act of deception and is threatening to expose him. Now Bonner must race to protect his secret while getting to the bottom of the plot’s true origins if he hopes to escape. Korelitz expertly weaves together a dark academia setting with the high-wire suspense of artistic deception in The Plot, making it a killer gift for the discerning thriller fan in your life.

A Nearly Normal Family – Trade Paperback

A Nearly Normal Family

By M.T. Edvardsson

For the book lover who loves a legal thriller with a side of heart-stopping family drama…

Calling all Liane Moriarty fans! This enthralling read is for you. Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of murdering a businessman almost twice her age. The slaying shocks Stella’s well-to-do suburban community — and the fact that her father is a respected pastor and her mother a well-known defense attorney only fans the flames of gossip. Stella’s parents believe in their daughter’s innocence. Yet as details emerge that cast doubt on her case, mum and dad must decide how far they’re willing to go to protect their family. A Nearly Normal Family is a nuanced domestic psychological thriller told from multiple perspectives that poses as many questions as it answers. It makes an excellent book gift for all the readers on your list who revel in twisting, turning plots where picture-perfect facades hide the darkness within.

A Wealth of Pigeons

By Steve Martin and Harry Bliss

For the reader who enjoys a good laugh…

Is there no end to Steve Martin’s creativity? In A Wealth of Pigeons, Martin joins forces with New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss to bring a cornucopia of comedic ideas and zany observations to life on the page. It’s a collaboration made in heaven: Martin provides the captions and concepts while Bliss supplies the artwork. Together they create a sidesplitting cartoon collection, skewering everyday absurdities in both life and art. Out now in attractive hardcover binding, A Wealth of Pigeons is an eye-catching gift that will have you and your loved ones laughing well into the new year. And for the comedy superfans on your list, check out Number One Is Walking, Martin’s highly anticipated showbiz memoir with illustrations by Bliss, due out this November.

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