A bevy of noteworthy new memoirs are headed our way this year – and we picked out the best of the best. From inspirational environmental narratives and heartfelt meditations on mental health to highly anticipated tell-alls, here are the upcoming memoirs you don’t want to miss.
13 New Memoirs We Can't Wait to Read in 2023
These promising reads belong at the top of your TBR list.
By Mya-Rose Craig
Nature and family intertwine in Mya-Rose Craig’s moving new memoir, Birdgirl. The 20-year-old author is an avid birder and environmentalist, and in her memoir, she chronicles her family’s travels around the world as they search for birds and marvel at the fragile beauty of nature. Craig also opens up about her mother’s mental health struggles and documents the many ways that being together in nature has helped her family thrive. Indeed, Craig encourages all of us to spend more time outdoors – both to restore balance in our personal lives and to spur us into action against the climate crisis. “An excellent mix of travelogue, memoir, and advocacy” (Kirkus, starred review), Birdgirl soars.
Publication date: March 28, 2023
While You Were Out
By Meg Kissinger
In this intimate and unflinching new memoir, investigative journalist Meg Kissinger draws on her family’s experiences with mental illness to explore America’s deeply flawed attitudes toward mental health and its failing healthcare system. Kissinger is an award-winning reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist who’s dedicated her career to exposing the inadequacy of care for people suffering from mental illness. In While You Were Out, she turns her attention to her own family’s struggles with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Growing up in the 1960s Chicago suburbs, Meg and her family kept their mental health battles and two siblings’ deaths by suicide a closely guarded secret. Years later, the author is ready to open up about her heartache, grief, and her family’s steadfast devotion as she shines a light on promising new mental health treatments and strategies. “We found ways to help and support each other and ourselves,” Kissinger explains. “I hoped our family’s story could offer insight, solace, and inspiration.”
Publication date: September 5, 2023
Being Henry: The Fonz...and Beyond
By Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler, launched into prominence by his role as “The Fonz” in the beloved Happy Days, has transcended the role that made him who he is. Brilliant, funny, and widely-regarded as the nicest man in Hollywood, Henry shares in this achingly vulnerable memoir the disheartening truth of his childhood, the difficulties of a life with severe dyslexia, the pressures of a role that takes on a life of its own, and the path forward once your wildest dream seems behind you.
Publication date: October 31, 2023
Good for a Girl
By Lauren Fleshman
Lauren Fleshman is a top-tier distance runner, having won five NCAA championships at Stanford and two national championships as a professional athlete. Good for a Girl is both a love letter to competitive sports and a striking rebuke of the way the sports industry treats women and young girls. Blending personal memoir with a stirring manifesto, Fleshman cites sports physiology and psychology alongside her own experiences to expose gender disparities in athletics and lays out a path for the sports world to inspire a new wave of female participants. A New York Times bestseller, Good for a Girl is a must-read new sports book that doubles as a rousing “call to action for the coaches, parents, and young women of future athletic generations” (The Atlantic).
Publication date: January 10, 2023
Hijab Butch Blues
By Lamya H
Faith, family, community, identity, culture… Each plays a vital role in this radical new coming-of-age LGBTQ memoir. Lamya H was born in South Asia and moved to the Middle East as a child. Throughout her early years, she searched for her identity and a place to belong. Lamya H then moved to the U.S. for college, where she began a new chapter as an openly queer devout Muslim. In Hijab Butch Blues, the author draws parallels between her journey and famous stories from the Quran to craft a series of heartfelt essays on queerness, community, devotion, and the immigrant experience. “Hopeful and uplifting” (Kirkus), Hijab Butch Blues makes an ideal memoir book club pick and is not to be missed.
Publication date: February 7, 2023
Forager: Field Notes on Surviving a Family Cult
By Michelle Dowd
In this “inspiring and insightful tale of resilience in the face of adversity” (Booklist), Michelle Dowd vividly relates her experience growing up in an utterly oppressive environment. The author was born into a doomsday cult known as the Field, run by her domineering grandfather. As a child, she was told to distrust outsiders and bow to her family’s extreme religious demands. It was a time of hardship, isolation, and abuse. As a result, Dowd had no choice but to learn how to take care of herself and – crucially – how to live off the land. In Forager, Dowd chronicles her coming-of-age story, sharing the foraging skills she learned and tracing the way in which her capacity for survival ultimately led to her freedom.
Publication date: March 7, 2023
A Living Remedy
By Nicole Chung
In her bestselling All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung movingly documented her search for the parents that gave her up for adoption. In Chung’s new memoir, the author writes about her adoptive parents and the many hardships they endured – from stretching their paychecks to keep food on the table to living under the shadow of overwhelming medical bills. Chung’s sorrow and rage come to a head when her father passes away at 67, and she realizes that his limited access to healthcare contributed to his death. Beautifully told, A Living Remedy is a “tender personal story with powerful social and political ramifications” (BookPage).
Publication date: April 4, 2023
You Could Make This Place Beautiful
By Maggie Smith
Think of this lyrical new memoir by award-winning poet Maggie Smith as a literary spiral. At its center, is the collapse of Smith’s marriage, a very personal sadness. Smith then traces that emotional episode outward, leading us along the spiral’s widening curve into an exploration of what it means to be a woman, a mother, a worker, and a traveler on the road of life. We discover a bit about ourselves as we follow Smith on her journey. In You Could Make This Place Beautiful, the author boldly reminds her readers that you can “survive deep loss, sink into life’s deep beauty, and constantly, constantly make yourself new” (Glennon Doyle, New York Times bestselling author).
Publication date: April 11, 2023
The Forgotten Girls
By Monica Potts
Growing up in rural Arkansas, Monica Potts and her best friend Darci dreamed about where their lives would lead. The gifted young students seemed destined for bright futures. Reality, however, played out quite differently. Potts left for college and followed her dream of becoming a journalist and writer. Years later, while reporting on rampant poverty in her home state, she caught back up with Darci. Her childhood friend was now a single mother raising two kids, unemployed, addicted to meth, and on the brink of homelessness. How did their lives take such starkly different paths? The Forgotten Girls is a powerful and enlightening portrait of poverty, addiction, and broken dreams in the land of opportunity.
Publication date: April 18, 2023
By Ava Chin
Ava Chin grew up with her mom in Queens, New York, without knowing her father or indeed much about her family. Determined to learn more about her roots, Chin began an extensive search and soon discovered how her ancestors were affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred Chinese immigrants from citizenship for six decades. Her relatives built their lives out of one building on Mott Street in New York City’s Chinatown. In Mott Street, Chin carefully unravels their stories of survival and reinvention, creating a stunning family tree and an epic portrait of the Chinese American experience.
Publication date: April 25, 2023
Women We Buried, Women We Burned
By Rachel Louise Snyder
Turmoil and resiliency defined Rachel Louise Snyder’s formative years. At the age of eight, she lost her mother. Then her father uprooted the family and moved everyone into a cultish evangelical community thousands of miles away. Snyder rebelled, was forced out of school and home, and at the age of 16 found herself living out of her car and fending for herself. And yet, she endured, first working her way through college and then transforming into a fierce women’s advocate and an award-winning reporter on domestic violence. In Women We Buried, Women We Burned, Snyder chronicles her story. It’s a memoir of violence and loss, yes, but also of survival, transformation, and hope.
Publication date: May 23, 2023
By Elliot Page
The hit 2007 movie Juno elevated Elliot Page to the center stage, earning him an Oscar nomination and increased scrutiny from the media and the public. Yet while society sought to cast him in the role of a Hollywood star, Page was determined to come to terms with his identity in his own way. The actor publicly came out as transgender in December 2020 and has since become a committed advocate for trans youth and a vocal opponent of anti-trans legislation. In Pageboy, Page candidly shares his life story, pulling no punches when it comes to love, sex, Hollywood, and finding your true self.
Publication date: June 6, 2023
A Place for Us
By Brandon J. Wolf
Brandon J. Wolf left his hometown in rural Oregon for Orlando, Florida and the chance to find his community. The move was transformative; back home he endured racism and homophobia, while in Orlando he felt accepted and free. On June 12, 2016, Wolf and his friends were enjoying a night out at the Pulse nightclub when a gunman barged in, killing 49 people and wounding 53 more. Wolf survived the horrific terror attack, and the experience propelled him into activism. A Place for Us traces Wolf’s struggle to find his place in an often hostile world and his emergence as a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for LGBTQ+ civil rights and gun-safety reform. “One of the most powerful voices of his generation, Brandon Wolf tells a story of race, place, and the struggle for belonging that will drive you to tears and expand your capacity for hope, as well as your appreciation for the power of community” (Joy-Ann Reid, host of The ReidOut).
Publication date: July 1, 2023