Cover Here are the best new books to read this September 2021 (Art: Chesca Gamboa/Tatler Hong Kong)

From Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle to Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, here are the best new books to read this September 2021

This September, a combination of award-winning authors and up-and-coming voices in fiction are releasing new books to read. Vera Kurian’s thrilling new book, Never Saw Me Coming further establishes her as a new author to watch while Xiran Jay Zhao’s debut novel, Iron Widow is getting buzz from its stunning cover and exciting story.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winner author Anthony Doerr returns after seven years with his most ambitious novel to date, Cloud Cuckoo Land and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner, Colson Whitehead shifts gears on his latest book, Harlem Shuffle.

Read on to find out what books you shouldn’t miss out on this September 2021. If you missed it, you can still read our August and July round-up.

See also: 8 New Movies to Watch in Hong Kong Cinemas This September 2021

1 / 9

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Vera Kurian is an up-and-coming voice in fiction and Never Saw Me Coming is her newest offering. In the book, you’ll meet Chloe Sevre, a freshman honour student who also happens to be a psychopath. She likes yoga, frat parties and also plotting to kill Will Bachman, her childhood friend who previously wronged her.

But Chloe’s not alone. She’s one of the students at her school who’s part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths. Things take a chilling turn when one of the students is found murdered. A game of cat and mouse begins and Chloe is no longer a hunter but a prey.

Release: September 7

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2 / 9

Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight

New York Times best-selling author Kimberly McCreight returns with Friends Like These, which promises to be filled with twists and turns. A desperate situation brings together a group of college friends 10 years after graduation but the reunion isn’t filled with hugs and kisses—instead, lies, betrayal and murder.

After all, if you’ve been through so much together, you also have a lot to hide—together.

Release: September 7

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3 / 9

Zero O'clock by C.J. Farley

C.J. Farley’s Zero O'clock is about Geth Montego and her only three friends—Tovah, Diego and BTS. Tovah has been acting weird ever since they applied to the same college while Diego is the person Geth wants to ask to prom, but if she did, it could ruin their friendship. And BTS is the popular pop group that the rest of the world has seemingly fall in love with too as well, and even if Geth hasn’t met them, she feels like they’re her best friends.

But her quiet life changes when the town becomes the centre of a virus and Geth get swept up in the protests. Geth navigates life through Zoom calls, a frontline mom that's pulling in double shits, political divisions among her classmates, managing her asthma and OCD and living life caught between pandemic and protests.

Release: September 7

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4 / 9

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Colson Whitehead shifts gears on his latest book, Harlem Shuffle, offering a historical fiction book filled with crime and family drama set in the 1950s–1960s in New York City's Harlem. The story is about Ray Carney, who to his neighbours and customers is nothing more than a salesman selling reasonably priced furniture to cover for himself and his family.

Few people knew of his past and his cover of normalcy is falling through the cracks. Cash is becoming a problem so Ray joins his cousin Freddie on a plan to rob the Hotel Theresa. But the heist doesn’t go as plan. To earn more money, Ray accepts a new client—a ragtag crew of shady cops, gangsters and other Harlem “lowlifes”. The struggle between Ray the family man and Ray the crook begins.

Release: September 14

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5 / 9

Under The Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

T.J. Klune brings his signature quirk and charm in this new book, Under the Whispering Door. It tells the story of Wallace Price, who refuses to believe that he’s dead until the grim reaper comes to collect him from his own funeral. Wallace starts to believe that he might really be dead.

But instead of leading him to the afterlife, the grim reaper takes him to a small village instead, particularly to a tea shop run by Hugo. He soon learns that Hugo is actually the ferryman to would who need to cross over. But Wallace is not ready to abandon the life he barely lived. The Manager arrives at the sea shop and gives Wallace a week to live before he can cross over. In those seven days, Wallace discovers love, in the form of the very ferryman who will bring him to the afterlife.

Release: September 21

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6 / 9

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

The Iron Widow, the first book in a trilogy by Xiran Jay Zhao marks her debut release. The story follows the boys of Huaxia, who dream of pairing up with girls in order to pilot the Chrysalis, a giant transforming robot that can defeat the mecha aliens hidden behind the Great Wall. But the girls often die from the mental strain of piloting the robot.

Zetian, an 18-year-old aspiring pilot offers herself as a concubine-pilot to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. Far different from what she expected, she gets her vengeance by killing him through the psychic link between pilots—and emerges unscathed, earning her the name, Iron Widow. She’s now a much-feared female pilot who sacrifice boys to power up the Chrysalis instead. 

With the power she has now, Zetian will stop at nothing to figure out why exactly the pilot system works in a misogynistic way and how she can stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Release: September 21

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7 / 9

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

The Bronzed Beasts may be the final book in the Gilded Wolves trilogy but we're including it in this list to get you started on the series—if you haven’t already. Roshani Chokshi, a critically acclaimed author of middle grade and young adult books that draw on world mythology and folklore channels her signature touch in this reverting final tale filled with mystery and danger.

The crew—Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia—will face plague pits and deadly masquerades as well as unearthly songs, and a temple whose powers might be the answer to everything, only it comes with a price and that may not be something they're willing to pay.

Release: September 21

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8 / 9

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

Lee Mandelo’s Summer Sons is a mix of fantasy, horror, action, coming of age and mystery. The genre-bending book follows best friends, Andrew and Eddie who did everything together—until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Then six months later, before Andrew joins him, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide.

Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death and along the way, uncovers the lies and secrets from the person he trusted the most. Instead, he’s confronted with Andrew's world filled with cars, boys, drugs, family history soaked in blood and death.

Release: September 28

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9 / 9

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Pulitzer winning author, Anthony Doerr returns after seven years with Cloud Cuckoo Land, his most ambitious book yet. The story is set in three different time frames, 1453, the present and the future. It follows the stories of the characters living in these timelines and how their story are interconnected through the book, Cloud Cuckoo Land.

In the past, we follow Anna and Omeir, who live very different lives—the former lives inside the city of Constantinople while the latter lives on the outside. The two cross paths when a siege takes place, a transcript of Cloud Cuckoo Land at hand. The present is set in Idaho and tells the story of Zeno, who’s already in his 80s and teenager, Seymour. Zeno is working on a production of Cloud Cuckoo Land while Seymour finds solace in reading the book.

Finally, the story set in the future revolves around Konstance, a 14-year-old girl living on an interstellar ship as well as Sybil, the ship’s overseeing voice. Konstance is immersed in reading Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Release: September 28

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