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The Best Books of 2024 (So Far)

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We’re almost halfway through 2024 and we at The Book Review have already written about hundreds of books. Some of those titles are good. Some are very good. And then there are the following.

We suspect that some (though certainly not all) will be top of mind when we publish our end-of-year, best-of lists. For more thoughts on what to read next, head to our book recommendation page.


In this reworking of the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Jim, the enslaved man who accompanies Huck down the Mississippi River, is the narrator, and he recounts the classic tale in a language that is his own, with surprising details that reveal a far more resourceful, cunning and powerful character than we knew.

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Alderton’s novel, about a 35-year-old struggling to make sense of a breakup, delivers the most delightful aspects of romantic comedy — snappy dialogue, realistic relationship dynamics, funny meet-cutes and misunderstandings — and leaves behind clichéd gender roles and the traditional marriage plot.

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A young Iranian American aspiring poet and recovering addict grieves his parents’ deaths while fantasizing about his own in Akbar’s remarkable first novel, which, haunted by death, also teems with life — in the inventive beauty of its sentences, the vividness of its characters and the surprising twists of its plot.

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For Tana French fans, every one of the thriller writer’s twisty, ingenious books is an event. This one, a sequel to “The Searcher,” once again sees the retired Chicago cop Cal Hooper, a perennial outsider in the Irish west-country hamlet of Ardnakelty, caught up in the crimes — seen and unseen — that eat at the seemingly picturesque village.

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This follow-up to Orange’s debut, “There There,” is part prequel and part sequel; it trails the young survivor of a 19th-century massacre of Native Americans, chronicling not just his harsh fate but those of his descendants. In its second half, the novel enters 21st-century Oakland, following the family in the aftermath of a shooting.

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Set at a women’s boxing tournament in Reno, Nev., this novel centers on eight contestants, and the fights — physical and emotional — they bring to the ring. As our critic wrote: This story’s impact “lasts a long time, like a sharp fist to your shoulder.”

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In 1970s Philadelphia, an alien girl sent to Earth before she’s born communicates with her fellow life-forms via fax as she helps gather intel about whether our planet is habitable. This funny-sad novel follows the girl and her single mother as they find the means to persevere.

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In his candid, plain-spoken and gripping new memoir, Rushdie recalls the attempted assassination he survived in 2022 during a presentation about keeping the world’s writers safe from harm. His attacker had piranhic energy. He also had a knife. Rushdie lost an eye, but he has slowly recovered thanks to the attentive care of doctors and the wife he celebrates here.

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In her fifth memoir, Fuller describes the sudden death of her 21-year-old son. Devastating as this elegant and honest account may be — it’s certainly not for the faint of heart — it also leaves the reader with a sense of having known a lovely and lively young man.

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