November Book Club Picks: One-Child Policy, Embezzlement, and an Unlikely Serial Killer

November Book Club Picks: One-Child Policy, Embezzlement, and an Unlikely Serial Killer

It’s November, the month of Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for all of the excellent book club reads to choose from. There are lots of exciting novels coming out this November, and they’re all perfect for discussing with your friends. Whether you’re in the mood for a 19th-century mystery featuring a gender-fluid detective, or a fantasy novel based on India’s Mughal Empire, we have book club recommendations for every preference. Call your friends, hit your local indie, and get reading!

For even more fabulous fall reads, check out our fall must-read roundup.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede and Ayoola are sisters living in Lago, Nigeria. Korede is a nurse at a local hospital, but she’s picked up another role she’s not thrilled about: Helping Ayoola get away with killing her ex-boyfriends. The situation grows more complicated when Ayoola takes an interest in a coworker that Korede has a crush on. Korede will have to get involved and put a stop to Ayoola’s murderous behavior. We bet your book club will love dissecting the relationship between these two sisters. We’re so excited about this novel that we included it on our list of fall’s must-read books.

Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu

Set in the city of Gujiao, China in 2009, this young adult novel explores the difficult choices a young girl and her best friend face when one of them becomes pregnant under China’s One-Child Policy. Now that they’ve come of age, Luli and Yun leave the orphanage they grew up in behind and begin to work at a local factory. The two are reveling in their newfound independence, but their joy is shattered when Yun discovers that she’s pregnant. Under the One-Child Policy, it’s illegal to be pregnant and unmarried. Yun is desperate to believe that her boyfriend Yong will help her, despite the rumors that he’s trafficking women out of the city as brides for men in the country. This is a story of impossible choices that your club won’t soon forget.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

John Boyne’s newest novel takes readers to West Berlin in the late 1980s, where they’ll meet a struggling writer named Maurice Swift. Maurice is waiting tables to get by, and it is on the job that he first makes the acquaintance of famed author Erich Ackermann. The waiter immediately realizes that this might be his chance to make it big and hatches a plan to take advantage of the author, who leads a solitary life and is eager to connect. Your book club will be riveted as Maurice ascends to the top of the literary world, and wait with bated breath for his inevitable fall. This is a fascinating book about the dangers of fame.

Your Own Worst Enemy by Gordon Jack

If your book club spends the first thirty minutes of the meeting catching up on the news of the day, they’ll love this satirical young adult novel about a high school election. Lincoln High School is looking for a new student body president, and three students are hitting the campaign trail in hopes of scoring votes: Stacey Wynn, a traditionalist running with the help of her best friend and campaign manager Brian; Julia Romero, a new student who hopes to bring fresh views to the school; and Tony Guo, a stoner running on the platform of bringing his favorite drink back into the cafeteria. With the tagline, “When they go low, we go slightly lower” you know you’re in for some hilarious pranks, but the novel also explores themes of sexuality, race, gender, and more. Encourage your fellow book club members to vote now for this read as your next group pick.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

For book clubs that love the Armand Gamache series from Louise Penny, picking this month’s book will be super easy. Newcomers to the series can also jump in here, and will have the 13 prior installments to look forward to afterwards. In Kingdom of the Blind, readers will join Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he deals with a strange situation: He is supposed to execute a will for someone he has never met. Meanwhile, an older drug case (that forced Gamache to take some time away from his work) has spun out of control, leaving a dangerous substance in the wrong hands. As always, Gamache will have his hands full, and we think your book club will be spellbound.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Recently featured as one of Bookish’s must-read fall books, this fantasy novel is sure to sweep your book club away. Set in a land inspired by India’s Mughal Empire, Tasha Suri’s debut follows a noblewoman named Mehr, whose father is a powerful governor and whose mother is exiled from their land. Mehr inherited the magical abilities that caused her mother to be banished, and when her powers are discovered she’s taken by the disciples of the Maha, the vicious spiritual leader of the empire, who plan to exploit her gifts for their own plans. Fantasy-loving clubs will be captivated by this tale, and are sure to stick around late into the night discussing the need for more magical tales inspired by countries outside of Northern Europe, the parallels between Mehr’s plight and other female characters who get taken advantage of for their powers, and where Suri might take readers in the upcoming companion novel.

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco

Katrina Carrasco’s new novel The Best Bad Things is set in the late 19th century and follows Alma Rosales, a gender-fluid former member of the Pinkerton Detective Agency who goes undercover as a man in hopes of locating some missing drugs and the person who stole them from Alma’s former flame and current boss, Delphine Beaumond. Cracking this case would take Alma’s career to the next level. Failure, on the other hand, could be dangerous. This historical mystery takes on gender and sexuality in a way that many novels set in the 19th century do not, and it will give your book club lots of fodder for interesting conversations.

The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

Owen Foster’s world comes crashing down when he learns that his father embezzled millions of dollars from the family business and then skipped town. Owen leaves his New Orleans boarding school and returns home to Lake Cane, Louisiana to help clean up the mess his father left behind. Without the guilty party to hold accountable, the town turns on Owen and his mom. As Owen tries to ignore the increasingly threatening nature of the letters mailed to their home, he grapples with the mysterious note his father left him before disappearing. In a starred review Kirkus writes, “Readers won’t even notice the steady pull to the edges of their seats.” We know you and your club won’t be able to put this one down.

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