As we sadly farewell summer and ease into autumn evenings, there’s never been a better time to curl up on your couch with a crisp new book. We’re always browsing Booktopia for inspiration; as Australia’s biggest online bookstore, it’s unrivalled in offering the best new releases, with over six million titles available.

Each year, the team at Booktopia names its best new books across an array of genres. The competition in 2024 already feels crowded, with several works already published, or soon to be, that could be contenders. To narrow it down, we’ve asked the team to shortlist the strongest releases from the first half of this year.

From lustful love affairs to time-travelling satires and creative cookbooks, we’ve got you covered with this early reading guide. And if you’re a Broadsheet Access member, you can save 10 per cent on every title.

The Work by Bri Lee

Raucous, raunchy and deliciously readable, Bri Lee’s debut novel sees sex, feminism, contemporary art and class privilege collide in New York City. Known for her 2018 memoir Eggshell Skull the award-winning Australian author has infused her first work of fiction with her characteristic insight and intellect.

The novel tells the torrid love story of Lally, an influential art gallery owner in Manhattan, and Pat, a scholarship boy struggling to establish himself in Sydney’s antiquities scene. As their international romance intensifies, their ambitions and insecurities could be leading them to career-ending mistakes. If you’re a fan of Sally Rooney’s Normal People or the works of Diana Reid and Jessie Tu, this one’s for you.

Release date: April 3, 2024

Blue Sisters by Coco Mellors

Her debut novel Cleopatra and Frankenstein was a breakout bestseller; now London-born, LA-based Coco Mellors returns with this profoundly moving follow-up. Focusing on grief, addiction and sisterhood, the novel follows three women scattered across the world, united only in their unresolved grief for their sister who succumbed to opioids.
Following her death, the estranged trio return to New York City to stop the sale of their family home, finally forcing them to confront their loss. Readers of Sally Rooney, Hanya Yanagihara or The Bee Sting are sure to resonate with this richly written, character-focused contemplation of life and loss.

Release date: June 5, 2024

Safe Haven by Shankari Chandran

Chandran’s last novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, was met with major critical acclaim, winning the Miles Franklin Award last year. Now, the British-Australian novelist is back with this political thriller that confronts one of Australia’s major moral catastrophes.

Set in an offshore detention facility, the mystery surrounds Fina, an asylum-seeker threatened with deportation after going to the media about the mistreatment of refugees. After a security officer at the centre dies under suspicious circumstances, Fina finds her fate threatened by the arrival of a special investigator.

This timely, topical, and rapid-fire read is perfect for fans of Chandran’s previous work, as well as lovers of Margaret Atwood and Colson Whitehead.

Release date: May 1, 2024

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Provocative and utterly unpredictable, Bradley’s debut novel is one of the most talked about upcoming releases this year. Combining a time travel romance and spy thriller with a workplace comedy, it follows a civil servant in the near future who falls in love with a 19th century commander she’s tasked with caring for.

To quote the team at Booktopia, this one’s “a novel that will have you laughing at the universe, raging at the system, and horny for people that died a century ago”. Fans of Jennifer Egan, John Mandel and Rebecca Kuang should be sure to check it out.

Release date: May 14, 2024

Human? A Lie That’s Been Killing Us Since 1788 by Ziggy Ramo

Unlike anything else you’ll read all year, Ziggy Ramo’s memoir is a challenging, moving story that ultimately proves there are pathways to reconciliation. An award-winning hip-hop musician and producer of Wik and Solomon Islander heritage, Ramo’s art and writing confront the colonialism and institutional racism within Australian history.

The book combines poetry, lyrics and QR codes to his songs in each chapter, creating a work that is both personal and polemic. An important read for all Australians, it’s in a similar vein to the writing of Vince Copley, Evelyn Araluen, Anita Hess and Debra Dank.

Release date: April 30, 2024

On Sundays: Long Lunches Through the Seasons by Dave Verheul

Perfect for cooks who love entertaining and find joy in feeding their family, this cookbook is filled with recipes from the owner of some of Australia’s top restaurants. A highly acclaimed chef both in his native New Zealand and in Australia, Dave Verheul co-owns popular Melbourne eateries Embla and Lesa.

As the title suggests, the book is divided into the four seasons. Beautifully photographed, it offers 16 menus designed to be shared at the end of the week, alongside tutorials in breadmaking, preserving and mushrooming.

Release date: April 4, 2024

Ho Jiak: A Taste of Malaysia by Junda Khoo

After opening the first Ho Jiak, owner Junda Khoo is set to open his first Melbourne outposts in October this year, with three ambitious and interconnected venues.

In the meantime, Khoo is also offering his enticing, flavour-infused recipes to home chefs keen to embrace his country’s cuisine in his new book. Featuring more than 100 dishes, you’ll find everything from classic nasi lemak to curry laksas and broths with vermicelli noodles. Enjoy the vibrance of Ho Jiak’s dishes in your own kitchen and celebrate Malaysian culture, with recipes that range from street food classics to home-style cooking.

Available now

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