2023 was a great year for Jewish literature. Barbra Streisand’s long-awaited memoir finally hit the shelves, Russian-Jewish author Ruth Madievsky had a powerhouse debut in her novel “All-Night Pharmacy,” Amanda Stern’s 2005 YA book “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” was transformed into a hit Netflix Adam Sandler movie — and that’s just to name a few highlights.
Now, it seems that 2024 is shaping up to be equally exciting. The Hey Alma team has taken the liberty of compiling all the fresh Jewish stories coming out this year, from a comedian memoir to a queer romantic fantasy about estries to a novel described as “Jewish millennial ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with ‘Broad City’ vibes.”
In order of publication date, here are some Jewish books we’re stoked to read in 2024.
“The Secret That Is Not a Secret: Ten Heretical Tales,” Jay Michaelson
OK, cards on the table, this book came out last week. But everyone knows that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve doesn’t really exist, so we’re excited to engage with “The Secret That Is Not a Secret” in 2024!
From National Jewish Book Award-winning author Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson, “The Secret That Is Not a Secret” is a mystical dive into the lines between heresy and divinity. As the book description states, “The inhabitants of its interlocking stories are pious and rebellious, mystical and queer, from a Hasidic woman tormented by her husband’s long beard to a closeted gay man repenting of his sins in the mikva.”
This book was released on Dec. 22, 2023. You can get it here.
“City of Laughter,” Temim Fruchter
Temim Fruchter is a queer nonbinary and her debut novel, “City of Laughter,” addresses themes of queerness, spirituality, Jewish folklore and generational silence.
Ropshitz, Poland — once known as the City of Laughter — is at the center of this story. The book begins there, in the 18th century, before introducing us to Shiva Margolin who is struggling in the present day. Her beloved father is dead and her heart is broken from her first big queer breakup. When an opportunity to visit Poland arises, she takes it, hoping to unravel her family’s mysteries.
If you like sagas that span generations and origin stories, this book is for you.
This book comes out Jan. 16. You can get it here.
“A Brutal Design,” Zachary C. Solomon
What do utopias, Jewish identity and family, architectural design and fascism all have in common? This upcoming novel, of course.
Per the book description, “After the fascist takeover of his homeland and the murder of his parents, Jewish architecture student Samuel Zelnik thinks that he and his friends are bound for the gulag — or worse. Instead, he receives an unexpected offer of freedom working in the experimental utopian city of Duma.”
However, Duma soon proves to be far from the idyllic place it pretends to be.
This book comes out on Jan. 30. You can get it here.
“Subculture Vulture: A Memoir in Six Scenes,” Moshe Kasher
Stand-up Moshe Kasher is a brilliant comedian and with “Subculture Vulture,” he’s once again proving that he’s a talented author as well. (If you haven’t read his first memoir “Kasher in the Rye,” you definitely must.) In his latest book, “Subculture Vulture,” Kasher examines the six subcultures that have defined his life: ultra-Hasidic Judaism, deaf culture, rave culture, Alcoholics Anonymous, Burning Man and the comedy scene. “Moshe Kasher has the rare gift to simultaneously celebrate a community while also making fun of it,” Nick Kroll said in his praise of the book. “His writing succinctly captures the insanity, the joy, the ridiculousness, and the radical act of fully embracing these worlds.”
This book comes out on Jan. 30. You can get it here.
“Mother Doll,” Katya Apekina
Award-winning author Katya Apekina’s latest novel is all about the trauma held between generations of women. Surely there is nothing more Jewish than that.
In “Mother Doll,” Russian-American woman Zhenia is dealing with a pregnancy her husband doesn’t want and the decline of her beloved grandmother when a psychic reaches out. Zhenia’s great-grandmother Irina, a Russian revolutionary, has made contact with the medium and wants to talk to Zhenia.
Per the book description, “As Irina begins her confession with the help of a purgatorial chorus of grieving Russian ghosts, Zhenia awakens to aspects of herself she hadn’t been willing to confront. But does either woman have what the other needs to understand their predicament? Or will Irina be stuck in limbo, with Zhenia plagued by ancestral trauma, and her children after her?”
This book comes out on March 12. You can get it here.
“Worry,” Alexandra Tanner
In the opinion of Hey Alma associate editor Evelyn Frick, “Worry” is the book of the year for hot Jewish girls – and everyone else. Alexandra Tanner’s knockout debut novel examines the unease of modern society through the lens of Jules and Poppy Gold’s fraught sisterhood.
Poppy, a directionless 20-something healing from a suicide attempt, has come to live with her also directionless 20-something sister Jules in Brooklyn. What starts as a short stay quickly snowballs into a year of the pair living together. In that time, the Gold sisters search for meaning in their ever-overlapping lives all while navigating their Jewish identities, Mormon mommy bloggers, hives, a three-legged rescue dog named Amy Klobuchar, a toxic, Messianic Jewish mother, uterus problems, a horoscope tech company and more.
As per the press release, “If your ears perk up whenever you hear the ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ theme song, if our sociopolitical moment has you breaking out in hives or if you’ve ever scrolled until you’ve spiraled, ‘Worry’ is the novel for you.”
This book comes out on March 26. You can get it here.
“Klara’s Truth,” Susan Weissbach Friedman
Dr. Klara Lieberman is leading a very small life: she’s 49, single and a professor of archaeology at a small liberal arts college in Maine. But a letter from her estranged mother, Bessie, changes everything.
Bessie informs her that her father, who has long been absent from her life, is dead — and has been for many years, a fact that Bessie chose to keep from Klara. But now the Polish government is offering financial reparations for land it stole from its Jewish citizens during WWII, and Bessie wants the money. Klara isn’t interested in the finances — but she wants answers about her dad, so she flies to Warsaw in search of something. Her journey provides more than she ever could have anticipated.
This book comes out April 2. You can get it here.
“The Familiar,” Leigh Bardugo
Bestselling fantasy author Leigh Bardugo often finds a way to bring her Jewish heritage into her work — from the Ashkenazic Jewish history looming large in her “Shadow and Bone” series to the Ladino sayings peppered throughout “The Ninth House.” Her upcoming book “The Familiar” is a historical fantasy set during the Spanish Golden Age that follows Luzia Cotado, a servant whose gift for magic garners the notice of Antonio Pérez, the disgraced secretary to Spain’s king.
As per the book’s description, “Luzia plunges into a world of seers and alchemists, holy men and hucksters, where the lines between magic, science and fraud are never certain. But as her notoriety grows, so does the danger that her Jewish blood will doom her to the Inquisition’s wrath.”
This book comes out April 9. You can get it here.
“Housemates,” Emma Copley Eisenberg
Emma Copley Eisenberg’s debut novel “Housemates” is Hey Alma’s deputy managing editor Vanessa Friedman’s most anticipated book of 2024. A queer sexy American roadtrip story focusing on friendship and art? Literally what more could anyone want from fiction?!
In “Housemates,” Bernie and Leah forge an intense and uncategorizable friendship based on a mutual belief in their art — writing for Leah, photography for Bernie — and each other. Leah is Jewish, and author Eisenberg told Hey Alma, “There’s a whole chapter about Leah’s inherited trauma from her Jewish dad who believes making money and seeking knowledge will keep you safe from another Holocaust.” This celebration of queer life can’t get into our hands soon enough!
This book comes out May 28. You can get it here.
“Past Present Future,” Rachel Lynn Solomon
For everyone who loved “Today Tonight Tomorrow,” Baruch Hashem: We finally have a sequel!
Rowan Roth and Neil McNair went from rivals to lovers in their first story, but since they confessed their love on the last day of senior year, they only had the summer to enjoy being a couple. In this dual points of view sequel they’re each at their respective colleges and trying to make things work long distance.
Expect lots of late-night phone calls, weekend visits, hijinks and love in this joyful young adult romance.
This book comes out June 4. You can get it here.
“More, Please: On Food, Fat, Bingeing, Longing, and the Lust for ‘Enough’,” Emma Specter
Hey Alma’s deputy managing editor Vanessa Friedman looked at the title of this book — which is a meld of memoir, reportage and in-depth interviews — and said “Hmmm looks like Emma Specter wrote this specifically for me!” As if the fat, queer, Jewish and anxiety content alone wasn’t enough to pique interest — and let’s be real, it is — the personal knowledge and careful reporting in this book makes us want to deep dive it immediately.
Per the book’s overview, this is “an unflinching and deeply reported look at the realities of binge-eating disorder from a rising culture commentator and writer for ‘Vogue.’ In ‘More, Please,’ she provides a context, a history, and a language for what it means to always want more than you’ll allow yourself to have.”
This book comes out July 9. You can get it here.
“The Night Owls,” A.R. Vishny
Even if A.R. Vishny wasn’t a frequent contributor to Hey Alma, we would be eagerly awaiting the release of her debut YA novel, “The Night Owls,” a contemporary romantic fantasy about two estries (bread-eating, owl-shifting Jewish women vampires) and an Israeli-American teen who can see dead people. Set in the monstrous underworld of New York, the book explores topics near and dear to our heart, including Jewish theater, film and women’s history (plus, it’s queer!).
This book comes out Sept. 17. You can get it here.
“Rachel Weiss’s Group Chat,” Lauren Appelbaum
Lauren Appelbaum’s debut novel is “a Jewish millennial ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with ‘Broad City’ vibes, in which a woman grapples with her best friends growing apart and her overbearing mother’s attempts to set her up with the tech millionaire next door.” What more could anyone ask for in a book?
This book doesn’t yet have a release date, but you can stay updated here.