Best New Fiction Books of 2024: Contemporary and Literary Fiction

The Best New Fiction Books of 2024 featuring Mercury by Amy Jo Burns

If you are looking for the best new fiction books of 2024, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve rounded up all of Jackie’s and my five-star fiction reads from the past year in one easy-to-read list. You won’t find many books, but any on this list will be sure to please!

From family sagas to stories to featuring older characters, secrets abound and adventures unfurl in each of the books on this list of winners!

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Best New Fiction Books of 2024

Best New Fiction Books for 2024

The Fellowship of Puzzle Makers

The Fellowship of Puzzle Makers by Samuel Burr

Clayton Stumper was raised by a group of puzzle makers in the commune where he was left as a baby. When the woman who raised him dies, she leaves him with one more puzzle to solve.

The solution will give him answers about his past and the secrets of his birth as well as point give him directions for his future.

Why I Like It: I read this book in a day and found it even more delightful than the description. It was a medium-paced book, however, the puzzles within are engaging and the dual-timeline story made it unputdownable. I loved this 5-star read. #gifted

Find this book in Best Puzzle Books for Adults / Best New Mystery Books of 2024 / Best Fiction Books of 2024

The Husbands

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

April 2024 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

Think of this book as Sci-Fi lite. It calls upon sci-fi-based principles – mainly multiverses – but it doesn’t dwell on the scientific for even a moment.

The premise is simple. Lauren, a single woman, comes home one night to a husband she didn’t know she had. Her phone, friends, and photos in her apartment reflect this new life but she can’t remember it. And then something crazy happens.

He goes up to the attic to change a lightbulb and a new husband descends from the attic. Whenever a new husband emerges, the life around her shifts again. So with an endless supply of husbands, she finds herself torn between knowing when to send them back and when to keep one and start living.

Why I Loved It: Easily one of the most unique plots I’ve ever read. Even as a confirmed disliker of Sci-Fi books, I found this story compulsively readable. I had a blast watching Lauren try to figure out her life and the revolving door of husbands had me giggling at times. #gifted by PRH Audio

Find this book in Best Sci-Fi Books / Summer Reads 2024 / 2024 Fiction Favorites

A Happier Life

A Happier Life by Kristy Woodson Harvey

In the present day, Keaton has lost her job, her boyfriend, and her house on one very bad day. She returns home reluctantly and is shocked when her mother tells her someone needs to put her childhood home on the market in North Carolina. Keaton did not know the house was still in the family.

When Keaton arrives at the house, it is a time capsule from the day her grandparents died in a car accident. With so many questions about why her mother and uncle never went back to the house, Keaton finds herself as she starts to find answers as well.

Why I love it: This is a story that is told in a dual timeline in both the present and from Becks’s point of view. Harvey weaves a wonderful story of life, love, and family in this book. I could not put it down. #gifted

Find this book in Best Fiction of 2024

The Best 2024 Fiction About Aging

How to Age Disgracefully

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley

Like Clare Pooley’s previous books, this one has a multi-generational cast of characters that make it utterly delightful and laugh-out-loud funny.

Lydia has a new job running the Senior Citizen’s Social Club and the members are unlike anything she expected. Art is an out-of-work actor, William is a former paparazzi, and Daphne is a 70-year-old who lives alone and talks to her plants. And that is only half of the lively crew. When the City council tries to sell the community center building, the Social Club members enlist the help of the daycare, a teenager, and a dog to save the building.

Why I Love It I read this book in a day. I laughed, I cried, and I applauded. This book made me feel so good. The multi-generational cast of characters makes this book appealing to anyone who loves a great second-chance fiction book. It is about finding yourself and your inner strength (with a side of revenge). And one of our favorite characters from a previous book makes a brief appearance!
Find this Book in Feel Good Books / Ultimate Beach Reads 2024 / Best New 2024 Fiction

sylvias second act

Sylvia’s Second Act by Hillary Yablon

If you are looking for an absolutely hysterical novel, this is for you! After walking into the Florida retirement home she hates and seeing her husband in a compromising position with their neighbor, Sylvia decides it’s time to start her life over in New York City.

Armed only with the money she has from pawning her watch, she gets herself a geriatric roommate and relaunches her career as a wedding planner. The scenarios she gets herself into are filled with heart, humor, and wisdom to create a novel unlike any other.

Why I Loved it: I’ve never met a character quite like Sylvia. She’s vivacious and fun in a way that most 66-year-olds are not depicted in literature. I was rooting for her success during the entire book. I’m hoping that scene in the epilogue means a sequel is in the works.

Find this book in Best Fiction Books of 2024 / Books like A Man Called Ove

The Best New Family Sagas

Mercury

Mercury by Amy Jo Burns

In Mercury, PA the Joseph brothers and their roofing business are known to all. When a body is found in the attic of the local church when the roof needs repair, a mystery is unleashed, and a family saga unfolds.

A decade prior, Marley West came into town with her mother and fell in love with the Joseph brothers. She dated one, married one, and helped raise another. She becomes a defactor mother figure to the whole family.

As the mystery of who is in the attic unravels, the story bounces back and forth in time while revealing the secrets and hidden motivations of Marley and the Joseph family.

Why I Love It: It’s a character analysis more than a mystery, a slow-burn of a story more than a high-stakes thriller. I was utterly enthralled. I think it’s the first contender of the year for the best books of 2024 list.

Find this book in Family Sagas / Best Fiction of 2024

Real Americans

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

May 2024 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

Told by three separate narrators, this story of love, family, and belonging is quite a literary feat. When Lily, the daughter of a Chinese immigrant, meets Matthew, the heir to a billionaire’s fortune, sparks fly immediately.

But something happens that causes Lily to leave her love shortly after the birth of their son, Nick. Twenty years later Nick’s part of the story is quite different from Lily’s as he struggles to be his own man as he grapples with the choices his mother made for him.

We are then propelled back in time for the latter third of the novel when Nick’s grandmother’s story plays out during Mao’s rise to power. Her story ultimately ties up questions left unanswered.

Why I Loved It: Epic in scale, each narrator’s story layered onto the lore of the Chen family until a compelling, richly woven history was crafted. I found myself flip-flopping my opinions of various characters – particularly Matthew – throughout the novel. Ultimately, I was left pondering how Nick’s life differed from his grandmother’s vision for her family when she first escaped China.

Find this book in: Family Sagas / Best Contemporary Fiction / Best 2024 Fiction

The Best Fiction of 2024 Set Abroad

the heirloom

The Heirloom by Jessie Rosen

When Shea’s boyfriend proposes, she goes against her beloved Nonna’s rule to never accept a marriage proposal with an heirloom ring. She loves her fiance, John, but can’t shake her Nonna’s worries about heirlooms carrying the energy of their former owners.

Now, with the help of her big sister and a journalist, she will travel to New York, Italy, Portugal, and Boston to meet the previous owners and make sure the ring has forever marriage energy.

Why I Loved It: Between the gorgeous settings and the hunt for the ring’s origin, this story was easy to fly through while remaining utterly enchanting. I might not agree with all of Shea’s decisions but the journey to happily ever after was so enjoyable!

Find this book in Summer Reads 2024 / Books set in Italy / Jewelry Novels / Best Fiction of 2024

The Guncle Abroad

The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley

GUP and the kids are back! Patrick, Maisie, and Grant are five years older and facing a new challenge – the kid’s dad is getting ready to remarry.

The children are not thrilled, so Patrick decides to wisk them on a European adventure to teach them the Languages of Love, Guncle Style.

As they parade around Europe and end up at the destination wedding site of Lake Como, we are treated to hysterical scenarios and GUP witticisms. Add in a rivalry between GUP and the soon-to-be Launt (Lesbian Aunt) and you have a story that will have you flying through the pages.

Why I Loved It: I adored the first Guncle book, so I was a tad nervous to read a sequel. Would it spoil the characters I love so much? Not. At. All.

If anything, I learned to appreciate Patrick, Grant, and Maisie even more on the revisit. The way that Rowley writes about living with grief as an adult and a child is touchingly hopeful. I laughed and cried in equal measure reading this story. Dare I say it might be better than the first?

Find this book in Best Fiction of 2024 / Lake Books

Did any of the new fiction books of 2024 on this list make your to-be-read pile?

contemporary fiction header

Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2024

For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.

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