Looking for new book releases in September 2021? Here’s what we’ve read in the past month, including titles from Rick Riordan, Kendare Blake, and more.
Our new book releases for August 2021 brought you several titles across all genres, and we’re back again with our next installment. This time, we’re tackling our favorite releases for September.
There are no restrictions here—it’s whatever the Hypable staff has been reading and wants to tell you about. As a whole, we tend to lean into YA fantasy and sci-fi genres, but you may also come across some horror, romance, thriller, historical, and contemporary tales. We may even throw in a non-fiction book once in a while if it strikes our fancy.
Some of our books get the V.I.P treatment, which means they’ll also have full reviews on the Hypable website. Check out Hypable’s book section for all our literary coverage!
New book releases September 2021
Table of Contents
Click on any of the titles to jump to that review!
- All These Bodies by Kendare Blake (Young Adult, Historical, Crime Thriller, Suspense)
- Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani (Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retellings)
- Charm Offensive, The by Alison Cochrun (LGBTQIA+, Romantic Comedy, The Bachelor)
- Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix, A by C.B. Lee (Young Adult, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, LGBTQIA+, Retelling)
- Corpse Queen, The by Heather Herrman (Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Thriller)
- Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities, The by Rick Riordan and others (Middle Grade, Mythology, Short Stories, Anthology Collection)
Better late than never titles
- Dead and the Dark, The by Courtney Gould (Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Mystery, Thriller)
- My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (Adult, Horror, Native American Literature)
Getting a jump on next month’s titles
- All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told by Douglas Wolk (Non-Fiction, Comics, Graphic Novel, History, Literary Fiction)
‘All These Bodies’ by Kendare Blake — September 21, 2021
To start off our new book releases for September 2021, let’s talk about one of my favorites. All These Bodies is about a series of murders that took place in the 1950s in the Midwest in which every single victim has been found completely drained of blood. A 15-year-old girl is caught at the scene of the crime, and decides she will only confess to one person: Michael, the sheriff’s son. Our narrator writes about his experience listening to Marie’s confession, sometimes making comments from the future about his observations.
What follows is an unwinding account of the events. This story is full of languid suspense, which does not keep you on the edge of your seat but rather has an equally interesting effect—it slowly sucks you deeper into the mystery, like quicksand. You find yourself as intent on getting answers as you are seeing how one small town—and one young man—is transformed throughout the process.
This was a quick and interesting read. If historical fiction isn’t normally your jam, I wouldn’t dismiss this book. The 1950s elements are present enough to remind you of the bygone era, but not strong enough to make it feel foreign. I would classify this as a crime thriller, and while it is chilling at times, it’s more like the slow raising of hair on the back of your neck than a jumpscare that will bring you out of your seat. Sometimes shining a light into the shadows doesn’t reveal the answers you expect. — Karen Rought
‘Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales’ by Soman Chainani — September 21, 2021
Many storytellers have written and rewritten and flipped and skewed and taken inspiration from fairy tales for centuries. In fact, the versions we’re most familiar with now are retellings themselves. Soman Chainani’s Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales is a fascinating new entry in that tradition, updating fairy tales to speak to modern issues and senses of self.
The protagonists are clever and self-assured, even when dealing with the aftermath of their own bad decisions. They never waver from who they are at their center but always learn something new and discover another facet to themselves.
Out of all of these tales, one that really stands out to me when I think of this compilation is the retelling of “Snow White.” There are many similar plot and character beats, but it has an entirely new angle and progression. It’s definitely not one to be missed.
If you’re looking for a bit of an escape, or if it’s been a while since you’ve read a new take on an old classic, I suggest giving this collection a try. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Charm Offensive’ by Alison Cochrun — September 7, 2021
Oh my, did I love this rom-com. Imagine the show Unreal (you know, the drama that is supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a show like The Bachelor), but with people and producers who are all largely good people and all experience life in different ways. Add in frank conversations about depression, anxiety, and neurodivergence, as well as a heaping dose of hopeless romanticism and a Bachelor-like show that’s centered around fairy tale princes and princesses, and you have just a small amount of the charm that The Charm Offensive exudes.
The two main leads in this delightful queer rom-com appear to be very different at first, but throughout their many bonding scenes, they slowly realize they’ve each been lying to themselves (and each other) and suppressing who they really are. Charlie and Dev’s chemistry is white-hot and off the charts, thanks in small part to the forbidden nature of their relationship. Every moment they’re together is electric and full of possibility. I just couldn’t get enough.
One of the things I loved most about this romance, outside of the main couple and their amazing support system of friends, is the way in which it never insults the dreams of fairytale love or a happily ever after, but instead offers a more grounding look and interpretation of what that could look like. Though it strips away the flawed notion that real love should be easy and effortless, it also opens doors to fantastic, miraculous, and heartwarming possibilities that hopeless romantics like myself could only dream of.
The Charm Offensive had me floating on cloud nine throughout, and I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you don’t like The Bachelor (like I don’t), you’ll get a lot of enjoyment and swoons out of this one. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix’ by C.B. Lee — September 7, 2021
I was hooked on A Clash of Steel from the start. And honestly, how could I not be? The book opens with a perilous journey through a storm, but it’s told through the eyes of someone loving everything about the situation, and who’s just having fun.
“Fun” doesn’t even begin to describe this rich and imaginative retelling of Treasure Island. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s better than the original because there’s so much love and care taken here to flesh out this very real world of female pirates, justified piracy, and high stakes adventure. A Clash of Steel is a wonderful cross between Treasure Island and The Pirates of the Caribbean (specifically #1 and #3, the best ones [don’t @ me]) with a heart-pounding helping of sapphic romance. There are a couple of twists that you may see coming, but they’re made all the better by the journey taken to achieve them.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters and the general plot (although the beginning could’ve done with better pacing), I think the most gripping and alluring aspect of this novel is the great care taken to highlight the beauty and rich Chinese and Vietnamese cultures and traditions. It’s obvious that this book was a labor of love, which made it all the more enjoyable to read.
Pirate stories don’t get much better than this. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Corpse Queen’ by Heather Herrman — September 14, 2021
If, like me, you were a fan of Kerri Maniscalco’s dark and seductive Stalking Jack the Ripper Series and have been jonesing for a new series to sink your teeth into, look no further than The Corpse Queen. Dripping with Gothic decadence and dark romantic allure, this novel hits all the right notes.
Although I’m not one for body horror or gore, I love the scientific yet artistic way this novel approaches the grosser aspects of the story. They’re written with such care and awe for the human form that even the most disgusting scenes have a glimmer of dark beauty to them.
And the characters? They’re each so distinct and well-drawn that you’ll feel like you’ve known them longer than a few hundred pages. Molly, the main character, especially. She’s by no means perfect, but she’s far more skillful than even she gives herself credit for.
But perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the surprisingly sexy way it starts. I don’t want to give too much away, but this book’s opening is far from what I expected and is one of the best introductions I’ve ever read. Don’t sleep on this one. It’s a must-read if you’re looking for new book releases in September 2021. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities’ by Rick Riordan and others — September 28, 2021
If you’re a fan of Rick Riordan or any of the books that have come out of his Rick Riordan Presents imprint, then you definitely have to check out this book. Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities contains 10 short stories, including a new tale based in Irish mythology from Rick himself. It’s a must-read if you’re looking for new book releases for September 2021.
Carlos Hernandez, Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, and Graci Kim all come together to share stories based around their own series. Some of these are prequels, some are sequels, and some are one-off adventures. But for each of them, you can guarantee you’ll see some old friends and meet some new ones, too.
Each short story transports you back into a universe you already love, or perhaps it introduces you to a new one. Every new tale made me remember why I loved these stories to begin with, and they’re a great way to tide yourself over while you wait for the next installment to arrive! Be sure to read my full Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities review, as well as check out Prophecy Radio episode 2 for an in-depth discussion of the book.
Better late than never books
Sometimes we get a little behind on our giant to-be-read piles. This section is for books we couldn’t leave off our list just because they’re not new book releases in September 2021!
‘The Dead and the Dark’ by Courtney Gould — August 3, 2021
As with most books I read, I didn’t know too much about this one going into it. I knew it was going to be a young adult thriller with a supernatural element, which is exactly the kind of books I’ve been consuming lately, and I knew it was going to be queer. I’m glad I didn’t know anything more than that, however, because taking in this book as it unfolded before me was an amazing experience, and one I wish I could relive.
Logan arrives in Snakebite, Oregon with her two dads, and something is off about the small town. It starts with the fact that a teenager has gone missing, but beyond that, there’s a darkness that lives just below the surface. As the mystery deepens, Logan realizes she’s more connected to this town than she ever could’ve imagined. Her dads are keeping secrets, the town has turned on her family, and there’s a girl she shouldn’t like but can’t stop thinking about.
My favorite part about this story was the pacing—it’s perfectly written to give us a slow burn while simultaneously teasing a new aspect of the mystery in every single chapter. As one question was answered, another three would float to the surface, and the final reveal was undoubtedly worth the wait. But this book was so much more than the mystery—it’s also about that feeling of darkness and depression that lives in all of us; it’s about standing up to hate and realizing we’re not as different from each other as we might think; and it’s about queerness, love, acceptance and, most importantly, hope for the future. — Karen Rought
‘My Heart Is a Chainsaw’ by Stephen Graham Jones — August 31
If you’re looking for an intense read that will keep you guessing, then My Heart Is a Chainsaw is the book for you. It’s about a girl named Jade, who’s obsessed with horror movies, and what she does when she realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life slasher.
I’ll admit that Jade is not an easy character to understand or even trust. From the beginning, it’s hard to tell if she’s a reliable narrator, but that adds to the suspense of the book. She sees what everyone else refuses to look at, but can we trust her to give us an unbiased opinion about what’s happening? It’s up to you to decide.
What this book does well is paint a picture of Jade and the town she lives in. As the reader, we’re privy to her stream of consciousness, and Stephen Graham Jones uses the most unique turns of phrase to create an atmosphere that feels wholly real and yet somehow otherworldly. Jade is both a third-party observer and an active participant in the mayhem, and as such, we become privy to a bevvy of information about the horror genre. As she cycles through her knowledge and comes to conclusions about who is terrorizing her town and why, we are dragged along for the ride. My Heart Is a Chainsaw feels like a love letter to slashers and the types of people who live and breathe them. — Karen Rought
Getting a jump on next month’s titles
Other times, we just can’t help ourselves from reading ahead a bit. This section is for books we couldn’t wait to crack open and pretend that they’re new book releases in September 2021!
‘All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told’ by Douglas Wolk — October 12, 2021
I wish I had this book 10 years ago when I was first starting to get into the Marvel Universe (both on screen and in print). Unlike other “history of comics” books, Douglas Wolk embarked on the impossible before writing All of the Marvels: *Reading* all of the marvels. Literally.
But reading all 27,000 issues in the central Marvel canon isn’t the most impressive part here (although it is pretty astounding). The way Wolk makes sense of, finds beauty in, and connects all the different stories and details is masterful. Whether you’re a dedicated comics reader, huge Marvel comics fan who has learned about the universe via Wikipedia rabbit holes (like me), or are brand new to the comics side of things, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
This book does several things all at once, including breaking down some of the biggest throughlines in the Marvel Universe and providing a fascinating history behind the stories that make up the ongoing epic. I especially appreciate the way Wolk picks and chooses which issues to highlight, as he doesn’t necessarily choose the “best” or “most important,” but rather the ones with fascinating connective tissue. I’ve added so many individual issues and arcs to my to-read list that I’d never heard of, and I couldn’t be more excited.
A must-read for all Marvel fans, from devotees to newbies, All of the Marvels is a colorful and heartfelt journey through the Marvel Universe, and highlights just what makes this epic feat of storytelling so special. — Danielle Zimmerman