Unpacked’s top Jewish book picks for 2024

Whether you’ve already devoured 10 books this year or are just getting back into reading, here are Unpacked’s top 18 picks for new Jewish novels in 2024.
Just four of our top 18 Jewish picks for 2024!

If you’re an avid reader, you’re probably already thinking about the next books to add to your TBR (to be read) list.

In 2024, dozens of new books written by Jewish authors and covering Jewish topics are slated to be released.

Written by Jewish authors of all backgrounds, these new releases range from swashbuckling fantasies to swoony romances. No matter what you’re looking for, there is an upcoming Jewish book for you.

Whether you’ve already devoured 10 books this year or are just getting back into reading and want something with a Jewish perspective, here are Unpacked’s top 18 picks for new Jewish novels in 2024 in order of their release.

“City of Laughter” by Temim Fruchter (Jan. 16, 2024)

Temim Fructer’s debut novel “City of Laughter” follows a young woman as she learns about her family’s generational secrets and better understands her origins and identity. 

Starting in the 18th century with a badchan — a professional jester who performs at Jewish weddings — who meets a mysterious stranger, the book explores how one conversation can determine the course of a family for generations. 

Following the loss of her father and her first breakup since coming out as queer, Shiva Margolin travels to her ancestral homeland of Ropshitz, Poland — which was once known as the City of Laughter.

Shiva delves into Jewish folklore, hoping to forge a connection with her guarded mother and learn more about her grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom she knew nothing about. 

“A Brutal Design,” by Zachary C. Solomon (Jan. 30, 2024) 

In “A Brutal Design,” Jewish architecture student Samuel Zelnik knows his time is running out in his homeland after a fascist takeover and the murder of his parents. He receives an out when offered a job working in the experimental city of Duma.

Simultaneously confused by the behavior of Duma’s citizens and awed by the city, Samuel begins the search for his uncle who moved there. In his search, he begins to realize that Duma is not the utopia it pretends to be. 

“Keep this Off the Record” by Arden Joy (Jan. 30, 2024)

Abigail Meyer and Freya Jonsson are sworn mortal enemies — at least they think they are. A decade after high school, they run into each other again and their rivalry ensues. 

However, when both Abigail and Freya’s best friends start falling for each other, they must put their feelings aside. Now that they can’t stop seeing each other, their previous feelings of hatred begin to develop into something more. 

Keep This Off the Record” is a Jewish, queer retelling of “Much Ado About Nothing” and is an enemies-to-lovers story that’ll keep you riveted for the whole novel.

“My Last Innocent Year” by Daisy Alpert Florin (Feb. 14, 2024)

Isabel Rosen has always felt like an outcast at Wilder College coming from a working-class background and still grieving over the death of her mother. Just as she finally starts to feel settled at college during her final semester, she is sexually assaulted by one of the only other Jewish students on campus.

Daisy Alpert Florin’s debut novel discusses the fallout from Isabel’s assault and her subsequent affair with her married writing professor. Professor Connelly makes her feel seen and beautiful, but soon makes her question who she is. 

Set amid the Monica Lewinsky scandal, “My Last Innocent Year” explores a young woman’s coming-of-age and coming to terms with her roots. 

“On Her Own” by Lihi Lapid, translated by Sondra Silverston (March 19, 2024)

Translated from Hebrew, Israeli novel “On Her Own” follows teenage runaway Nina after she wakes up in an unfamiliar Tel Aviv apartment building in a ripped dress. As memories of running from an abusive older man and the crime she witnessed start flooding back, Nina realizes she needs to find somewhere safe. 

Carmela, an elderly widow with memory loss, thinks Nina is her granddaughter and takes her in. Soon, the two become family as Nina figures out her next options. 

Simultaneously, Nina’s Russian immigrant mother is still searching for the teen, unsure where she’s gone, only that she got involved with the wrong men. “On Her Own” documents two families’ search for redemption and healing. 

“Worry” by Alexandra Tanner (March 26, 2024)

Alexandra Tanner’s debut “Worry” follows two Jewish sisters-turned-roommates as they navigate adulthood. 

Jules Gold has been left by her boyfriend when her younger sister Poppy — who previously attempted to take her life — comes to stay. As Poppy looks for work, Jules spends her days doom-scrolling through social media accounts of Mormon mommy bloggers. 

The girls’ mother, who recently decided to become a Messianic Jew, begins to fall for far-right conspiracy theories, and the sisters’ relationship begins to fray. Frustrated with her own inadequacies as a friend and sister, Jules starts to turn on Poppy.

During a disastrous trip back to Florida, Jules and Poppy must figure out what they want from life and who they want to be as individuals and as sisters. 

“Trajectory” by Cambria Gordon (April 2, 2024)

Based on previously undiscovered true events, “Trajectory” tells the story of 17-year-old Eleanor, a Jewish-American girl who is grieving the loss of her father and consumed with worry about her Jewish relatives stuck in Poland. 

When she is noticed for her exceptional math skills, Eleanor is recruited by the U.S. Army to be a human computer, a position given to women highly skilled in mathematics. Eleanor is entrusted to help with the building of a weapon to stop the Germans. 

As she dives deeper into helping the Allies, Eleanor travels across the country and begins to better understand her place in the world.

“The Familiar” by Leigh Bardugo (April 9, 2024)

“Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” author Leigh Bardugo plunges into the world of Sephardic Jews during the Spanish inquisition in her new magical realism novel, “The Familiar.”

Luzia Cotado uses her magic to survive life as a scullery maid in Madrid. When the lady of the house discovers Luzia’s powers, she demands Luzia use them to help the family rise in their social station. 

Luzia quickly gains the attention of Antonio Pérez, the disgraced secretary of the Spanish king, who wants to use her as a weapon to fight against Elizabeth I. As Luzia becomes more acclaimed for her magical gifts and delves deeper into the world of Jewish magic, the risk of her becoming a victim of the Inquisition increases.

Any fantasy lover looking to read a book with Sephardic representation should give “The Familiar” a read. 

Read more: Cassandra Clare wants readers to feel Jewish magic in “Sword Catcher”

“Wake Me Most Wickedly (Once Upon the East End Book 2)” by Felicia Grossman (April 9, 2024)

Historical romance author Felicia Grossman is back with a Jewish retelling of Snow White in “Wake Me Most Wickedly.” 

Wealthy businessman Solomon Weiss has gained money and power but is now looking for a wife. Soon, he sets his sights on pawnshop owner Hannah Moses — the woman who saved his life. 

A social outcast because of her parents’ crimes, Hannah can only survive by adhering to her clients’ wishes, no matter how illegal they may be. 

Although Hannah has rejected Sol, neither one can resist the other. When Hannah discovers a betrayal in Sol’s social circle, they must trust one another and come together. 

“The Sins on Their Bones” by Laura R. Samotin (May 7, 2024)

Set in a reimagined 19th-century Eastern Europe inspired by Jewish folklore, “The Sins on Their Bones” follows two ex-husbands on opposite sides of a civil war.

Dimitri Alexeyev, formerly the Tzar of Novo-Svitsevo, lost the civil war started by his former husband, Alexey Balakin. Dimitri and his spymaster, Vasily Sokolov, attempt to regain control. 

Vasily will join Alexey’s court under a false identity to gain information and power, while Dimitri plans for his ex’s execution. 

However, their ruse is harder to pull off than expected, as Alexey has resurrected himself into an immortal using dark magic and claims he is controlled by God. Alexey is now able to summon demons and looks to make Novo-Svitsevo into an empire.

Dimitri must choose whether to save Novo-Svitsevo and kill the husband he can’t forget or to save Vasily.

“The Goddess of Warsaw” by Lisa Barr (May 28, 2024)

In “The Goddess of Warsaw,” Hollywood starlet Sienna Hayes wants to direct a movie about Golden Age movie star Lena Browning. Browning’s life is clouded in a mystery that Sienna uncovers as she learns about the former It Girl.

Before Browning graced the silver screen, she was Bina Blonski, an Aryan-looking Polish Jew living under the Nazi regime. In 1943, Bina and her husband lived in the Warsaw ghetto. She soon joined the resistance as a spy, helping to steal weapons and gather crucial information for the remaining Jews of Warsaw. 

A decade after fleeing Poland, Lena has transformed herself into a movie star, but she still dreams about revenge against the Nazis and cannot fully run from her past. Her star power allows her to begin the process of confronting the wrongs of the past and eventually finding reconciliation and peace. 

For fans of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “The Goddess of Warsaw” is a must-read. 

“Goyhood” by Reuven Fenton (May 28, 2024)

Goyhood” takes its readers on a dramatic ride as an Orthodox Jew learns that he is not officially Jewish. 

Mayer Belkin left his small Georgia hometown for Brooklyn 30 years ago to become a Talmud scholar, eventually marrying into a rabbinic dynasty. 

After his mother’s death, Mayer learns that he and his twin aren’t Jewish and must convert. Unsure what to do in the week before his conversion, the estranged brothers take a cross-country road trip with their mother’s ashes.

While on the road, they must confront what Judaism means in their lives and their strained relationship. 

“Past Present Future” (Today Tonight Tomorrow) by Rachel Lynn Solomon (June 4, 2024)

Rachel Lynn Solomon’s hit YA series is back with “Past Present Future.”

Rowan Roth and Neil McNair confessed their feelings to each other on their last day of high school. 

Now, off to their respective colleges, the pair attempts to figure out how to make long-distance work while discovering who they are as adults. Biracial Jew Rowan is delving into the creative writing scene in Boston but struggles to find her voice; Neil is thriving in New York City but notices his mental health is slipping the longer he stays away from home. 

Rowan and Neil must figure out how to love each other in their new locations and deal with their rapidly changing lives. 

“Klara’s Truth” by Susan Weissbach Friedman (June 11, 2024)

In “Klara’s Truth,” Klara Lieberman, a 49-year-old professor at a Maine liberal arts college, is sent a letter from her estranged mother, Bessie. 

Klara finds out that her father — who she thought was absent for the past 43 years — is actually dead. With the Polish government giving reparations for land it stole from its Jewish citizens in World War II, Bessie wants the money. 

While Klara isn’t interested in cashing in, she flies to Warsaw to learn more about the father she never knew. On her European trip, she reunites with long-lost family, helps repair the forgotten pre-war Jewish cemeteries, and begins to discover herself. 

“Magical Meet Cute” by Jean Meltzer (August 27, 2024)

Jean Meltzer, the queen of Jewish romance novels, is back with her fourth book, “Magical Meet Cute.” 

Faye Kaplan left her life as a lawyer to pursue pottery in upstate New York. Her life is perfect except for one thing: She is not in love. 

When antisemitic flyers are posted across her town and she unsuccessfully finds the man of her dreams at a synagogue singles event, Faye drunkenly creates a golem that looks like her perfect husband on her potter’s wheel. 

When Greg, a perfect, mysterious sexy stranger, comes to Woodstock the next day, Faye must question whether his appearance is more than a coincidence.

Read more: Jewish romance writers break down their latest novels and why we need more Jewish stories

“Rachel Weiss’s Group Chat” by Lauren Applebaum (Sept. 24, 2024)

Rachel Weiss has everything she has ever dreamed of, which is why her mother won’t stop nagging her to find a husband in “Rachel Weiss’s Group Chat,” a Jewish “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation set in present-day Seattle. 

When a millionaire tech CEO buys the house next to Rachel’s, her mom begins playing matchmaker. However, Rachel has no interest in arrogant tech bros like Christopher. 

Rachel can’t stop running into Christopher, and soon realizes he is not the pretentious jerk she thought he was, prompting Rachel to question her assumptions about her own life. 

“The Love Elixir of Augusta Stern” by Lynda Cohen Loigman (Oct. 8, 2024)

Right before her 80th birthday, Augusta Stern moves to a retirement community in South Florida and comes across Irving Rivkin, the man who broke her heart 60 years earlier.

Growing up in a Jewish family in 1920s Brooklyn, Augusta had worked alongside her father in his pharmacy. When Augusta’s great-aunt Esther moved in, she couldn’t help but become interested in Esther’s magical healing methods. 

Stuck between her father’s scientific methods and Esther’s magic, she took a strong potion which had disastrous consequences to her life and relationship with Irving. 

In the present, Augusta must figure out what went wrong all those years ago and whether she can reclaim her magic. 

For anyone who loves “The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic,” “The Love Elixir of Augusta Stern” will become a go-to. 

“Love You a Latke” by Amanda Elliot (Oct. 22, 2024)

“Sadie on a Plate” author Amanda Elliot is back with another food-fueled romance. 

Abby Cohen cannot handle Seth, her most positive customer, who enters her cafe daily trying to get her to open up. Plus, she is tasked to plan her small Vermont town’s inaugural Hanukkah festival as the only Jew on the tourism board. 

Her task is made more difficult when she realizes that no one she knows has any knowledge of Hanukkah. They attempt to incorporate a nativity scene and give the Three Wise Men yarmulkes. 

In a plea for help, Abby learns that there’s one other Jew in town: Seth.

In exchange for Abby pretending to be Seth’s Jewish girlfriend to impress his parents, he agrees to introduce her to vendors to help plan the Hanukkah festival. As Seth and Abby continue their charade, they begin to realize that their relationship may be more than just pretend.

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