What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads for January 2021. The Push, Girl A and Billy Lemonade are all out this month.

The Push

The Push is published by Michael Joseph on 7 January and is set to be one of their biggest debuts of 2021. Ashley Audrain worked as a publicity director of Penguin Books Canada before she became an author and the rights for The Push have already sold in 31 territories.

Images above: Push front cover, author Ashley Audrain

Blythe Connor thought she would be the loving and supporting mother that she never had, but the exhausting fourth trimester makes her convinced that there is something wrong with baby Violet. Blythe’s husband says that it’s all in her head and she starts to question her own sanity. Is it the baby or is it me?

The psychological drama in The Push shows what happens when women are not believed and how motherhood can reach the darkest places of parenthood. Beth Morrey, bestselling author of Saving Missy, said:

The Push is a freight train of a read – it barrels into you and propels you along, taking you to places you’re not sure you want to go. I found it disturbing, upsetting, and utterly compelling.”

Images above: Girl A front cover, author Abigail Dean

Girl A

Lex Gracie is a successful lawyer who has left her horrible childhood in northern England behind her but, when her mother dies in prison, she is forced to face the horrors of her family home – and her six siblings.

Her mother was convicted of crimes against her children and in the court case Lex was described as ‘Girl A’: the girl who escaped. Back in the ‘House of Horrors’, Lex wants to create something positive from it, but first she has to come to terms with her siblings and the life they shared as children.

Author Abigail Dean’s characters are complex and she is a master at weaving opposites into the story; deft yet devastating, controlling but at the same time alluringly human and most importantly: the thriller element alongside a portrait of survival and love.

Girl A is published by HarperCollins on 21 January.

Images above: Billy Lemonade, author Sarah J Maxwell

Billy Lemonade

With low fantasy elements, Billy Lemonade is Sarah J Maxwell’s Young Adult debut centres on two teenagers who form a unique friendship. Jane is thirteen, lives with an alcoholic mother, and doesn’t share anything with anyone until she meets Billy Lemonade:

‘Billy was like a whisper of a person, in his tatty uniform and downcast eyes.’

Jane feels a deep connection to Billy and the copse where they meet becomes their special place. When Jane discovers the lemonade tower in Billy’s attic room, she finds a secret linked to her own life. Who is Billy, and what is he not telling her?

The story-telling in this original novella is sublime and Sarah’s imagination, incredible. Readers will fall in love with Billy, as did I, and the bookseller in me would recommend Billy Lemonade to anyone craving an unforgettable story.

Sarah achieved a first-class degree in English and Creative writing when she was 31. Her creative talent took to the stage where she played Cathy in Wuthering Heights at the highly-esteemed Bob Hope Theatre in Eltham. She also performed in several amateur productions before becoming an author.

Whisper Publishing will release Billy Lemonade on 20 January.


Sarah’s second Young Adult novel, What the Knocker-Upper Woke Up, will launch in summer/autumn 2021. InterSaga Literary Agency represent her.

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.


See more of Anna’s book choices here

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