Every month, the Amazon Books Editors reveal our picks for the Best Books of the Month and, come June, we select our favorites from the first half of the year. Each of us takes this process personally, and we don’t always agree, so when people ask how the list is finalized, we like to say, without exaggeration: “The old-fashioned way. We debate.”
Below, you’ll see the results of this passionate discussion. The top 10 books that made the cut, starting with our number one pick of 2024 so far, Percival Everett’s James. Everett is having a long overdue moment right now—his novel Erasure was most recently adapted into the Academy Award-winning film, American Fiction. With James, Everett ensures that the enslaved Jim has his say in a rollicking, wry, and thought-provoking retelling of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
To view the full list, visit the Best Books of 2024 So Far. There you’ll find the titles filling out our overall top 20, plus picks in popular categories like biographies, literary fiction, history, mystery, romance, sci-fi, and everything in between.

Page overview


The Women
All the Worst Humans
The Ministry of Time
Nuclear War
All the Colors of the Dark
Lies and Weddings
Lost Man’s Lane
This Could Be Us

By Percival Everett

An image of the book cover of James

"With the same fiery wit, snap, and energy of his previous work, Percival Everett brings to life a retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as told from the perspective of Jim. When he is threatened to be sold off and separated from his wife and daughter, Jim decides to run away to buy time while he hatches a plan. Landing on an island in the Mississippi, Jim soon discovers another runaway: Huck, who is trying to escape his violent and drunken father. With a bounty on his head, Jim has no designs on shepherding a young white boy north with him. But there is no other alternative, and the next thing you know, the unlikely duo sets off—rafting down the river, dodging the danger that surrounds them. Everett brilliantly unwinds this adventure, revealing with glee savvy code-switching Jim and his penchant for philosophy, literature, and justice. Based on a classic, Everett has made an entirely new classic, one that is rip-roaringly American, funny, and hard-hitting." —Al Woodworth, Amazon editor

The Women

By Kristin Hannah

An image of the book cover of "The Women"

"When you think war hero, you’re probably not envisioning someone wielding a stethoscope. Medical personnel putting themselves in harm’s way are often the unsung heroes of such conflicts, especially combat nurses. Kristin Hannah honors them in a novel featuring Frances “Frankie” McGrath—a naïve, idealistic woman from a moneyed family of military heroes, who signs up to serve in Vietnam. Despite the valor Frankie demonstrates in makeshift, muddy operating rooms, she isn’t met with gratitude when she returns home. Instead, she is subject to the same profound indignities and challenges—both practical and emotional—foisted on her fighting comrades. Adding insult to injury, this contempt comes from some of the soldiers whose lives may have depended on her, and even members of Frankie’s own family. She gets by with (a lot) of help from her friends—the lifeline that found family extends is a hallmark of Hannah’s beloved oeuvre. So are stories that elicit all the feels. If the best-selling author of The Nightingale is worried that she didn’t do the subject justice, this reader found The Women to be another stitch in a still open wound, one that can only help the healing process." —Erin Kodicek, Amazon editor

All the Worst Humans

By Phil Elwood

An image of the book cover of "All the Worst Humans"

"All the Worst Humans will make your jaw drop: it’s a juicy, salacious memoir that confirms just how seedy the world is when money, politics, and power come into play. With the vibes of Michael Lewis’s propulsive Liar’s Poker, Elwood dishes on his decades as a public relations hitman, a hired gun known for pulling off (or hiding) the treacherous, outlandish requests of “dictators, tycoons, and politicians,” as the catchy subtitle promises. From relaying how he helped Qatar land their first FIFA World Cup by sabotaging the United States’ bid, to how he babysat Gaddafi’s son during a Las Vegas boondoggle filled with drugs, guns, and women, Elwood sets dynamite to his career. And that’s what makes this memoir so page-turning; it’s not just his astonishing stories of danger, manipulation, and questionable ethics—but his determination to expose it all, ultimately confronting the choices he made, and revealing how easily we (anyone, politicians, reporters, governments, and countries) can be puppets in a fragile world of egos and power grabs. A wild, oh-my-God-ride that you won’t be able to stop talking about." —Al Woodworth

The Ministry of Time

By Kaliane Bradley

An image of the book cover of The Ministry of Time

"It’s a time travel-spy thriller-government conspiracy-love story. I've never read anything like it, and I loved every second. It's near-future London, and a time-travel device has been discovered by a top-secret government agency. The operatives bring back "expats" from different times in history when they would not have survived (to avoid disrupting the future) and pair them with "bridges”—people to help them acclimate to current times. The story follows Arctic explorer Graham Gore and his bridge over the course of a year as he adjusts to modern-day life. This genre-bending novel explores humanity in all its frailty and potential, and how love can alter the course of history in ways we never expect. It’s a fantastical debut that’s funny, riveting, heartbreaking, and unputdownable. I want everyone to read this book." —Abby Abell, Amazon editor


By Kaveh Akbar

An image of the book cover of Martyr!

"Poet Kaveh Akbar makes his dazzling fiction debut with an unforgettable main character who reminded us of the voicey, charismatic, and undeniably addictive hero of Demon Copperhead (yes, I just compared this to a Pulitzer Prize winner). One of the buzziest debuts of winter, Martyr! is both laugh-out-loud funny and deadly serious—a coming-of-age story and a portrait of a young Iranian-American man wrestling with what it means to have a life of value. After tripping through college on various concoctions of booze and drugs, a newly orphaned and sober graduate, Cyrus Shams ventures to New York City in pursuit of an Iranian artist who he hopes will fuel his creative writing project and give meaning to his life. Electric and unique, with a voice that feels shot from a cannon, Martyr! is a book you’re going to hear about for a long time." —Al Woodworth

Nuclear War

By Annie Jacobsen

An image of the book cover of Nuclear War

"In two sittings, I tore through this horrifying narrative, a ticktock of North Korea launching a hypothetical nuclear missile at the U.S., followed by a minute-by-minute breakdown of what happens next (with the history of atomic weapons and geopolitics slyly woven in). Nuclear War is written like a thriller; it’s visceral and cinematic, like the big-budget blockbuster of Hollywood’s dreams. My heart is pounding. I am a mess. I need a break, and yet can’t even put my Kindle down long enough to refill my water glass. This is all the more terrifying because it’s nonfiction, pieced together through interviews and classified documents dug up by Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Annie Jacobsen. Some books stick in your brain forever, and this is one of them; I can’t stop thinking about it—and talking about it—with everyone I know." —Lindsay Powers, Amazon editor

All the Colors of the Dark

By Chris Whitaker

An image of the book cover of "All the Colors of the Dark"

"Once upon a time, a beekeeper met a pirate, and although they were only children, they recognized each other as two sides of one coin, creating an unbreakable bond of friendship. All the Colors of the Dark begins with a kidnapping that changes their lives forever, as a serial killer leaves a trail of missing girls in his wake. Patch (the pirate in this story) and Saint (the beekeeper) get caught up in this mystery that takes years and many detours to solve, because Patch's obsession with finding a particular girl does not wane with time. Chris Whitaker’s vivid storytelling had me laughing one minute, crying the next, and I could picture everything as clearly as if I were living alongside these characters. A novel of love so powerful it hurts, family, sacrifice, survival, and devotion—I couldn’t stop turning the pages and when I reached the end, I wanted to begin again." —Seira Wilson, Amazon editor

Lies and Weddings

By Kevin Kwan

An image of the book cover of Lies and Weddings

"Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians) once again delights and entertains us with a couture-studded, globe-trotting tale of family, legacy, and finding our own happiness. In Lies and Weddings, he sets the stage with an over-the-top wedding in Hawaii, where we’re introduced to the Earl of Greshambury, his wife (previously a model in Hong Kong, now a builder of lavish resorts and mother of the bride), and children—most notably his heir, Rufus; as well as their next-door neighbors, the Tongs, a hardworking middle-class father and daughter who have been friends of the family for decades. A surprising confession overheard at the wedding is just the first of many secrets spilled, hearts broken, and plans foiled, in a hilarious rom-com of wealth, prestige, surprising twists, and silver linings. Reading Lies and Weddings is like taking a decadent vacation from your life, without ever leaving your chair." —Seira Wilson

Lost Man’s Lane

By Scott Carson

An image of the book cover of Lost Man's Lane

"I’ll be honest, the term “supernatural” usually makes me a little wary. Luckily, by the time the supernatural kicked in in Lost Man’s Lane, I was already so taken with the writing—evocative, funny, surprisingly philosophical and insightful—and the plot: a winning mix of ‘90s nostalgia, dispatches from inside the head of a teenage boy, and darkness on the edge of town, that I happily opened up and said “aah” for the spooky denouement. Carson’s writing is simply several cuts above, Marshall Miller is a compelling character (and narrator), and I ended up devouring this coming-of-age, trial-by-terror tale in a single afternoon. I highly recommend you do the same." —Vannessa Cronin, Amazon editor

This Could Be Us

By Kennedy Ryan

An image of the book cover of "This Could Be Us"

"This book can be read as a stand-alone, but loosely links a trio of friends first introduced in Kennedy Ryan’s last book, Before I Let Go. So multi-dimensional—as life can be—This Could Be Us covers both the negative and the positive outcomes of divorce, self-discovery, autism, raising kids, the power of friendships, and other huge life changes. But it is written in a way that is real and relatable. Soledad senses something is up with her husband, but can't quite figure out what it is. It all comes to a head one dreadful night—leaving Soledad to figure out how to best support herself and her girls while starting a personal journey to heal from the trauma of it all. Steeped in lessons of self-love and opening yourself to receive the love you deserve from others, this is a read you won’t be able to put down." —Kami Tei, Amazon editor