Chicago is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. It’s no wonder that so many authors have set their books in the Windy City. If you’re looking for your next great read, check out this book list filled with Chicago books! From suspenseful thrillers to heartwarming romances, there is something for everyone on this list. So curl up with a good book and explore all Chicago offers!
List of Chicago Books
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
For fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Brit Bennett, a striking coming-of-age debut about friendship, community, and resilience, set in the housing projects of Chicago during one life-changing summer.
Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close
An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the private jokes, ancient grudges, broken hearts, and deep, abiding love that feeds them all.
As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall
The first in a thrilling new series from Emmy Award-winning TV Host and Journalist Tamron Hall, As The Wicked Watch follows a reporter as she unravels the disturbing mystery around the deaths of two young Black women, the work of a serial killer terrorizing Chicago.
This Weightless World by Adam Soto
A literary debut subverting classic sci-fi tropes set in gentrified Chicago, Silicon Valley, and across the vastness of the cosmos. From the streets of gentrified Chicago, to the tech boom corridors of Silicon Valley, This Weightless World follows a revolving cast of characters after alien contact upends their lives.
The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson
For fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson, a thought-provoking, page-turning debut about race, class, identity, and the pursuit of the American dream.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
Crossroads is the first novel in Jonathan Franzen’s magnum opus, A Key to All Mythologies. The trilogy tells the story of a Midwestern family across three generations, mirroring the preoccupations and dilemmas of the United States from the Vietnam War to the 2020s.
The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson
Rival Chicago photographers are forced to collaborate on a body-positive lingerie campaign, but they might have to readjust their focus when sparks fly.
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara
Set in 1944 Chicago, Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara’s eye-opening and poignant new mystery, the story of a young woman searching for the truth about her revered older sister’s death, brings to focus the struggles of one Japanese American family released from mass incarceration at Manzanar during World War II.
Runner by Tracy Clark
With a hard-charging, ripped from the headlines plot, Chicago-based journalist and award-winning author Tracy Clark explores timely issues around race, class, and addiction, as Black homicide cop-turned P.I. Cass Raines searches for a runaway teen–and unearths a twisted world of misdirection and lies…
The Brother Years by Shannon Burke
From the acclaimed author of Black Flies and Into the Savage Country, a powerful new novel of class striving and the precarious dynamics of brotherhood in the Chicago suburbs of the late 1970s.
The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins
The Fate of a Flapper, the second mystery in this captivating new series, takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920’s Chicago speakeasy.
Native Son by Richard Wright
Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
A dazzling novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris.
The Nix by Nathan Hill
It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, in decades—not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and the cunning serial killer who used the magic and majesty of the fair to lure his victims to their death.
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Indeed Lorraine Hansberry’s award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America–and changed American theater forever. The play’s title comes from a line in Langston Hughes’s poem Harlem, which warns that a dream deferred might dry up/like a raisin in the sun.
The Resolutions by Brady Hammes
Three accomplished, globetrotting siblings in crisis take refuge in the last place they would ever expect—back home in Chicago, with one another—in this razor-sharp debut.
Love, Death & Rare Books by Robert Hellenga
Chas. Johnson & Sons has been a family operation for three generations–grandfather, father and son. But when it comes time for Gabe Johnson to take the reins of the business, the world of books has changed, and the combination of the internet and inner city rents forces the store to close. But instead of folding his hand, Gabe decides to risk everything he has and reopen the shop–and, in a sense restart his life–in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Stateway's Garden by Jasmon Drain
A blazingly original story collection about the interconnected lives of the residents of a public housing project on the South Side of Chicago.
Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand
In the sweltering summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the famous Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble. Unbeknownst to the well-heeled city-dwellers and visitors who come to enjoy the midway, the park is also host to a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. When Pin sees a man enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerge alone, she knows that something horrific has occurred.
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