Novellas in November: Contemporary Fiction


I know I’m already doing Nonfiction November, but I couldn’t resist jumping in on Novellas in November, too. This event is hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. The theme for week one (hosted by Cathy) is contemporary fiction novellas. I found varying definitions of what “contemporary fiction” actually means, so I probably stretched it a bit with some of the speculative and sci-fi picks. I went more with a “fiction published in a contemporary times” sort of theme.


This World Is Full of Monsters by Jeff VanderMeer (38 pages) – Surreal, strange, and terrifying. This is the kind of story that doesn’t get old because there’s endless nuance for your mind to explore. If you like abstract, dream-like writing, you’ll love this book.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz (65 pages) – This is a gentle, sweet story featuring independent women (one is an android!) and themes of wanderlust and ennui, bigotry, love, loss, and learning to move forward. Ace rep is #ownvoices.

I’ll Give You Something to Cry About by Jennifer Finney Boylan (81 pages) – The story of a family in crisis, and a coming of age story for the family’s transgender teen. Boylan always writes with heart, and her characters are vibrant and believable. Trans rep is #ownvoices. [my review]

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (96 pages) – A speculative fiction/alternate history combining two real events: the death of Topsy the Elephant and the Radium Girls scandal. It is wildly creative, beautiful, and sad, with a deep sense of justice.

Adé: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker (128 pages) – A stunning, bittersweet love story between a naïve American college student, Farida, and a young Swahili man, Adé. Walker’s writing had me completely absorbed in every word, every phrase, from start to finish. [my review]

Finna by Nino Cipri (144 pages) – This is a fun, anti-capitalist, wonderfully queer, light sci-fi adventure that felt like NBC’s Superstore meets Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör. Nonbinary rep is #ownvoices. [my review]

I’m always looking for more short fiction to read. What contemporary fiction novellas have you enjoyed?

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