Kiley Reid's Such a Fun Age (Bloomsbury) has won over the reviewers, with the novel declared "the calling card of a virtuoso talent", "witty and subversive", and "a cracking debut". In the Times, Hattie Crisell wrote, "What a joy to find a debut novel so good that it leaves you looking forward to the rest of its author’s career," adding that Reid's portrait of the liberal middle class adds up to "a tantalisingly plotted tale about the way we live now: about white guilt and virtue-signalling, but also about the uneven dynamic between domestic staff and their employers". Sara Collins praised it as "a thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners" in the Guardian, while The Bookseller's Alice O'Keeffe described it as "sharply observed and well-crafted". Many reviewers compared Reid to Sally Rooney, though Collins concluded, "I had thought of ending this review by predicting that Reid may be the next Sally Rooney. But Such a Fun Age is so fresh and essential that I predict instead that next year we’ll be anxiously awaiting the next Kiley Reid."
Daniel Susskind's A World Without Work (Allen Lane) also earned its keep, with the Guardian's Dorian Lynskey praising Susskind's "relentlessly reasonable tone" and describing the title, on what will happen when AIs can do most human jobs, as "an explainer rather than a polemic". In the Financial Times, Rana Foroohar wrote, "Susskind makes a good case that technology is going to put Thomas Piketty’s views on steroids," while John Arlidge in the Sunday Times stated "his prescriptions for how society might well have to change to cope with the effects of vast un- and underemployment" are what makes A World Without Work "stand out".
Francesca Wade's Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars (Faber) battled to the top, following the lives of five remarkable women, including Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L Sayers, who once lived in Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury. Johanna Thomas-Corr wrote in the Observer: "It has a lovely movement to it – a decadently pre-internet feel. It’s not just the period setting, it’s in the texture of Wade’s prose, which is careful and measured," and The Bookseller's Caroline Sanderson agreed, praising Wade for "beautifully evokes the emotional texture of their lives as she relates how each of these women sought a space where they could live, love and work independently". Margaret Drabble, writing in the New Statesman, once rented a flat in the area and enjoyed the "vividly evoked" setting, writing, "It is good to revisit [the local landmarks] and their eloquent ghosts."