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20 Books To Read In 2020

By Sara Levine
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2020 has been off to a rough start, to say the absolute least, but one thing we can all look forward to is a bunch of new books coming out. TG, I needed something to continue showing up at work for (I read during my commute, for those of you who didn’t get the joke). For all my fellow nerds out there, 2020 is going to be a great year for reading (my middle school librarian would be ecstatic at that sentence). From exciting debuts from first-time authors, to new books by writers you are already obsessed with, there is a ton to add to your reading list. Because I’m so nice and I know you guys hate when I only include books on a list that aren’t out yet, I have done you the favor of highlighting one late 2019 release and some that were released earlier this month. But seriously, people, that’s why they invented preorder!

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Out December 30, 2019

I never went to boarding school because I/my parents were not fancy like that, but it is easy to imagine in this book. Good Girls Lie takes place in an elite boarding school with a checkered past—aren’t they all, though? Enter new girl, Ash Carlisle, who struggles to figure out how TF these rich girls operate. Since she DGAF, she, of course, gets tapped into one of the school’s famed secret societies, and things start spiraling out of control from there. I won’t spoil it, but I will tell you that two people wind up dead, and it’s not what you think.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

Out January 7, 2020

The sequel to One Of Us Is Lying is here, and tbh, I recommend re-reading that before diving into this one, so you remember who all the characters are and their relation to the OGs. Because Bayview High hasn’t been through enough since fellow student Simon died and four of his peers almost got framed for his murder, a new Truth or Dare game has popped up all over the school, and the rules are simple: either do the dare, or one of your darkest truths gets revealed to the entire school. It’s not long before the dares turn deadly—meaning it’s up to the younger siblings of the original Bayview Four to figure out who’s behind this, and stop it before it’s too late.

Average Is The New Awesome by Samantha Matt

Out January 7, 2020

Are you intimidated by all those people on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list? Aren’t we all, though? Even though our parents told us we could be anything if we just put our minds to it, let’s be real, you’re probably not going to become a full-time influencer at 30 unless you go on The Bachelor. Samantha Matt gets this, and instead of writing a “just practice 10,000 hours a day” type self-help book, she, through hilarious stories and insightful advice, offers encouragement to us “average” folks and assures us that being good really is good enough.

Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life Of A Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg

Out January 21, 2020

On June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class women were murdered as they were hitchhiking their way to a festival called the Rainbow Gathering (obviously, they never arrived). For 13 years, there were no arrests, although people suspected the West Virginia locals, who were cast by the media as poor, backward, and dangerous. (Hmmm where have I seen this before…?) In 1993, a local farmer was convicted of the murders, until a known serial killer came forward and confessed to the crime. That’s not a spoiler because these murders actually happened, making this a true crime book. Writer Emma Copley Eisenberg explores divisions of gender and class in America through the lens of this double homicide in Appalachia and the reactions it spawned.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

Out January 28, 2020

Nobody believes Gabe’s daughter Izzy is still alive, except Gabe, who swears he saw her being driven away in a strange car. Four years later, he spends his days driving up and down the freeway, hoping to find her. His search for his daughter leads him to an enigmatic man who calls himself The Sandman, a secret society, and it will expose to him the dark underbelly of humanity.

Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald

Out February 4, 2020

If you read and loved The Night Olivia Fell like I did, then you’ve probably been waiting with bated breath for Christina McDonald’s next book. Well, you can exhale now, because it’s (almost) here! Here’s the gist: Eva Hansen wakes up in the hospital after being struck by lightning (I know, stick with me) and discovers her mother has been brutally murdered. Well, guess who was found unconscious down the street from her mom’s house? Yep, Eva. Uh-oh, not a good look. The problem? Eva doesn’t remember what happened, so it’s up to her to try to piece that night together and, like, avoid going to prison for her mother’s murder. No pressure!

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Out February 4, 2020

Becky Albertalli, the best-selling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (that became the movie Love, Simon) teams up with bestselling author of Amal Unbound, Aisha Saeed, in this novel about the power of love and resistance. It’s like any joke that starts “a Jew and a Muslim walk into a bar,” only both people are 17 so they wouldn’t be allowed in a bar, and that bar is volunteering for their local state senate candidate. As the polls get closer, so do the two main characters. *Wink emoji*

The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons

Out February 4, 2020

You’ve been ghosted before, right? (If you say no, you’re lying.) Well, in this debut by Amy Bonnaffons, the protagonist gets literally ghosted… in that she has sex with a ghost. Yep, ghost sex, we’re going there. It’s 2020, why not.

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Out February 11, 2020

It’s London 2008, on the eve of President Obama’s election. Amid the fizzy glow of hope and change and promise, Nick and Ellie meet and fall in love. Nick is a film projectionist who wants his love story to live up to his favorite movies, and he quickly casts Ellie as his leading lady—metaphorically speaking. It’s all sunshine and rainbows until one day when Ellie inexplicably moves out, and Nick is forced to reevaluate the relationship, without the rose-colored glasses.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

Out February 11, 2020

Postscript Celia Ahern

Sixteen years after her bestselling phenomenon PS, I Love You, Cecilia Ahern is back with the sequel (and you thought you were a procrastinator). Fast-forward to six years after Holly Kennedy has read her husband’s final letter, and she’s moved on with her life at last. That is, until her sister has the genius idea to have her start a podcast (how millennial of her) where she retells her story of reading her late husband’s letters. People start connecting with the podcast, specifically terminally ill people who want to leave their loved ones messages after they’re gone. It’s your classic “just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in”.

The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin

Out February 18, 2020

In this charming novel, two doctors are forced to choose between treating all their patients and keeping their jobs. Basically, it’s set in Charleston (you can probably guess what’s coming) and the clinic at which the characters work is demanding that all their doctors stop treating trans patients. Along the way there’s love, blackmail, office politics, and a little bit of mystery too. And the main characters, Georgia and Jonah, are adorable and friendship goals. I imagine it’s a little like Grey’s Anatomy except I wouldn’t know because I never watched that show. 

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Out March 3, 2020

This book is actually based on the life of Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as—you guessed it—a night watchman and who helped fight against Native American dispossession in North Dakota, taking that fight all the way to Washington, D.C. The book takes place in 1953 on the Chippewa Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. Night watchman and Chippewa Council member Thomas Wazhashk is struggling to understand a proposed “emancipation” bill that’s making its way to the floor of Congress. Thomas doesn’t know much, but he does know that with this “emancipation” his people are likely not gonna be free—more likely, the opposite. Meanwhile, Pixie “Patrice” Paranteau (also a member of the reservation) is on a quest to find her sister who moved to Minneapolis and then disappeared.

The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel

Out March 10, 2020

History buffs, you’ll love this one. The Mirror & The Light is the third book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, after Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Now, let me set the scene for you: the year is 1536. Anne Boleyn was just beheaded. Cromwell goes back to his master, Henry VIII, to celebrate his victory… which proves to be short-lived, because there’s rebellion brewing at home and traitors plotting abroad. All this while Cromwell is trying to plan his own ascent to power… it’s a lot.

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

Out March 24, 2020

You know those girls who just seem to have it all? Beautiful, a million Instagram followers, started their own company? Yeah. Meet Eleanor, the founder of The Herd, an all-female co-working space (that is very similar to an IRL all-female co-working space, just saying). But it isn’t all glitter and positive affirmations. Soon after opening, The Herd is vandalized with sexist messages—and then its beloved founder, Eleanor, winds up dead. This leaves Eleanor’s equally beautiful, slightly less accomplished friends to find out what happened to her.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Out March 31, 2020

Okay, the title alone is enough to convince me to pick up a copy of this book of essays, because it basically describes my mood 24/7 these days. Now, don’t get scared away by the word “essays” because these are f*cking hilarious. They range in topic from bad friend dates (relatable) to being disillusioned by inspirational Instagram quotes (more relatable) to “being a cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person” (still relatable somehow even though I’m from New York).

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

Out March 31, 2020

Welp, that title is the positivity I need today. #1 NYT bestselling author Terry McMillan, who wrote Waiting To Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and more, returns with this novel that women’s fiction lovers will, well, love. In it, 68-year-old Loretha Curry is living her life—she has a thriving beauty-supply empire, a loving husband, and awesome friends. That is, until an unexpected loss turns her whole world upside down and she’s gotta get by with a little help from her friends.

God Shot by Chelsea Bieker

Out April 7, 2020

Honestly, this plot kind of reminds me of Holes, but with a Jesus-y twist. 14-year-old Lacey May and her alcoholic mother live in the town of—get this—Peaches, California, a once-thriving agricultural hub that has since gone dry. Now, it’s the site of a work camp/prison for juvenile delinquents. Just kidding!! In their desperation, the residents turn to a cult leader, Pastor Vern, who promises to bring rain by doling out secret “assignments” to the Peaches residents. But when Lacey’s mother runs away, Lacey begins to uncover just what the Pastor has been doing, and she has no choice but to set out to find her mother. 

That’s Not A Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

Out April 14, 2020

Fans of Emily Giffin will love this romantic novel that’s not overtly saccharine. Protagonist Meredith Altman has it all: a loving fiancé who’s a doctor, a high-paying career as a lawyer, and she’s about to set her wedding at a new trendy Tribeca restaurant… until she meets the owner of the restaurant. It’s her ex. Not just any ex—the ex. You know, the one who f*cked up her life and made her think she’d never be the same again without him? That ex. As she spends more time with the ex, Meredith questions everything she values, and she’s going to have to choose which life she’s going to have: the one before her, or the one she used to want?

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Out April 28, 2020

From the author of My Lovely Wife, He Started It follows a family of scammers who are on a forced road trip to claim their grandfather’s inheritance. If you thought your family was crazy and dysfunctional, just wait until you get a load of these people. Every chapter brings a new secret and twist to the story, and even I couldn’t predict this one. Stay tuned for an exclusive excerpt, just for Betches readers!

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Out May 19, 2020

Yeah, I know, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but for good reason! Pre-order it now so you can have it in time for your first beach day. Once I started Beach Read I legit did not put it down. Romance writer January Andrews believes in the power of love (can’t relate) until a devastating family secret upends her entire worldview. Cold horny-boy literary fiction writer (you know the type) Augustus Everett is cynical and matter-of-fact. They hate each other… until they’re forced to spend the summer in adjacent beach houses, and they come up with a little bet to swap genres. I think you know what’s going to happen between these two, but it’s not supposed to be mysterious anyway. 

Images: Nicole Wolf / Unsplash; Amazon (20)
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