The Betches Fall 2020 Reading List

Labor Day has officially come and gone, my friends, which effectively means summer is over. I know, it’s sad—especially because I don’t think any of us accomplished a single thing we thought we would. Hot Girl Summer is but a distant memory, and F*ckgirl Fall will likely not happen either. But you know what we do get this fall? An amazing new reading list. It’s the little things.

‘Loathe At First Sight’ By Suzanne Park

(August 18, 2020)

Helen Hoang, author of Kiss Quotient, calls Suzanne Park’s rom-com “bursting with humor, heart, and great energy”. Melody Joo lands her dream job as a video game producer, but it’s not all a walk in the park. She deals with an insufferable CEO, sexist coworkers, and the hot intern who got hired because of nepotism. But things get better when a game Melody creates on a lark becomes an overnight sensation, and suddenly she’s the boss. That means Hot Intern works for her—and the more they work together, the more Melody realizes she may have been wrong to write him off so quickly. This fun, flirty novel also tackles tough themes like microaggressions, sexual harassment, and the misogyny in the gaming industry.

‘American Royals II: Majesty’ By Katharine McGee

(September 1, 2020)

If you didn’t read the first book in Katharine McGee’s series, American Royals—set in an America where we never declared independence from England—then you need to catch up. If you’ll recall, prim and proper Beatrice (who’s got a secret of her own) was thrust to the throne at the end of book one. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace—and Prince Jefferson—at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

‘His Only Wife’ By Peace Azo Medie

(September 1, 2020)

This book is being hailed as a “Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa, with a healthy splash of feminism”. If that didn’t hook you, His Only Wife features independence, obligations to family, class divides—and a love triangle. Talk about juicy! Afi Tekple, a young seamstress, is arranged to marry Eli, the successful son of her family’s benefactor. Score. Eli’s family agrees to the marriage because they want to get him away from his mistress, and Afi and Eli marry sight unseen (*Love Is Blind voice*), meaning Eli isn’t even at the wedding. Afi moves into his luxury apartment, gets used to her fancy new lifestyle, and finally meets Eli. The problem? Eli doesn’t magically stop caring about his mistress just because he’s married. Uh-oh.

‘Jenna Takes The Fall’ By A.R. Taylor

(September 1, 2020)

This is not a spoiler, because the book opens with protagonist Jenna agreeing to position herself underneath the dead body of Vincent Hull, her insanely powerful boss who’s kind of like a Rupert Murdoch character. Why? That’s the multi-million dollar question. But this book isn’t a thriller—it follows Jenna, a naive Ohio native who moves to New York to become Hull’s assistant and quickly gets swept up by all the money, power, glitz and glamor New York’s publishing industry has to offer.

‘The Last Story Of Mina Lee’ By Nancy Jooyoun Kim

(September 1, 2020)

How well can you really ever know your family or the people you love most? That’s what Nancy Jooyoun Kim attempts to answer in her debut. Margot Lee and her mother Mina have always had a strained relationship, struggling to understand each other. At 26, Margot is surprised when her mom isn’t returning her calls—until she pays a visit and discovers her mother has suspiciously died. This sends Margot digging into the past, learning about her mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and undocumented immigrant. Told through alternating perspectives, The Last Story Of Mina Lee explores the gap between immigrants and their first-generation children, the differences between how we view our parents and how much we really know them, the difficulties of being a working-class immigrant in the U.S., and more. 

‘Punching The Air’ By Ibi Zoboi And Dr. Yusef Salaam

(September 1, 2020)

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Amal Shahid is an artist and a poet, but even at his diverse art school, he feels the effects of a biased system, where he is often seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one night, an altercation in a gentrified neighborhood turns deadly, and Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison.

‘The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes’ By Elissa R. Sloan

(September 1, 2020)

If you liked Daisy Jones & The Six, then you’ll love Elissa R. Sloan’s debut, which is basically that—but with 90s nostalgia. Um, say no more. 

JK, I’ll say a little more. The novel follows Gloss, the hottest girl group of the 90s. When Cassidy Holmes, a beloved member of the iconic group, is found dead by apparent suicide 20 years after the group’s heyday, the world is shocked. That includes her former bandmates, who examine what happened, why, and if they played a role.

‘When No One Is Watching’ By Alyssa Cole

(September 1, 2020)

A romance author who is now turning to thrillers, Alyssa Cole is the embodiment of the “get you a girl who can do both” meme. Cole’s first domestic thriller is being called Rear Window meets Get Out, and I don’t know what more you need than that description. Protagonist Sydney Green is born and raised in Brooklyn, a neighborhood she hardly recognizes anymore as a result of the gentrification. She connects with her neighbor Theo, in whom she finds an unlikely ally. The two dive deep into history, where they discover that the push to “revitalize” the community may be more deadly than either of them realized.

‘Modern Madness’ By Terri Cheney

(September 8, 2020)

You may know Terri Cheney from her heartbreaking Modern Love essay that was adapted for Amazon’s miniseries (Terri’s character was played by Anne Hathaway). In her new work of literary nonfiction, the author, former attorney, and mental health advocate presents an unflinching “owner’s manual” that details her battles with bipolar disease, revealing how it touches all aspects of her life from dating to socializing to work and more. It’s gripping, shocking, at times funny, and all-around real.

‘The Night Portrait’ By Laura Morelli

(September 8, 2020)

Ah, 1492: Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and 16-year-old Cecelia, the breathtaking daughter of a disgraced family, wins the Duke of Milan’s affections. Her grand prize? The chance to sit before Leonardo da Vinci (ever heard of him?) for a portrait. Not just any portrait—his famed Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine. The Night Portrait follows the story of da Vinci’s painting and its fictional muse, all the way through World War II Germany when Nazis attempt to seize the painting, and the Allies’ attempt to thwart them.

‘Don’t Look For Me’ By Wendy Walker

(September 15, 2020)

Molly Clarke is not a good mom—or that’s what she’s been telling herself, ever since she killed her daughter Annie in a horrible accident. Grief-stricken, Molly considers just walking away from her life. Which is precisely what everyone thinks she’s done when she mysteriously disappears the night of a horrible storm—everyone, that is, except her daughter Nicole, who’s determined to bring her mother home, even if she doesn’t want to be found.

‘FURIA’ By Yamile Saied Méndez

(September 15, 2020)

In Yamile Saied Méndez’s YA debut, the Argentinian-American writer tackles tough issues like feminism, personal growth, abuse, and more. Camila Hassan lives a double life: at home, she’s an obedient daughter, but on the fútbol field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse with real potential. She dreams of getting an athletic scholarship to a North American university, but her parents, who have no idea of her passion for the sport, would never allow it. At the same time, the guy she loved, Diego, is back in town after becoming an international fútbol star. Camila is forced to choose as her two lives threaten to collide. Although FURIA is not autobiographical, much of it is based on Méndez’s own life—except instead of playing fútbol, Méndez decided to study the sport instead.

‘Grown’ By Tiffany D. Jackson

(September 15, 2020)

Fans of Monday’s Not Coming and Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson is BACK with her latest YA mystery! GROWN is a ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that starts with aspiring singer Enchanted Jones waking up with no memory of the night before, and blood on her hands. Literally. Her new friend, legendary R&B star Korey Fields, is dead—and all signs point to Enchanted. Did she do it? As she reflects on Korey’s hidden dark side, Enchanted grapples with her own potential involvement in his death.

‘Legendborn’ By Tracy Deonn

(September 15, 2020)

This new fantasy series by debut author Tracy Deonn is all about Black Girl Magic—literally. It kicks off with 16-year-old Bree running away from home after her mother’s death, to a program for gifted high schoolers at UNC Chapel Hill. But her plan to escape the tragedy of her past doesn’t go so well, when she witnesses a magical attack her first night on campus. Talk about a rough start. A teenage magician (who calls himself a Merlin) tries, and fails, to wipe Bree’s memory, which causes another one to come flooding back: the night of her mother’s death, where Merlin was, too. Armed with some newfound abilities and a powerful ally, Bree resolves to find out the truth about her mother’s death.

‘The White Coat Diaries’ By Madi Sinha

(September 15, 2020)

In a time where we all think of doctors and other essential workers as superheroes, physician-turned-novelist Madi Sinha’s debut is all the more important. When, on her first day of residency, Norah Kapadia accidentally pricks herself with a needle used on a sick patient, she suddenly realizes how dangerous her profession can be to her own health. Despite pouring years (and lots of money) into studying to become a doctor, she’s almost ready to quit: in part because of the incident, and in part because of the long hours, rude patients, and pressure from her parents to be the “perfect Indian daughter”. It doesn’t help that her chief resident, Ethan, is everything Norah wishes she was. Soon, their working relationship becomes something more. But when a fatal mistake is made and Norah is asked to participate in a cover-up, she has to decide what’s more important: her relationship or her career?

‘Shine’ By Jessica Jung

(September 29, 2020)

It’s been a big year for K-pop stans, and now that’s even more true with the release of SHINE by Jessica Jung, a former member of one of the most influential K-pop girl groups of all time. And the plot is a little bit meta, which I find fun. 17-year-old Rachel Kim was recruited six years ago by DB Entertainment, one of Seoul’s biggest K-pop labels. In exchange for all her dreams coming true (and, you know, a shot at fame and fortune), she has to give up dating, train all the time, and be perfect. What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out, as the industry’s dark underbelly becomes exposed in the mainstream, and Rachel wonders if she has what it takes to really make it. Add in a love interest who is a K-pop golden boy in his own right, and you’ve got the makings of a juicy debut.

‘Ties That Tether’ By Jane Igharo

(September 29, 2020)

I don’t know about you all, but I need to get lost in a good romance this fall (since cuffing season is a long-lost memory), and Ties That Tether delivers just that, with a perspective that’s much needed in the literary world. Azere Izoduwa promised her dying father she’d preserve their Nigerian culture even after moving to Canada, which ends up being one of those “easier said than done” cases. After yet another disaster date, she meets Rafael Castellano, who is tall, handsome, and decidedly not Nigerian. Azere ends up in his hotel room, but ghosts the next morning… until a month later, when work forces them together again, and Azere has to weigh her family commitments with the possibility of ~true love~.

‘Goodnight Beautiful’ By Aimee Molloy

(October 13, 2020)

The novel starts out with Dr. Sam Statler, a hot therapist, going missing after a storm. But let’s rewind: Annie Potter isn’t super thrilled to leave behind her life in NYC to move with her husband Sam to his hometown upstate. Especially because she has nothing to do while he sees (mostly female) clients all day. Little does Sam know, every word of his sessions can be heard from a room upstairs. Just when you think you’ve got this book figured out, it will throw another curveball at you—even the most avid thriller readers won’t predict these surprises.

‘Three Little Truths’ By Eithne Shortall

(October 13, 2020)

I’m honestly down for pretty much any title that gives me Big Little Lies vibes. Three Little Truths follows three women who are looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. We have Martha, who used to the cool, calm, collected HBIC until moving her family to Dublin under mysterious circumstances. Now, she’s unraveling. Then there’s Robin, who used to be the cool girl in high school, now living with her parents and a 4-year-old son. Finally, we have Edie, who seems to have it all, except for a baby and friends in the neighborhood. When these three women find an unlikely friendship in one another, it will change all their lives and reveal some deep, dark secrets.

‘Cobble Hill’ By Cecily Von Ziegesar 

(October 20, 2020)

 

If the name Cecily Von Ziegesar doesn’t ring a bell, I’m going to need you to tell me what it’s like being an actual child. The author of Gossip Girl (yes!) is back with a tale of four families living in—you guessed it—Cobble Hill. First, there’s Mandy, new mom and former groupie, who is so unfulfilled by motherhood that she fakes a debilitating disease to get her ex-boyfriend Stuart’s attention. Next up, we have Peaches, the school nurse who marches to the beat of her own drum, and also Stuart (same Stuart)’s crush. A few blocks over lives Roy, a well-known British novelist, whose next novel and marriage are simultaneously slipping away. And finally, Tupper, the introverted industrial designer who casually has a warehouse of prosthetic limbs, struggles to connect with his artist wife Elizabeth. Oh ,yeah, and there’s also two teenagers, a ten-year-old pyro, a drug dealer masquerading as a doctor, a lot of hidden cameras, and one figurative bomb waiting to detonate.

‘Memorial’ By Bryan Washington

(October 27, 2020)

In this work of literary fiction, National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree Bryan Washington pens a humorous-yet-poignant portrait of family in its many less-than-functional forms. Benson and Mike are two young adults living in Houston. Benson is a Black day care teacher and Mike is a Japanese-American chef. They’ve been together for a few years, and they love each other, but they can’t help but feel like maybe it’s not enough. Everything changes when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Japan, and he drops everything to say goodbye—right as his mother has arrived in Texas for a visit. While Mike uncovers some life-changing family truths in Japan, his mother and Benson become de facto roommates, to some pretty hilarious ends.  

‘The Flip Side’ by James Bailey

(November 10, 2020)

Male-authored rom-coms aren’t common, so I had to show this one some love. If you thought you had a crappy year, be glad you’re not Josh, the protagonist of The Flip Side, whose girlfriend turns down his marriage proposal. After this, Josh loses his job and the flat he and his ex shared. In a true “f*ck it” moment, Josh decides that, come New Year’s, he’ll make all his decisions by the flip of a coin. But when he meets the love of his life by chance and tries to track her down through multiple European cities, he realizes that not everything is as easy as a coin toss.

‘Murder in Old Bombay’ By Nev March

(November 10, 2020)

A little bit of mystery, a little bit of history, March’s based-on-a-real-crime novel has a little something for everyone. In the 1890s, two young Parsi women are murdered, leaving Captain Jim Agnihotri to play Sherlock Holmes (his idol) to solve the crime. As he travels across India investigating, he becomes ~involved~ with someone close to one of the victims. Scandalous!

‘Pretending’ By Holly Bourne

(November 17, 2020)

Pretending Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne’s North American debut novel begins: “I hate men. There, I’ve said it. I know you’re not supposed to say it. We all pretend we don’t hate them; we all tell ourselves we don’t hate them. But I’m calling it. I’m standing here on this soapbox and I’m saying it. I. Hate. Men.” and if that just isn’t the most relatable sentiment, then IDK what is. And you’ll probably relate to its main character, April: pretty, nice, fairly normal, but she just can’t get past the fifth date (more like second for me, but sure). April is frustrated, until she devises an alter ego, Gretel. Gretel is basically a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who’s also a Cool Girl: no baggage, no problems. When April becomes Gretel, she finally finds herself in control—until she meets Josh and genuinely falls for him, and isn’t sure how long she can (or should) keep pretending.

Image: Andrew Le / Unsplash

Excerpt: ‘Modern Madness’ By ‘Modern Love’ Writer Terri Cheney

Remember back in October 2019 when Modern Love came out on Amazon Prime, and for a moment there it seemed like wholesome, pure things like romance actually existed in the world? Yeah, me either. If you watched the Amazon Prime series, you definitely remember the episode with Lexi (played by Anne Hathaway), a young woman who was struggling with bipolar disorder. That was based off the Modern Love essay by Terri Cheney, a NYT best-selling author and former attorney to the stars, whose new book MODERN MADNESS: An Owner’s Manual is out September 8.

In the middle of a pandemic that has worsened a mental health crisis in America, Cheney offers an honest, poignant work of nonfiction that discusses all the ways her battle with bipolar disease has affected her life, and offers lessons to be learned. Whether you struggle with mental health or care about and want to support someone who does, MODERN MADNESS is a necessary read. But don’t just take my word for it: Anne Hathaway, who blurbed the book, says, “Terri Cheney’s unflinching commitment to telling her own truth on her own terms moved me into a new place of compassion. Hers is an unparalleled—and deeply necessary—voice.” And now, Betches readers can get a first peek at MODERN MADNESS. Check out the excerpt below, and be sure to order your copy today.

Modern Madness

Back when I was still a practicing lawyer, I developed a lovely bad habit of dropping out of sight and reemerging in Santa Barbara. I didn’t tell my friends or my bosses where I was going. I just disappeared into the sunset over Pacific Coast Highway, listening to Joseph Campbell’s Follow Your Bliss audiotape and scheming how I could quit my job. I was usually manic when I did this, or on the brink of becoming so.

I remember pulling into the sweeping driveway of the Biltmore Hotel one time. The pink bougainvillea that draped the entrance rustled in the ocean breeze, welcoming me.  “Aaaah,” I sighed, as the valets and bellhops swarmed my car. A disturbingly handsome young man, dark-eyed and deeply tanned in a spruce white uniform, opened the car door for me. Mindful of his gaze, I extricated myself slowly, holding his hand for balance. I felt like a princess making an entrance—until I gracefully tripped, landing splat on the cobblestones. My purse flew open and all its contents went sprawling out over the drive.    

The valet did his best to recover my things, even scrambling under my car to retrieve my lipstick. Despite his efforts, a few papers were lost to the wind.  They were probably just related to work, I thought. Good riddance. I tried to tip him, but he refused. “Please,” I insisted, but he shook his head. “It’s my pleasure,” he said, as he ushered me into the lobby. 

“You’re awfully kind,” I said, feeling that old familiar risk-taking tingle. “Can I buy you a drink when you’re free?” (I’m so practiced at asking men out for drinks when I’m manic, I could lecture on it at Vassar.)

“I’ll be off in an hour,” he said.

“Terrific!  I’ll meet you in the lounge.”

I went to my room to unpack. Something was missing, but I couldn’t say what. Perfume? Check. Mascara? Check. Stilettos? Check, and check. I slipped them on with a sexier dress and some racy new lingerie. But the feeling continued to nag at me: what had I forgotten? Was it important? Would I need it? Oh well, I shrugged. Whatever it is, I can buy it in the gift shop later.

I went to the lounge, ordered myself a tequila sunrise, and settled in to wait. The bar was busy—lovers and tourists cooing over the magnificent view of the ocean. I glanced in that direction: a sunset. Pretty, but I’d seen it before. I was more interested in the view of me. I took great care to arrange myself on the stool—a little leg, a glimpse of shoulder, just indiscreet enough to be noticed.

A man at the bar came over to me. Another dashing devil, only this one had blue eyes, and was wearing a crisp white shirt with epaulets. Having dated a pilot once, I knew what those four bars meant: a captain.

“Quite a view,” he said.  

“That?” I waved my hand at the panorama.  

“That, among other things,” he said.  He looked down at my empty glass. “Can I buy you a sunrise?” he said, and I giggled. It sounded salacious to me, but then most things do when I’m manic.

“Maybe,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“Dan,” he said. “And you are..?”

I put a finger to my lips. “Incognito,” I whispered. “So tell me, which airline are you with?”

“I fly corporate,” he said. I’ve never once dated for money, but still: visions of Lear Jets and Gulfstreams flitted before my eyes. At the slightest whim, we might be off to Acapulco or Paris or wherever for the weekend. Imagine all the art I could see, the tales I could tell, the glitz and the glamour of a jet-setting life…

“Yes, you may buy me a drink, Captain Dan.” I heard the rhythmic lilt in my voice, and for a moment, I felt uneasy—but I wasn’t sure why.

He drank Glen Livet, as all men should. I kept to tequila, but switched to shots on his dare. Probably not a wise idea: alcohol is trouble enough on its own, but it instantly kindles my mania, as if a match is being held to my brain. I downed another shot, and fire exploded inside me: oranges and violets and flamingo pinks, as if I’d swallowed the sunset instead.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around: the handsome valet. The two men immediately started sizing each other up. I got in between their glares and said, “This is my old friend, um—I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”

“David,” he said.

“Dan, meet David,” I said. Or should it be “David, meet Dan”? It was getting awfully hot in there; droplets of sweat snaked down my back, and I was suddenly flushed and confused. Why were they both wearing white uniforms? Should I be wearing one, too?

“Give me a minute to change,” David said. “Hotel policy.”

“Ooh, are we breaking a rule?” I said.

“Not yet,” he said, and he winked. I laughed, but Captain Dan didn’t seem amused.

I watched David leave, and wished I could go with him. His eyes were so dark, they looked like they were rimmed with kohl. They were the eyes of an Arabian prince. I pictured myself swathed in colorful silks, riding bareback with him across desert dunes. Pretty boys were feeding me sweet fresh dates and waving palm fronds across my body to keep me cool…

A jazz combo started playing, annoying and loud. The music inside my head was so much nicer. “It’s suffocating in here,” I said. “Let’s leave a note with the bartender so David can find us.” I scribbled two words on a cocktail napkin and handed it to Captain Dan. He looked at it quizzically. “The ocean?” he said.

“Yes, let’s go for a swim. I need to clear my head.”

“But I don’t have a bathing suit.”

“Neither do I.”

It didn’t take him long to settle our bill after that. When we stepped outside, the night had turned cool and windy. “I need to get my pashmina,” I said. “Back in a flash.” It didn’t occur to me how absurd this was—as if a small, silky shawl could keep the chill off my wet, naked body. Captain Dan leaned against a pillar and lit a cigarette. I spotted David coming up the path behind him. I wondered if I should stay and soothe the tension, but then I figured it would be so much more fun to watch the sparks fly.

I hurried to my room and grabbed my pashmina. A paper came fluttering out from its folds—a page from a legal pad.  I’ll deal with it later, I thought, and was starting to put it back into my suitcase when I saw the title, in red ink and all caps: “WARNING!  READ IMMEDIATELY!” Uh-oh, I thought. This can’t be fun. But I sat down on the bed, smoothed out the well-worn paper, and read:

If you suspect you’re getting manic, you probably are. You MUST obey these ten sacred rules:

  1. Don’t change into something sexier. Wear granny panties and flats.
  2. Don’t make friends with strangers. They’re strangers.
  3. Don’t drink anything but iced tea—Lipton’s, not Long Island.
  4. Don’t get naked, except to shower. Alone. And don’t shave your legs.
  5. Don’t try to beguile attractive men. Or attractive women. Or cops.
  6. Don’t pull out your credit card for any reason, except if necessary to post bail.
  7. Don’t call or text or email ever—except, as noted, for bail.
  8. Don’t cut your hair short. You aren’t Audrey Hepburn.
  9. Don’t quit your day job.  
  10. Don’t follow your bliss.

My manic cheat sheet. I kept multiple copies of it with me at all times—in my glove compartment, my suitcase, my briefcase, my purse. That must have been the paper that flew away when I fell. I’m supposed to read it every day, but frankly, I forget to when I start to feel high. Or more likely, I don’t want to. But those rules had saved me countless times, from danger and improvidence and self-sabotage and worse. I carried them for a reason, and I reluctantly admitted that I ought to heed their advice.  

Thinking wistfully of the two men waiting for me, I kicked off my heels and slipped off my dress, and put on the thick white terry cloth robe provided by the hotel. How perfect: my very own white uniform. Was I being rude? No, I was being safe. I locked the door and shut off the lights and pretended that I hadn’t done any real harm—or at least, not too much. Maybe—but it was also safe.

Excerpted from MODERN MADNESS: An Owner’s Manual by Terri Cheney. Copyright © 2020. Available from Hachette Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

 

8 Books To Read While You Wait For TV Shows & Movies To Come Out

Who’s been watching all the TV? With a pandemic pushing forward, there’s not much else to do on a Friday (and Saturday and Sunday) night but hit up DoorDash and turn on Netflix. However, well into August, there’s a good chance your watch lists are drying up. If you’re not-so-patiently waiting for your favorite shows to premiere and those new movies to finally drop, we’re with you. It’s a drag.

But we come bearing solutions. The wonderful world of movies and television may be on pause, but books haven’t missed a beat. The publishing industry is still pushing out new releases, and many of them are reminiscent of popular binge-worthy shows and upcoming blockbuster films. As you’re waiting around for that premiere date to finally get locked in, these books will tide you over.

For fans of Mindhunter

Season two of the suspenseful Netflix series left off as Bill’s home life was crumbling and the mystery of young Black boys turning up murdered in Atlanta was left unsolved—a scapegoat taking the fall. The green light for season three is still on hold, not just because of COVID, but also because the director is focused on other projects. Luckily, Matthew Farrell’s Don’t Ever Forget drudges up crimes of the fictional past. It all starts when a state trooper is murdered. Investigator Susan Adler traces evidence back to an elderly patient and his caretaker, which reopens two cold cases from years ago. As more people start to turn up dead, Susan and her wingman Liam have to find answers fast.

For fans of The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah recently announced her hit book Firefly Lane will be adapted into a Netflix series, but fans of the author are also anxiously waiting for The Nightingale to releaseThe drama set during World War II is set to feature the Fanning sisters (Dakota and Elle). With the release date postponed one year to Christmas 2021, We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall will fill the void. It checks the historical fiction box and features two strong female characters. As two friends come together in 1930s New York, they’re determined to take the future into their own hands. Realizing that men have too much of a hand in their personal and professional happiness, they team up to make their dreams come true at all costs.

For fans of Where the Crawdads Sing

Reese Witherspoon announced plans to adapt the bestseller for the big screen, but everything from the cast to the release date is yet to be determined. As you wait for details to trickle their way into headlines and pray that production doesn’t get delayed, get into some similar reading. Fans of Crawdads will get lost in The Best Part of Us by Sally Cole-Misch. Beth treasures her summers spent at her family’s lake property in Canada lake, her brother’s paintings of the serene setting and all. Fourteen years after her family was forced out, Beth’s grandfather calls her back, and she’ll have to make tough choices. With themes of loyalty, nature, and survival in play, you may have some major Crawdad vibes.

For fans of The Undoing

The Undoing miniseries will hit HBO courtesy of David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies showrunner), but the story itself is based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel You Should Have Known. As you’re waiting for the miniseries to debut, you can devour The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell. When Tabitha is reunited with an old love after his wife takes her own life, a woman he never loved, she becomes a convenient suspect. She finds a diary with one simple statement that changes everything: “I’m writing this to raise an alarm in the event of my untimely death… If I die unexpectedly, it was foul play, and Connor was behind it. Connor—and her.”

For fans of Gossip Girl

It’ll be at least 2021 before the confirmed Gossip Girl reboot hits HBO Max. What will the story be this time? Will Blair and Serena still be at the center? Who’s the new Chuck? Fans of the cult classic may have to wait to find out what drama will unfold, but in the meantime, author Jessica Goodman has written a story about elite prep school kids that’s giving fans a major Gossip Girl feel. Goodman’s They Wish They Were Us centers around the murder of Shaila. Despite the tragedy, her best friend tries to start fresh. She’s admitted into their school’s secret society and set for an epic senior year. Except, she can’t help but feel the wrong guy is doing time for the death of her BFF.

For fans of Daisy Jones and the Six

There’s still no official release date for the TV series adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel about a fictional 70s rock band. And fans may be just as eager to hear the original music as they are to binge the episodes themselves. Solo by Kwame Alexander has a similar musical charm, sucking you into the lyrical world of Blade and Rutherford—a son and his washed-up, ex-rock star father. The story takes you through their heartache, hopes, and healing while the music that consumes them colors the journey.

For fans of Dune

The long-awaited Warner Bros. remake of Dune already had its release date pushed back once, and the new release date of December 18, 2020 has fans eager for what could be the new Star Wars. While we wait for this star-studded film’s release, another star has released just the book to meet our galactic needs. The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba, Prodigal Son), is an unforgettable science fiction fantasy tale about a solider forced to serve. When a battle with mortal enemies goes wrong, Everson finds himself stranded on an unfamiliar planet where everyone is out to get him. But will forbidden love with an unexpected enemy be their chance to end this war once and for all?

For fans of The Woman in the Window

This eerie movie filled with A-list names such as Amy Adams and Julianne Moore has had a bumpy road to the big screen. After being delayed once due to early audience reactions, its release was postponed again due to COVID-19 and issues finding a streaming platform. While Netflix finalizes an acquisition deal, we recommend reading Lucy Foley’s chilling thriller The Guest List to hold you over. When a glamorous wedding celebration on a remote Irish island turns dark, not everyone will leave alive. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And why?

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Images: Christin Hume / Unsplash; Amazon