The summer solstice happened last weekend, meaning it’s officially summer (even if we all think summer begins on Memorial Day). That means we have a whole new bunch of books to get through! Guess the f*ck what, even if we can’t get drunk on rooftops, we have so much time to read. Wow, okay, I sound like a middle school librarian, but it’s true. From gripping thrillers to LGBTQ romances, from vivid historical fiction to empowering memoirs, there are so many good books coming out this summer (or that are already out). If there were ever a time when we needed an escape, it would be the middle of a goddamn pandemic. So here are some books coming out this summer that you need to read, whether on the beach (wearing a mask, six feet from others) or just in your bed.
‘The Summer Set‘ by Aimee Agresti
May 12, 2020
Attention theater kids, you’ll love this charming read that takes place at a theater camp. Once upon a time, Charlie Savoy was the hottest actress in Hollywood, destined for superstardom—until she got too caught up in the partying (you hate to see it). Ten years later, she’s forced to spend her summer volunteering at the summer theater in the Berkshires that launched her career. Even though Charlie is born to do this, it’s not smooth sailing. The artistic director of the camp is none other than her former flame aka ~the one that got away~, and when Charlie’s old rival gets brought on set, her summer threatens to turn into a tragedy real quick.
‘Happy & You Know It‘ by Laura Hankin
May 19, 2020
Have you ever said a hilarious joke that got no laughs, only to have your friend repeat it a little louder and get all the credit? I imagine that’s a small-scale version of what Claire Martin feels when she gets kicked out of her band right before they get super famous for a song she wrote. Dejected, Claire takes a gig as the playgroup musician for a group of young Manhattan moms. As she befriends the moms, she discovers these ladies have much bigger problems to worry about than which Lululemon leggings to wear that day. The perfect summer read, Happy & You Know It is basically like The Assistants but with rich moms, or like Mean Girls mixed with The Nanny Diaries.
‘The Prettiest Star‘ by Carter Sickels
May 19, 2020
It’s 1980, and 18-year-old Brian has just moved to New York City from his suffocating hometown in Ohio with hopes of a free, bright future. Soon, the AIDS epidemic ravages the city, taking the lives of his partner and many of his friends. It leaves Brian to contemplate staying in New York, where he can embrace his sexuality but is surrounded by death, or returning home to Ohio, where his family’s ignorance prevents him from being his full self. Cue the more heartbreaking songs on the RENT soundtrack.
‘Parachutes‘ by Kelly Yang
May 26, 2020
Claire is a “parachute,” a teenager from China sent to study abroad at an American high school and live with a host family. Claire’s host family includes smart and shy Dani, who’s being raised by her single mom. Though they’re going to the same school and living under the same roof, Claire and Dani couldn’t be more different. Claire is beyond wealthy, while Dani is on scholarship, working at her mom’s house cleaning business to make extra money to keep the family afloat. They spend most of the year avoiding each other, until an act of violence forces them together and they realize they’re not as different as they think.
‘Something To Talk About‘ by Meryl Wilsner
May 26, 2020
Berkley’s first queer romance book is here, and it’s about damn time. Anyone who loves celebrity gossip and is fascinated by the ins and outs of Hollywood will enjoy this tale of a high-powered Hollywood producer who falls in love with her assistant—smack dab in the middle of the #MeToo era.
‘Again Again‘ by E. Lockhart
June 2, 2020
So, We Were Liars is one of my top five favorite books, which is why I’m so excited E. Lockhart is back with another fun read that’s full of surprises. Adelaide Buchwald survives a near-fatal family catastrophe and a breakup, after which she spends a summer falling in and out of love a thousand times (me after going on one date), all while confronting her ideas about love and her own secrets.
‘A Song Below Water‘ by Bethany C. Morrow
June 2, 2020
If you like fantasy but prefer your fantastical elements to be injected into a real-world setting as opposed to a completely new world, then A Song Below Water, which is about teen mermaids who live in Portland, will be just the thing for you. Tavia is forced to keep her siren identity a secret, and what makes it even harder is that Portland doesn’t have many Black people, let alone Black people with magical powers. But she has her best friend Effie, and together they navigate crushes, family secrets, and the ins and outs of high school. That all changes, though, after a siren murder trial, and when Tavia and Effie’s favorite fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, tensions start escalating.
‘The Guest List‘ by Lucy Foley
June 2, 2020
Want to get the thrill of watching Knives Out again? Lucy Foley’s latest page-turner is the next best thing. Very reminiscent of Agatha Christie, The Guest List takes place on an island off the coast of Ireland, where unsuspecting friends and family have gathered to celebrate a wedding. You can probably see where this is going: choppy waters, spotty cell service, and then one of the wedding guests turns up dead.
‘The Vanishing Half‘ by Brit Bennett
June 2, 2020
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers comes a new novel about two twins who grew up in a small southern Black community and ran away at age 16. As adults, one twin finds herself back in the very community she tried to escape, while the other secretly passes for white, her white husband knowing nothing about her past. But you can’t run from your past forever, which will become evident when the twins’ daughters’ paths cross.
‘#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE‘ by Nicole Byer
June 2, 2020
We’ve all heard celebrities called “#brave” for Instagramming with no makeup or filter (never mind their lip fillers and Botox injections). In this book, Byer reclaims the hashtag to detail her personal journey towards body confidence and to advise her readers on how to say f*ck you to the trolls and haters.
‘You Should See Me In A Crown‘ by Leah Johnson
June 2, 2020
Liz Lighty has never felt like she fit in at her small, rich, prom-obsessed Midwestern high school. She’s just counting down the days until she can GTFO of there. Her grand plan? To get accepted into the elite Pennington College, play in the orchestra, and become a doctor. NBD. When Liz’s crucial financial aid falls through, her plan starts to crumble—until she remembers her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. Liz doesn’t want to open herself up to all the judgment and social media trolling that running for prom queen would bring (her school even has its own gossip app, Campbell Confidential, so you know it’s catty), but she has no choice if she wants to get into Pennington.
‘The Boyfriend Project‘ by Farrah Rochon
June 9, 2020
Think John Tucker Must Die, but with an uplifting, female-empowerment twist. In The Boyfriend Project, three women learn they’re all dating the same man. But instead of ruining his life, they band together to invest in themselves: no men and no dating for the next six months. Samiah, a software developer, is finding it particularly hard to put herself first (can relate). But just when she’s on track to finally start developing the app she’s been dreaming of bringing to life, she meets her hot new coworker who’s hard to resist. Ugh, why does it always happen that way?
‘Last Tang Standing‘ by Lauren Ho
June 9, 2020
If you loved Crazy Rich Asians then you’ll want to put Last Tang Standing in your cart immediately, because it’s like Crazy Rich Asians, but more relatable and funnier.
Living in Singapore, 34-year-old Andrea Tang is still single, which, as far as Andrea’s well-to-do family is concerned, may as well be a crime. Andrea is married to her job, though she is keenly aware of her family’s pressure. Told through diary entries, Andrea tries out dating apps, gets wasted (see, I told you it was relatable), falls in love with a rich businessman, dukes it out with a newcomer at her law firm, and navigates the laser minefield that is her family’s intricate dynamics and expectations.
‘Head Over Heels‘ by Hannah Orenstein
June 23, 2020
Head Over Heels is Orenstein’s third romance novel, and she’s really nailed the millennial romance market. Avery Abrams trained her whole life to become an Olympic gymnast, but when an injury crushes those dreams, she’s forced to reassess her life and move back to her hometown. She begins training a promising young local gymnast, and you know sparks are going to fly. But when a scandal rocks the sport, as well as Avery’s past relationships, she must reevaluate her world and her past relationships.
‘Mexican Gothic‘ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
June 23, 2020
Set in 1950s Mexico, Mexican Gothic is “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” according to Kirkus Reviews. Noemí Taboada receives a letter from her cousin, begging someone to save her from some sort of mysterious peril. Noemí heads to High Place, a house in the Mexican countryside. There she meets her cousin’s scary yet handsome husband, his father, and the shy yet mysterious youngest son. Oh, and the house is probably haunted. Will Noemí be able to leave the house?
‘Party Of Two‘ by Jasmine Guillory
June 23, 2020
Fans of The Wedding Party, Jasmine Guillory is back this summer with yet another steamy romance, this one set in L.A. Lawyer Olivia Monroe flirts with Max Powell, who turns out to be a senator. Their whirlwind romance leads to them going on secret dates and trying to ditch the paparazzi, until they’re forced to go public with their relationship and Olivia faces a ton of scrutiny, which causes her to question if the relationship is really right for her.
‘Take A Hint, Dani Brown‘ by Talia Hibbert
June 23, 2020
One of Oprah Magazine’s 21 Romance Novels That Are Set to Be the Best of 2020, Take a Hint, Dani Brown is another charming romantic novel from Talia Hibbert. Danika Brown is over romance—it only brings disappointment (relatable). What she wants is a no-strings-attached, friends with benefits situation. Which is what she thinks she’s found in Zafir Ansari, the hunky security guard at her workplace. That is, until he rescues her in a fire drill gone awry, and the video of that rescue goes viral and people from all corners of the internet start shipping them. So Dani thinks, what the hell, might as well fake it for the publicity for a little while. We all know where this is going to go! Should I start fake-dating more people “for the publicity”?
‘A Woman Alone‘ by Nina Laurin
June 23, 2020
If you liked The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney, then get ready for more robots behaving badly in Nina Laurin’s newest thriller (and if that name sounds familiar, it’s because Laurin’s The Starter Wife landed on my reading list last summer). But this one is like Smart House, but deadly. After a brutal home invasion, Cecelia, her husband, and 3-year-old daughter move into a new house with a complex AI-operated security system. All is well and good, until Cecelia starts suspecting that the system has killed the occupants of the house, and she’s next.
‘Self Care‘ by Leigh Stein
June 30, 2020
Fans of Diet Starts Tomorrow will love this one! Millennials Maren Gelb and Devin Avery create Richual, a wellness app for women that’s founded on the principle that women being happy with themselves and practicing self-care are forms of resistance against the patriarchy. Devin is the perfectly toned body and face of the app, while Maren is the behind-the-scenes cynic who makes everything work. Self Care is a smart critique of the wellness industry and how toxic, fake, and white-washed it is—but it’s also a very fun read.
‘Someone Else’s Secret‘ by Julia Spiro
July 1, 2020
This one starts out as a breezy beach read, then gets real dark, real quick. Lindsey graduates from Bowdoin at the height of the recession with dreams of working in art galleries and a mountain of student debt. She ends up working as a nanny for a rich family on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer, where she befriends Georgie, the 14-year-old girl she babysits along with her 5-year-old brother.
‘Cinderella Is Dead‘ by Kalynn Bayron
July 8, 2020
Pretend we live in whatever world Cinderella takes place in. It’s 200 years after she found Prince Charming, and now teenage girls are required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select their wives. If they do not find a suitable match, the unchosen girls are never heard from again. Harsh. Enter: 16-year-old Sophia, who would much rather marry Erin, her best friend. At the ball, Sophia flees and finds herself face-to-face with Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. They team up to bring down the king once and for all. This fantasy-meets-queer romance-meets-patriarchy smashing novel is a fun read for everyone waiting for their fairytale ending.
‘Crooked Hallelujah‘ by Kelli Jo Ford
July 18, 2020
Taking place in 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, 15-year-old Justine is part of a family of tough, loyal women, presided over by her mother and grandmother after Justine’s father abandoned the family. Justine’s mother becomes heavily involved in the Holiness Church, a community Justine finds kind of terrifying and definitely restrictive. Justine tries her best to be a good daughter and devoted follower until an act of violence changes her thinking forever. As an adult with a daughter of her own, Reney, Justine tries to find stability in Texas amidst the oil bust of the 1980s—which is easier said than done.
‘10 Things I Hate About Pinky‘ by Sandhya Menon
July 21, 2020
Need a fun, flirty YA novel that takes on the “fake-dating” trope Netflix loves to push on us in all their teen movies? Look no further than NYT bestselling author Sandhya Menon’s latest release, which follows two frenemies, Pinky and Samir, who each have their quirks. After Samir loses an internship, Pinky invites him to be her fake boyfriend, offering a new internship if he accepts. He needs something to do; she needs her parents to stop coming at her over her life choices. What could go wrong? Well, aside from them bickering constantly and struggling to sell their relationship…
‘He Started It‘ by Samantha Downing
July 21, 2020
Samantha Downing’s highly anticipated novel He Started It is finally here! If you’ve read any of my book roundups in the past, then I feel like you can recite my little summary from memory, but here we go one more time. He Started It follows a family of liars and grifters who are on a road trip to disperse their grandfather’s ashes, and at the end, collect a big insurance payout. But as you can guess, when scamming runs in your blood, you can’t even trust your own family members.
‘The Woman Before Wallis‘ by Bryn Turnbull
July 21, 2020
The Woman Before Wallis is historical fiction, but stay with me! It’s so dramatic you’ll think you’re reading a tabloid, or like, watching The Crown, I guess. Picture this: the summer of 1926. Thelma Morgan, the daughter of an American diplomat, marries Viscount Duke Furness and becomes a member of the British aristocracy (sounds familiar…). Because she’s now a member of the ~elite~ she meets the handsome young Prince of Wales, with whom she starts having an affair. This is already precarious AF, and only gets more wild when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, gets embroiled in a scandal of her own.
‘A Star Is Bored‘ by Byron Lane
July 28, 2020
First of all, love the title, even though it has now knocked one potential off my prospective memoir titles list. But anyway, influenced in part by the author’s time as Carrie Fisher’s beloved assistant, A Star Is Bored is about Kathi Kannon, a famous actress known for her role in a blockbuster sci-fi movie, and Charlie Besson, her new assistant. They laugh, they cry, they go on late-night shopping sprees, and they form a friendship that goes beyond that of the typical boss/assistant relationship.
‘The Wife Who Knew Too Much‘ by Michele Campbell
July 28, 2020
After A Stranger On The Beach, Michele Campbell is back with her latest thriller, The Wife Who Knew Too Much. Tabby is a waitress living a fairly modest life, but she never forgot her high school summer love, Connor. He was handsome, kind, and extremely wealthy—which was why his family hated her, and broke them up. So when he shows up back in her life, it seems like a miracle, except there’s a catch: he’s married. And not just married—married to the incredibly wealthy and powerful Nina Ford. But he of course assures Tabby they’re getting a divorce (sure, Jan), but there’s another catch: if he’s caught cheating, he gets nothing in the divorce settlement. So Tabby and Connor continue their affair in secret, until Nina winds up dead. Guess who’s the number one suspect?
‘This Is My America‘ by Kim Johnson
July 28, 2020
17-year-old Tracy Beaumont diligently writes letters every week to Innocence X, asking the organization to look into her father’s case. Her father is an innocent Black man on death row, and after seven years of begging Innocence X, Tracy’s father only has 267 days left to live. Then, things get even worse for Tracy: her brother Jamal is accused of killing a white girl. With Jamal on the run and her father on death row, it’s up to Tracy to investigate what really happened and try to save her family.
‘Today Tonight Tomorrow‘ by Rachel Lynn Solomon
July 28, 2020
Named a most-anticipated book of 2020 by Entertainment, Today Tonight Tomorrow is an instant classic rom-com. This enemies-to-lovers plot involves Rowan and Neil, two high school students who have been bitter rivals on everything: test scores, student council elections, and even gym class. When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan’s last chance at victory is to defeat him in Howl, a senior class scavenger hunt. Of course these two decide to form an alliance, and I think you can guess where this alliance ultimately takes them.
‘Caste‘ by Isabel Wilkerson
August 4, 2020
In her latest work of nonfiction, Pulitzer prize-winning author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson demonstrates, through deeply researched stories about real people, how America has been shaped by a hidden caste system. She traces the caste systems of India, America, and Nazi Germany, exploring eight different criteria that link them all. In addition to diving deep into how this insidious system affects us every day, she offers ways America can break these divisions and try to move past them.
‘The Comeback‘ by Ella Berman
August 4, 2020
In a fiction debut that’s all too timely, The Comeback is about Grace Turner, a young actress who returns to Hollywood after retreating from the public eye. Nobody but Grace knows the reason for her disappearance from Hollywood: the manipulation and abuse from a director who controlled her life. When she’s asked to present this same director with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Grace must come back into the public eye to demand justice.
‘The Night Swim‘ by Megan Goldin
August 4, 2020
If you read Sadie and binged Serial, then The Night Swim was basically written for you. Rachel Krall started a true crime podcast that became a viral sensation and set an innocent man free. Her podcast’s success has turned her into a go-to figure for people hoping to be exonerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Now, her podcast has taken her to a small town torn apart by a rape trial: a golden boy—a swimmer destined for the Olympics—is accused of sexually assaulting the granddaughter of the police chief. But as Rachel investigates this case, she’s also getting mysterious notes sent to her by someone who claims their sister who officials say was drowned, was in fact murdered. When Rachel starts asking questions about the drowning, suddenly everyone in town clams up, and the past and present collide as she investigates both cases.
‘The Silent Wife‘ by Karin Slaughter
August 4, 2020
New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter is back this summer with her 20th novel, The Silent Wife. In Atlanta, a young woman is attacked and left for dead. The case goes cold until FBI investigator Will Trent gets an assignment that brings him to a prisoner who recognizes the M.O. of the attack—because he’s been falsely sitting in prison for it. Now, Trent must solve the old case in order to solve this new one.
‘Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop‘ by Roselle Lim
August 4, 2020
If you enjoyed Lim’s debut, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, then get ready for her follow-up, which is just as full of heart, heritage, and food. Lim’s latest tells the story of Vanessa Yu, a fortuneteller who’s been able to see people’s futures at the bottom of their teacups for as long as she can remember. Try as she might to avoid using her powers, people’s fortunes seem to find their way into Vanessa’s life to f*ck things up. When Vanessa sees death for the first time after an appointment with a matchmaker (because, oh yeah, her romance life is also nonexistent), she decides she needs to get rid of her abilities, so she jets off to Paris. There, she learns more about her gift, and comes to realize that knowing your destiny isn’t a curse, but not being able to change it is.
‘Color Me In‘ by Natasha Díaz
August 11, 2020
In this coming-of-age novel, 16-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial identity as a girl with a Black mom and Jewish dad, until her parents split up and she moves to her mom’s home in Harlem. There, she gets sh*t from family members who think she’s too privileged, pampered, and white-passing to relate to the injustices Black people face. On the other hand, her dad wants her to have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet 16, which would earn her sh*t from the privileged kids at her private school. You can’t win! Neveah stays silent until a secret from her mom’s past, falling in love, and witnessing the racism her family faces firsthand forces her to find and use her voice.
‘Raybearer‘ by Jordan Ifueko
August 18, 2020
Need a good YA fantasy read? Look no further than the debut from Jordan Ifueko, which is already getting buzz from Seventeen, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, and now me, and is based on West African traditions and mythology. Protagonist Tarisai was raised in isolation by an absent mother called The Lady, but she has always longed for a family. The adventure begins when The Lady sends Tarisai to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If chosen, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood—what Tarisai has always wanted. But The Lady has other plans, and wants her to kill the Crown Prince. Will Tarisai be strong enough to stand up on her own?
‘Winter Counts‘ by David Heska Wabli Weiden
August 25, 2020
When the American justice system consistently fails you and your people, you become a vigilante of sorts—or at least, that’s what Virgil Wounded Horse does for the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Things get personal, though, when heroin enters into the reservation and finds its way to Virgil’s own nephew. With the help of his ex-girlfriend, he decides to find out where the drugs are coming from and how to make them stop. As Virgil starts to put the pieces together, he’s forced to come to terms with his own demons and grapple with what it means to be Native American in the 21st century.
Images: Dan Dumitriu / Unsplash; Barnes & Noble (36)
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
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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