We’re already coming to the end of 2020 and this year has been anything but easy of predictable. it’s been a rollercoaster of things happening. all around the world and the years won’t stop running but fortunately, the publishing industry has been keeping pace with the passage of time, with a slew of the year’s most anticipated titles already out, and many more on the way. If you’re looking to make a dent in your GoodReads goal(i didn’t make one myself) for the year, here are some top new books to pick up right now and up your 2020 reading game.
1). CHOSEN ONES – VERONICA ROTH
The Hunger Games. Harry Potter. The Percy Jackson books. Wherever you first encountered it, it’s a story we all know by heart: In a time of darkness, a child is singled out as the world’s last great hope for salvation. As that child grows up, one must take ownership of their powers, fulfill the prophecy, and save the world. But what happens to the chosen one after the threat is vanquished? Veronica Roth—the author of a little franchise you may know by the name of Divergent—sets out to answer this question in her adult debut, which follows five former teenage heroes as they make sense of the trauma they were left with after saving the world.
The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise
heads up, this is not a teenage book and it is not part of the Divergent series. It is a Dystopian novel written about adults.
2). LONG BRIGHT RIVER – LIZ MOORE
In a part of Philadelphia hit hard by the opioid crisis, estranged sisters Kacey and Mickey lead very different lives. Kacey struggles with addiction, while Mickey is a beat cop. When Kacey disappears around the same time a string of murders takes place, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding the killer – and her sister – before it’s too late.
This is not a comfortable or easy book to read. It highlights the opiod crisis and addiction of all forms. It talks about babies born to addicts and the withdrawal that they go through. It takes place in a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Kensington, which was once a neighborhood of working class families. As the jobs dried up, people chose or were forced to move and there are many abandoned buildings which become homes for those shooting up heroin or dealing and using other drugs.
3. DARLING ROSE GOLD – STEPHANIE WROBEL
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes. And Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
Darling Rose Gold is one of those stories in which you are not sure what to trust and whom to believe. As a dark and disturbing psychological thriller, it delivers an interesting and fascinating experience with a brilliantly original plot and some complex characters. In a genre full of stories of husbands and wives, Wrobel explores one of the most complicated mother-daughter relationship.
4. REAL LIFE – BRANDON TAYLOR
A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.
Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community.
Real Life is a novel of profound and lacerating power, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds, and at what cost.
This book EVERYTHING! it is stunning. It’s gay, it exposes all kinds of racism, and Taylor’s writing is sharp, painfully honest, and utterly brilliant. Apart from the little over exaggerated passages, it is a really good read and covid lockdown insomnia made me read it in just one sitting
5. THE VANISHING HALF – BRIT BENNETT
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
Told in flashbacks and multiple point of views, the story is both spellbinding and immersive. This riveting story is as timely now as it ever was told in a way that explores racial and sexual identity, and social economic class delivered with heart and compassion in a thought provoking read you will not be able to put down.
If you only get to pick one book from this list, I highly recommend this.
6. FAIREST – MEREDITH TALUSAN (memoir)
A singular, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir of a Filipino boy with albinism whose story travels from an immigrant childhood to Harvard to a gender transition and illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender
Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a “sun child” from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity. As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate through the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community. She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender. Talusan realized she did not want to be confined to a prescribed role as a man, and transitioned to become a woman, despite the risk of losing a man she deeply loved. Throughout her journey, Talusan shares poignant and powerful episodes of desirability and love that will remind readers of works such as Call Me By Your Name and Giovanni’s Room. Her evocative reflections will shift our own perceptions of love, identity, gender, and the fairness of life.
This book examines issues of race, passing, “gaze”, culture, elitism, identity, gender, feminism and more through Meredith’s personal journey from a young, beautiful blonde boy born in the Philippines, Marc Talusan, to America and the blossoming of Meredith Talusan, a transgender person who identifies as such to embrace her full gender identity, not erase it.
7. EMPIRE OF WILD – CHERIE DIMALINE
Métis author Cherie Dimaline follows up her breakout YA best seller, 2017’s The Marrow Thieves, with an electrifying riff on the Métis story of a werewolf-adjacent creature called the rougarou. While searching for her long-lost husband, Joan encounters the Reverend Eugene Wolff, a charismatic preacher who bears a striking resemblance to Joan’s missing love. Convinced that the preacher is really her husband, Victor, Joan undertakes the formidable task of reawakening Wolff to who he really is.
Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year–ever since he went missing on the night they had their first serious argument. One terrible, hungover morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher named Eugene Wolff. By the time she staggers into the tent, the service is over. But as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice.
She turns, and there Victor is. The same face, the same eyes, the same hands. But his hair is short and he’s wearing a suit and he doesn’t recognize her at all. No, he insists, she’s the one suffering a delusion: he’s the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. Except that, as Joan soon discovers, that’s not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing.
Fun, scary, gripping novel about colonialism and indigenous magic realism. It’s a thriller, monster mystery with American Gods-y, Stranger Things-y aspects, but nailed directly into the present setting of neocolonialism in Ontario. Yet, the struggle hasn’t changed. it’s the perfect spooky read to end your october with.
8. NIGHT. SLEEP. DEATH. THE STARS. – JOYCE CAROL OATES
Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all.
Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates’s latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author’s bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
This begins with a more embedded story of police brutality than what often occurs here in the Minnesota metro area. Each character is given a deep back story and the reasoning as to how it influences their present-day
9. BEACH READ – EMILY HENRY
If you’re in the mood for some feel-good escapism, Emily Henry’s new novel may be just the ticket. Following a family tragedy that shatters her optimistic worldview, romance writer January Andrews retreats to her late father’s lake house to try and write her way out of financial ruin. When she runs into her college nemesis, Gus—now an acclaimed author of literary fiction—the two strike a deal: Each will write a novel in the other’s genre, both will sell their books for lots of money, and under no circumstances will they fall in love with each other.