Amazon's best books of December: Today's releases

Erin Kodicek on December 10, 2019

Today's releases include a probing and profound road trip memoir; an unusual murder mystery akin to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; and a moving novel about a fractured relationship between mother and daughter.

Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.

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All That’s Bright and Gone: A Novel by Eliza Nellums

All That's Bright and Gone is both a murder mystery and a coming-of-age story and at the center of both is a precocious 6-year-old, Aoife (pronounced EE-fa). The men in blue coats have taken Aoife’s mom to hospital and the most confusing part for Aoife is that while they were doing it, her mom was talking to her brother Theo as though he were still alive. Now, her Uncle Donny has come to stay in her house to take care of her, but even with a functioning adult at home, Aoife still feels in the dark and neglected, knowing there is much she is not being told. Encouraged by her friend and neighbor, a pint-sized, would-be sleuth named Nancy, and Aoife’s imaginary friend Teddy, this funny, brave, and imaginative little girl decides that discovering who murdered Theo is the only way to put her Mom’s mind at rest so she can leave the hospital and come home. But the secrets Aoife, and Teddy, uncover may be more than she was prepared for or can understand. Perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, All That's Bright and Gone goes to the heart of what we are prepared to do to keep our family safe, from dangers within and without, and to bring them home. —Vannessa Cronin

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Once More To The Rodeo: A Memoir by Calvin Hennick

What does it mean to be a man in America today? What does it mean to be a good father? How do you explain the world to your son when you're white and he's not? What if you want a drink of whiskey, but know that if you have one sip you'll finish the bottle? These are just some of the questions that Calvin Hennick wrestles with in his probing memoir Once More to the Rodeo. To address these issues, Hennick decides to go on a road trip with his son from Boston to Iowa, where Hennick grew up. The ultimate destination? The rodeo. What follows is a pull-at-your-heart-strings account of their conversations and observations of what surrounds them literally and metaphorically. On the trip, and in life, Hennick is determined to be there for his son, even though his own dad wasn't: to love him, to support him, to show him what manhood looks like, while ensuring they have the “most fun anybody’s ever had.” As a reader, I’m signed up for the road trip and for Hennick’s humble, perseverant spirit to wrestle with the hard questions. And that’s what makes this memoir tick – it’s a journey. None of these questions can be answered perfectly, but as long as you’re on the road and in the trenches with one another, you might just figure out how to be good. —Al Woodworth

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover’s novels frequently straddle the line between heartfelt romance and family drama, offering the best of both worlds. Her latest, Regretting You, again delivers a winner, with a story that’s vulnerable, genuine, and emotionally fulfilling. After she got pregnant at 17 and married her fun-loving boyfriend, Chris, Morgan put her future on hold to raise their daughter—a choice that Morgan has been satisfied with until recently. Now Morgan’s teenage daughter, Clara, likes a boy of dubious background, Morgan’s sister has just had a baby, and Morgan wants to finally do something with her life that involves paying attention to her own dreams for once. Then a fatal accident sends shock waves through the family, tearing at the bonds between Clara and Morgan. Hoover clearly understands the push and pull of even the best mother-daughter relationships, evoking empathy for both women and the mistakes they make as they struggle to reconcile the past and build a new future. —Adrian Liang

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