19 books we can’t wait to read in 2020

Adrian Liang on December 04, 2019
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We love year-end roundups. Putting together our list of the best books of the year inspired warm fuzzies as we recalled the books of 2019 that we read and loved. 

But anticipation is so sweet as well. As the year—and, ye gods, the decade—comes to a close, we’re happily peeking around the corner at the next wave of books we hope will glue us to the page before we sing their praises to friends and family.

Here are the Amazon Books editors’ most anticipated reads from January to March 2020, based on pure personal preferences.


Vannessa Cronin


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Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Can one thriller tell another, “Hold my beer”? Because while Sharp Objects pretty much set the gold standard for twisted mom and daughter thrillers, Darling Rose Gold may be about to give it a run for its money. Patty Watts is out of prison, after serving five years for child abuse inflicted on her daughter, Rose Gold. Now, with nowhere else to go, Patty begs her daughter to take her in. No big deal, except Patty always settles a score, and Rose Gold, no longer under her mother’s thumb, has waited a long time for the two of them to be under the same roof again. . . (March 17, 2020) —Vannessa Cronin


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Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Claire is only seven when her teenage sister Alison disappears on the last night of their family vacation on the Caribbean island of Saint X. When Alison’s body is discovered, two resort employees are arrested, but later released for lack of evidence. Years later, in New York, Claire encounters one of the two men and impulsively forges a bond with him, hoping to discover the truth behind her sister’s murder. But at what price will she discover the truth? I’m drawn to sister stories and Saint X promises to be all that, plus a dollop of race, privilege, and tragedy. (February 18, 2020) —Vannessa Cronin


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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

In The Wives, Thursday’s husband, Seth, has three wives (you read that right). He’s a loving, if largely absent, husband to Thursday. His wives know nothing about one another, their only connection being Seth, who carefully keeps them all apart. So when Thursday comes across a scrap of information and uses it to track down one of his other wives, she’s shocked to realize that her new coffee buddy is being abused by her husband, ie Thursday’s husband. And you know no good can come from this knowledge. (December 30, 2019 [so close!]) —Vannessa Cronin


Sarah Gelman


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My Dark Vanessa: A Novel by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Russell’s debut about a 15-year-old girl in Maine who has a relationship with her English teacher at a boarding school has an interesting backstory. The author began the book when she was a teenager in Maine. Like the main character, she also attended school there but left before graduation. Stephen King put it more eloquently than I ever could: “A hard story to read and a harder one to put down . . . a well-constructed package of dynamite.” I’ve passed along early copies to a few friends, and every one of them has told me they stayed up all night to finish this book. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. This is my favorite book of 2020 so far. (March 10, 2020) —Sarah Gelman


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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I’ve loved the description of this book as “a love story, but not the one you think.” Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan has her life all planned out, but one night she has a dream so lifelike it seems to alter the course of her carefully plotted future. One of my favorite books of all time is Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, and one of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors. This books fits into that canon of whether humans can control fate or if destiny gets us every time. I promise you will read it and immediately call your best friend. (March 3, 2020) —Sarah Gelman


Erin Kodicek


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The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

Good things come to those who wait and it’s been seven long years since the second installment of Hilary Mantel’s much ballyhooed Wolf Hall trilogy. The conclusion of Thomas Cromwell’s story, The Mirror & the Light, details the downfall, and grisly end, of Henry VIII’s infamous chief minister, a literary undertaking Mantel has described as “the greatest challenge of my writing life.” (March 10, 2020) —Erin Kodicek


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Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Casey Peabody is at a crossroads. She’s 31, a struggling writer with a complicated love life, and utterly undone by the recent death of her mother. Basically the woman is a hot mess. There are profound transitions that we encounter in life where we’re unsure of how to navigate them. With heart and wit, Lily King (Euphoria) deftly pilots us through this process in her latest novel, Writers & Lovers (March 3, 2020). —Erin Kodicek


Adrian Liang

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The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

A multi-Hugo Award winning author, N. K. Jemisin knows how to craft a story with teeth. In The City We Became, she crafts a city with soul. Specifically, New York City, which actually has six souls. These souls have human avatars who are built to defend the city, which comes under threat from an ancient evil. I loved the short story “The City Born Great” in her collection How Long ‘til Black Future Month? (an Amazon Best Book of the Month in December 2018), and I can’t wait to see how Jemisin expands that story and my world with this new novel. (March 24, 2020) —Adrian Liang


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Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity by Peggy Orenstein

It might sound strange, but after being a part of the book world for more than 20 years and—more importantly—moving 11 times, I actually don’t own many hardcover books. Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex is one of the few I’ve held on to. It shone a bright and empathetic light on the complex, exciting, and confusing time when girls become sexual beings in their eyes and the eyes of others. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wished she’d give boys a voice, and now she does so. Parents, prepare to have your world rocked—and get ready to have really good conversations with your sons. (January 7, 2020) —Adrian Liang

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The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Sometimes a cover just calls to you. That happened to me with the gorgeously and quirky cover for this novel about an orphanage that houses magical children and the caseworker called in to inspect it—and maybe close it down. Linus, who works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY), is summoned by Extremely Upper Management to investigate a highly classified level-four case at a remote orphanage and then make a recommendation on whether the orphanage should be shuttered. Between the tongue-in-cheek tone, the starchy protagonist, and the magic-casting orphans, this novel already checks off so many happy boxes for me. I can’t wait to spend quality time with it. (March 17, 2020) —Adrian Liang


Chris Schluep


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Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River is Liz Moore’s fourth book, and it will likely to take her to the next level. There is a real Dennis Lehane vibe to this mystery—with a strong sense of place (Philadelphia), set in a neighborhood that’s entrenched in the opioid crisis, and built around two sisters who have followed very different paths. The younger sister is a cop working a down-on-its-luck precinct. The older sister is a homeless addict, who has recently disappeared from that precinct. And there appears to be a killer on the loose. This is well-written and well-plotted entertainment. (January 7, 2020) —Chris Schluep


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Agency by William Gibson

This science fiction novel is a sequel to William Gibson’s Peripheral. I didn’t read that first book before I picked up Agency, so I can attest that you don’t have to read them in order. What resonated with me about this novel was that, despite all its far out-ness, it all seems quite plausible. Gibson—who gave us the word “cyberspace”—presents a future world in which Verity Jane, a skilled “app whisperer,” is assigned the task of beta testing an Alexa-like AI embedded in a pair glasses. When Verity realizes the potential power of the AI, her instincts tell her she should bury what she knows. But it’s never that easy. (January 21, 2020) —Chris Schluep


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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

If you haven’t heard about this novel yet, you will. American Dirt is the story of Lydia Quixano Pérez, who lives in Acapulco, Mexico, with her husband, a journalist, and her son, Luca. Lydia owns a bookstore, and one day a charming man named Javier enters the store. Javier is well read; he and Lydia begin talking about books, and eventually about everything else. What she does not know is that Javier is the head of the local drug cartel, a vicious, violent organization. I won’t describe any more of the story—but I would bet you can’t read the first chapter of this book without getting drawn in. (January 21, 2020) —Chris Schluep


Seira Wilson


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The Night Country by Melissa Albert

I can’t wait to read the sequel to The Hazel Wood, one of our favorite books of 2018, and one of those special young adult novels that will be read and loved by readers of all ages. Author Melissa Albert continues the story of dark fairy tales and the Hinterland, only in the new novel, The Night Country, Alice Prosperine is trying to put her family’s dark legacy behind her and start a new life in New York City. But the Hinterland won’t be forgotten so easily… Ellery Finch is also back, on a journey to find his own way home at last. I’m going to set aside an afternoon for this one because I can already tell it’s going to be a one-sitting read. (January 7, 2020) —Seira Wilson


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In the Land of Men: A Memoir by Adrienne Miller

Adrienne Miller’s memoir looks to be a fascinating window on the literary world circa the 1990s, when it was still a boys’ club but a new guard was coming into the forefront of literary celebrity, including firebrand author David Foster Wallace. As the first woman to become literary editor of Esquire magazine, Miller saw a lot and put up with a lot. She also had an intimate relationship with Wallace both professionally and personally, and she talks about it all in her memoir, which also has one of the most striking covers I’ve seen in a while… (February 11, 2020) —Seira Wilson

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Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews by Evan Bloom

Okay, so I really didn’t know what to make of this when I first saw the catalog page for it from Chronicle Books. I was on the fence about the cover—did I love it or hate it? I still don’t know, to be honest, but I will say that once I got a look at a sample of the interior I was totally sold. I made a note to myself at the time that just says in bold block letters: THIS IS AMAZING. There are 60 recipes in this cookbook but the essays and even the recipe text is hilarious and delightful—I will absolutely read this one as much as cook from it. Quirky and totally unique. I’m dying to get my hands on a finished copy of this one. (March 3, 2020) —Seira Wilson


Al Woodworth

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Apeirogon by Colum McCann

Colum McCann’s last full length novel, Let the Great World Spin, was a kaleidoscopic tale of New Yorkers in the 1970s that became an instant bestseller, won a National Book Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the Amazon Books editors, among many other honors. Ten years later, Colum McCann has pushed the limits of kaleidoscopic. In Apeirogon, McCann unfurls the story of two fathers, one Palestinian and one Israeli, who have both lost their daughters to the violence that surrounds them. Over the course of the day, these two men’s lives intertwine as they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace. Rooted in history, this novel is a soaring and revelatory reading experience that is at once intimate and vast, heart-breaking and hopeful, and yes, kaleidoscopic (in the best way). (February 25, 2020) —Al Woodworth


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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

The great historian Erik Larson, who in the past set his talents on the Chicago World’s Fair, hurricanes, and the Lusitania, is resurrecting Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz in his new book, The Splendid and the Vile. Like the best narrative nonfiction, this is a front row seat to Winston Churchill—the man, the husband, the father, the leader and all of his eccentricities—and those closest to him during his first year as Prime Minister, when the Germans were closing in on London. Drawing on memoirs, diaries, letters, and recently declassified material, The Splendid and the Vile is a portrait of a leader, family, and country under siege. (February 25, 2020) —Al Woodworth


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The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Based on the extraordinary true story of Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, The Night Watchman follows a Chippewa woman and her uncle as they fight to halt the Termination Act of 1953—an act that threatened Native Americans’ right to their land and their very identity. From the North Dakota reservation to the big city of Minneapolis and the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C., Erdrich’s novel traces the resilience of the Chippewa against the American government that tried to abolish them. Louise Erdrich is a National Book Award-winning author and a master storyteller who has consistently written beautifully charged novels of the experience of Native Americans, and her latest seems no less affecting. (March 3, 2020) —Al Woodworth


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