August 2020 brings a number of delightful new books from beloved authors. Akwaeke Emezi's
The Death of Vivek Oji comes out this month, as do Morgan Jerkins' Wandering in Strange Lands and Katie Alender's The Companion. The month also has several eye-catching debuts in store, including Raven Leilani's Luster, Madeleine Ryan's A Room Called Earth, and Carole Stivers' The Mother Code. In addition, August will see some highly anticipated new memoirs, such as Rebekah Taussig's Sitting Pretty and Molly Wizenberg's Fixed Stars, land on store shelves.
Put simply, August is swooping in to save the last weeks of summer with some truly great new books. Even if your nightstand is about to crack under the weight of your TBR pile, you should still check out the
23 most anticipated books of August 2020: We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Aug. 3
The latest pick for the Read with Jenna Book Club, Ella Berman's
The Comeback is a #MeToo novel getting major buzz. The story here centers on 22-year-old Grace Turner, a former child star coming off of a year in recovery and out of the limelight. When she's asked to take part in honoring the man who led to her highly publicized downfall, Grace sees an opportunity to settle the score... but is revenge really what she wants? 2 Aug. 3
America's Next Top Model Creative Director Jay Manuel comes this gossipy new novel about a reality show "fixer" working behind the curtain to keep everything running smoothly. But with the drama dialed up to 11 at all times, can Pablo keep the ship sailing for Model Muse's best-worst season yet? 3 Aug. 4
When a Nigerian woman discovers her son's body lying at her front door, she and the rest of her family begin to pick apart their memories of his life in order to understand what went wrong in
The Death of Vivek Oji: the newest release from Pet author Akwaeke Emezi and one of the year's most anticipated releases. 4 Aug. 4
From the author of
This Will Be My Undoing comes this new work of nonfiction exploring the legacy of the Great Migration: a 50-plus-year-long period during which Black families moved out of the South. Pulling from a variety of sources, Morgan Jerkins weaves together a 300-year narrative of her own family's history in Wandering in Strange Lands. 5 Aug. 4
A twentysomething drifting through her young adulthood falls into a relationship with a man in an open marriage in Raven Leilani's unputdownable debut. Tackling questions of race, age, and power,
Luster is a must-read new novel that perfectly captures our strange age. 6 Aug. 4 The First Sister centers on the eponymous, nameless, mute priestess, who lives aboard a warship in sexual and spiritual servitude to its soldiers. Her people are locked in an ongoing struggle with the Icarii: the descendants of scientists who colonized Venus and Mercury, and whose tech far outranks that of their enemies. When her ship changes hands, the First Sister must forge new alliances from ashes... but falling in love was never part of the plan. 7 Aug. 4
Jewelry expert Kate has just learned that her great-grandmother, a suffragette named Essie, may have been connected to the Cheapside Hoard: a bundle of English Civil War-era finery, discovered in 1912. When she receives a business call related to the Cheapside jewels, she hops a plane for London, first thing. But Kate's on a collision course with her family's past in this touching new historical novel from the author of
The Jade Lily. 8 Aug. 4
Ingrid Persaud's long-awaited
Love After Love is finally landing in stores this August. This touching new novel centers on an unconventional family — Betty, her son Solo, and their friend and lodger, Mr. Chetan — torn apart by secrets. After Solo overhears confessions from his mother and Mr. Chetan, he flees Trinidad for the United States, leaving Betty and her friend behind. Separated as they are, the three people must each reckon individually with their secrets, desires, and obligations. 9 Aug. 4
Set against the backdrop of the Rodney King Riots, Christina Hammonds Reed's
The Black Kids follows Ashley, a Black teenager, as she navigates a world of civil unrest in 1992 L.A. Her white friends don't treat her the same once the riots against police brutality begin, and her previously close-knit family appears to be coming apart at the seams. One of the year's best coming-of-age stories, The Black Kids belongs on your nightstand this summer. 10 Aug. 4 The Warmth of Other Suns author Isabel Wilkerson returns to store shelves this year with Caste, a new book exploring the impact of the United States' invisible system of stratification. Comparing American castes to those of India and Nazi Germany, and drawing on the real lives of famous Americans and unknown citizens, Caste is a must-read work of nonfiction for anyone living through 2020's upheavals. 11 Aug. 4
A new memoir from the author of
A Homemade Life, The Fixed Stars takes readers inside one woman's person quest to understand her own sexuality. Molly Wizenberg had been married to her husband for nearly a decade when she became unexpectedly smitten with a female attorney. Tracing her divorce and amicable co-parenting, Wizenberg's memoir is a touching look at modern love and life. 12 Aug. 11
A stay-at-home mother pulls up stakes and leaves her family in the middle of the night in this gripping, brief novel. Has Alma simply tired of the homesteading life, or is there something more to her decision to run?
The Shame traces through this mystery with poise, leaving readers raw, nonetheless. 13 Aug. 11
Ten years after his sister's mysterious disappearance, Wyatt lives under the weight of his friends and neighbors' suspicions. Discovering a young girl — unable to communicate but clearly alive and in need of help — in the middle of nowhere could get him back in his community's good graces, so long as he can get her home safely. He hasn't accounted for how this case will unearth the one from his past, however.
14 Aug. 11
At age 40, comedian Sara Schaefer took her younger sister on a whitewater-rafting trip down the Colorado River — a trip that dredged up old wounds and memories of the past. In alternating chapters, and with plenty of heart, Schaefer traces the impact of a decades-old family scandal on her contemporary life in
Grand. 15 Aug. 11
Told in a stream of consciousness and taking place over a 24-hour period, Rebecca Watson's
little scratch follows one woman's quest for a "normal" life in the wake of sexual trauma. This is a powerful debut from Financial Times journalist Watson, making her one of the year's best new writers to watch. 16 Aug. 18
Winnie and her sisters were never allowed to date before. Now that Ari and Bunny are living the sexy, free, and single life at college, their traditional parents are shaking up their strategy. It's time for Winnie to practice dating — something her sisters never had the chance to do — but only with the guys and at the locations of her parents' choosing. First up: Mat, Winnie's ex-BFF.
17 Aug. 18
Khadijah Queen's sixth book is out this month from Tin House. A poetry collection that examines life's little moments alongside catastrophe on a massive scale,
Anodyne is a thought-provoking look at the innate duality of modern-day life. 18 Aug. 18
This #OwnVoices novel about an autistic young woman heading out to a social gathering is sure to be on the tip of everyone's tongue this summer.
A Room Called Earth follows its protagonist as she moves from person to person, masking her autism and veiling her own thoughts and feelings behind a shroud of neurotypical politeness. It's unlike anything you've ever read before. 19 Aug. 25
After surviving the accident that killed everyone she loved, young, orphaned Margot lives with dreadful night terrors. Adoption into a wealthy family could be an improvement, but a new life comes with a new home, where there are many things that go bump in the night.
20 Aug. 25
Six years after Flint, Michigan began to pull its drinking water from the Flint River, the city still doesn't have potable water. Erin Brockovich's new book takes on the United States' water crisis, moving from Flint to the wider nation in search of answers to this deadly problem.
21 Aug. 25
Recently blacklisted from Hollywood, a young starlet plans to coax her reclusive grandmother — a beloved star in her own right — back into the spotlight. But when Gigi vanishes without a trace, Evie joins forces with Milo, the last person to see her grandmother alive, to track her down.
22 Aug. 25
Decades after a last-ditch effort to save the human race ended with children incubated and raised by robot Mothers, one man is forced to make a horrific decision about his own Mother, Rho-Z. The automatons' personalities have developed in unexpected ways, and now they're set to be eliminated. Can Kai save his Mother, or will he decide that the world is better off without Rho-Z and her kind?
23 Aug. 25
Reflecting on her journey toward disability advocacy, Rebekah Taussig's memoir in essays will make you rethink everything you've previously believed about disabled people and their lives. Reflecting on Taussig's personal experiences, and on disability representation more broadly,
Sitting Pretty is a rare book from a powerful, new voice.