19 Of The Best Book Releases In 2020, Including Ta-Nehisi Coates' New Novel

by Alice Broster
A woman reads a book while sitting next to a window in her pajamas.
Andrii Kobryn/Shutterstock

Every time the new year comes around, I vow to read more books. Whether it’s doing the 50-books-a-year challenge or just reading more quality tales, I'm always striving to read as much as possible in the upcoming 12 months. If you have the same goal as me, and want to complete as many books as possible, below is a list of 11 books to look forward to in 2020 that might help you get started.

From thrillers to romantic comedies, childhood memoirs to career guides, there’s so many good books coming out in 2020. But, let's be honest, it can be hard to not get lost in the white noise of new releases. Every month hundreds of new books arrive on the shelves (virtual or otherwise), but how can you work out what's worth your time? My advice would be to go for something with a storyline that grabs your attention straight away. You should also aim to challenge yourself, setting out to learn about a subject you know very little about. Make 2020 the year you broaden your horizons and attempt to understand others' experiences a little better.

If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of books coming out at the start of 2020, then here’s 11 that you can’t miss.


‘Motherwell: A Girlhood’ by Deborah Orr

Deborah Orr left Motherwell, her hometown, at 18 to go to university and while she promised herself she'd never look back, it didn’t quite work out that way. A frank, honest, and at times funny memoir about the tethers of family, identity, and self worth, Motherwell looks at what we inherit and how it can be good and bad. Orr sadly passed away in Oct. 2019 and her memoir tells the story of her younger life.

You can pre-order it here.


‘The Other People’ by CJ Tudor

If thrillers are your thing then you’ve got to get your hands on The Other People by CJ Tudor. Driving home one night Gabe sees the face of a small girl in the back of the car in front of him. It’s his five-year-old daughter Izzy. He never sees her again but he spend three years, day and night, searching for his child. He may feel alone but one person knows what happened to Izzy. The Other People will break your heart and keep you on the edge of your seat.

You can pre-order it here.


‘If I Don’t Have You’ by Sareeta Domingo

Kayla is a creative, confident London native living out her dream in New York. With a secret green card wedding to her close friend on the horizon, she meets charismatic film director Ren just at the wrong time. Drawn together until distance and deep secrets tear them apart, it’s two years before they meet again. Can they forgive each other and give in to their love?

You can pre-order it here.


‘I Am Not Your Baby Mother’ by Candice Brathwaite

When Candice Brathwaite found out she was pregnant, she started to look for a bit of inspiration. However, the glossy magazine and yummy mummies left her cold. She questioned, “where are all the black mothers?” I Am Not Your Baby Mother is a guide to life from a black mother. In it, Brathwaite talks about pregnancy, playground politics, and racially driven microaggressions.

You can pre-order it here.


‘The Squiggly Career’ by Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis

The new year is a great time to reassess what you’re doing and where your career is going. While looking at big life changes can be fun they’re also pretty daunting. The Squiggly Career throws out the idea that your career should be linear or you’re on some sort of ladder. Packed with helpful advice from Tupper and Ellis, as well as experts you’ll feel totally prepared to switch up what you’re doing and take a whole different direction.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Such A Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is the life coach that has it all and wants to tell other women how to do it too. However, she is left shaken when she finds out that her babysitter Emira has been accused of kidnapping her two-year-old daughter by a supermarket security guard questioning why a black woman would be accompanying a white child. Alix she wants to make things right, but Emira is unsure about accepting her help. And when something from Alix’s past emerges, the two women have to renegotiate their relationship.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Sex & Lies’ by Leila Slimani

A prize-winning novelist, Leila Slimani has made her first step into the world of non-fiction with Sex and Lies. In her essays she gives a voice to the women of Morocco who are trying to negotiate a ultra-conservative culture with more modern notions of sex and sexual identity. Shining a light on the two options, wife or virgin, Slimani writes intimately about freedom, love, and desire.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes’ reputation prevails her and for good reason. Grown Ups tells the tale of the Caseys, they’re the kind of family you look at and wonder what they don’t have. However, like so many stories of forced perfection what lies under the surface is a lot uglier. While some family members fight, others like each other far too much. However, after an accident all of their secrets start to unravel.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Inferno’ by Catherine Cho

After traveling to the U.S. to introduce her family to her newborn son, Catherine Cho found herself on a psych ward with little understanding of how she got there. Inferno is an exploration of how we understand ourselves and our identities.

You can pre-order it here.


‘The Water Dancer’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Hiram Walker is born into bondage of a Virginia plantation. However, he has a gift that he doesn’t discover until he tries to escape when he is much older. He joins the ranks of secret agents who endeavour to close down the plantations and free those who are enslaved on them. While he may have escaped, his heart is still with his former makeshift family and the people who got him through his darkest times.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Wintering’ by Katherine May

Part memoir, part exploration into the effects that the great outdoors can have on our health, Wintering explains the role that nature had in Katherine May's life, getting her through the darkest year of her life when she felt frozen inside.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Actress’ by Anne Enright

A moving story about celebrity status, sexual power, and a daughters mission to uncover her mother's truth Actress tells the tale of Norah as she retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life. However, Norah cannot anticipate what she uncovers. After her mother commits a bizzare crime she realises their experiences may be more similar to what she first thought. Two women, assaulted and silenced, establish a way to recover.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Love In Colour’ by Bolu Babalola

Debut author Bolu Babalola retells the mythical and magical stories you know so well in a new and vibrant detail. From Greek myths to magical Nigerian folktales to the ancient stories of South Asia, Babalola shows all the colours of love around the world. If you’re a sucker for a love story Love In Colour is a celebration of pure romance.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Lift As You Climb’ by Viv Groskop

Navigating work as a woman in 2019 can be pretty tough. Between monetizing your hobbies, being the best ‘girl boss’, and raising the profile of women around you Viv Groskop explains what sisterhood looks like now and how you can raise yourself up. Described as “the ultimate confidence bible for women who want to plan a career in a fast moving world, but without leaving anyone else behind” Lift As You Climb addresses how to be ambitious without losing your sense of self.

You can pre-order it here.


‘The Family Tree’ by Sairish Hussain

With the lead line “your routes will always lead you home” The Family Tree is a story about a British Muslim family full of love and trying to get past the devastation in their history. After the death of his wife. Amjad knows he must protect his two young children, Saahil and Zahra. Years later Saahil is out celebrating with friends when danger comes knocking.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Olive’ by Emma Gannon

There's a little bit of Olive in all of us. Questioning whether she’s on the right path, if it’s okay that she doesn’t want kids, and how to really navigate adulthood, she’s having to face the fact that her friends are starting to think about marriage and children and she doesn’t feel there yet. Incredibly warm and loveable you won’t be able to put Olive down.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Us Three’ by Ruth Jones

Lana, Judith, and Catrin promised they’d be by each other sides until the very end. Together since primary school and going through life together they realise that the promise to always be in each others lives might be a bit much. After a big trip together it transpires that some things are too hard to forgive.

You can pre-order it here.


‘The Gilded Ones’ by Namina Forna

Sixteen-year-old Deka is counting down the days until her blood ceremony, the day that will confirm whether she belongs to her village not. When the fateful day comes her worst fears are realised. As she works out what to do next, a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. She leaves the life she knows to become a new woman.

You can pre-order it here.


‘Marilou Is Everywhere’ by Sarah Elaine Smith

Cindy is in an impossible position. At 14, she’s living in a house that infrequently has electricity, an absent mother, and one book. As the prospect of her two older brothers taking on her care looms, Cindy escapes. In another home across the city, Jude Vanderjohn goes missing, and Cindy slides right into her place. Surrounded by parental love and ample opportunity, Cindy must now deal with the secret she harbours.

You can pre-order it here.


So, there you have it. If you want a head start on the books you have to read over the next six months then add each of these 11 books to your basket and wishlist and get ordering now.