Do you have a book club? Are you planning to start a book club in 2019? Are you a little bit stressed about what books you're going to pick? I'm here to help! There are literally hundreds of new books coming out in the coming months, and it can be difficult to decide which books deserve a spot on your personal to be read stacks, let alone decide which books everyone in your book club will be excited to pick up. Of course, you already know that the ideal book club pick inspires conversation, incites strong feelings, leads to in-depth analysis, and let's be honest, pairs well with a variety of wines and snacks from Trader Joe's. I've got 20 books below that check off all of the above.
Whether you belong to a club that focuses on a particular genre or a subject, or you belong a club that skips all over the place — from young adult novels to non-fiction to romance — there's something on this list for you. The 20 books below will be sure to inspire passionate debates and conversations. But more importantly, they'll definitely keep you — and your friends — flipping pages long into the night.
'On The Come Up' by Angie Thomas (Feb. 5)
Angie Thomas's sophomore novel looks at legacy, systemic poverty, race, rap music, and stardom through the eyes of 16-year-old Bri. Like The Hate U Give, this book is sure to inspire conversation about black lives in contemporary America.
'Watch Us Rise' by Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan (Feb. 12)
Watch Us Rise is must-read, especially for a feminist-focused book club. The book follows Jasmine and Chelsea, two teens who use essays and poetry to speak out against their high school's treatment of women.
'Internment' by Samira Ahmed (March 19)
Samira Ahmed's terrifying dystopian novel is set in a horrifying near-future United States, where 17-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. Although it's fiction, the story is frighteningly possible.
'With The Fire On High' by Elizabeth Acevedo (May 7)
Elizabeth Acevedo's forthcoming YA book follows high school senior and young mother Emoni Santiago, who has dreams of becoming a chef. The themes of passion versus practicality, race and opportunity, and embracing your truth will get your book club talking.
'Five Midnights' by Ann Dávila Cardinal (June 4)
Five Midnights combines Puerto Rican mythology with a thrilling mystery in its story of two teens, Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre, who attempt to solve a series of murders. The members of your book club will love trying to solve this one as they read.
'Somewhere Only We Know' by Maurene Goo (May 7)
Inspired in part by Roman Holiday, Maurene Goo's new book follows K-pop star Sunny and tabloid reporter Jack as hey fall in love over the course of one whirlwind day in Hong Kong. For a fun activity, your book club can compare and contrast the book with the classic film that inspired it — and maybe listen to a killer K-pop playlist while you chat.
'Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America' by Various Authors (Jan. 8)
This moving anthology of stories by black authors from a spectrum of background will hopefully inspire some important conversations in your club.
'Roar: 30 Stories One Roar' by Cecelia Ahern (April 16)
Cecelia Ahern's collection of 30 interwoven tales explores motherhood, career, politics, and more women's issues. It's a relatable read that the members of your book club will find resonant and compelling.
'Thick: And Other Essays' by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Jan. 8)
Tressie McMillan Cottom's collection of essays explores race, beauty, money, and more. You're going to have a lot to talk about with this one.
'All The Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace In Virginia Woolf' by Katharine Smyth (Jan. 22)
All The Lives We Ever Lived is a lyrical memoir about Katharine Smyth's connection to Virginia Woold's writing, and the power of literature in our darkest times. Book clubs can pair this reading with To The Lighthouse to add some depth to the conversation, or they can discuss their own literary heroes.
'The Art of Leaving: A Memoir' by Ayelet Tsabari (Feb. 19)
Ayelet Tsabari's memoir of her turbulent years in the Israel Defense Force and the loss of her beloved father will prompt conversations of grief, cultural loyalty, familial identity, and feelings of displacement. It will be a touching book club read for anyone who has ever dealt with any of the above.
'Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience' by Anuradha Bhagwati (March 26)
Anuradha Bhagwati's memoir is an unflinching look at her life as a former U.S. Marine Captain. She chronicles her journey from dutiful daughter of immigrants to radical activist, and it may take more than one meeting to discuss her story.
'I Miss You When I Blink' by Mary Laura Philpott (April 2)
Mary Lara Philpott's essay collection will be particularly meaningful to ambitious millennials everywhere. In it, she discusses what happened after she checked off all the boxes on her successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to rewrite the list — and reinvent herself. Yeah, grab an extra bottle of wine for this meeting.
'Trust Exercise' by Susan Choi (April 9)
If you want a book with a shocking narrative twist, Susan Choi's Trust Exercise is perfect. It follows two freshman at a performing arts school and their charismatic acting teacher. And the truth of their lives will not be revealed until you're hundreds of pages deep into the story. You're going to need to process this one with other people, which makes it the perfect book club selection.
'A Good Enough Mother: A Novel' by Bev Thomas (April 30)
You're going to need at least one psychological thriller, and Thomas's A Good Enough Mother is just the one. When psychotherapist Ruth is assigned a patient that looks just like her missing son, her life spirals out of control.
'Star-Crossed' by Minnie Darke (May 21)
Astrology-loving book clubs will adore this rom-com about newspaper writer Justine and her crush Nick. When Justine finds out that Nick lets the stars guide his decisions, she takes his horoscope into her own hands. You and your book club will be comparing astrological dating disasters in no time.
'The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel' by Jeanne Mackin (June 25)
The Last Collection is set in 1938, and follows an American woman as she becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Iconic female feuds make for some juicy stories, and the high-stakes world of the fashion industry will lay the foundation for some seriously interesting conversation.
'We Came Here To Forget' by Andrea Dunlop (July 2)
Andrea Dunlop's novels were made for book clubs. This one is a gripping story of family secrets and dangerous ambition that follows Katie Cleary, an Olympic hopeful who tries to live under a new identity when her career is ruined after dark truths about her sister come to light.
'Bunny: A Novel' by Mona Awad (June 11)
Mona Awad's provocative novel follows a lonely graduate student who is drawn into a mysterious clique of privileged girls known as the Bunnies and begins to take part in their strange off-campus rituals. Social acceptance, female friendship, the coming-of-age process... it's all ripe for the discussion here.
'The Wedding Party' by Jasmine Guillory (July 16)
Every book club needs at least one swoony romance read to discuss over a bottle of rosé, and Jasmine Guillory's forthcoming book is definitely it. Maddie and Theo hate each other.... but they're forced to acknowledge their undeniable chemistry when their mutual best friend gets married.