The 35 Most Anticipated Books Of January 2020
New year, new books, amirite? The new decade is kicking off with a bang, and I've got the 35 most anticipated books of January 2020 to keep you reading all the way through the month. From a collection of Zora Neale Hurston's "lost" stories to an all-new Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel, trust me — you aren't going to want to miss any of the great books January 2020 has to offer.
January is chock full of long-awaited sequels and hot author releases this year. In the next several weeks, you can finally get your hands on Tessa Gratton's Shakespeare-inspired fantasy, Lady Hotspur, and One of Us Is Next, Karen M. McManus' highly anticipated follow-up to One of Us Is Lying. You can also check out brand-new novels from Isabel Allende, C.J. Tudor, and Maureen Johnson.
Also on the docket are several releases Bustle previewed for you in 2019. Crissy Van Meter's debut novel, Creatures, is out this month, as are Jennifer Longo's latest novel, What I Carry, and Gabby Noone's afterlife comedy, Layoverland. Former Bustle editor Emma Lord is making her debut this month with Tweet Cute, a can't-miss rom-com.
Here are the 35 most anticipated books of January 2020:
Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains by Cassie Chambers (Jan. 7)
Ivy League-educated attorney Cassie Chambers penned this microhistory of her Appalachian family, which began with a teenage mother who raised, in addition to six other children, Chambers' mother, Wilma, who would become the first member of her family to graduate from high school.
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton (Jan. 7)
The follow-up to Tessa Gratton's King Lear retelling, The Queens of Innis Lear, this January novel reframes the story of Henry IV in the world of Innis Lear. Set a few hundred years after the events of the first novel, Lady Hotspur centers on the eponymous former knight, who has been turned into the heir of a new nation, thanks to her mother's coup.
F*ck Your Diet and Other Things My Thighs Tell Me by Chloé Hilliard (Jan. 7)
An essay collection focused on media representations of the body, Chloé Hilliard's F*ck Your Diet is an irreverent must-read. Examining the quest for the so-called perfect body — a quest used to fuel Western consumerism — comedian Hilliard writes of her once-fraught relationship with her body, in the hope that others can find their way out of the yo-yo dieting cycle.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (Jan. 7)
Once the rulers of La Cuidad, the Illustrians were cast out when Atoc used ancient magic to overthrow them. When he insists on marrying the Illustrian Condesa, the undesirable situation leaves her body-double, Ximena, to go to La Cuidad in the Condesa's place. Ximena wants to be a proper part of the resistance movement, but her new allies claim that there's only one way to take down Atoc without plunging the nation into war, a method that will require her to give up her allegiance to the Condesa.
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (Jan. 7)
The last time we saw the Wolcott twins, Jack was hauling Jill's lifeless body home to the Gothic literature-inspired Moors, hoping for redemption and a secure life in the world that chose them. Now, Jack has been brought back to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, but she's definitely not the same. Not physically, anyway. What's more, with Jack away from home, every mortal in the Moors is at risk of falling victim to Jill's scheming and rage. The Wayward Children are going to have to break Eleanor's rule against quests if they want to help Jack return home and stop Jill from wreaking havoc on the Moors.
One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus (Jan. 7)
The follow-up to 2017's awards-nominated One of Us Is Lying, Karen M. McManus' One of Us Is Next picks up where the last novel left off. A year ago, her sister Bronwyn was accused — and acquitted — of murdering Simon, the designer of Bayview High's hot gossip app. Now, Maeve's just become the first target in a new game. It's only Truth or Dare, so everyone knows the rules, right? Wrong.
First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
Jessie Teska's first big case as a San Francisco medical examiner is a mystery only she wants to see solved. What looks like a simple overdose bears the hallmarks of a local drug kingpin's involvement. Jessie wants the truth, wants justice for the victim, but everyone else, from her boss to the S.F.P.D., just wants her to close the case and leave well enough alone. But as more victims pour into her morgue, Jessie knows she won't be able to sleep soundly until she's solved the case — or died trying.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore (Jan. 7)
Philadelphia cop Mickey might have stopped talking to her homeless sister, Kacey, but that doesn't mean she doesn't care. When Kacey vanishes, Mickey is thrown deep into an investigation regarding a series of murder victims found on her beat. But how is Kacey's disappearance connected? Weaving Mickey's present-day detective work with vignettes from the sisters' past, Liz Moore's Long Bright River is the early 2020 thriller everyone will be talking about.
We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding (Jan. 7)
From The Summer of Jordi Perez author Amy Spalding comes this new coming-of-age novel about two former BFFs navigating their lives apart. In only a year, James and Kat have gone from being attached at the hip to not speaking to one another at all. As James prepares to go to college without Kat, she gets some shocking news: Her parents are getting a divorce. Meanwhile, Kat, who has just gotten her first girlfriend and fallen in love, feels adrift without James to ground her. But the question remains — why did the two girls stop being friends in the first place?
Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman (Jan. 7)
In 2018, Catherine Steadman's Something in the Water landed on Reese's Book Club and in readers' hearts. Steadman is back with a new novel in 2020. Mr. Nobody follows Emma Lewis, a neuropsychiatrist, as she travels back to her hometown to interview a man who turned up on the beach with no memories of his past. Emma has worked hard to erase her own history from the books, but as she begins talking with her patient — dubbed "Mr. Nobody" in the press — she realizes that he knows the secrets she's tried to keep, even if he doesn't know who he is or where he came from.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred D. Taylor (Jan. 7)
The new book from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry author Mildred D. Taylor, All the Days Past, All the Days to Come is the final chapter in the Logans' story. Tracing 20 years of Cassie Logan's life, from World War II to the Civil Rights Era, the 10th book in Taylor's Logans series is one to remember. Fresh out of law school on the East Coast, Cassie returns home to register her old friends and neighbors to vote. But can she ever hope to make a life in a place that feels as if it will never change?
Creatures by Crissy Van Meter (Jan. 7)
A woman preparing for marriage in the midst of great and alienating strife takes center stage in this 2020 debut. Evie has been planning a new life on Winter Island, separated from her past. On the day before her wedding, however, three complications arise. Her estranged mother turns up, a dead whale washes ashore near her home, and her husband-to-be appears to have disappeared into the waves. As Evie waits for these problems to sort themselves out, she's forced to reckon with the ghosts of her childhood, which she spent living with her father on the island.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen (Jan. 7)
For her entire life, Ever Wong has been an unwitting competitor to Rick Woo, a boy who doesn't even know she exists. Rick was a child prodigy, and, in her parents' eyes, Ever was never able to live up to his achievements. The summer after her high school graduation, Ever finds herself living in Taiwan and studying Mandarin — with Rick Woo. Her parents want her to learn something from students like Rick, and become familiar with her ethnic culture along the way, but they don't know the truth about Ever's summer camp — It's actually an informal dating service and Taiwan's party central.
Chosen by Kiersten White (Jan. 9)
The final book in Kiersten White's Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in duology, Chosen picks up where 2019's Slayer left off. Nina is living in the Watcher's Castle with her mother and a handful of demons, trying to reconcile her feelings about losing and re-gaining her Slayer powers. But Nina doesn't have time for reflection. A mysterious symbol has begun cropping up in connection with a certain group of demons — and one of the castle's own denizens — and something or someone is looking for the last Slayer.
Followers by Megan Angelo (Jan. 14)
Megan Angelo's debut novel follows three women — Orla, Floss, and Marlow — as they reckon with the trappings of fame. Orla longs to become a serious writer, and her roommate Floss wants more visual success. Floss has a plan, but the two women will have to compromise their morals, and the bounds of social media, in order to get what they want. Thirty-five years later, Orla and Floss' plan has had far-reaching consequences. Marlow is an official, legally recognized celebrity living in a self-contained California town, where everyone spends all day on camera, but she wants to abandon her millions of followers by going off-camera for the first time in a very long time.
Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown (Jan. 14)
A young girl growing up in a desperate place gets a magical education in this debut novel. Black Girl Unlimited introduces readers to Echo, the 6-year-old daughter of a mother who lives with a heavy crack addiction. As a young wizard, Echo should be learning the ways of magic from her wizard mom, but her mother's illness prevents her from engaging with her daughter. Instead, Echo learns to slip across the boundary between our world and the realms of magic, picking up invaluable life lessons from other wizards along the way.
You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast (Jan. 14)
The New Yorker's Patricia Marx and Roz Chast join forces for this hilarious send-up of coupled life. Containing sage advice about everything from blanket-hogging to misophonia, You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time will make you laugh even as it makes you feel horribly, utterly, seen.
The Tenant by Katrine Engberg (Jan. 14)
Winter wouldn't be complete without a great Nordic Noir novel, and that's exactly what Katrine Engberg's The Tenant is. The story here centers on Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner, two Copenhagen detectives tasked with solving the bloody killing of a young woman in her apartment. The late Julie Stender's landlady, Esther de Laurenti, is known for her drinking and obnoxious parties, but her fiction is all Kørner and Werner want to discuss. Because Julie's the victim in Esther's unpublished novel, and the detectives need to find out why, before another character dies. First published in 2016, The Tenant is finally available in English this January.
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston (Jan. 14)
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is the second posthumous Zora Neale Hurston book to be published in recent years, following 2018's Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo." Containing eight stories that were never widely published, this Jan. 14 release is a must-read for anyone interested in Hurston and the Harlem Renaissance.
Little Gods by Meng Jin (Jan. 14)
Liya was born in Beijing in 1989, on the same night that student activists were mowed down in Tiananmen Square. Raised in the United States, she knows very little about the country of her birth, but when her mother, Su Lan, dies, the 17-year-old must carry her ashes back to China. As Liya reconciles what she knows of her mother with what she learns about her homeland, two other voices — those of Liya's father, Yongzong, and Su Lan's last tie to China, Zhu Wen — join hers to complete Su Lan's narrative.
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (Jan. 14)
Set both in the present day and during the Dancing Plague of 1518, Dark and Deepest Red follows Lavinia and Rosella, two young women for whom dancing may be deadly. Rosella can't take off her red shoes, and she can't stop dancing, but a boy named Emil may be able to help. Five centuries ago, Emil's ancestor, Lavinia, was part of a family blamed for killing the inhabitants of Strasbourg with a dancing curse. But can he find out what really happened, all those years ago, in time to save Rosella?
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (Jan. 14)
In this Silicon Valley memoir, Anna Wiener recounts her time spent wide-eyed — and later, wizened — at a startup. Set on the cusp of the tech bubble's formation and collapse, Uncanny Valley examines the recent past — both the author's and the country's — with wit and clarity.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Jan. 21)
The new novel from The House of the Spirits author Isabel Allende, A Long Petal of the Sea follows a young couple trapped in a marriage of convenience as they try to escape fascism in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. Roser, pregnant with the child of her deceased husband, is forced to marry his brother, Victor, an army doctor, in order to flee General Franco's regime. The newlyweds join more than 2,000 others on a ship bound for Chile, where they intend to start their lives anew. But problems are just beginning for Roser and Victor in this family saga.
Spellhacker by M.K. England (Jan. 21)
After a magical disaster kills thousands of Kyrkarta's citizens, an evil corporation monopolizes magic — or "maz" — from the roots. Living in the aftermath of the spellplague, Diz and her friends know that maz was once a free resource, not a bought-and-sold commodity. The expense of the corporate-controlled maz has created a niche industry for Diz, who steals the magical stuff to sell for a lower price. One last heist is all Diz and company need to set themselves up for life, but uncovering a powerful — and potentially lethal — secret leads them to investigate the spellplague, behind which lies a conspiracy that could either end the world or deliver it.
Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield (Jan. 21)
A retelling of Henry VIII's fraught marital history, Olivia Hayfield's Wife After Wife centers on Harry Rose, the head of a vast media corporation. After spending a lot of time at the top, Harry is about to have his luck run out. Something's fishy about his business dealings and his love life, and it's only a matter of time until the truth comes out. Narrated by six wives spanning three decades, Wife After Wife is a dirty-laundry treat you won't want to miss.
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson (Jan. 21)
The conclusion to Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious series, The Hand on the Wall follows junior detective and true-crime fan Stevie Bell as she finally solves the case of Ellingham Academy's murderous history. There have been six deaths in all, three of them during Stevie's early days at Ellingham, and all of them marked by a mocking series of riddles signed by "Truly Devious." Stevie thinks she's broken the case wide open, but a series of new distractions are all set to complicate matters.
What I Carry by Jennifer Longo (Jan. 21)
Muir has spent her entire life in the foster system, so she knows a few things about how to survive in a constantly shifting world. When she leaves a home, she takes one suitcase, no sentimental items, and no attachments to others. She just has to make it through one more year before she can finally be free of the system, but meeting her last foster mother, and getting to know the people in her little town, might change things for Muir.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Jan. 21)
In addition to being the captain of her swim team and a straight-A student, Pepper also manages the Twitter profile for Big League Burger, her family's chain of fast-food joints. When a local deli accuses Big League Burger of stealing its family grilled cheese recipe, Pepper goes on the offensive in a viral Twitter war against Jack, her classmate and least-favorite person ever. But Jack's also the creator of an anonymous app where he and Pepper don't know they're talking to each other... but are both pretty sure they're falling in love.
Layoverland by Gabby Noone (Jan. 21)
Two teens killed in a car accident connect on the other side in this inventive debut novel from Gabby Noone. Stuck in purgatory, Bea must help 5,000 lost souls figure out why they didn't go to heaven if she wants her own chance to walk through the pearly gates. Her first assignment is the last person she ever wants to see again — Caleb, the boy responsible for the accident that killed them both. If she ever wants to leave purgatory, she'll have to help Caleb get into heaven, but that's going to be a difficult task. For one thing, she hates him. And for another, she's totally falling for him.
The Seep by Chana Porter (Jan. 21)
This debut novel is unlike anything you've ever read. After an alien entity called The Seep invades Earth, everything becomes possible. The world is perfect, and anything you can imagine can be achieved using Seeptech. That's exactly the problem for Trina, a trans woman whose wife has just used Seeptech to start a new life as an infant in their utopian society. As she tries to move on from Deeba's departure, Trina meets a little boy who needs her help, or so she thinks.
Remembrance by Rita Woods (Jan. 21)
In 1791 Haiti, Abigail, a widowed, enslaved woman is dragged away from the fighting, to New Orleans, where she is liberated by two sorcerers. Nearly 60 years later, her mistress' grandson-in-law bankrupts his family, leading to the sale of two young sisters, Veronique and Margot. Seizing on a chance at freedom, the sisters attempt to flee, but only Margot makes it out alive. She finds a utopian community, run by Abigail, where black individuals and families may live safe and secure from the horrors of slavery. Abigail's and Margot's stories intertwine with that of Gaelle, a health care worker living in modern-day Cleveland, who meets a mysterious old woman bearing striking similarities to herself.
Diamond City by Francesca Flores (Jan. 28)
Her parents' double murder left Aina Solís an orphan. She alone can keep their tradition — the outlawed practice of blood magic — alive. Now 18 years old and working as part of a gang of assassins in a city run by corrupt diamond miners and traders, Aina feels torn between her contracts to kill the evil men in power and her parents' beliefs on helping and healing others. As she sets out to kill one of the city's wealthiest men, Aina must decide who — or what — she wants to be.
When You See Me by Lisa Gardner (Jan. 28)
Jacob Ness may be dead, but his work lives on. To follow the digital path left behind by the late kidnapper, F.B.I. Agent Kimberly Quincy and Detective D.D. Warren bring in one of Ness' victims, Flora Dane, to help them answer their remaining questions about the criminal. Their work brings the three women to Georgia, where Jacob Ness has left one final, terrible secret to await them.
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha (Jan. 28)
Robin doesn't speak English, but she doesn't need to. She and her mom live in Seoul, where they've always lived, where they've always made things work. But now things are changing. On a trip to Huntsville, Alabama, Robin learns that her mother is getting married. It's not just the two of them anymore, and they're never going to live in Seoul again. Everything has changed, and everything sucks — except for the comic-creation class Robin's mom has just enrolled her in.
The Other People by C.J. Tudor (Jan. 28)
Three years ago, Gabe was coming home from work when he saw his daughter crying out for him from the backseat of a stranger's vehicle. That was the night she and her mother disappeared, the night so many people thought Gabe was responsible for. Unable to accept the official ruling — that his family were murdered in their home — Gabe gives up everything to drive up and down that same patch of highway, looking for answers.