15 Most-Anticipated Books of 2020 You’ll Want to Pre-Order
From a new American classic to a Hunger Games prequel, you’ll want to make room on your shelf for this year’s upcoming page-turners.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Good Reads top books
It’s impossible to know which books will blow us away before we read them. But we do know which ones bookworms are dying to get their hands before the ink has even dried. Goodreads has scoured 90 million readers’ “want-to-read” lists to narrow down the 15 most anticipated books of 2020. The results highlight a range of authors, from Hunger Games’ Suzanne Collins (the odds are indeed in her favor) to newcomers like Noé Álvarez. While you wait for these selections to be released, catch up on the most unappreciated books of 2019.
Beloved author Jeanine Cummins has done it again—American Dirt is already an Amazon bestseller, even before the novel’s January 21 release date. The story of a Mexican mother and son forced to flee their home and find refuge has received praise from the likes of Stephen King and Ann Patchett. Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street) says,” “This book is not simply the great American novel; it’s the great novel of las Americas. It’s the great world novel! This is the international story of our times.” Without a doubt, American Dirt will fly off the shelves in its first run later this month. For a list of other classics you don’t want to miss, check out our list of 50 books to read before you’re 50.
The Night Watchman
Based on author Louise Erdrich’s own grandfather, The Night Watchman tells the story of one man’s fight against the removal of Native people from rural North Dakota in 1953. The story comes to life with fictional characters living in an all-too-real situation. Goodreads.com member Esil, who received an advanced copy, wrote, “The Night Watchman is my first Louise Erdrich novel, but it won’t be my last. For me, this was historical fiction at its best.” This beautiful novel is perfect for American history buffs, who will also enjoy these iconic books set in each of the 50 states.
My Dark Vanessa
Readers lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa have called is unsettling, disturbing, and—as the title suggests—dark. Told through dual timelines, in 2000 and 2017, high school-aged Vanessa throws herself into a passionate affair with her English teacher while her future self reckons with the news that he has been accused of sexual abuse once again. A psychologically tumultuous picture of the #metoo movement, My Dark Vanessa is the sort of book that readers are eager to love or hate. Whether the masses choose to accept the horror of the story or reject it for its subject matter, thousands are waiting in the wings for the March 10 release date. Until then, pick up one of these hair-raising thriller novels.
A Good Neighborhood
Therese Anne Fowler takes on a gnarly web of social issues—racial profiling, class, white privilege, and sexual abuse—in this story about a small North Carolina town with a new family in the neighborhood. The book is told from multiple viewpoints (presumably several of the neighbors’) and asks questions like “What does it mean to be a good neighbor?” and “How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?” Renowned author Jodi Picoult (one of the most binge-worthy writers of all time) says she devoured the book in one sitting, which is enough to spur readers on to put A Good Neighborhood on their must-read lists.
The Glass Hotel
This is the latest ambitious story from Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, on our list of book club suggestions everyone should read. But unlike Mandel’s last masterpiece, The Glass Hotel is not otherworldly or post-apocalyptic. Instead, it’s a realistic story about a wealthy investment scam gone awry, a woman’s disappearance, and ghosts of the past. Goodreads.com reviewer Blair wrote, “The Glass Hotel reeled me in quietly. There are no big shocks or dramatic twists here, just thoughtful portraits of characters who feel very much like real people…[It’s] everyday magic.”
All Adults Here
According to the synopsis, Emma Straub’s latest book begins when protagonist Astrid Strick is flooded memories of her past after she sees a school bus accident in town. The moment forces her to reckon with her parenting style and the relationships she has with her adult children. The book has already roused a flood of fans clamoring to find out how Astrid’s story ends. Straub’s other book, The Vacationers, made our list of 50 best summer reads of all time.
Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom covers a lot of ground through the story of a Ghanaian family in Alabama. The main character, Gifty, spends his time at the Stanford School of Medicine studying patterns of depressions and addition in mice. She begins using her neuroscience research to understand the suffering in her own family, from her brother’s death by heroin overdose to her mother’s chronic depression. Critics say the book takes on big questions about faith, grief, science, and love. Goodreads.com reviewer Jessica Jeffers wrote, “If, in ten years, this doesn’t end up on every ‘Best of the Decade’ list, I don’t know what to believe. This novel is astonishing and I hope it’s one of the biggest books of 2020.” Until this is released on September 15, keep yourself busy by reading the 25 bestselling books from the last decade.
Long Bright River
Positive reviews have been rolling in ever since Long Bright River flooded bookstores on January 7. The book is about two sisters navigating the opioid crisis in Philadelphia. One is locked in an endless cycle of addiction, the other is a cop. Though the siblings are not on speaking terms, a string of murders and one sister’s disappearance propels the other into an obsessive, dangerous hunt for the truth. Paula Hawkins, the author of The Girl on the Train, praised the tome calling it “an outstanding crime novel.” Both books are page-turners you’ll enjoy powering through on your next snow day.
The City We Became
For lovers of fantasy and urban fiction and the blurred lines between comic book plots and real life, you can’t do better than the first book in N.K. Jemisin’s new series: “The City.” As urban settings go, New York City is a natural pick, yet what is decidedly unnatural about Jemisin’s NYC, according to fans, is the way the city in the book has a soul and mind of its own. The twisty plot follows five New Yorkers who represent the city’s protectors. They come together to thwart an ancient evil bent on destroying their home. If you can’t wait until March 24 for The City We Became, pick up one of the best fantasy books readers can’t put down.