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The 2020 Books You Should Add to Your Reading List

best books 2020
Design By Morgan McMullen

Somehow we've made it to the end of 2020. Despite being a trash year overall, it's still been an amazing year for books. Fiction seems to be the most compelling genre—see: Emily Henry's Beach Read and Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half—as we attempt to immerse ourselves in another world to escape the current political climate and COVID-19 crisis. Then there are the purely therapeutic books, like Lili Reinhart's Swimming Lessons and Maggie Smith's Keep Moving, that encourage us to practice more self-love. Ahead, a list of the 2020 book releases we loved the most.

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'Long Bright River' By Liz Moore
amazon.com
$26.00
$16.43 (37% off)

The opioid crisis is plaguing our country. Liz Moore brings the crisis to light in a twisty mystery where one of two inseparable sisters addicted to drugs goes missing. Oh, and that just so happens while a string of murders are happening in their Philadelphia neighborhood.

Available January 7, 2020

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'Topics of Conversation' By Miranda Popkey
amazon.com
$24.00
$12.40 (48% off)

If you loved Lisa Taddeo's Three Women, you'll appreciate Miranda Popkey's debut novel, Topics of Conversation. The book is formatted into a series of conversations between fictional women who discuss everything from motherhood to loneliness to anger and guilt. 

Available January 7, 2020

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'We Wish You Luck' By Caroline Zancan
amazon.com
$26.00
$17.41 (33% off)

It's nearly impossible to describe the premise of Caroline Zancan's We Wish You Luck. Just know that a group of students want to take revenge on their professor, and this is their story. 

Available January 14, 2020

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'Followers' By Megan Angelo
amazon.com
$26.99
$14.78 (45% off)

Megan Angelo's debut novel traces the stories of three women, unexpectedly connected, who find themselves on the brink of high-profile success while discovering what their follower counts really means for their goals and dreams. It's a deep dive into the social media dominance we currently live within with lots of dark and hilarious turns. 

Available January 14, 2020

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'Uncanny Valley' By Anna Wiener
amazon.com
$27.00
$14.99 (44% off)

When Anna Wiener was in her mid-20s, she left her book publishing job in New York City for a data startup in Silicon Valley. What she didn't realize is that she'd find herself in a falsely progressive world masked by company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies. In her memoir, Wiener documents the rise and fall of her Silicon Valley dream. 

Available January 14, 2020

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'Love Her or Lose Her' By Tessa Bailey
amazon.com
$15.99
$12.31 (23% off)

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey writes a juicy rom-com about a couple who seemingly grows apart instead of growing together—forcing one of them to establish a marriage boot camp and the other to expose a big secret. 

Available January 14, 2020 

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'Open Book' By Jessica Simpson
amazon.com
$28.99
$16.00 (45% off)

Every person nostalgic for the early 2000s will fall in love with Jessica Simpson's juicy memoir, Open Book, where she talks about everything from her relationship with ex John Mayer to how she convinced people to take her seriously while building an epic career. 

Available February 4, 2020

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'The Other Mrs.' By Mary Kubica
amazon.com
$26.99
$14.44 (46% off)

Mary Kubica's The Other Mrs. tells the chilling story about a woman named Sadie who moves from Chicago to Maine with her husband. All seems well...until her next door neighbor is murdered and she's one of the whispered-about suspects. 

Available February 18, 2020

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'Here For It' By R. Eric Thomas
amazon.com
$17.84

One could argue that ELLE.com columnist R. Eric Thomas is one of the funniest people on the internet, and now he's blessing the world with his debut book, Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, filled with humorous essays about growing up and feeling like an outsider. 

Available February 18, 2020

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'The Girl With the Louding Voice' By Abi Daré
amazon.com
$26.00
$23.39 (10% off)

U.K.-based novelist Abi Daré makes her debut with an emotional story about a 14-year-old Nigerian woman determined to get an education and escape the fate of a child marriage her father forces her into with a local man.

Available February 25, 2020

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'Anna K: A Love Story' By Jenny Lee
amazon.com
$18.99
$12.99 (32% off)

Marie Claire's March #ReadWithMC pick, Anna K, certainly doesn't disappoint. Jenny Lee's modern YA retelling of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina follows rich kids in New York as they navigate everything from sex and relationships to drugs and depression. Expect to be reminded of Gossip Girl. 

Available March 3, 2020

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'The Henna Artist' By Alka Joshi
amazon.com
$26.99
$16.03 (41% off)

In Alka Joshi's The Henna Artist, 17-year-old Lakshmi escapes her rural village to Jaipur and becomes a henna artist to the wealthy, discovering secrets and challenges along the way. 

Available March 3, 2020

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'Writers & Lovers' By Lily King
amazon.com
$27.00
$12.45 (54% off)

Lily King, the bestselling author of Euphoria (2014), knows exactly how to combine love, grief, creativity, and balance. A young prodigy who loses her mother must confront how to channel her ambition again...all while finding herself in love with two men at the same time.

Available March 3, 2020

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'The Night Watchman' By Louise Erdrich
amazon.com
$28.99
$20.27 (30% off)

Based on the author's grandfather, The Night Watchman takes place in 1953 as Thomas Wazhashk fights against the consequential treatment of Native Americans after a bill threatens to take away their land. 

Available March 3, 2020

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'My Dark Vanessa' By Kate Elizabeth Russell
amazon.com
$27.99
$11.49 (59% off)

This isn't your cliché trope about a high school student-teacher relationship. Kate Elizabeth Russell brings forth all of the emotion and complexity when Vanessa discovers almost two decades later that her first love has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student. 

Available March 10, 2020

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'Untamed' By Glennon Doyle
amazon.com
$28.00
$15.50 (45% off)

Untamed is a beautiful memoir from activist, speaker, and bestselling author Glennon Doyle that explores the true lessons of motherhood, family, and divorce. 

Available March 10, 2020

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'In Five Years' By Rebecca Serle
amazon.com
$27.00
$12.53 (54% off)

Rebecca Serle's New York Times bestselling novel, In Five Years, is Marie Claire's April book club pick. Read an exclusive excerpt here, then dive in with us throughout the rest of the month. You'll devour it. 

Available March 10, 2020

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'The Herd' By Andrea Bartz
amazon.com
$27.00
$15.71 (42% off)

Anybody obsessed with the exclusivity of private women's clubs, typically accessible only to the elite, will appreciate Andrea Bartz's latest thriller, The Herd, about what happens to the members of (fictional) NYC–based THE HERD when its glitzy founder vanishes without a trace.

Available March 24, 2020

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'The Honey-Don't List' By Christina Lauren
amazon.com
$16.00
$9.29 (42% off)

You're always guaranteed a good time in Christina Lauren's novels, and The Honey Don't List is no exception. Home designers Melissa and Rusty Tripp have a very public Chip and Joanna Gaines-like relationship, except there's one problem: They actually can't stand each other. The story is told from the perspective of Melissa and Rusty's longtime employees, Carey and James, who are doing whatever it takes to keep their bosses' secret. 

Available March 24, 2020

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'It's Not All Downhill From Here' By Terry McMillan
amazon.com
$28.00
$13.13 (53% off)

Terry McMillan, the bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale is back with yet another heartwarming novel about the inevitabilities in life—this time with a 68-year-old who knows her best days are still ahead of her.

Available March 31, 2020

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'Chosen Ones' By Veronica Roth
amazon.com
$26.99
$12.23 (55% off)

The New York Times bestselling author of the YA Divergent series is releasing her debut #adult novel about the aftermath of a group of five teens who save the world, essentially asking the existential question: Where do we go from here? 

Available April 6, 2020

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'The Beauty of Your Face' By Sahar Mustafah
amazon.com
$26.95
$20.39 (24% off)

The unfortunate timeliness of Sahar Mustafah's The Beauty of Your Face will be triggering for anybody who has experienced gun violence or lost a loved one to gun violence. In the novel, a Palestinian principal for an all-girl Muslim school in Chicago is confronted with a school shooter fueled by radical alt-right beliefs.

Available April 7, 2020

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'Afterlife' By Julia Alvarez
amazon.com
$25.95
$15.29 (41% off)

Julia Alvarez, one of the most influential Latina writers of all time, returns with Afterlife—a story centered on Antonia Vega, an immigrant writer who is forced to cope with the sudden death of her husband, her sister's disappearance, and an undocumented teenager who shows up at her doorstep all at once.  

Available April 7, 2020

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'Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life' By Marie Kondo
amazon.com
$28.00
$22.22 (21% off)

The inimitable Marie Kondo is here to transform your messy desks...and stressful work relationships. 

Available April 7, 2020

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'Perfect Tunes' By Emily Gould
indiebound.org
$26.00

Fans of Daisy Jones & The Six will appreciate Emily Gould's Perfect Tunes—a story about one mother's journey to pursue her singing dreams and her daughter's quest to find the answers she's desperately searching for 15 years later.

Available April 14, 2020

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'The Book of Longings' By Sue Monk Kidd
amazon.com
$28.00
$13.30 (52% off)

You'll recognize Sue Monk Kidd from her critically-acclaimed novel The Secret Life of Bees (2003). In her fourth novel, The Book of Longings, she takes readers all the way back to the first century in a tale about a young woman who meets 18-year-old Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. 

Available April 21, 2020

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'All Adults Here' By Emma Straub
amazon.com
$27.00
$15.89 (41% off)

Emma Straub's All Adults Here will make you question your entire childhood, and how much your parents influenced it as you learn one mother's perspective of what went right and what went wrong with her own family. 

Available May 5, 2020 

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'Big Summer' By Jennifer Weiner
indiebound.org
$28.00

Jennifer Weiner always writes honest, relatable stories, and Big Summer—a story about ex friends Daphne Berg and Drue Cavanaugh who unexpectedly re-enter each other's lives—is no exception.

Available May 5, 2020

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'Rodham' By Curtis Sittenfeld
indiebound.org
$28.00

As one Marie Claire reviewer wrote, Curtis Sittenfeld writes a "frustrating but fascinating look" at Hillary Clinton's life if she didn't marry Bill. 

Available May 19, 2020

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'Beach Read' By Emily Henry
indiebound.org
$16.00

Emily Henry's Beach Read is a brilliant meta novel about two authors who are complete opposites and decide to spend the summer helping each other finish their books. Nobody will fall in love at the end, right? 

Available May 19, 2020

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'This Is My America' By Kim Johnson
indiebound.org
$316.00

In an unfortunately timely novel, Kim Johnson's This Is My America recounts the story of 17-year-old Tracy Beaumont who's working to get her innocent father off of death row. That is, until her older brother, Jamal, is accused of killing a white girl. Now, she's forced to discover the truth about what happened within the racist town her family resides in. 

Available July 28, 2020

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'Must I Go' By Yiyun Li
indiebound.org
$28.00

When 81-year-old Lilia Liska finds the diary of Roland Bouley, a man she once had an affair with, she finds herself outlining a different interpretation of events that transcends into themes of grief, loss, resilience, and rebirth.

Available July 28, 2020

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'Luster' By Raven Leilani
bookshop.org
$23.92

Marie Claire's August book club pick is Raven Leilani's brilliant debut about a young Black artist named Edie who finds herself in an open marriage with a man named Eric, a digital archivist, and his wife, an autopsist. What follows is an invitation into the couple's home, but not without struggles of racial and sexual identity as Edie attempts to navigate this chaotic world she's living in. 

Available August 4, 2020

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'Wandering in Strange Lands' By Morgan Jerkins
bookshop.org
$25.75

Morgan Jerkins, New York Times-bestselling author, is back with Wandering in Strange Lands—a powerful journey about discovering her roots and understanding how an entire lineage of Black Americans came to be who they are today. 

Available August 4, 2020

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'The Death of Vivek Oji' By Akwaeke Emezi
indiebound.org
$17.20

What would you do if you were a mother who opened the front door and discovered your son's body wrapped in colorful fabric? Akwaeke Emezi's The Death of Vivek Oji is equal parts brilliant and heartbreaking as readers are taken on a journey to discover the hidden parts of Vivek's life and the mystery surrounding his death. 

Available August 4, 2020

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'Midnight Sun' By Stephenie Meyer
indiebound.org
$27.99

Stephenie Meyer returns with the highly-anticipated continuation of the Twilight series. This time, fans are hearing Edward's side of the story.

Available August 4, 2020

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'The Black Kids' By Christina Hammonds Reed
indiebound.org
$18.99

When four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a Black man named Rodney King half to death, Ashley's Blackness is front and center. Now, she's no longer just "one of the girls" and is forced to navigate the racism she experiences as a Black woman living in L.A. during the 1992 riots.

Available August 4, 2020

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'They Wish They Were Us' By Jessica Goodman
amazon.com
$17.99
$14.22 (21% off)

After Jill's best friend, Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend freshman year, she attempts to begin her senior year in Gold Coast, Long Island, with a fresh mindset. That is, until she starts receiving texts insisting the boyfriend is innocent. 

Available August 4, 2020

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'Caste' By Isabel Wilkerson
penguinrandomhouse.com
$32.00

If you've already read Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist, add Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents to your reading list next. 

Available August 4, 2020

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'Finding Freedom' By Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand
bookshop.org
$36.79

Royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand released Finding Freedom—an inside look into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's life over the past few years and the decision behind their royal exit. 

Available August 11, 2020

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'She Will Rise' By Katie Hill
bookshop.org
$25.76

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill wrote She Will Rise in three months (!) to document the misogyny and double standards she faced after essentially being forced to step down from Congress when nude photos of her were leaked on the internet last year. 

Available August 11, 2020

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'The Comeback' By Ella Berman
amazon.com
$26.00
$17.06 (34% off)

At the height of her career, teen star Grace Turner disappeared. Now, she's trying to enter back into society while being unexpectedly confronted by her abuser. This time around, she knows she's the one in control. 

Available August 11, 2020

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'Transcendent Kingdom' By Yaa Gyasi
target.com
$24.49

Readers can expect the same genius in Transcendent Kingdom that Yaa Gyasi delivered in Homegoing (2016), which received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2017. In Transcendent Kingdom, Gyasi tells the story of a family from Ghana that struggles to make a home for themselves in small-town Alabama.

Available September 1, 2020 

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'The 2084 Report' By James Lawrence Powell
bookshop.org
$24.84

If the existential threat of climate change keeps you up at night, James Lawrence Powell's The 2084 Report will make you want to do everything in your power to elect leaders who will combat global warming and save our planet. 

Available September 1, 2020

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'The Lying Life of Adults' By Elena Ferrante
bookshop.org
$23.92

Elena Ferrante's The Lying Life of Adults, set in Naples, Italy, grapples with a young woman's journey to adulthood as she's constantly critiqued by her family. You can read more about the critically-acclaimed novel here.

Available September 1, 2020

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'Punching the Air' By Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
bookshop.org
$18.39

Bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five teamed up to write Punching the Air—a powerful YA novel about a boy convicted of a crime he didn't commit, who turns his grief into art as he fights for the world to learn his truth. 

Available September 1, 2020

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'When No One Is Watching' By Alyssa Cole
bookshop.org
$15.63

In Alyssa Cole's compelling thriller, When No One Is Watching, the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood turns sinister when main character Sydney and her neighbor Theo realize that the neighbors may not have actually moved out at all. 

Available September 1, 2020

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'The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes' By Elissa R. Sloan
bookshop.org
$15.62

Elissa R. Sloan's The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes centers on the suicide of a global pop icon and what her ex bandmates could have done to save her. 

Available September 1, 2020

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'Never Look Back' By Lilliam Rivera
indiebound.org
$18.99

Lilliam Rivera's Never Look Back reimagines the Greek myth Orpheus that explores themes of cultural identity, trauma, and first love.

Available September 1, 2020

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'His Only Wife' By Peace Adzo Medie
bookshop.org
$23.87

Marie Claire's October book club pick is a modern Ghanaian love story chronicling the complicated relationship between Afi, a young seamstress in Ghana, and the family who has convinced her to marry a man she doesn't know, Elikem. You can read honest reader reviews about the novel here.

Available September 1, 2020

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'What Are You Going Through' By Sigrid Nunez
bookshop.org
$23.92

While a woman describes significant encounters with people she's met throughout her life, she ultimately creates a transformative experience of her own. 

Available September 8, 2020

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'Grown' By Tiffany D. Jackson
indiebound.org
$43.50

When aspiring singer Enchanted Jones wakes up with blood on her hands and zero recollection of the night before, she's forced to confront a haunting question: What really happened to R&B artist Korey Fields?

Available September 15, 2020 

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'The White Coat Diaries' By Madi Sinha
indiebound.org
$16.00

Fans of Grey's Anatomy will appreciate The White Coat Diaries—a story about Norah Kapadia, who landed the medical residency of her dreams and soon questions her fate after being involved in a cover-up that could jeopardize her career.

Available September 15, 2020

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'Daughters of the Wild' By Natalka Burian
amazon.com
$27.99
$16.14 (42% off)

Natalka Burian's Daughters of the Wild tells the story of Joanie and her foster siblings who live on a farm in rural West Virginia tending for a magical plant called the vine. Joanie plans to escape with the help of her foster brother after an arranged marriage goes wrong, but before she leaves her baby goes missing and she's forced to summon the vine for help. 

Available September 22, 2020

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'Every Body Looking' By Candice Iloh
bookshop.org
$16.55

Candice Iloh's YA novel, Every Body Looking, takes us through the life of Ada—the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant father and an African-American mother who struggles to craft her identity in the world and within her own family. 

Available September 22, 2020

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'The Book of Two Ways' By Jodi Picoult
amazon.com
$28.99
$14.49 (50% off)

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult publishes a heartbreaking tale about a woman who survives a plane crash, realizing in what she thought would be her final moments that she wasn't thinking about her husband—but instead a man she met 15 years ago. She must then decide which path she wants to take as she moves forward with her life. 

Available September 22, 2020 

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'Dear Justyce' By Nic Stone
bookshop.org
$17.47

Dear Justyce is the sequel to the New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, which gives readers an eye-opening look into America's broken prison system as Quan writes letters to his friend Justyce while incarcerated. 

Available September 29, 2020

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'All This Time' By Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott
bookshop.org
$17.46

Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott, authors of the New York Times-bestselling novel Five Feet Apart, are back with a crushing romance novel that begins with death and transforms into a heartbreaking love story. Make sure you have a box of tissues.

Available September 29, 2020

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'Just Like You' By Nick Hornby
amazon.com
$27.00
$14.99 (44% off)

Sometimes who we think we're supposed to end up with turns out to be the wrong person after all. In Just Like You, Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity, explores the relationship of an unexpected love match, and the rewards of opening your heart. 

Available September 29, 2020

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'Ties That Tether' By Jane Igharo
indiebound.org
$16.00

After Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man, she struggles to uphold that promise after falling for a white man. What follows is a powerful story of identity and self-discovery. 

Available September 29, 2020 

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'Swimming Lessons' By Lili Reinhart
amazon.com
$17.99
$8.99 (50% off)

Actress/poet/beautiful human Lili Reinhart is releasing her first collection of poems this fall. 

"One year ago, I decided I wanted to share my poetry with the world. It’s scary to reveal a part of myself that I don’t often show, but I like to consider this book as more of a story rather than a confession of thought," she shared on Instagram in October 2019. "Strangers, songs, films, fictional characters, love in various forms, and of course my own experiences were my inspiration throughout the creation of Swimming Lessons. This book means a lot to me and I’m very grateful to be in the position to finally share it." 

Available September 29, 2020

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