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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
$23.40 (10% 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
$11.39 (53% 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
$10.79 (58% 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
$17.39 (36% 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
$24.50

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
$10.39 (35% 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
$18.47 (32% 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
$17.95

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
$12.49 (52% 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
$13.38 (30% 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
$16.78 (38% 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
$19.47 (33% 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
$16.49 (41% 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
$18.48 (32% 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
$12.61 (21% 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
$14.49 (46% 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
$20.30 (25% 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
$17.93 (31% 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
$19.36 (31% 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
$16.80 (40% 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
$13.75 (49% 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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'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
$17.20

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
$18.99 (32% 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
$17.39 (40% 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
$11.95 (34% 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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'The Meaning of Mariah Carey' By Mariah Carey
bookshop.org
$27.59

After you've finished reading Jessica Simpson's Open Book, order Mariah Carey's highly-anticipated first memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. It's as good as you think it will be. 

Available September 29, 2020

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'Leave the World Behind' By Rumaan Alam
bookshop.org
$25.75

The literary world cannot stop talking about Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind, centered on a family who's interrupted mid-vacation by the owners of the home they're renting who claim they're in a crisis. The real question is...can they actually trust them?

Available October 6, 2020

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'The Searcher' By Tana French
READ IT bookshop.org
$24.84

One Marie Claire reviewer says Tana French's The Searcher is the mystery novel of the season that "has everything you love–the suspense, the questions, the unraveling of lies–without bureaucracy, clichés, or the moral high ground."

Available October 6, 2020

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'Keep Moving' By Maggie Smith
amazon.com
$24.00
$21.60 (10% off)

Following Maggie Smith on Twitter is like entering an inspirational capsule of wisdom, truth, and vulnerability—and now we get the privilege to read more of the American poet's courageous words in her latest book, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. 

Available October 6, 2020

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'The Purpose of Power' By Alicia Garza
bookshop.org
$24.84

Read Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza's The Purpose of Power if you're looking for a powerful guide on how to build a successful movement from a woman who has learned how to do just that. 

Available October 20, 2020

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'Plain Bad Heroines' By Emily Danforth
bookshop.org
$25.75

Emily Danforth's Plain Bad Heroines, Marie Claire's November book club pick, is a gothic horror-comedy comprised of twisty stories within stories, beginning with Flo and Clara—two students at the Brookhants School for Girls in 1902—who create the Plain Bad Heroine Society and are found dead on campus shortly after. Read an excerpt from the novel here.

Available October 20, 2020

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'What Would Frida Do?' By Arianna Davis
bookshop.org
$23.00

In this part biography, part self-help book, Arianna Davis dives into the culture-shifting, vibrant world of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Going from a child prone to illness to one of the most recognized faces in history, Kahlo is the embodiment of resilience—just one of the many lessons we can learn from her.

Available October 20, 2020

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'Memorial' By Bryan Washington
indiebound.org
$67,460.00

Benson and Mike are at a crossroads in their relationship, but when Mike flies to Japan to help his dying father and discovers the truth about his past, the couple realizes just how much they contribute to each other's lives.

Available October 27, 2020

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'Zikora' By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
amazon.com
$1.99

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, best known for her 2013 novel Americanah, is back with her short story, "Zikora," about a D.C. lawyer from Nigeria who tells her lover that she's pregnant and he ends up abandoning her—prompting her to reimagine what motherhood will look like for her.

Available October 27, 2020

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'White Ivy' By Susie Yang
amazon.com
$26.00
$15.98 (39% off)

Susie Yang beautifully ties together the complex storyline of a young woman's dark obsession with a privileged classmate and the lengths she's willing to go for success.

Available November 3, 2020

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'Cobble Hill' By Cecily von Ziegesar
indiebound.org
$27.00

Cecily von Ziegesar, bestselling author of Gossip Girl, makes her return with Cobble Hill—a novel that follows a year in the life of four families in an upscale Brooklyn neighborhood.

Available November 10, 2020

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'The Office of Historical Corrections' By Danielle Evans
indiebound.org
$27.00

In The Office of Historical CorrectionsDanielle Evans shares thought-provoking stories of race, grief, apology, and American history.

Available November 10, 2020

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'Dearly: New Poems' By Margaret Atwood
bookshop.org
$25.19

In Dearly, Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, releases a brand new set of poems for the first time in nearly a decade, all of which focus on themes of love, loss, nature, time, and...zombies.

Available November 10, 2020

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'Little Threats' By Emily Schultz
bookshop.org
$14.72

Emily Schultz' Little Threats takes us through the life of a woman who served 15 years in prison for murder and the events leading up to how she got there. 

Available November 10, 2020

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'Home Body' By Rupi Kaur
bookshop.org
$15.63

Beloved poet Rupi Kaur returns with her latest collection of poems, Home Body, centered on identity and being at home with one's self. 

Available November 17, 2020

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'A Promised Land' By Barack Obama
bookshop.org
$41.40

In the first of two volumes, POTUS 44 provides an honest account of the lows and highs during his years in office, from inheriting the presidency during a global financial crisis to securing the passage of the Affordable Care Act, all while emphasizing the importance of preserving our democracy amid the challenging times we’re living in.

Available November 17, 2020

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'Crosshairs' By Catherine Hernandez
indiebound.org
$27.00

When a government-sanctioned regime called The Boots tries to round up communities of color along with disabled and LGBTQ+ people into labor camps, a queer Black performer and his allies attempt to take it down. 

Available December 8, 2020 

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'Girl Gurl Grrrl' By Kenya Hunt
bookshop.org
$24.83

Kenya Hunt's Girl Gurl Grrrl is a collection of essays centered on what it means to be a thriving Black woman today. Expect themes of motherhood, womanhood, and the ultimate celebration of Black Girl Magic. 

Available December 8, 2020

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