33 Highly Anticipated Books of 2020

Posted by Cybil on January 2, 2020
big 2019 books
 
New year, new you? Nah! There's nothing wrong with the current you, except perhaps you need a new book. Luckily, 2020 is promising to be a year of fantastic reading.

To create our list of soon-to-be favorites across genres, we focused on what Goodreads members can't wait to read. How do we measure that anticipation? By taking a look at how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves.

From new titles by beloved authors including Emily St. John Mandel, Elena Ferrante, Yaa Gyasi, N.K. Jemisin, and William Gibson to a Hunger Games prequel, these are the books readers will be talking about this year.

Now, let's get to the good stuff—the books! Which ones are you most eager to read?
 
FICTION


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This highly anticipated novel is the kind of contemporary fiction that feels pulled straight from the collective national conscience. When drug cartels threaten her family, middle-class bookseller Lydia Perez joins the exodus heading north, hoping for safety and salvation in America. A migrant story for our times, the book is already getting traction in the culture.

Release date: January 21
 


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Migration and exile also feature heavily in this expansion of the historical record from Isabel Allende. Violently uprooted by the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow is forced into a marriage of escape as she heads over the ocean to South America. Allende's story proceeds from actual events and features the famous diplomat and poet Pablo Neruda.

Release date: January 21
 


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Author Louise Erdrich, hailed as one of the most significant writers of the Native American Renaissance, draws from her own family experience in her latest novel. Set in the 1950s, the book chronicles the forced dispossession from North Dakota of the Chippewa people, robbed of their rights and their lands by the U.S. government. Erdrich's grandfather is the night watchman of the title.

Release date: March 3
 


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From the author of the critically acclaimed Euphoria, her new novel follows 31-year-old Casey Peabody as she struggles against the essential tyranny of traditional adulthood. Waiting tables in Harvard Square, Casey hasn't given up on her dream of the creative life—even as friends and family sink into marriage and concession and sensible careers. A novel about beginnings and endings, and points in between.

Release date: March 3
 


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A dramatic novel for the #MeToo moment, My Dark Vanessa chronicles the relationship between a talented 15-year-old writer and her 42-year-old English teacher. In her literary debut, author Kate Elizabeth Russell moves through two timelines—Vanessa's past and present—to examine issues of adolescence, agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood.

Release date: March 10
 


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Good fences, it's said, make good neighbors. But in the idyllic town of Oak Knoll, North Carolina, fences can't stop star-crossed teenage love—or the twisted knots of race, class, and status in the 21st century. Powerful and provocative, this cautionary tale from the front lines of middle America poses a surprisingly complicated question: What does it mean to be a good neighbor?

Release date: March 10
 


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In the concluding chapter of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, author and Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel returns to 16th-century England and the tangle of allegiances around infamous monarch Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn is dead, and the talented Mr. Cromwell must once again rely on his wits and his intuition to survive. Nothing is for certain in this game, except one thing: Sooner or later, the king turns on everyone close to him.

Release date: March 10
 


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From the author of the fabulous Station Eleven, a creative riff on a postapocalypse story, The Glass Hotel swerves between three locations—downtown Manhattan, the wilderness of Vancouver, and a massive container ship off the coast of Mauritania. A woman disappears, money changes hands, and ghosts rise up from the past and points beyond. Emily St. John Mandel could write a technical handbook on flip phones and some of us would read it.

Release date: March 24
 


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A story about the things that follow us into adulthood, like it or not, All Adults Here tracks the fortunes of three grown children and the mom who raised them. Overachievers and underachievers both have their burdens to bear. Now a third generation of children has arrived to perpetuate the family cycles—or not. From the author of The Vacationers.

Release date: May 5
 


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In the drowsy village of Chawton, just after World War II, an odd collection of people (doctor, widow, laborer, movie star) come together to mark the sesquicentennial of Jane Austen's death. United only in their love for this particular strain of English literature, the disparate group strives to preserve the legacy of Jane Austen. Noble work, that. Recommended for fans of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir.

Release date: May 26
 


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Retired college professor Antonia Vega has spent a lifetime writing, but now it seems that the universe requires something different of her. Her husband has died, her sister has gone missing, and a pregnant and undocumented teenager has appeared on her doorstep. A book that strives to elevate from the anger and tribalism of our times, Afterlife wonders aloud about the obligations we owe to our human family.

Release date: April 7
 


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From the pseudonymous Italian author of the Neapolitan Novels comes a new story set in the city of Naples—or, more accurately, the two cities of Naples. Adolescent seeker Giovanna looks for answers in the refined and moneyed heights of the city as well as in the rough and vulgar depths. She's searching high and low, you might say.

Release date: June 9
 


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Author Yaa Gyasi's follow-up to her celebrated debut novel, Homegoing, this restless new story follows a family from Ghana as they struggle to adapt to life in small-town Alabama. The ambitious young student Gifty is studying to be a neuroscientist, but her brother has wandered into the American super-storm that is the opioid crisis. From one of America's most promising new voices comes a story of faith, salvation, and science.

Release date: July 14
 



 
MYSTERY & THRILLER


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On the mean streets of Philadelphia, two sisters try to make their way. Kacey is an addict, Mickey is a cop. When Kacey disappears, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding her sister and solving the sudden rash of murders crashing though her patrol district. Long Bright River toggles between the present-day mystery and the girls' troubled adolescence.

Release date: January 7
 


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Everyone knows a place like the Sun Down Motel, whether you've seen it from the outside or the inside. A run-down roadside crash pad, the Sun Down is a temporary stop for those passing through or a place for locals to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney is working as the night clerk, and she finds it hard to resist a mystery.

Release date: February 18
 


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Rose Gold Watts was a terribly sick child. Confined to a wheelchair and susceptible to every illness, she spent much of her childhood in hospitals and surgical centers. It turns out she didn't have to. Fast-forward five years and Rose's mom, Patty Watts, has just been released from prison for her unconscionable deceptions. Everyone is surprised when Rose takes her mom in. Not Rose, though. She's waited a long time for this.

Release date: March 17
 


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Twenty-five years ago, in the woods of Vermont, the Holt family moved into a derelict Victorian mansion known as Baneberry Hall. Three harrowing weeks later, they moved out, spinning shocking tales of eldritch forces. The parents made a fortune with a subsequent book, in the manner of The Amityville Horror. Now little Maggie Holt, just a child the first time around, is moving back into Baneberry Hall. Could be trouble, Scoob.

Release date: July 7
 


See all of our 28 most anticipated mysteries and thrillers of 2020.
 
FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION


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Cyberpunk godfather William Gibson (Neuromancer) returns with the second installment of his latest Peripheral story line, which unfolds in two different worlds—a decidedly freaky future and our current, uneasy present. Featuring a mysterious new digital application and an exceedingly cool time-travel premise, Agency is the latest dispatch from San Francisco's reigning prophet of future weirdness.

Release date: January 21
 


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As dedicated fans can tell you, some of the planet's very best science fiction can be found in that ancient and dependable format known as the short story. Lauded short fiction ace Ken Liu returns with 16 new selections, plus a new novelette. Double secret bonus tip: The new collection also features an excerpt from the upcoming third book of the Dandelion Dynasty series.

Release date: February 25
 


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New from the creator of the Throne of Glass series comes a brand-new fantasy saga set in the twilight realm of Crescent City. Half-fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan must team with the Fallen Angel Hunt Athalar to battle demonic forces tearing up the city. Danger and damnation lurk behind every show. Romance and adventure, too. They're kinda into it.

Release date: March 3
 


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It's said that every city has a soul. As with so many things, New York City is an exception: It has five. When things go sideways, Gotham's protectors must come together to stop an ancient evil. Urban fantasy gets another massive overhaul with this new submission from Hugo award winner N.K. Jemisin, author of the Broken Earth series.

Release date: March 24
 


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Author Max Brooks essentially invented a whole new template for the apocalypse story with World War Z. Now he's back with another mad mixture of form and content: a rethinking of the Bigfoot legend as discovered through a set of found journals and an extensive original investigation. Part horror story, part survival tale, part science writing, Devolution promises maximum fun immediately.

Release date: May 12
 



 
NONFICTION


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Veterans of the 1990s will recall that the internet was supposed to be a good thing. That was before the really heavy money got involved and turned the tech industry into a deranged experiment in unchecked ambition. Where did the dream go wrong? That's one of the questions in this digital age memoir from Anna Wiener, whose experiences in Silicon Valley are a cautionary tale for our times.

Release date: January 14
 


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Comedian, author, and alpha blogger Samantha Irby checks back in with her latest collection of essays and extended observations on this weird American life. After relatively successful forays into publishing and Hollywood, Irby has settled into middle-class life: She goes on bad dates with new friends and spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "skinny, luminous peoples" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person." This is going to be good.

Release date: March 31
 


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In July 2014, 27-year-old Cody Roman Dial hiked into the Costa Rican jungle with plans for a quick four-day trip. He never returned. Dial's father, Alaskan scientist Roman Dial, launched his own investigation. The Adventurer's Son is the real-time chronicle of that journey, in which the elder Dial treks though the jungle to interview authorities, locals, criminals, and anyone else who might have answers.

Release date: February 18
 


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For a minute there, Marie Kondo found the exact center of the zeitgeist with her worldwide bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now she's teamed with organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein to bring the joy of orderliness to the workplace. The book offers stories, studies, and strategies to help eliminate clutter and make space for the important stuff. Remember, gentle reader, a tidy desk makes a tidy mind.

Release date: April 7
 



 
YOUNG ADULT


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Seventeen-year-old Cal appears to have it all figured out. A successful social media star with half a million followers, he's used to living life online with radical transparency. But when his pilot father is selected for a prestigious NASA mission, Cal encounters that uniquely American trauma known as a media circus. Making things weirder, he's falling hard for fellow “Astrokid” Leon. First love is always tricky, but this is ridiculous.

Release date: February 4
 


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First in a new series, Chain of Gold welcomes readers to Edwardian London and the realm of the Shadowhunters. James and Lucie Herondale—children of the legendary Will and Tessa—have grown up in an idyllic world where good defeats evil and love conquers all. But when a vicious plague falls on the city, London finds itself trapped in expanding darkness. A new adventure from the author of The Mortal Instruments series.

Release date: March 3
 


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Writer, poet, and National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X) returns with a unique novel-in-verse about love, loss, and the bonds of family. Camino Rios and Yahaira Rios have spent their lives separated by distance and circumstance—one in New York City, one in the Dominican Republic. But when their father dies in a plane crash, they must navigate their new shared world together.

Release date: May 5
 


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Attentive readers may recall a modest little series from several years back called The Hunger Games. Well, author Suzanne Collins returns this year with a prequel story—tagged as installment zero in the series—back in the treacherous world of Panem. Details are being kept in strict stealth-mode secrecy, but word is that the story will begin on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. So, heads-up on that.

Release date: May 19
 


See all of our 38 most anticipated YA novels of 2020.


 
ROMANCE


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Can an epic Twitter meme war really lead to romance? Can barely sublimated aggression indicate secret, hidden passion? We shall find out in this exploration of the Digital Age and all its evolved flirting techniques. The debut novel from author Emma Lord, Tweet Cute chronicles an unlikely connection between two teenage online rivals. It's a romantic comedy about the strange ways we communicate now.

Release date: January 21
 


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Where do you see yourself in five years? This dreaded question, a staple of the employment interview, has unnerved applicants for decades. But what if you really could fast-forward, for one hour, to your life in five years' time? And what if there were a strange man in your bed? And a big ring on your finger? And what if you returned to your real life, then spotted that same guy? Wouldn't that be weird?

Release date: March 3
 


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Freddie and Lydia are the ideal couple, perfectly matched and deliriously happy. But when tragedy strikes, Lydia has to start all over again. Or does she? Through some wrinkle in the time-space fabric, Lydia finds she is living two lives at the same time. In one life, Freddie is alive again and everything is fine. In the other life, Freddie is gone and everything is…well, things are pretty good over on this side, too. It's complicated.

Release date: March 3
 


See all of our 28 most anticipated romances of 2020.

What books are you most excited to read this year? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent articles:
Super Readers Share Their Best Tips to Read More in 2020
January's Most Anticipated New Books
How to Develop a Reading Habit

Comments Showing 1-50 of 124 (124 new)


message 1: by Manal (new)

Manal Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society


message 2: by Nick (new)

Nick V I don't know about anyone else, I am most excited about the Cormac Mccarthy novel which I hope comes out this year as well as all the new J.D Salinger.


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Brown I'm most looking forward to Summer by Ali Smith.


message 4: by Sinead (new)

Sinead Donnelly "Emily St. John Mandel could write a technical handbook on flip phones and some of us would read it"

True.


message 5: by Tanya (new)

Tanya I really don't care about any of these, not my genres (or picks).

I'm looking forward to the new Stephen King (need to read the others in the series first), and the Tori Amos memoir. Have some ARC's waiting, too - Rebecca Solnit's memoir, and the new Joyce Carol Oates.


message 6: by Kate (last edited Jan 02, 2020 06:29AM) (new)

Kate I'm looking forward to The Evening and the Morning, a prequel to Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.


message 7: by Celena Freeman (new)

Celena Freeman A prequel to Hunger Games? Thank you Suzanne Collins! The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is now on my want to read shelf.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Platt I am excited for the next book in the Miss Peregrine series by Ransom Riggs. I can’t believe it didn’t make the list.


message 9: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Ford Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society"
Couldn't agree more. How did this not make the cut?


message 10: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Ioffe Love these lists but sci fi and fantasy too short hehe


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Clemmons Outlander #9 isn’t listed and I am very disappointed. We’ve only been waiting on “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” for almost 5 years now. Perhaps they didn’t list it because there isn’t an official publication date, but it is expected this year.


message 12: by Maya (new)

Maya I'm most excited for Tell the Bees that I am Gone (Outlander #9). I can't believe it didn't make the list!


message 13: by Casey (new)

Casey Joseph wrote: "Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society"
Couldn't agree more. How did this not make the cut?"

I agree too! Maybe it's because the publication date was JUST announced and it's in November 2020 - there may have been doubt that it would publish within the year? But it's Sanderson, so *I* never had any doubt.


message 14: by Tom (new)

Tom Not a single highly-anticipated Fiction book from a male author in 2020?


message 15: by Tom (new)

Tom Nick wrote: "I don't know about anyone else, I am most excited about the Cormac Mccarthy novel which I hope comes out this year as well as all the new J.D Salinger."

I wish the Cormac McCarthy novel would come out this year, but I find that highly unlikely


message 16: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Cherpeski Tom wrote: "Not a single highly-anticipated Fiction book from a male author in 2020?"

That was my thought too.


message 17: by Hayley (new)

Hayley Why aren't there more nonfiction books? Disappointed only four were mentioned. Otherwise, a good selection of books.


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael I’m excited about the 30th Prey novel from John Sandford. He’s been hinting at the possible end of the series. Thirty seems like a nice round end.


message 19: by Marek (new)

Marek Linkesch Joseph wrote: "Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society"
Couldn't agree more. How did this not make the cut?"


Yeah, I think the title is misleading. All of these are for the first half of the year too.


message 20: by Makkiart (new)

Makkiart Highly anticipated ... in America?!


message 21: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society"

Goodreads needs the "like" button...


message 22: by Jaguar (new)

Jaguar Hunger Games book 0???!!! Is that even a thing.

"Oh, I just read book zero of the blah blah blah series."

I'm still excited!!!


mary-kay richardson I love reading. Almost anything can piq my interest. Somehow I began reading WANDERING INN. A litrpg. Sadly I dont see author, book or genre on these lists. But, I am here to tell you, GREAT READ!! wanderinginn.com, check it out, you wont be disappointed!


message 24: by Yousra (new)

Yousra Megan Whalen Turner's 'Return of the Thief' should be in the list too.


message 25: by Katya (new)

Katya Vinogradova that's a great list! I believe there's also a new Stephen King book on the horizon, but then again, when is a new Stephen King book ever not on the horizon?


message 26: by Beth (new)

Beth Broussalian I’m looking to the Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian.


message 27: by I.Love.Books (new)

I.Love.Books NEW CASSANDRA CLARE BOOKS AND SUZANNE COLLINS! Yay!


message 28: by Aldo (new)

Aldo Gonzalez Only waiting for The Winds of Winter


message 29: by Theodore (new)

Theodore I've been itching to read more Yaa Gyasi after reading Homegoing. I'm looking forward to Transcendent Kingdom.


message 30: by Katya (new)

Katya Mogilevsky Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society"

Indeed.


message 31: by Jeana (new)

Jeana Budnick I don't want to read any of these books lol


message 32: by spiderboox (new)

spiderboox Eeeeeeeeeeee bring on May!!! :D


message 33: by Este (new)

Este hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii


message 34: by mykittyquest17 (new)

mykittyquest17 Stormlight archive four and dragonslayer should so be on here


message 35: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Robinson Awwww... Catana Comics' new book didn't make the list.


message 36: by Liz (new)

Liz Joining the crowd commenting on the absence of Stormlight 4. Definitely a highly anticipated fantasy release.


message 37: by TMR (new)

TMR Eager to try out some of these stories.


message 38: by Raksha (new)

Raksha I don't see The Stormlight Archive 4. I don't agree with this list.


message 39: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Hartill I am in anticipation for 3rd in the series, The Empire of Gold, by S. A. Chakraborty. Release date keeps moving further back--now May 28, 2020


message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Hummel Please include more genre picks in these lists! The scifi, fantasy, and horror choices have been really slim lately. Brandon Sanderson's new Stormlight Archive should be on here.


message 41: by Kawana Williams (new)

Kawana Williams I haven't read the book but I hope it is good


message 42: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Tom wrote: "Not a single highly-anticipated Fiction book from a male author in 2020?"

I thought this as well. Trying too hard to diversify I guess.


message 43: by Ruben (new)

Ruben Villegas Good to see that Julia Alvarez returns to the literary world with her new novel Afterlife, coming out in April. Counting the days until the release date.


message 44: by Mzkiella (new)

Mzkiella A new Dresden Files by Jim Butcher comes out in March. Two more to go and I am ready!


message 45: by Amber (new)

Amber You missed Silvered Serpents the sequel to Gilded Wolves (Sept. 2020), A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Feb. 2020), The Damned (July 2020), etc. Etc. Or did everybody not read the first of each of these series last year? These definitely merit a mention on the YA list!!!


message 46: by Fin (new)

Fin I don't think GR has ever put out a list of most anticipated books that included a book I had heard about and wanted to read. There have been a couple of times when I see a book on one of these lists and decide I want to read it, but for the most part, nope, not interested, never even heard of them.


message 47: by Heather (new)

Heather Cupit I pre-ordered The Mirror and the Light months ago! Looks like a good reading year. Sadly, I find the numerous boxes you have to fill out on Good Reads a bit of a chore.


message 48: by Janey (new)

Janey Manal wrote: "Stormlight Archive 4 not in the list? We live in a society" haha yeah I expected that to be on the list!


message 49: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Nolan Looking forward to reading the mirror and the light by Hilary Mantel.


message 50: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Piranesi by Susanna Clarke!!!!! It's been 14 years! Give her some respect.


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