13 brilliant novels you have to add to your summer 2020 reading list

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While it looks like we're not going to be able to spend 2020's long summer months the way we had originally intended, luckily books don't mind whether they're read on a beach in Thailand or in your local park. From the latest releases for bestselling authors to stories you'll want to read again and again, here are our top novel picks for the summer of 2020…

Beach Read – Emily Henry 

We might not be able to go to a beach, but we can still enjoy this, right?! The story follows Augustus, a literary fiction writer, and January Andrews, a romance writer. Both suffering from writer's block, the pair spend three months as next door neighbours in beach houses and come to an agreement to help each other out: while January will great 'the next Great American Novel,' Augustus will write a happy book. Frankly, we already want this one in our hands (but it looks like we'll have to wait until August).

PRE-ORDER HERE

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The Confessions of Frannie Langton – Sara Collins 

The novel begins with Frannie, a maid living in 1826 who has been accused of murdering her employers, Mr and Mrs Benham, and retells the story of her life. From her beginnings living on a heartless plantation in Jamaica to being 'given' to the Benhams, this period drama novel is one addictive read, and perfect for anyone who enjoyed Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace or Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. 

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3/13

An American Marriage – Tayari Jones 

Celestial and Roy are living a happy life together when he is arrested for a crime he didn't commit and is sentenced to 12 years in prison. Struggling to deal with the unbearable injustice of the situation, Roy leans on his relationship to Celeste, who slowly pulls away as life inevitably moves on without him. The book is a devastating look at the injustice of a relationship that is torn apart in uncontrollable circumstances, and is a brilliant yet heartbreaking reason.  

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4/13

Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano

This coming-of-age tale follows 12 year old Edward, who becomes the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills his older brother, parents and 183 other passengers. While Edward's story peaks the public's interest, he struggles to deal with the losing everything he ever have. The synopsis reads: "He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life's most profound questions: When you've lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?" *Adds to Amazon cart* 

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5/13

Exciting Times – Naoise Dolan 

Touted as the new Normal People, the story follows Ava, an Irish woman who moves to Hong Kong to find happiness, but finds no joy teaching English and living with roommates in a stuffy apartment. Then she meets Julian and Edith. To say anymore would be spoiling things, but we hope you enjoy this smart and compelling novel. 

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6/13

If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha 

This novel focuses on the friendships of Kyuri, Miho, Ara and Wonna, four pals living in the same apartment building in Seoul, South Korea. Each have their own problems; relationships, a one-off mistake that threatens a job, wanting a baby but worrying about finances, and more. By the end of this one, we think you'll love the characters as much as any of your mates in real life! 

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7/13

Hamnet – Maggie O'Farrell 

This heartrending tale focuses on the short life of William Shakespeare's only son Hamnet, whose supposedly inspired one of his greatest works, Hamlet. The synopsis reads: "On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week."

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8/13

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett 

This brilliant novel follows the lives of two sisters and how their lives diverge. The synopsis reads: "After growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?"

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9/13

Follow Me – Kathleen Barber 

Audrey Miller documents every little thing about her beautiful life online – from her job at the Smithsonian to how her new apartment has a broken lock. Little does she know that there has been on person in particular who has been watching her every move, and now she has moved close enough to him that he can finally do something about it. Fans of You, get reading. 

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10/13

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

After white mum-of-two Alix asks her black babysitter, Emira, to take her toddler out to the shops late one night, she is shocked when Emira is stopped by the store's security guard and accused of kidnapping the child. While Emira just wants to forget about the incident and move on, Alix slowly grows obsessed with becoming involved in Emira's life, particularly when someone from her past becomes an important part of Emira's. The novel looks at privilege, the white saviour complex and wealth, and is a compelling and enjoyable read. 

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Tender is the Flesh – Agustina Bazterrica

Do you have a taste for dystopian books? This might be the one for you. In the future, animals have become all but extinct, and so humans are harvested for food instead. Hey, we warned you it was dark! Working at one of the processing plants, Marcos tries not to focus on the truth behind his menial job, until he meets her. 

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12/13

The Mercies – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Based on the true events of the 1621 witch trials in Finland, after a storm kills off all of the local men, the women of the town of Vardø must fend for themselves. When witch hunter Absalom Cornet visits the island, he is determined to put an end to the town, once and for all. 

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13/13

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins 

The prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy that no one knew they needed focuses on Coriolanus Snow, the future terrifying President of Panem. However, aged 18, he is determined to find glory by becoming a mentor in the Games, and is disappointed when he is landed with the female tribute from District 12. But no matter what, he will do what it takes to help her survive. 

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