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Our 15 Most Anticipated New Reads of October 2020

by  | September 30
October books on a couch

The October chill is in the air, so we’re running for the covers—both the bedcovers and the book covers, that is! Fall brings with it the best new books and we’ve rounded up our most anticipated of the month from top authors and celebrities, including Rebecca Roanhorse, Lisa Jewell, Jerry Seinfeld, and more. Here’s what’s keeping us buried in books this spooky season!

Billions of Besties

Billions of Besties

by Peggy Panosh and Susie Arons

Courtney’s Pick

Billions of Besties is one of the books I’m most excited for this October. An illustrated tribute to best friends and the power of friendship? Sign me up! Featuring friendships from celebrity pairs Amy Poehler and Tina Fey; Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak; Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland—as well as iconic pairings including Queen Elizabeth and corgis, Lizzo and the Truth (lol), and tomato and mozzarella, this book covers them all. Read snippets about these besties and more in this celebration of fascinating and exceptional friends.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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Group

Group

by Christie Tate

Justin’s Pick

If your time indoors during quarantine has caused you to get overly introspective, find escape in someone else’s problems for a little bit! Christie Tate’s debut, the memoir Group, chronicles her unconventional experience attending group therapy to work through issues related to her childhood, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Tate doesn’t mince words—she writes about the most vulnerable period in her life with such refreshing vulnerability, heart, and humor that it’s impossible not to empathize with her story. She lays it all bare to her therapist and the other members of her therapy group, and, now, to readers as well—and it’s a privilege to listen in and be moved by her account.

Publication Date: October 27, 2020

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Invisible Girl

Invisible Girl

by Lisa Jewell

Ariele’s Pick 

Invisible Girl follows an involuntary celibate or “incel” whose life is falling apart; a 17-year-old girl who becomes infatuated with her therapist; and a family whose secrets get them mixed up in both of these questionable characters’ lives. As one early reviewer put it, “The cliche ‘could not put this book down’ gets thrown around a lot in reviews, but I...literally could not put this book down and finished it in less than 24 hours. I devoured this book with the same breakneck pace in which the plot unfurled.” Creepy surprises and twists abound in this new winner from the queen of domestic suspense, which JoJo Moyes has praised as Lisa Jewell’s “best yet.”

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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They Never Learn

They Never Learn

by Layne Fargo

Anne’s Pick

If you devoured Killing Eve, it's time to read They Never Learn. It’s back-to-school season at Gorman University and in between preparing lesson plans and applying for a prestigious research grant, English professor Scarlett Clark is plotting her next murder. But don't worry... she'll only kill evil men who really deserve it. But as Scarlett begins to fall for her newest mark's ex-wife, she risks exposing her secret life. I read this book through, enthralled, in one sitting. It will make you furious as you consider the sexism and rage that drives this serial killer. And as an added bonus there is a seriously steamy bisexual romance at the center of the book. Read it, and then immediately go pick up the author’s first book, Temper.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick

Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick

by David Wong

Sara’s Pick #1

Confession time: David Wong is one of my favorite authors ever. His stories are full of weird creatures, quirky characters, and high-impact action and comedy that makes every book go by way too quickly, especially when you stay up all night to read it. Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick is the sequel to Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, so get ready for the same level of high-octane entertainment. Zoey Ashe never expected to inherit a criminal empire, but she's managed to get some handle on it, even if every superpower rogue in Tabula Ra$a is out for her. On the eve of Halloween, she receives a trunk with a dead body inside, which then rises up and accuses her of its murder. Can she be sure she wasn't responsible for its death, when she doesn't know all of those in her employ? And who sent the trunk to her in the first place? Be prepared to take a few punches and watch the witty banter fly in this latest installment of the Zoey Ashe series.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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Magic Lessons

Magic Lessons

by Alice Hoffman

Sara’s Pick #2

As much as I love horror, October and Halloween always makes me want to return to the world of Practical Magic, both the book and the movie. Luckily for us all, Alice Hoffman is back with another addition to the story of the Owens women, this time taking readers to its source, the progenitor of the curse, Maria Owens. Abandoned as a baby in 1600s England, young Maria is taken in by Hannah Owens, who teaches her to harness her powers. The real trouble starts when Maria follows—all the way to Salem, Massachusetts—the man who loved and left her. Magic Lessons is captivating and all-consuming, and Hoffman somehow manages to create a work so different from the other books in the series, yet still imbued with the same magical touch. A dark, emotional tale of what we will do for love, and a caution to be careful what you wish for, either for yourself or others.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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The Times I Knew I Was Gay

The Times I Knew I Was Gay

by Eleanor Crewes

Sharon’s Pick

To be honest, I don’t usually read graphic novel memoirs, but when I saw this book’s highly relatable title and the cover art, it shot to the top of my TBR list. Ellie always knew she was different when she was younger: she wore all black, obsessed over Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys confusing. The Times I Knew I Was Gay charts Ellie’s journey toward self-discovery and self-acceptance. Crewes also provides essential reminders that coming out is not a one-time thing and that identity is more determined by coming to terms with yourself than with who you fall in love with, which particularly hit home for me as a bisexual woman.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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Is This Anything?

Is This Anything?

by Jerry Seinfeld

Jessica’s Pick

Last year I developed a huge love for stand-up comedy. Thanks to Netflix, I could have a comedy club in my living room every night of the week! And, of course, there is no way to talk about stand-up comedy without talking about Jerry Seinfeld. He created a whole specific style of comedy delivery, starred in one of the most successful sitcoms of all times (Seinfeld), and continues to produce stand-up shows 40 years after he started. Which is why I am wildly excited about Is This Anything? It is absolutely a sneak peek into the mind of a comedy genius. Basically, you are invited into his joke-writing process since the book includes over 30 years of notes—arranged by decade—bits, sets, and some sketches that he hasn’t ever performed. I couldn’t help but read it with his voice in my head, and I was laughing out loud the whole way through.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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Black Sun

Black Sun

by Rebecca Roanhorse

Emily’s Pick #1

Fall always puts me in the mood for epic fantasies and one of the best (and most impressive) ones I’ve read recently is Black Sun, the first book in Rebecca Roanhorse’s new series, inspired by Pre-Columbian histories and myths. In this well-developed world, Convergence approaches—the rare celestial event when the solar eclipse and winter solstice occur simultaneously—which prophesies the arrival of the Crow God to avenge past injustices wrecked upon the Carrion Crow clan. Through multiple perspectives, the story follows a priesthood’s traditions under a cultist threat; a down-on-her-luck Teek captain, whose magical sea-calling abilities mark her as a pariah, and the so-called prophesied avatar on his way to fulfill his destiny. Kirkus Reviews calls this book “perfection” and you can’t get higher praise than that!

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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Cuyahoga

Cuyahoga

by Pete Beatty

Emily’s Pick #2

You know when you’re reading a book and have a feeling that it will stand the test of time to become a classic? That’s what this book feels like. This tall tale is narrated from the perspective of Medium Son—Meed—who describes the adventures of his Paul Bunyan–like brother Big Son. Back when Ohio was still the frontier, Cleveland and Ohio City were rivals, competing to become the next great hotspot of the Midwest. Big Son is running around in the middle of it all—building bridges, falling in love, finding work, and making a name for himself as a living legend, which Meed documents with fondness and humor. Meed’s voice is unique and his fun twist of words, and delightfully fresh descriptions, will definitely lift your mood, while immersing you in some frontier history.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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She Come By It Natural

She Come By It Natural

by Sarah Smarsh

Heather’s Pick #1

Sure, I grew up listening to Dolly Parton, but who in the South did not? I don’t think I truly understood how ingrained she is in general popular culture, though, or how much I’d taken her presence for granted, until I listened to the podcast Dolly Parton’s America earlier this year. (If you haven’t binged that yet, do it. It’s excellent.) Now that I’m fully up to speed on Dolly’s enduring legacy, and in the wake of her recent comments supporting Black Lives Matter, I’m fired up to read Heartland author Sarah Smarsh’s take on the iconic singer and “women who have lived her songs.” An essay collection first published as a four-part series by the music journal No DepressionShe Come By It Natural is an essential read for all of us who have been inspired by Dolly and her trailblazing career.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

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In a Holidaze

In a Holidaze

by Christina Lauren

Saimah’s Pick 

I’m thinking I’m not alone in wishing I could hit fast-forward to the holiday season and see the end of 2020. This charming novel by Christina Lauren is the perfect balm to the anxiety that this year has brought. Every holiday season, Maelyn Jones and her family go to a cabin in snowy Utah with close family friends and reminisce about years past. But this year, Mae feels lost—she’s living with her parents again at the age of 26, hates her dead-end job, just made a huge mistake in her love life, and discovers that this will be their last year at their beloved holiday retreat. Dismayed as she drives away from the cabin after Christmas, Mae makes a plea to the universe “Show me what will make me happy.” What comes next, Mae does not expect: the car crashes and when she wakes, she realizes she’s trapped in a cycle just like the movie Groundhog Day. Stuck reliving December 20, she must figure out how to break free of this crazy time loop and put her life back on track. This read had me laughing, swooning, and letting out a few expletives in frustration alongside Mae as she had to start over again so many times in a time loop when she got so close to confessing her feelings to her crush! I can’t wait for you all to escape with this enchanting story.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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Fortune Favors the Dead

Fortune Favors the Dead

by Stephen Spotswood

Sara’s Pick #3

Who doesn't love an LGBTQ historical murder mystery thriller with a punny title? Lillian Pentecost is a strange kind of gumshoe who works cases in 1940s New York and gets saved by Willowjean "Will" Parker, a knife-wielding runaway. There begins a partnership that will see them rise to an unstoppable crime-solving duo. Years later, Will ends up on the case of a widow beaten to death with a crystal ball while sitting in her late husband's chair. It's a case that only gets stranger and more dangerous as Will starts to fall for the deceased's lovely daughter, Becca. If you've been dying for a fresh take on the sleuth genre, this book delivers that and more. A mix of classic noir aesthetics and tropes with an inclusive twist, Fortune Favors the Dead is the kind of mystery series that will capture your imagination in new and fun ways, and have you desperate to get your hands on more.

Publication Date: October 27, 2020

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The Hollow Places

The Hollow Places

by T. Kingfisher

Sara’s Pick #4

Fall always triggers a part of my brain that craves all things creepy, and thankfully, T. Kingfisher is here to provide just that. Recovering from her recent divorce, Kara finds a strange bunker in her uncle’s museum that holds portals to a number of alternate realities. While fun at first, she and her travel companion, a barista named Simon, soon discover that their explorations have caught the attention of creatures that appear to hear thoughts. Oh, and they only get more powerful the more you fear them. It’s a battle of wits, speed, and luck to outsmart these deadly foes, who will show no mercy once they reach their prey. The Hollow Places is the kind of high-anxiety, minimal-description horror that keeps people up at night and will likely have a guest spot in your nightmares for at least a few autumnal evenings.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes)

Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes)

by Mindy Kaling

Heather's Pick #2

I was obsessed with Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project in 2013–2014. It’s pretty much all I wanted to talk about back then, most notably during the excruciating two-month hiatus between a certain impromptu Mindy/Danny kiss and the episode that dealt with the fallout. But I digress. For a while there, only more of Mindy Kaling’s work could soothe me, so of course I read her first memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It was so good that I needed Why Not Me? as soon as it was released. What I’m saying here is that I’ve devoured both of her previous essay collections, and there is absolutely no question in my mind that I will be among the first to snag a copy of Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes) too. Kaling’s a rom-com genius and an all-around marvelous writer, so I’m eager to see what she’s learned to laugh about in the years since her last book.

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

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