It’s somehow time to start looking ahead to next year’s new book releases, and I’m all over it. 2019 was sort of the “year of new releases” for me, in that almost all of my favorite authors came out with new books, but so far, 2020 is looking just as fantastic on the new releases front. It might seem like it’s too early to start making lists like this, but personally, I like to look ahead to the next year rather than focus on this year winding down, and I like the feeling of having plenty of great new books to look forward to.
Caveat: this list is by no means comprehensive. I mainly focused on the first half of the year, since not all books coming out in the second half have been announced yet, and the list definitely skews in favor of my personal favorite authors and series I’ve already started. There are absolutely tons of great books that this list doesn’t encompass, and I’d love it if you guys can comment below with any other great 2020 releases you’re excited about. Last year, I ended up having to do a second post in January after I heard about even more intriguing titles, so there’s a fair chance that may be happening again. I’ve also noted which books I have ARCs or eARCs of, although that would never affect my reviews or my overall excitement levels about those books.
I listed these in order of tentative release dates, which are of course subject to change, and included links to Goodreads pages. I also added a few extra books at the end of the list that either aren’t confirmed or don’t have details yet.
Let’s do this!
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release 1/7) – Like the rest of the bookish community, I’m always ready for a new novella in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. This fifth installment focuses on Jack, who has previously appeared in books 1 and 2, and presumably a return to the world of the Moors, a dark land of vampires and Dr. Frankenstein-esque science.
Followers by Megan Angelo (anticipated release 1/14) – I picked up an ARC of this one at BookExpo due to its relevant, buzzworthy premise. Goodreads says, “An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever. Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks. Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.”
A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris (anticipated release 1/14) – I absolutely loved Harris’s underappreciated 2018 release An Easy Death, the first book in a new alternate history Western series with fantastical elements, and I’m so glad we’re finally getting the second book. Protagonist Gunnie Rose is back and on a new crew, and her adventures this time will hopefully involve more of the Russian wizards, gunslinging, and creative worldbuilding we saw in book 1. I received an eARC of A Longer Fall from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I’m hoping to read this one before the end of the year.
The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (anticipated release 2/4) – I was lucky enough to get an eARC of this one from NetGalley, and was drawn in by the concept of Jane Austen meets The Bachelor in space. After requesting, my friend separately introduced me to Alexa Donne’s BookTube channel, and now I’m a fan without even having started the book. Very interested to see how I like this one.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (anticipated release 2/15) – I’ve been meaning to read more from this author since I read and loved Station Eleven; this book seems like I will (hopefully) love it as well. From Goodreads, “In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.”
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (anticipated release 3/3) – CANNOT WAIT for this one. Yes, I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment in Maas’s Court of Whatever and Whatever series, but this one sounds like the start of a series I’m also going to be obsessed with. It’s over 800 pages long, it sounds like a more UF take on fantasy, and I’m planning to either pre-order it or pick it up on release day and dive in. I’m including the entire length Goodreads synopsis, since it sounds so good: “Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savouring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world. Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case. As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir…”
The Companions by Katie M. Flynn (anticipated release 3/3) – This blurb from Goodreads with comparisons to two of my favorite books got me to instantly add this one to my TBR: “Station Eleven meets Never Let Me Go in this debut novel set in an unsettling near future where the dead can be uploaded to machines and kept in service by the living.”
Docile by K. M. Szpara (anticipated release 3/3) – This book is getting amazing hype from readers with ARCs, and the premise sounds extremely unique. Goodreads says “Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future. Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.”
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (anticipated release 3/26) – N.K. Jemisin is one of my all-time favorite authors, which is why I’m super excited about her new book even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the short story it’s based on. Goodreads says “Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.”
Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (anticipated release 4/7) – the sequel to 2019’s Wicked Saints, which I enjoyed quite a bit but perhaps didn’t love. This dark YA fantasy sequel will continue following our three flawed and magical main characters as they deal with the fallout of Wicked Saints‘ intense conclusion.
Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (anticipated release 4/21) – I was lucky enough to be approved for an eARC of this one via NetGalley. 2019’s The Right Swipe introduced us to Rai’s Modern Love series, a lighter spinoff of the Forbidden Hearts trilogy centered around romance in the digital age, and Girl Gone Viral focuses on Katrina, a reclusive former model introduced as a side character in book 1. Since I’ve loved every Alisha Rai book I’ve read so far, and I was intrigued by Katrina’s backstory, I’m very much looking forward to this one, so my review will probably be up well ahead of this one’s release.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (anticipated release 5/4/21) – I really loved Hoang’s first book The Kiss Quotient, and although I was lukewarm on the second book The Bride Test, I have higher hopes for The Heart Principle since it features favorite side character Quan as the main protagonist in this rom-com.
UPDATE! I just found out that The Heart Principle has been postponed until 2021, but I’m still very excited about it, so I’m going to leave it on this list, just to make things more confusing for everyone, and so I don’t forget to include it next year.
Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (anticipated release 5/5) – I really loved Six of Crows in space-esque Aurora Rising this year, since it featured what might be my favorite YA trope (a gang of misfits banding together for a heist) and also set up several really interesting relationship dynamics that I’ll be interested to follow. I also really enjoyed Kaufman and Kristoff’s previous science fiction trilogy, the Illuminae Files, so I have high hopes for this second book in the Aurora Cycle.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (anticipated release 6/2) – This is a book that I’ll be at the bookstore on release day for, considering it’s the sequel to my favorite book of 2019. If you haven’t yet read Gideon the Ninth, you still have about six months to get on board with this unique world of interstellar necromancy, sarcasm, and some of the most memorable characters I’ve read about in years.
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (anticipated release 6/2) – I wished for an eARC of this new YA fantasy book on NetGalley, so fingers crossed. Goodreads says, “In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes…Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.”
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh (anticipated release 6/9) – Ahdieh’s The Beautiful was a surprise YA favorite of 2019 for me, and its ending set up a great premise for the sequel, along with the potential for more magic and mayhem in historic New Orleans.
The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (anticipated release 6/16) – yet another contemporary romance sequel, this one to 2015’s The Royal We, a sort of retelling of a William and Kate-esque romance with plenty of drama and fun. I loved listening to The Royal We on audiobook this year, and since a lot of the emotional conflicts seemed like they were still very much present toward the end of that book, I can absolutely see how a sequel could come into play. I’m hoping that we get more time with Freddie, the Prince Harry character, and maybe an eventual Megan Markle-esque follow-up book?
Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings (anticipated release 7/28) – This Tor novella sounds like it’ll be right up my alley, with plenty of weirdness and possible magical realism. Goodreads says: “In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure. A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles. In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun. Holly Black describes as ‘half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.’ Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own. ”
Reign by Cora Carmack (anticipated release 8/25) – the conclusion to Carmack’s Stormheart trilogy holds a lot of promise, since the end of the second book Rage set up a game-changing realignment of alliances. I really love this well-written, elemental magic and romance-focused series, and I’m hoping we continue to see strong character development for Roar.
And here are some more possible 2020 releases I’m excited for, that are either coming out in the second half of the year or don’t yet have official covers/synopses/release dates:
A Sleight of Shadows by Kat Howard (sequel to An Unkindness of Magicians, book 2 in an adult fantasy series featuring warring magical houses, anticipated release June 2020, no cover or synopsis available)
The Lightness by Emily Temple (no release date yet, but an intriguing synopsis on Goodreads: “a fabulist and violent tale of mistaken fervor set in a Buddhist summer camp and following a tight-knit, secretive circle of teenaged girls with a dark history, weaving together ancient myth, fairy tale archetypes, occultist practices, legends of daring women, and Buddhist mores.”)
Between Earth and Sky by Rebecca Roanhorse: (anticipated release 2020, favorite author, great-sounding GR synopsis: “The great matriarchal clans of a prosperous cliff-city vie for power against a backdrop of political intrigue, celestial prophecies, rising rebellion & dark magic.”) There’s also the potential for a third book in Roanhorse’s Sixth World series in 2020, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Ruinsong by Julia Ember (no release date, from an author/publisher I’ve really enjoyed in the past, YA fantasy with a great GR synopsis: “In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself. In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.”)
Untitled, A League of Extraordinary Women #2 by Evie Dunmore (no release date/cover/synopsis, but following Lucie and Tristan from Bringing Down the Duke, the first historical romance I’ve ever enjoyed)
What books are you most excited to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments!