My Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020

Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020

If you missed yesterday’s episode of the Sarah’s Bookshelves Live podcast (listen above), Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books and I covered 16 books we’re excited about coming out this Fall. I’m talking about 6 of them again in today’s blog post (noted by each book)…but, check out the podcast to hear about the rest! Just click on the time stamp link next to each book and it will take you right to the place in the podcast where we talk about that book.

Additional Fall 2020 Releases I Covered in the Podcast

As always, my Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020 list is mostly made up of books from trusted sources who, in as many cases as possible, have already read the book. I did not look at a single publisher’s catalog to create this list. I’m sharing the recommendation source for each book and will specify if that source has or has not read it yet.

I use my “Rock Your Reading” Tracker (available for purchase for $14.99) to keep an ongoing eye on my most trusted recommendation sources…and improved my reading success 42% from last year!

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

My Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020


The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz (August 4, Harper Books)
This debut is exactly the type of brain candy I love…reads easy, but has substance. Great pick for fans of The Devil Wears Prada!

Sweetbitter meets The Firm in this buzzy, page-turning debut novel—already optioned to Netflix—about sex and power in the halls of corporate America.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME…and Susie from Novel Visits, Grace Atwood (Co-Host of Bad on Paper Podcast), and Zibby Owens (Host of Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books Podcast). 

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy (August 18, Putnam)
Discussed on the podcast [13:46]
David Joy writes intense Grit Lit and I loved his previous two novels: Where All Light Tends to Go and The Line That Held Us.

Acclaimed author and “remarkably gifted storyteller” (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them.

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted author and already read and loved by Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books and Susie from Novel Visits.


His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie (September 1, Algonquin)
Discussed on the podcast [32:41]
This debut novel about the impact of Ghana’s patriarchal society on women is highly readable and I was rooting for Afi! 4 stars!

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and really liked by ME.

Anxious People by Fredrick Backman (September 8, Atria Books)
Discussed on the podcast [29:54]
Although I have a mixed relationship with Backman (thumbs up for the Beartown series), I’ve heard good things about this novel even though it’s different from the Beartown series. 

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted author and already read and loved by Books With Taylor.

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker (September 15, St. Martin’s Press)
I also have a mixed relationship with Wendy Walker (5 stars for Emma in the Night), but I didn’t love her latest. I’m hoping this one gets back to her Emma in the Night form.

One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life. She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story. The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together. They called it a “walk away.” It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and liked by

Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner (September 22, St. Martin’s Press)
Discussed on the podcast [32:49]
These stories are super intense in a punch-you-in-the-gut way, though they have hopeful endings. Great pick for fans of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

In this fascinating narrative, therapist Catherine Gildiner’s presents five of what she calls her most heroic and memorable patients. Among them: a successful, first generation Chinese immigrant musician suffering sexual dysfunction; a young woman whose father abandoned her at age nine with her younger siblings in an isolated cottage in the depth of winter; and a glamorous workaholic whose narcissistic, negligent mother greeted her each morning of her childhood with Good morning, Monster.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME…and Sarah Pekkanen (author of You Are Not Alone).


Memorial by Bryan Washington (October 6, Riverhead Books)
Discussed on the podcast [51:31]
The premise of this book interests me and I’ve heard great things about Washington’s short story collection, Lot: Stories.

A funny, sexy, profound dramedy about two young people at a crossroads in their relationship and the limits of love.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved (5 stars) by and Tyler Goodson.

White Ivy by Susie Yang (November 3, Simon & Schuster)
Discussed on the podcast [46:25]
I really liked this character-driven (but not slow!) debut novel about a young Chinese American girl bristling against her immigrant parents’ strict rules and trying to reconcile who she is versus who she wants to be. 

A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME…and

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads (edited for length).

What Fall 2020 books are you looking forward to?

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Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020


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  1. I’m most interested in Transcendent Kingdom having read Homegoing and really enjoyed it. Hoping that the new book will be just as good

    Posted 9.3.20 Reply

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