Don’t let rainy spring days get you down. Just use it as a reason to cuddle up with one of the best books of Spring 2020.
Although there’s still snow in the mountains and a few more weeks of skiing left, Spring is beginning to arrive here in the Utah valleys.
The warmer weather means more bike rides, trips to the park. It also means plenty of rainy days for me to cuddle up with some amazing new spring reads.
I’ve got all the best books of Spring 2020 to keep your TBR overflowing this season. No matter your mood, I’ve gotten you covered with family dramas, thrillers, historical fiction and more.
The Best Books of Spring 2020 – Fiction
In Five Years
Lawyer Dannie Cohan knows exactly where she’ll be in five years – until the night of her engagement. In her post-engagement bliss, she has a vision of herself in five years engaged to someone else. She doesn’t think much of it, until years later when she finds he is dating her best friend. While the premise sounds light-hearted, partway through the story, beach read goes out the window and thought-provoking steps in. You’ll feel compelled to know if the vision came true and surprised at how well Serle counters your expectations.
A Good Neighborhood
Therese Anne Fowler
In a gentrifying North Carolina neighborhood, the clash between new and old has deadly consequences. Professor Valerie Alston-Holt has lived in Oak Knoll for decades. It’s where she raised her son Xavier, who is off to college soon. But things go horribly wrong when her new neighbors, the Whitmans, move in. Brad Whitman’s monstrosity of a house damages the root system of Valerie’s precious oak tree, an unforgivable offense in Valerie’s eyes. Yet despite the differences in race, class, and lifestyles, Xavier falls in love with Whitman’s stepdaughter. Far from a light read, the ending hit me hard, ringing a bit too realistic and making me feel a bit hopeless.
My Dark Vanessa
Kate Elizabeth Russell
One of the most anticipated Spring 2020 book releases is this dark debut novel exploring the relationship between a naive young girl and her manipulative teacher. As a fifteen-year-old, Vanessa began an affair with her 42-year-old English teacher. Now almost two decades later, when allegations arise against Mr. Strane, Vanessa must confront the reality of her past and reassess her first love. In the post #Metoo era, Russell raises questions about such pressing topics as consent and victimhood. No doubt that this will be one of the year’s must-read novels.
On a flight from New York City to Los Angeles, 191 people are killed in a plane crash. The sole survivor: 12-year-old Edward Adler. Although Edward recovers physically, learning to deal with the fact that he is alive while so many others, including his parents and older brother, are not is a slow and painful process. With split narration between Edward’s post-crash years and the time leading up to the fatal accident, Dear Edward shows that surviving is just the beginning. Napolitano hits the emotions just right in this novel, making you deeply care about Edward’s progress while not turning the story into a full-blown tearjerker. A touching tale, Napolitano perfectly conveys Edward’s complicated coming of age years, giving you hope that even amid such tragedy, joy can be found. Dear Edward has certainly earned its spot among the best books of Spring 2020.
Mystery & Thriller Hits of Spring 2020
During a tense murder trial, high school teacher Bobby Nock is accused of murdering a wealthy white student. Initially the lone “not guilty” vote, juror Maya Seale swings her fellow jurors to acquit. During a reunion of the jurors ten years later, a fellow juror turns up dead in Maya’s room. Now, Maya is the main suspect, and it’s her turn to prove her innocence. The Holdout will keep you guessing whodunit, then and now. Graham Moore’s legal thriller reminded me of John Grisham’s early books, combining court room drama with insightful looks at the justice system. The action keeps the narrative moving along at a fast clip while the flashbacks help you understand how Maya was able to sway so many jurors. A quick read, The Holdout is a perfect beach read if you are looking for something to take with you for spring break.
In Mexico, bookstore owner Lydia is charmed to meet Javier, a man who shares her taste in books, only to find he is the local drug lord. When her husband exposes Javier’s secrets, the wrath of the cartel falls upon her family. Lydia and her son Luca must flee from his wrath – all the way to American soil. Of all the 2020 book releases, American Dirt has proven the most controversial. The publisher marketed it as literary fiction, suggesting a deeper authenticity that it lacks. In truth, Cummins wrote a narco-thriller, and according to reviews, a very good one at that.
The Sun Down Motel
Simone St. James
In 1982, hoping to earn enough money to move to New York City, Viv Delaney takes a job as a clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York, only to mysteriously disappear. Thirty-five years later, Viv’s niece Carly Kirk returns to the Sun Down Motel to investigate her aunt’s disappearance. Chosen among the January Book of the Month selections, readers are loving this scary tome this spring.
The Red Lotus
While touring Vietnam, emergency room doctor Alexis is startled when her boyfriend Austin vanishes on a bike ride. The only clue is one of his empty packets of energy gel left behind on the road. Quickly Alexis learns that Austin had been lying about why they were in Vietnam. The deeper Alexis digs the more she realizes that Austin was not what he seemed. As a protagonist, Alexis hits all the right notes, swaying from grieving girlfriend to curious investigator. The ending has the perfect mix of action and danger, and the epilogue was spot-on. While The Red Lotus might get lost among all the incredible Spring 2020 book releases, it’s a solid story for fans who enjoy a good detective story.
Long Bright River
Estranged sisters, Mickey, a police officer, and Kacey, a drug addict, live completely different lives in Philadelphia. When Kacey goes missing and drug addicts begin dying, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her among the opioid-riddled streets. More a family drama than a gritty detective thriller, Long Bright River‘s slower pace draws you into Mickey’s world of being a single mom and police officer while the flashbacks build a relationship between the sisters. Moore does an excellent job slowly revealing layers of her story, building connections that interlock in surprising ways. While the ending has some action, the story’s strength lies in the characters making this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The Most-Anticipated Spring 2020 Releases
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
No book has gotten more buzz than Suzanne Collins’ prequel to The Hunger Games series. Collins shocked fans when she revealed the prequel’s main character is none other than notorious President Snow. During the 10th annual Hunger Games, Coriolanus Snow is selected as a mentor to the female candidate from District 12. Desperate to win a victory, Snow must use all his cunning and skill to help his doomed candidate, a girl he is beginning to care about.
House of Earth and Blood
Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas kicks off her new Crescent City adult fantasy series with the story of half-Fae half-human Bryce Quinlan intent on avenging the death of her friends. She teams up with Fallen Angel Hunt Athalar for a tale of danger, romance, and magic. With two huge fantasy series under her belt (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses), you better believe that Maas’s newest book is one of the best books of Spring 2020.
The Honey-Don’t List
With a book deal and a new show, home remodeling and design experts Melissa and Rusty Tripp are about to hit it big, if they don’t kill each other first. It’s up to their assistants Carey and James to keep things on track, and maybe find some love along the way. The writing duo Christina Lauren have developed a big following with their romance stories, so their newest book will be highly talked about this spring. Having read it, it’s exactly what you’d expect – a quick light-hearted romance that’s ready to be made into a tv movie.
The Best Nonfiction Books of Spring 2020
Joy at Work
Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
Decluttering queen Marie Kondo is back, helping you spark joy in your job. With organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein, she tackles the decluttering process as it pertains to the workplace. Helping inspire you to tidy up your office, Kondo uses her KonMari method to show you that minimalism is just as important at work as at home. With organizing advice from Sonenshein to help you get to get your inbox in order and rework your schedule, Joy at Work is a winning collaboration between these two authors. While nothing in the book is shockingly new, reading it will inspire you to streamline your work life.
Could you wear only 33 items for 3 months? Taking a capsule wardrobe to a whole new level, Courtney Carver’s applies minimalism into the fashion realm. You might think that having a million choices would allow you to be extremely stylish, but Carver points out it’s just the opposite. By limiting your wardrobe to items you love, you’ll have more fashion sense, more money, and more time to do other things. While it’s debatable if Project 333 needed a whole book to explain it, having tried it myself, I can promise you that her method works.
The Splendid and the Vile
Bestselling author Erik Larson turns his attention to Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister as he unites a nation in the face of the horrors of the London Blitz. With thorough in-depth research, Larson brings Churchill to life – sharing details on his political and personal life. At over 600 pages, you need to love history books to appreciate this thick tome. As long as you are expecting an informative read instead of a thrilling read, you’ll find this one of the best books of Spring 2020.
Spring 2020 Historical Fiction
Code Name Hélène
Ariel Lawhon’s new novel based on a true story is my top choice for the best books of Spring 2020. Nancy Wake, a New Zealander living in Paris, becomes a spy for the British and rises to one of the top leaders of the French Resistance and one of the most decorated women of the war. The story is split into two narratives – the first starting with Nancy parachuting into France in 1944 and the second telling of her courtship with her husband, Henri Fiocca, before the war. You’ll fall in love with Henri and cheer on Nancy as she transforms into a fierce fighter and respected commander. As the earlier timeline catches up with the later one, you’ll feel all the emotions of a woman caught up in a terrible war.
The Book of Lost Friends
After the Civil War, freed slaves posted “Lost Friends” advertisements, seeking loved ones who had been sold off. In 1875, freed slave Hannie goes on an adventure with two step-sisters, daughters of her former master. While Lavinia and Juneau Jane are looking for their father’s will, Hannie is hoping to find her long-lost family. In 1987, searching for a way to connect to her students, teacher Benny Silva hopes that diving into the town’s history will spark some interest. The novel starts slow, but eventually picks up and turns into an endearing tale of the importance of family history. Hannie’s story is the more interesting of the two, revealing fascinating historical details of post-Civil War life. Wingate’s smartest move was to include actual Lost Friends advertisements between chapters. In all, it might not be at the top of my list of the best books of Spring but it holds its own as a light historical fiction read.
The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd
Acclaimed author Sue Monk Kidd imagines a bold narrative about a fierce, intellectual Jewish woman named Ana. Although expected to marry an older widower, Ana instead marries Jesus, who eventually becomes one of the most influential individuals in history. I haven’t read The Book of Longings yet, so I’m not sure if it belongs on the list of the best books of spring. However, Kidd is a remarkable writer and if she can weave that fine line between respect and creativity, her story could be a new book club favorite.
A Long Petal of the Sea
Fleeing the Spanish Civil War, pregnant widow Roser marries her brother-in-law out of necessity. Starting over in Chile, Roser and Victor find a way to make work a marriage neither one wanted. If you love a good multi-generational family drama, this new release will be right up your alley.
What do you think are the best books of Spring 2020?