Wondering what to read now? Here are all the hot new September 2020 book releases for you. I’ll let you know what I’ve read, what I can’t wait to read, and what’s getting all the attention this month.
Summer is waning to a close, and the start of school is upon us.
Well, maybe. Possibly. Hopefully. Argh, the uncertainty never ends!
One thing is for sure, the fall book releases are top-notch this year. At least most of them are. Just look at these September 2020 book releases.
The highlights (and lowlights) of the month:
- A gorgeous post-WWII story set in Japan
- Three sequels/prequels in well-known series
- Two awful new releases from popular authors
Have I got you interested? Then keep scrolling to see our picks for the best and worst of the September 2020 book releases.
September 2020 book Releases – Advance Review Copies
Fifty Words for Rain
In post World War II Japan, Nori, the illegitimate daughter of a Japanese aristocrat and a Black American GI, is hidden away on her grandmother’s estate to hide the family shame. All Nori knows is the attic she is confined to until she meets her legitimate half-brother, Akira, a boy who shows her the world contains so much more.
Of all the September 2020 book releases I’ve read, Fifty Words for Rain and is vying for one of my best books of the year. You’ll love this complicated story about family shame and the need for acceptance. Now I just need everyone to read it so I have someone to discuss the ending with!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Dutton through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
After a failed bank robbery, a banker robber on the run accidentally ends up with a room full of hostages at an open house. After letting all of the hostages go, the police storm the apartment, only to find it empty. Now the police must interview the dysfunctional group to figure out what exactly happened.Less mystery and more character study, Backman does an excellent job purposefully playing with your assumptions about the character. However, I didn’t love the book, partly because the unusual narration kept everything at an arm’s length. You don’t even learn the characters’ names until partway through the story.
In all, Backman basically preaches to the reader about how we need compassion because we are all flawed, which some people will love but I found a bit offputting.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The Book of Two Ways
When Dawn Edelstein is in a plane crash, her last thoughts are not of her husband, but of a man she hasn’t seen in fifteen years. When she miraculously survives, Dawn has a choice to make. Should she return to her husband and try to work out their marriage? Or should she run away to Egypt to pursue a man and a degree that she left behind?If I could describe The Book of Two Ways in one word, it would be boring. From the start, Picoult drowns you in information. To make it worse, it’s not even interesting information.
Each chapter I hoped it would get better, but it only got worse. Flirting that takes two pages to explain is not cute. Eventually, I gave up completely and decided that any way you slice it, Picoult’s story was mind-numbingly dull. Trust me, you’ll regret picking up this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
When No One is Watching
Sydney Green is dismayed by the gentrifying of her Brooklyn neighborhood. The more she researches her neighborhood’s history, the more she wonders: Were the residents pushed out, or is there something more sinister going on?Cole took a promising premise and completely tanked it, failing to use any nuance or subtlety. Unwilling to commit to the unreliable narrator genre, Cole’s portrayal of Sydney ends up just being off. Add in a forced romance and you have two highly unlikeable protagonists. Further, the rest of the white characters were unabashedly racist, with no attempt to hide it.
The plot slowly lurches forward in fits and starts until everything slams you at the ending, where things just get stranger and stranger. My advice: stay far away from this September book release.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from William Morrow through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
How I Built This
Guy Raz has a new September book release based on his popular NPR podcast. Having interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs, Raz has all the insights you need to build your business. Reminding me of Malcolm Gladwell or Charles Duhigg, Raz outlines the steps to building a successful business with interesting anecdotes. Yet, Raz isn’t as strong a writer as either Gladwell or Duhigg so I felt the book lacked the magic of their books. My suggestion: skip the book in favor of the podcast.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
All this Time
Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott
Kyle and Kimberly were the perfect high school sweethearts. Until graduation night when Kyle’s world is completely upended. Just as Kimberly breaks up with him, they get into a car crash and she is killed. Kyle feels completely lost until he meets Marley, a girl grieving her own loss. Although not as good as Five Feet Apart, All This Time was still an enjoyable contemporary young adult read. Watching Kyle process through his grief and understanding Kim’s need to find herself away from her relationship with Kyle were both great themes for teens to read. Inconsistencies in Marley’s character that nagged me throughout the book were cleverly explained with the story’s twist. Yet the twist veered the story in a direction I didn’t particularly love, crafting a completely unrealistic fairy-tale ending.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon and Schuster through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Book of the Month – September 2020 Book Releases
Receiving my blue box from Book of the Month Club is a highlight of every month.
Here’s how it works – each month, they pick 5 books and you get to choose one book or skip until the next month. If you want to add any extra books, then you get them at a discounted price.
Each month is usually a mix of new releases and advance copies of unreleased books. If you are interested in joining, you can use my Book of the Month Club affiliate link to get a discount on your first book!
Here’s a look at the September Book of the Month selections.
The Most Anticipated September 2020 Book Releases
One by One
At an exclusive French ski resort, the shareholders for the up-and-coming social media company Snoop must decide on an offer a billion-dollar sale. One person doesn’t make it back to the lodge after skiing, and things go from bad to worse when an avalanche hits threatening them all. Would someone be willing to resort to murder to get their way?
The Midnight Library
In the Midnight Library, there are two books – one book for the life you’ve lived and one for the one you could have lived. Nora Seed must decide which book to choose from. What if she had made different choices? Would her life truly have been better?
In her fifth year studying neuroscience at Stanford, Gifty is determined to find the cause of suffering, studying depression and addiction in mice. The further she dives into the science, the more her childhood faith seems to call to her. Can faith or science alleviate the suffering she sees in her family of Ghanaian immigrants struggling with depression, addiction, and grief?
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
Elissa R. Sloan
Elissa R. Sloan’s debut novel hints at the dark side of superstardom. Overnight, Cassidy Holmes and her band The Glossies become a pop phenomenon. But with success comes overbearing media attention, band drama, and utter loneliness that eventually results in Cassidy’s suicide. Jumping back and forth between past and present, The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is being hailed as a heartbreaking novel reminiscent of Daisy Jones & The Six.
The End of the Day
A retired widow visited by a childhood friend. A man introducing his newborn daughter to his estranged father. A taxi driver in Hawaii receiving an alarming phone call. Three unrelated storylines tie together in unexpected ways in this novel of family and friendship.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
While surveying an uncolonized planet, xenobiologist Kira Navárez discovers a relic that thrusts her into first contact with an alien race. First contact isn’t at all what Kira imagined, and now she finds herself the last and best hope for humanity at the brink of extinction.
The Evening and the Morning
Thirty years after publishing The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written a prequel revealing the events that led up to his epic work. At the end of the Dark Ages in England, one man’s determination to make his abbey the center of learning changes the lives of a boatbuilder, a noblewoman, and the monk in unexpected ways.
A Deadly Education
At the cutthroat school of magic, Scholomance, students are expected to graduate or die. The main rules: don’t ever walk the hallways alone for monsters lurk everywhere. When El begins to learn the school’s secrets, she thinks she can rid the school of monsters. Unfortunately, her powerful magic might accidentally rid the school of students, too.
Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up together in Atlanta. While Justyce attends Yale, Quan is imprisoned in a juvenile detention center, awaiting trial for the shooting death of a police officer. In a series of letters to Jusytce, Quan relays his life story – a troubled childhood, bad timing, and prejudiced police work. A hard look at the injustice in the justice system, this sequel to the bestseller Dear Martin is a must-read among the September 2020 book releases.
Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling returns with the fifth book in her Cormoran Strike detective series. While visiting his mother, Private Investigator Cormoran Strike takes on the cold case of a mother who mysteriously disappeared forty years ago. Meanwhile, his trusty colleague Robin Ellacott is going through a messy divorce while struggling with her feelings for Strike.
What September 2020 Book Releases are You Most Excited to Read?
What books can you not wait to get your hands on this month? Did I miss any September 2020 book releases that you are anticipating? As always, let me know in the comments!
More New Book Releases:
Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) says
Bummer that the Picoult book isn’t better. She’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve also been looking forward to the Cole book. I guess I’ll have to read it to see what I think. On the bright side now I’m looking forward to FIFTY WORDS FOR RAIN even more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Rachel @ Never Enough Novels says
I absolutely loved One by One and that is a genre I hardly ever enjoy. I think it’ll be a hit this fall/winter. I’m waiting on some reviews of Deadly, but I’ll definitely add it to my list if I see people like it!
Just finished Anxious People. Ended by skip reading…style, characters, repetitions frustrated me; perhaps made me Anxious. Anxious to close book. It’s a disappointment after Backman’s A Man Called Ove.
Haha! That’s such an accurate description of how I felt. I can’t believe Book of the Month picked it for their September books.