Another month, another 100+ books added to my TBR! In November, I ended up adding a lot of thrillers to my list, especially backlist books by authors I already had on my TBR. I also added a ton of new YA books that are coming out in 2020. I think the process of putting together my reading challenge lists for next year really sparked a lot of the new additions. It’s funny, because it was another month where I really didn’t feel like I had added very much, so I was surprised to realize that there were so many new pages to my list. My TBR list currently stands at 3326 books! This TBR has definitely become a very long-term project, especially when so many of the books I’m interested in reading soon are the newer releases. I can’t wait to get started on a new year of reading challenges soon, and hopefully get to read at least some of these books.
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality.
1) Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles
I can’t remember for sure, but I think I found this book while watching some of my favourite Youtube channels. Either that, or it came up on a list of upcoming YA releases for 2020, since this book is due out in January. It is about a teenage boy named Del who has a crush on a girl, Kiera, and jumps at the chance to volunteer alongside her at their church. Del soon realizes that he’s inadvertently signed himself up for a Purity Pledge, and thinks that this is his chance to finally get the girl. At the same time, Del’s high school has also begun to teach abstinence-only as their form of sex education, and the church is holding purity pledge classes. This sounds like such an interesting and unique concept for a YA story. I’ve read quite a few books that discuss these kinds of topics from the perspective of female characters, but have rarely seen books about sex education from a male perspective. I think if it is done well, it could be a very good and important story.
2) The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
This book seems like pure fluff, but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun to read! It is about a 17-year-old girl named Becca who pretends to be seeing someone after a friend teases her for being single. When the captain of the football team, Brett, overhears the lie, he decides to step in and offer to be Becca’s “boyfriend” since it will also get everyone off his back about dating. The two of them barely know anything about each other, but soon start to realize they have more in common than they might think, and begin to question whether their fake relationship has become something real. I tend to love the fake dating trope in general, so it’s no surprise that this book caught my attention. This is a debut book that will be out around Valentine’s Day 2020. I did notice from the cover that this was a Wattpad story, and those tend to be a bit hit-or-miss to me, but it sounds like there is enough here that I’m likely to enjoy, so I’m looking forward to trying it.
3) Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan
I meant to read Sabina Khan’s The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali this year, but I won’t have enough time to get to it. This book is her upcoming release due out next year, which is about a 17-year-old Pakistani immigrant named Zara, whose family lives in Texas awaiting citizenship approval. Zara is tormented by the star football player at her school, and when he takes things too far and she decides to speak up, it leads to retaliation that puts her entire future at risk. I’ve read a few books that deal with Islamophobia, but I don’t think I’ve read one that also included the immigration angle. This sounds like a very interesting and unfortunately relevant story, and I like that it comes from a perspective that does not seem to be mentioned very often. I was already planning to shift Sabina Khan’s other book to my challenge for next year, but now I’m thinking that I might want to read both. I’m a little confused about the release since Goodreads lists both November and July 2020, so I guess I will have to wait and see when it actually comes out to decide whether I’ll get it in time.
4) What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
There is definitely a trend lately toward YA contemporary books with more feminist themes, but this one sounds particularly intriguing. It is about a girl who goes to the principal’s office to report her boyfriend for abusing her, leading her classmates to question why she wouldn’t take her story to the police and why she waited so long to say anything at all. Some girls side with her and start to lobby for her boyfriend’s expulsion, while others would rather side with her boyfriend, especially since the couple are two of the most popular students at the school. This is the first YA book in a long time about an abusive relationship that has really caught my attention, and I’m especially interested to see how (or if) the author ties in issues such as cancel culture, victim blaming, etc. since that is what the synopsis seems to imply, at least to me. I’m especially intrigued by the mention of how the classmates all have difficulty deciding whose side to take, and I’m curious to see how the author handles that.
5) The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
I feel like I’ve been seeing this book everywhere lately. I know very little about the Jack the Ripper case, aside from the basic premise that he was a serial killer in London who was thought to mostly target prostitutes. This book looks to dispel that myth, by detailing the real lives of the women that Jack the Ripper killed. I generally do not enjoy reading non-fiction because I find it tends to be very dry, but I do find true crime stories fascinating, especially unsolved cases like this one. Earlier this year, I read The Trial of Lizzie Borden for a similar reason, although I found that book incredibly slow and dry. I think this book will probably be a bit more interesting since it focuses on several different people and their lives, not just the crime itself. In fact, the synopsis seems to suggest a strong focus on the attitudes toward women at the time, rather than the details of the murders. I don’t think I’ve ever read a true crime book that was so focused on the victims rather than the killer, so that alone sounds pretty intriguing.
6) The Hiding Place by David Bell
This was one of several backlist David Bell books that I added to my TBR this month, after realizing that he had written a lot more than I had realized. I’ve bought three of them in total from Book Outlet over the past year, but have not read any yet. I was even considering making David Bell one of my top priority authors to try next year, but he just narrowly did not make my list. This book specifically is his 2012 release, about a woman named Janet, who has been haunted by the disappearance and death of her younger brother Justin, after losing sight of him at the park. With the 25th anniversary of his death coming up, a detective and a reporter have started to ask questions again, raising new suspicion that the man convicted of the crime may have been wrongfully imprisoned. Janet’s childhood friend and crush, who was there that day, has recently returned to town and is struggling with conflicting memories of what really happened, and a stranger also appears on her doorstep at night, claiming to know the truth. I have a few other books by David Bell that I think I’d rather try first, but this one does sound very interesting as well, and exactly the kind of thriller I generally enjoy.
7) The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler
I’ve had another of Erica Spindler’s books on my TBR for years now, but didn’t realize at the time that it was by the same author. This book is her upcoming release due out at the end of January, and it is about a woman named Sienna who grew up with a mother who suffered from paranoid delusions, and is haunted by an unsolved murder of a classmate that happened years ago. Sienna fears that she was the killer’s intended target herself, and that he will soon come to “fix” his mistake. However, she also begins to wonder whether her suspicions are real, or if she is beginning to manifest the same kinds of delusions that plagued her mother. I love psychological thrillers that keep you guessing about whether things are truly the way they seem, and this one seems to be along those lines. I’m especially intrigued by the inclusion of a parent with a history of paranoia, since it creates such a great atmosphere for a thriller. It is not something that I’ve seen very often in thrillers, and I love the questions it raises about whether a character’s paranoia and real threats against them are mutually exclusive.
8) Gone by Leona Deakin
This book is due out in a couple of weeks, and it is another that I found while browsing thrillers. It is about a group of four strangers who have all disappeared, with a strange birthday card left at each of their last known locations, inviting them to “play a game.” Nothing seems to link the missing people, and the police do not seem particularly interested in the case. Instead, psychologist August Bloom and her partner Marcus Jameson, a former spy, decide to take the case and find out where these people have gone. I can’t really remember what it was that first drew me to this book since it doesn’t necessarily seem like the kind that I’d usually read. I don’t often care for books that involve pairs of detectives, police, etc. trying to solve a case, however I do like the psychology angle and I’ve noticed mentions of social media in several reviews, so that sounds a bit more intriguing. I wouldn’t say that this book is especially high on my list right now, but it’s something I might like to try at some point.
9) Ghosting You by Alexander C. Eberhart
Is it weird that the ghost in the coffee on the corner was first caught my attention? This book is about a teenage boy named Tommy, who can hear the voice of his dead friend, Chase. Tommy talks to Chase every day, and even sends him texts without really expecting a response, until one day, someone answers. Nick, who is having a rough summer including a broken phone that forces him to get a new number. When he receives a strange text from Tommy on his new phone number, Nick is immediately interested, but Tommy can’t seem to let go of the death of his friend. This sounds like such an adorable story but also one that touches on a variety of more difficult topics. I love stories where the characters get to bond through letters or messages, so that’s already one thing working in favour of this one. I’ve also recently discovered that I really like stories where a living character befriends a ghost or has the ghost of someone they knew still in their lives, so this seems like something I’d really like.
10) Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen
I noticed this one among books that one of my favourite Youtube channels had marked as an upcoming release, and thought it looked like a great story. It is about a 16-year-old gay teenager named Randy who loves his summers at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. While at camp, he meets and falls for another boy named Hudson, who is only interested in boys who act straight and doesn’t seem to even know Randy exists. Randy decides to reinvent himself as a more masculine guy known as Del to get Hudson’s attention, even if that means giving up many of the things he loves best, but as the two of them begin to grow closer, Randy begins to question whether sacrificing so much of himself was really worth it, and how Hudson can love him when he doesn’t even know Randy’s true self. This is a storyline that I’ve definitely seen before in YA books, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a story with queer characters or even with male characters. This book is not out until May so it will be quite a while before I get to read it, but it sounds like a good one.
11) After I’ve Gone by Linda Green
This was one of the many thrillers that I discovered last month! I thought I hadn’t heard of the author before, but upon checking her published books, I realized I acutally had two already on my TBR. She is one of those women’s fiction authors who eventually branched out and switched to thrillers, so I’m not surprised I didn’t recognize the name. This one is about a woman named Jess who notices that her Facebook timeline has skipped ahead 18 months, and is showing her friends and family paying tribute to her after she dies in a mysterious accident. Jess assumes it must be a joke, but as the posts continue, she starts to realize that no one else can see them, and she is forced to confront the idea that the threat of her death might be real. I love thrillers with a social media twist, and I’m very curious to see how this one plays out since the premise is a bit strange. I’ve previously read a couple of other books that involved Facebook being used to affect the future, and really enjoyed those, so this seems like something I’m likely to enjoy. I love how authors are finding so many unique, interesting ways to tie social media into stories.
12) Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
As far as I can tell, this book is loosely based on the real story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a young woman who arranged for her boyfriend to murder her mother. In what appears to be a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Gypsy’s mother claimed her daughter suffered from a variety of chronic illnesses and disabilities and forced her to undergo medical treatments for these problems. This book is about an 18-year-old named Rose Gold, who has grown up believing she was seriously ill, although no one could ever figure out what was wrong with her. Her mother Patty was sent to prison for child abuse, but when she is released after five years, Rose seems to want to reconcile, much to the community’s shock. However, it was Rose’s testimony that put Patty in prison, and now that they are living together again, they each have their own agenda. This sounds like such a creepy and disturbing book! I find Munchausen by proxy stories very interesting in general, although they are not very common, and I’m very curious to see how the author handles such a complex story.
13) The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
I really wanted to read The Escape Room by this author, but wasn’t able to get a copy of it in time! It works out well though since one of the challenges I’m planning to do next year needs a book with gold on the cover, and that one had gold-coloured elevator doors. This book is her upcoming 2020 release, about a podcast host who is covering a controversial trial in a small town. Rachel Krall had become a household name after the success of the first season of her podcast, and she receives a mysterious note on her windshield asking for help on an unsolved case. Her small town is facing the trial of their golden boy, who is bound for the Olympics, who has been accused of raping the granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make the upcoming season of her show a success, Rachel dives into her investigation, but someone seems to be following her and insisting that she finds out what really happened to another woman, Jenny Stills, who died 25 years ago in an apparent accidental drowning. As Rachel starts to notice startling connections between the two cases, she realizes that finding out the truth about Jenny may change the course of the trial too. Even though I haven’t read either of Megan Goldin’s other books yet, she is becoming an author for me to watch since her plots always sound very interesting. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit in both books next year, but I definitely want to read at least one.
14) Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas
This is another one that I noticed because of the author’s name. I own one of Claire Douglas’s books, and have several more on my TBR, although I’ve never read anything she has written. It is about a couple, Kirsty and Adrian, who move to Wales with their children and their grandmother to run a newly renovated B&B. Kirsty is ready for a fresh start, so she is shocked when their first guest is the last person she wants to see — Selena, a cousin that she has not seen in 17 years after they had an argument. The synopsis is pretty vague, but I’m intrigued by this one because I noticed that several reviews have compared the storyline to an Agatha Christie-style mystery, which is not what I would have expected. It’s probably not one of my higher priority thrillers at the moment, but it is one that I will keep in mind since it sounds like it could be very interesting. I have so many of Claire Douglas’s books on my TBR already that I’ll have to start somewhere!
15) The Silent House by Nell Pattison
I think of all the books that I’ve added to my TBR this month, this is by far the one that I am most interested in, and I stumbled upon it completely by chance! This book is about the Hunter family, who are deaf and wake up to their worst nightmare after their baby is killed in the middle of the night. The police call in Paige Northwood, a sign language interpreter, to help communicate with the family, and Paige soon suspects that the family might be hiding something. As people in the Deaf community start to fall under suspicion, Paige is left to wonder whether there really was an intruder, or if the murderer is someone closer to home. This is such a fascinating premise for a thriller, and I’m actually surprised that I have never seen something like this done before. I’m very interested to see how the story plays out, and especially how the characters being Deaf affects the way the case is handled. It is so creepy to think that someone could be inside a person’s house without them knowing, and I’m very curious to see how the author crafts this one.