Best Book Club Picks for September 2020

by Heather Caliendo
book club picks September - book club chat

The best book club picks for September 2020 list is here and ready for you to check out!

So August felt like it completely dragged, at least it did for me. I welcome September with open arms and hopefully cooler weather. There’s also so many fantastic books publishing this month that I had a hard time deciding on which five to pick.

But as I always mention, not every book is a good one for book clubs, so using that mindset, I narrowed it down to these five.

This month features the return of some favorite authors along with the debut of two new authors to the scene. I personally am so excited for each of these!


The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

I first heard about The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim a couple months ago and actually had a feeling that Reese would pick this for her book club. I have been wrong on that before but I’m so thrilled that she chose this story for her September book club pick! It sounds so interesting and one of those that you’ll want to read in one sitting. Here’s the synopsis:

Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a powerful and exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check back for my book club questions! 


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi 

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time! Although, I can’t believe I still haven’t read her novel Homegoing yet—that will for sure be added to the top of the TBR. This is a Read with Jenna pick and also my selection for the September Book of the Month. Here’s the synopsis:

Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check back for my book club questions! 


The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan is perfect for fans of Daisy Jones & the Six and Britney Spears. Do I need to say more? Oh! You should totally check out my Q&A with Elissa if you haven’t yet. Here’s the synopsis:

Cassidy Holmes isn’t just a celebrity.

She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn’t get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her. 

But now she’s dead. Suicide.

The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done?

Told in multiple perspectives—including Cassidy herself—and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it. 

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check back for my book club questions!


One by One by Ruth Ware

I know how much many of you love thrillers! And One by One by Ruth Ware sounds like a perfect blend of a mystery and thriller with a great setting too. Here’s the synopsis:

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check back for my book club questions!


The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

Some people love Jodi Picoult’s novels. While other people are not big fans. But either way, The Book of Two Ways seems very different from her recent work. So curious to find out how the story unfolds. Here’s the synopsis: 

Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong.

Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients.

But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made.

After the crash landing, the airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife.

As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried with them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices . . . or do our choices make us? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check back for my book club questions!

Happy reading!

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