Feature image credit: @coffeelovers.bookclub

I manage a local Book Club that I started in 2017, and book club night has always been one of the highlights of every month. When lockdown started, our meetings became virtual, and since then, we have been meeting twice a month (and reading more). So whether your book club will continue being virtual or will eventually go back to in-person meetings, one thing is for sure: you want books that stand out and spark a healthy discussion!

The books I listed here are what I call a Perfect Book Club Mix: new and old releases, a few are heartbreaking while others are diverse and thought-provoking.

I hope you enjoy them!

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline will have you hooked from page 1, when Kline portrays the horrors inflicted to the indigenous people by the “civilized” British society. If that wasn’t enough, you will then get a crash course in the history of the women convicts that Britain shipped to Australia as a means to provide free labor there.⁠ Full of powerful female characters, you’ll finally have a chance to hear the story not being told by the conqueror. This is a fascinating and significant piece of history.⁠

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid explores race, privilege, parenting and adulting, all with different perspectives, which makes it really thought-provoking (and calls for long book club discussions)! One of the most interesting part is how some of the characters seem to go out of their way to not appear “racist”, and yet, their actions make them repeat offenders of the one thing they’re afraid to be. Some food for thought: is it ever ok to do the “right thing” for the wrong reasons?

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova tells the story of Joe O’Brien, a police officer in Charlestown, MA, who starts developing symptoms of Huntington’s disease, with disorganized thinking, temper outbursts and involuntary movements. Each of Joe’s 4 children has 50% chance of having the disease. There’s a blood test that can reveal their genetic fate, but will they want to know? Would you? Or would you choose to live with uncertainty? A powerful message and a story that will certainly keep book club members talking for hours.

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone is the sequel to the bestseller Dear Martin. Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to his childhood friend, Justyce, about his experience in the American juvenile detention system and his own version of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Everyone needs a support group, but what happens to a teenager without an adult influence? What happens when your own mom doesn’t believe in you? How can we break this cycle?⁠ This one is a true impactful read.

Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker

Did Molly Clarke really walk away from her family and does not want to be found? The cops, as well as her husband, seem to think so—but her daughter Nicole doesn’t, and decides to go back to the small town where her mother was last seen. This book will keep you guessing till the end and then shock you a little more!

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Imagine being over 400 years old. Would you consider that a blessing or a curse?⁠ And I’m not talking about being immortal (although those are my personal favorites), but what if there was a rare disease that made you age really slow…looking like a 40 yr old when you’re really 400+ ? A bit historical in a philosophical sort of way, this book was entertaining while raising some meaningful life questions.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is entirely different from anything you ever read. It’s an intricate labyrinth of stories within stories, and even though they might not seem connected as you read them, the pieces of this ginormous puzzle will all come together in the end. A boy finds a book in the university library and somehow, one of the stories is from his own childhood. The book tells him there are 3 things lost in time: a book, a sword and a man. Find the items. Solve the puzzle. Part Mystery. Part Fairy Tale. Part Myth. Part Love Story. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll be talking about this book for a long time (hint: find me on Instagram to chat about it).

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

After The End by Clare Mackintosh is an emotional tsunami, so you better grab the tissues. Pip and Max live a happy life. They are best friends and one of those couples that can finish each other’s sentences. That all starts to fall apart when their son Dylan gets sick and they are given the most impossible choice a parent might face. Pip chooses one road. Max chooses another. Their lives diverge and we follow their trajectory, not to prove that one choice would have been better than the other, but simply to feel the emotional twists each choice has on them.

The Girl In The Mirror by Rose Carlyle

The Girl In The Mirror by Rose Carlyle is the story of identical twins, Summer and Iris Carmichael. There are 7 Charmichael children competing for their dad’s love. The plot of this already dysfunctional family becomes twistier (and creepier) when dear dad dies and stipulates in his will that the first of his children to give birth to a grandchild will inherit a $100 million trust. And the race for the true Carmichael’s heir begins. A true page-turner with a surprising ending.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is the story of 2 sisters. Camino lives in Dominican Republic and Yahaira in NYC. They never met and don’t even know about each other. That all changes when they lose Papi in an airplane crash. Told in verse, it’s hard to imagine how realistic the pain and the love of the sisters translated to the pages. Clapping is not enough for this book. It deserves a standing OVATION!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the tell-all story of Hollywood’s femme fatale, Evelyn Hugo. Yes, her life was glamorous and scandalous, with 7 husbands and many mansions, but how much of that was true and how much was Evelyn’s own masterpiece to hide her heritage and protect the ones she loved on her journey to stardom? Race, sexuality and abuse are just a few ingredients of this award-winning book.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Addie made a deal with the darkness at a desperate moment of her life, and didn’t realize that the darkness doesn’t play to lose.⁠ Who wouldn’t want the gift of immortality? But what if nobody remembers you? And you’re sentenced to wander this earth without making any memories, leaving no mark, having no legacy…INVISIBLE to the world. Until one day someone remembers her. And everything changes. Lyrical and beautiful, Addie LaRue will keep you reading way past your bedtime.⠀