January Book Club Picks: Organ Transplants, Mysterious Deaths, and a Guard Dog

January Book Club Picks: Organ Transplants, Mysterious Deaths, and a Guard Dog

book club recommendations

It’s a new year, and maybe you’ve made some resolutions related to your book club. Whether you’re going to join a book club, invite new members to your existing club, or just up your book-club game in general, we’re all for it. Get your 2019 off to a great start with one of these outstanding book club recommendations. No matter what genre your club prefers, we’ve got a book here for you.

Looking for discussion topics? We’ve got those too.

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

Say “I do” to this creepy psychological thriller by JoAnn Chaney. Disaster strikes when husband and wife Matt and Marie are hiking: Marie falls over the edge of a cliff and dies. This is the story that Matt tells the police after his wife’s death. But Detective Spengler and Detective Loren aren’t sure what to make of Matt’s tale when they learn that Matt was previously married and that his first wife also died pretty suddenly. Your book club will love discussing the ins and outs of Matt’s marriages and speculating about what happened to his two wives. We predict you’ll talk long into the night about As Long As We Both Shall Live, and we’d suggest you leave the lights on.

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

Time travel is tricky business. This debut novel follows Kin Stewart, a time-traveling secret agent for the Temporal Corruption Bureau. He’s originally from the year 2142, but he’s been trapped in 1996 for nearly two decades. He’s made a life for himself on the California coast. He has a wife, a daughter, and a job in IT. But when he’s miraculously returned to the future, Kin misses the life he left behind. When his daughter’s life is threatened, he’ll stop at nothing to save her. With a strong focus on human connections and the things that truly matter in life, this is an ideal pick for both SFF and fiction clubs.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Does your book club love Pride and Prejudice? If so, we bet they’ll flip for this retelling by Soniah Kamal which is set in Pakistan in the early aughts. The five Binat sisters are plagued by the effects of a devastating rumor, and it has affected their standing in society considerably. When a lavish wedding is planned in their town, Mrs. Binat decides that the event will be a good opportunity for her daughters to meet some gentlemen. Enter Valentine Darsee, and we bet you can guess what happens next. We think retellings make especially fun book clubs reads, and if your book club is feeling extra ambitious, why not read this new novel alongside the original?

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Want to have a killer 2019? Start the year off with a murder. Karen M. McManus’ buzzy new young adult book transports readers to Echo Ridge, Vermont. It may look like your ordinary small town, but it’s gained notoriety for missing girls that have never been found, and five years ago a local homecoming queen was murdered. Seventeen-year-old Ellery Corcoran is new to Echo Ridge, but she’s familiar with the dark secrets it holds. In fact, her aunt is one of the girls who disappeared from the town 23 years before. When Ellery is nominated for homecoming court, she begins receiving threats and it starts to look like the killer is back and ready to strike again.

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai

In this debut novel, readers will meet a preteen boy named Marwand who is staying in Logar, Afghanistan with his family during the War on Terror. Marwand has lived in America with his parents for much of his young life, and is spending the summer in Logar. There, he encounters a frightening guard dog he remembers from his last visit. The dog is named Budabash, and Marwand decides he will try to befriend him. Budabash is having none of it, bites Marwand, and runs away. Readers will be gripped as Marwand, along with his cousins, set out in search of the dog. If your book club loves dogs, this is a particularly great book to pick up this month.

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

Can’t decide which author to read this month? Try 17 of them with this short story collection! Edited by Pride author Ibi Zoboi, this anthology features stories on what it means to be young and black in America. The tales explore the intersection of black identity with class, gender, sexuality, and more. Earlier this season, we named it a must-read of winter 2019 and we know you’ll agree. The authors included in the collection range from new voices your club will want to begin following and some of the biggest names in YA today. With this blend of old and new favorites, we bet you’ll be adding these authors’ other books to your club’s TBR the moment you finish reading.

When Death Becomes Life by Joshua D. Mezrich

Doctors’ memoirs can make for absolutely riveting reading and When Death Becomes Life by transplant surgeon Joshua D. Mezrich is no exception. In this informative and fascinating book, Mezrich writs about his own experiences as a transplant surgeon as well as the history of these downright incredible surgeries. Readers will find themselves in the operating room with Mezrich as the tragic death of an organ donor begets new life when the right organ is placed into a new home. If your book club is hankering for an exceptional work of nonfiction, we heartily recommend picking this one up.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Fans of historical fiction won’t want to miss Rachel DeWoskin’s young adult novel about Jewish refugees seeking shelter in Shanghai during World War II. Fifteen-year-old Lillia lives in Warsaw, Poland with her parents (acrobats in the Stanislav Circus) and her baby sister. One night, there’s a raid at the circus and Lillia’s mother disappears. With Warsaw growing more dangerous every day, Lillia’s family can’t afford to stay to hunt for her mom. Lillia, her father, and sister leave their home and begin the long journey to Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Though there’s a Jewish community in her new city, Lillia still feels lost and uncertain. While doing everything she can to help her family survive, she worries about how her mother will ever find them. DeWoskin’s book explores a chapter in history that not many other books touch on, and your book club is sure to talk late into the night about resilience, humanity, and hope.


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