The Best Books You Should Read in 2020 (part 2)

Hollywood Park, written by Mikel Jollett

Not many rock memoirs start on the grounds of an infamous American cult, but that is one of the things about the Airborne Toxic Event frontman’s personal tome separating it from the droves. Cinematic in its recounting of his family’s exit from the Synanon commune in California, Jollet’s subsequent unraveling of the abuses having shaped his stolen childhood is piercing. His pain feels at once universal and unknowable and his rhapsodic writing makes readers unable to put Hollywood Park down.

They Wish They Were Us, written by Jessica Goodman

This debut YA novel from Cosmopolitan senior editor Jessica Goodman deliciously serves up entree into the ruling inner circle of Long Island’s elite Gold Coast Prep. Although the chilling murder mystery is an irresistible hook, the novel carefully builds each character’s wrought, internal conflicts really digging in, elevating it from a high society whodunit to a knowing mission in order not just to uncover one’s own identity, but to build it.

A Children’s Bible, written by Lydia Millet

One of our best writers of climate fiction has created a harrowing novel of environmental dystopia, named A Children’s Bible. It tells the story of a group of families summering together at a vacation home and stranded by the climate apocalypse. As the storm to end all storms descends on their remote rental, the teens conclude that their debauched parents are unfit to take care for them and therefore they strike out on their own to encounter all manner of biblical calamities in the wilderness. Millet’s work has never been more timely than in an age when the dispossessed young generation blames the pillaging older generation for their ravaged environmental inheritance.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold, written by Pam Zhang

In her glittering debut How Much of These Hills Is Gold, C. Pam Zhang sets the scene of the story in the dying days of the gold rush when two orphaned kids of Chinese immigrants roam the ravaged American west searching of a new home, in order only to meet hostility wherever they go, not just from the unforgiving landscape, but also from the racist and inhospitable locals. When these siblings form their nascent identities their loss, they re-imagine their own history and heritage.