Gift guide: 10 best-selling novels that make perfect presents

Mary Cadden,
·4 min read

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Our colleague Mary Cadden from the USA TODAY Life team is here to share book recommendations from USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

Not sure what to give the reader in your life this holiday season? A bestseller may be your best bet.

USA TODAY has rounded up 10 novels from 2020 that have made an appearance on the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list. From romance to race and historical to horror, there's sure to be a title for most readers on your list.

"Midnight Sun," by Stephenie Meyer. Teased for over a decade, the long-anticipated retelling of the original “Twilight” love story from vampire Edward Cullen’s perspective finally hit shelves in August. It debuted at No. 1 on USA TODAY's list and has remained a bestseller.

"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," by Suzanne Collins. We all know Coriolanus Snow as a villain. But how did he get to be the dictatorial president of Panem? Could we have been wrong about him this whole time? Collins’ highly anticipated prequel to "The Hunger Games," published in May, is set 64 years before the events of the hit series. The novel debuted at No. 1 on USA TODAY's list and continues to be a bestseller.

'Hunger Games' primer: What to remember before reading new prequel 'Songbirds and Snakes'

"All Adults Here," by Emma Straub. When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident, it shakes up her life and the lives of those she loves: She decides to come clean with her family about her relationship with her female hairdresser. USA TODAY wrote: "Reading 'All Adults Here,' you feel like maybe your life isn’t so small, that its minor joys and pitfalls are worthy of literature. If only Straub could be the one to document it."

"A Time for Mercy," by John Grisham. Southern lawyer Jake Brigance, who readers were first introduced to in "A Time to Kill," returns and defends a 16-year-old boy who is accused of murdering a local deputy. The book debuted at No. 1 on USA TODAY's list in October and has remained on the list since. As a bonus for Grisham fans, the author's novel "Camino Winds," published in April, has also been a bestseller.

"The Vanishing Half," by Brit Bennett
"The Vanishing Half," by Brit Bennett

"The Vanishing Half," by Brit Bennett. Bennett’s deeply compelling new novel depicts a Southern community born from the legacy of slavery and twin sisters of color who choose to live in two different worlds: one Black and one white. The novel was a "Good Morning America" book club pick and also long-listed for both the National Book Award and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.

"The Wives," by Tarryn Fisher. Thursday tries hard to be the perfect wife for Seth—even though he has two other wives. Thursday knows and accepts this until she learns by chance the name of one of his other wives, and an internet search begins to unravel her image of the man she married. USA TODAY wrote "as with (Gillian) Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” readers will either love or hate the ending. But they will be anything but bored getting there."

"If It Bleeds," by Stephen King. The four-novella collection—"Mr. Harrigan’s Phone," "The Life of Chuck," "Rat" and "If It Bleeds"—from the master of horror debuted on the list in April and has spent 19 weeks on the list. According to USA TODAY: "King still owns the fright business like none other, but the iconic author will keep you up late at night engrossed in four tales about our dreams and our frailties."

"Such a Fun Age," by Kiley Reid
"Such a Fun Age," by Kiley Reid

"Such a Fun Age," by Kiley Reid. A young, broke, Black babysitter of a privileged white family is accused of kidnapping by a store security guard. The confrontation is caught on tape, and the white family’s blogger mother wants to help make things right. Are her intentions really good ones? Long-listed for the Booker Prize, the book was also a pick for Reese Witherspoon's book club, Hello Sunshine.

"A Long Petal of the Sea," by Isabel Allende. The immigrant experience is at the heart of this novel. Roser, a pregnant young widow, and her dead love’s brother, Victor, are forced into an unwanted marriage as they flee the Spanish Civil War to start a new life in South America. According to USA TODAY, "while debate and policy surround the issues of refugees and immigration, Allende reminds us that these issues, at their core, are made up of individuals and their love stories."

"The Guest List," by Lucy Foley. This mystery about a wedding (and murder) on a remote island in Ireland made waves and was a pick for Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine book club this summer. The novel debuted to USA TODAY'S best-sellers list in June, where it has remained since.

Contributing: Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY

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This article originally appeared on Gift books: 10 best-selling novels that make perfect presents