Zoella Book Club 2020: Our Picks For May, June, July & August

If like us you’re getting through more chapters than banana bread right now, here’s a run-through of our next four book club picks.

We don’t know about you but we have been making a serious dent in our TBR piles during lockdown and reading more than ever before. The leisurely pastime once reserved for slow sofa Sundays has become the holy grail of distraction, as we find ourselves longing for a world that distances us from our own reality.

Give us fiction, give us characters to invest in, give us plot twists instead of harrowing headlines!

Give us fiction, give us characters to invest in, give us plot twists instead of harrowing headlines! Reading is no longer playing second fiddle to our social lives – it’s become the best offer of escapism we have.

If like us you’re getting through more chapters than banana bread right now, here’s a run-through of our next four book club picks. Permission to stick our heads in the proverbial sand? We think so.

May Book Club – This Lovely City by Louise Hare

Our next book club read is Louise Hare’s debut novel, This Lovely City. Set in post-Windrush London, it’s a story about solidarity and love but above all hope. We can’t wait to get stuck in!

The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can’t last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.

Atmospheric, poignant and compelling, Louise Hare’s debut shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects. But, also, that there is always hope.

June Book Club – The Switch by Beth O’leary

The author of the hugely popular The Flatshare, Beth O’leary, returns with a heart-warming second novel, The Switch, providing us with the perfect reading material for these anxious and uncertain times.

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile, Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend within the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

June Book Club 2 – Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

At Zoella we have a responsibility to encourage you, our audience, to learn as much as you can about racism and white privilege during such an important time. That’s why we’ve decided to add another book into our June book club and read ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

July Book Club – My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russell

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

August Book Club – Olive by Emma Gannon (coming July, available for pre-order)

If the blurb is anything to go by, the debut novel Olive from Emma Gannon is set to be the page-turner of 2020. We can’t stop talking about it already and we haven’t even read it yet!

Knows her own mind.
Olive is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.
Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, Olive has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

Don’t forget you can now find all our books and thoughts on our Goodreads page, too!

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