Whenever Reese Witherspoon calls out a book title, we readers go running to the nearest bookstore to pick up what is sure to be our new favorite read. Her recommendations are always spot-on, exploring deep themes, fast-paced plots, and intriguing characters. So, we’ve rounded up a bunch of our favorite Hello Sunshine and Reese-approved reads!
INFINITE COUNTRY first follows fifteen-year-old Talia as she breaks out of a correctional facility in Colombia and races to Bogotá in order to board her flight to the United States. It then jumps to alternating perspectives, exploring the story of Talia’s parents, Mauro and Elena. As they fall in love at a market in the midst of Colombia’s civil war, they flee to the US in search of a better life, but a new unique set of struggles emerge. Reese’s Book Club pick for March 2021, INFINITE COUNTRY, is written in breathtaking prose, and highlights the tense reality of undocumented life in the United States, and the unbreakable bonds of family.
“Remarkable...this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one.” —Booklist (starred review)
For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia’s parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro’s deportation and the family’s splintering—the costs they’ve all been living with ever since.
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. And all the while, the metronome ticks: Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?
Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret, and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.
THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME begins with a bang and doesn't let up! Hannah Hall recently married Owen and she's ready to start her life with him and her new teen stepdaughter, Bailey. But then Owen disappears, leaving behind a duffel bag full of cash and a note saying, “Protect Her,” which is just vague enough to leave you scrambling for answers along with Hannah and Bailey. In an effort to unravel the mystery, they parse through memories, go on last-minute trips to cities that Owen had acted weird about, and talk to Owen's work colleagues who are embroiled in a scandal that has the FBI involved. There's so many layers to this book, which is just what you want in a mystery, but it also has the added bonus of heartwarming moments as Hannah and Bailey begin to bond for the first time as a family—just not the way they'd imagined.
From internationally bestselling author Laura Dave comes a riveting new suspense novel about a woman’s search for the truth about her husband’s disappearance—no matter the cost.
We all have stories we never tell.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dazzling plot twists, and unforgettable characters, The Last Thing He Told Me is bestselling author Laura Dave’s finest novel yet, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn. This propulsive thriller with a heart is for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes.
As told in an oral history format, everyone who made the rock band Daisy Jones and The Six what it was are interviewed about the events that catapulted the band to fame in the ’70s. Filled with sex, drugs, drama, and lots of music, this book is a quick read that covers a lot of ground. Reese likes this March 2019 pick so much that her production company, Hello Sunshine, is releasing it with Amazon Studios in the near future.
Lila Reyes thought she had her post-graduation plans on lock: take over her abuela’s role as head baker at the panadería and live happily with her boyfriend in Miami. However, even those carefully laid plans soon fall apart. Noticing her flagging mental health, Lila’s parents send her to Winchester, England, to stay with family friends. Lila feels adrift, until she meets the charming tea shop clerk Orion Maxwell. Cozy and reflective, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW is a transportive meditation on love, loss, and pastelitos. This YA title was Reese’s November 2020 pick.
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club YA Pick
“A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is an absolute delight. Cozier than a hand-knit gray cardigan and richer than Abuela’s pastelito recipe, Namey takes you from Miami to Winchester, and leaves your heart belonging to both.” —Rachael Lippincott, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Five Feet Apart
Love & Gelato meets Don’t Date Rosa Santos in this charming, heartfelt story following a Miami girl who unexpectedly finds love—and herself—in a small English town.
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.
Reese recommends the juiciest thrillers for fans to dive into, and her August 2019 pick is the epitome of summer suspense. Sadie Loman and Avery Greer defied the odds with their friendship—Sadie a wealthy visitor to the town of Littleport, Maine, and Avery a local. When Sadie is found dead, the death is initially ruled a suicide, but Avery can’t help but feel like there are those who blame her. Avery is intent on clearing her name, and avenging her friend’s death, before the suspicious decide that she is the only suspect.
**A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller**
“Once again, Megan Miranda has crafted the perfect summer thriller.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Time I Lied
The summer after a wealthy young summer guest dies under suspicious circumstances, her best friend lives under a cloud of grief and suspicion in this “clever, stylish mystery that will seize readers like a riptide” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) featuring “dizzying plot twists and multiple surprise endings” (The New York Times Book Review).
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.
Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.
Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.
“A riveting read…from master of suspense, Megan Miranda,” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl) The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read that brilliantly explores the elusive nature of memory and the complexities of female friendships.
Tembi Locke’s memoir was a hit when Reese first chose it for her book club in May 2019, and since then the author’s been featured numerous times on Reese’s Instagram, most recently in the #EatTheBook series, cooking delicious recipes. Actress Tembi Locke lived a happy life with Sicilian chef Saro and their adoptive daughter, Zoela. And, despite the disapproval from Saro’s family of his marrying a Black American woman, the two were happy. Until Saro is diagnosed with cancer and passes away. FROM SCRATCH chronicles the three summers that Tembi and Zoela spent in Sicily, grieving with her in-laws. During her time in Italy, Tembi finds solace in family, food, and community, while reflecting on her whirlwind romance with Saro.
This Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller is “a captivating story of love lost and found” (Kirkus Reviews) set in the lush Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hours.
It was love at first sight when actress Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of his marrying a black American woman. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forged on. They built a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships, and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopted at birth. Eventually, they reconciled with Saro’s family just as he faced a formidable cancer that would consume all their dreams.
From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother-in-law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s romance—an incredible love story that leaps off the pages.
In Sicily, it is said that every story begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both. “Locke’s raw and heartfelt memoir will uplift readers suffering from the loss of their own loved ones” (Publishers Weekly), but her story is also about love, finding a home, and chasing flavor as an act of remembrance. From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to reach for big love, fought for what mattered most, and those who needed a powerful reminder that life is...delicious.
Extensively researched, Susan Orlean’s THE LIBRARY BOOK utilizes the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire to illuminate the history of libraries and their necessity in our lives and for society’s functioning. With Orlean’s signature storytelling, THE LIBRARY BOOK is part true crime dive, part history, and part love letter to libraries—one of the many reasons why Reese chose it for her January 2019 pick.
Fairy tale meets 1960s New York City in this spellbinding prequel to Alice Hoffman’s beloved PRACTICAL MAGIC. Susanna Owens has always laid down strict rules for her children, ranging from no walking in the moonlight and no wearing black to the most important rule of all: never fall in love. When Susanna’s children visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts, they become determined to escape the family’s curse, which will bring ruin to whomever they fall in love with. This was one of Reese’s very first picks, recommended in October 2017.
An instant New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick from beloved author Alice Hoffman—the spellbinding prequel to Practical Magic.
Find your magic.
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Yet, the children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the memorable aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.
Alice Hoffman delivers “fairy-tale promise with real-life struggle” (The New York Times Book Review) in a story how the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is “irresistible…the kind of book you race through, then pause at the last forty pages, savoring your final moments with the characters” (USA TODAY, 4/4 stars).
Ani FaNelli is living the dream with a glamorous job at a high-end magazine and a wealthy husband, but her past traumas as a student at the prestigious Bradley School are coming back to haunt her, despite her carefully constructed image. She thought she’d reinvented herself by silencing her truth, but she soon finds that fake it ’til you make it still doesn’t make you forget it. While it wasn’t a book club pick, it might as well have been, since Reese optioned the novel and raved about it on Instagram
Ani FaNelli is the epitome of young, modern women. And that’s not a good thing. Image-obsessed, cruel, and deceptive, Ani isn’t crazy so much as extraordinarily damaged from two traumatic high school events that are expertly revealed, piece by piece, in this masterful debut. I loved the anger in this political, well-observed novel, made more powerful by the reveal that Knoll’s own sexual assault contributed to its creation. Contemporary and timely: believe the hype.
Crazy like: Carrie Bradshaw with a cleaver.
Best crazy moment: Ani’s choice of porn. (Ouch.)
GROUP is Christie Tate’s memoir of how she dove into group therapy as an emotionally guarded young lawyer. Although she graduated at the top of her class and had gotten her eating disorder under control, Christie Tate still found herself fantasizing about her own death. Her therapist, Dr. Rosen, tells Christie that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups and is fully honest about her life experiences, she will be transformed. As Christie begins to open herself up to her therapist’s at-time outlandish methods, she finds herself finally understanding what it means to connect with others. One of the few nonfiction picks from Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine, this one, the November 2020 pick, is sure to resonate with readers and offers a compelling change of pace from novels.
“Hilarious and engrossing.” —People * “Fearless candor and vulnerability.” —Time * “Funny, emotional, and insightful.” —Good Morning America * “Honest, addictive” —HelloGiggles * “Wonderful...sparkle and intelligence.” —Booklist * “Dazzling.” —Publishers Weekly
The refreshingly original debut memoir of a guarded, over-achieving, self-lacerating young lawyer who reluctantly agrees to get psychologically and emotionally naked in a room of six complete strangers—her psychotherapy group—and in turn finds human connection, and herself.
Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her in spite of her achievements?
Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything—her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure, you need a witness.”
So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.
Group is a deliciously addictive read, and with Christie as our guide—skeptical of her own capacity for connection and intimacy, but hopeful in spite of herself—we are given a front row seat to the daring, exhilarating, painful, and hilarious journey that is group therapy—an under-explored process that breaks you down, and then reassembles you so that all the pieces finally fit.
The morning after the news reports that a dog dragged a bone out of the water at a local beach, three women receive a dreaded text from their former friend, one that simply says, “I need you.” Bit by bit the history of these four friends—Kate, Fatima, Thea, and Isa—is revealed. At their boarding school, fifteen years earlier, they had bonded over playing their notorious Lying Game, in which each of them would deceive everyone, boarders and faculty alike. However, their antics had dangerous repercussions. A sinister take on female friendships, THE LYING GAME is a gripping novel that Reese selected back in August 2017. And for good reason. This one will keep you guessing until the last page.
Praise for Ruth Ware’s instant New York Times, USA TODAY, and Los Angeles Times bestseller:
“So many questions....Until the very last page! Needless to say, I could not put this book down!” —Reese Witherspoon
“Once again the author of The Woman in Cabin 10 delivers mega-chills.” —People
“Missing Big Little Lies? Dig into this psychological thriller about whether you can really trust your nearest and dearest.” —Cosmopolitan
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes a chilling new novel of friendship, secrets, and the dangerous games teenaged girls play.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isa—receive the text they had always hoped would never come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped…
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill to keep you wrong-footed, The Lying Game is told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, lending itself to becoming another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
Photo credit: Off the Shelf