When it comes to selecting stellar book-club picks that lead to topical, engaging discussions, Good Morning America knows what they’re doing. Their vibrant social community and exciting selections consistently create a fun space for discussions. While we’re waiting for each month’s pick to be announced in 2024, we’re taking a look back through the years at previously selected books that we also highly recommend for your book club.
Vanessa Chan’s first novel is the latest GMA book club pick, snagging the January 2024 spot—and for good reason! THE STORM WE MADE is a dazzling story set in Malaya during World War II, centering on Cecily Alcantara, a Malayan mother turned spy for the Japanese. A decade earlier, Cecily, discontent as a bureaucrat’s wife, was drawn into espionage by General Fuijwara, pursuing dreams of an “Asia for Asians.” Instead, her actions only empower a more brutal Japanese occupation. As the war intensifies, Cecily’s past catches up with her as her son, Abel, vanishes; her daughter Jasmin hides from Japanese soldiers; and her eldest daughter, Jujube, grows more resentful each day. This multi-perspective story explores the atrocities of war, colonial dynamics, and the moral complexities of survival.
A spellbinding, sweeping novel about a Malayan mother who becomes an unlikely spy for the invading Japanese forces during WWII—and the shocking consequences that rain upon her community and family.
Malaya, 1945. Cecily Alcantara’s family is in terrible danger: her fifteen-year-old son, Abel, has disappeared, and her youngest daughter, Jasmin, is confined in a basement to prevent being pressed into service at the comfort stations. Her eldest daughter Jujube, who works at a tea house frequented by drunk Japanese soldiers, becomes angrier by the day.
Cecily knows two things: that this is all her fault; and that her family must never learn the truth.
A decade prior, Cecily had been desperate to be more than a housewife to a low-level bureaucrat in British-colonized Malaya. A chance meeting with the charismatic General Fuijwara lured her into a life of espionage, pursuing dreams of an “Asia for Asians.” Instead, Cecily helped usher in an even more brutal occupation by the Japanese. Ten years later as the war reaches its apex, her actions have caught up with her. Now her family is on the brink of destruction—and she will do anything to save them.
Spanning years of pain and triumph, told from the perspectives of four unforgettable characters, The Storm We Made is a dazzling saga about the horrors of war; the fraught relationships between the colonized and their oppressors, and the ambiguity of right and wrong when survival is at stake.
GMA’s October 2021 book-club pick was topical at the time and remains so today. It tells the story of lifelong best friends Jen and Riley, who face their toughest challenge when Jen’s husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. As Jen grapples with her pregnancy and her husband’s uncertain future, Riley, a Black woman who’s poised to become a top news anchor in Philadelphia, covers this sensitive story. The incident tests their deep bond, forcing them to confront complex issues of race, ambition, and loyalty. WE ARE NOT LIKE THEM is a poignant exploration of friendship amid societal tensions, echoing the impactful narratives of Tayari Jones and Jodi Picoult.
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
Named a Best Book Pick of 2021 by Harper’s Bazaar and Real Simple
Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Essence, New York Post, PopSugar, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Town & Country, Bustle, Fortune, and Book Riot
Told from alternating perspectives, this “propulsive, deeply felt tale of race and friendship” (People) follows two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event.
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.
But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.
Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them takes “us to uncomfortable places—in the best possible way—while capturing so much of what we are all thinking and feeling about race. A sharp, timely, and soul-satisfying novel” (Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author) that is both a powerful conversation starter and a celebration of the enduring power of friendship.
Nella Rogers, the only Black employee at Wagner Books, is initially excited when Hazel, another Black woman, joins her workplace. However, tensions rise as Hazel becomes the office darling, leaving Nella feeling more isolated than ever. Mysterious notes urging Nella to leave Wagner escalate her anxieties, making her question Hazel and confront undercurrents in her office that threaten more than just her job. THE OTHER BLACK GIRL is a gripping narrative that combines dark humor and suspense, offering a compelling read on workplace dynamics, race, and the struggles of being overlooked—all while keeping you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original” (Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author), this instant New York Times bestseller explores the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career. Having joined Wagner Books to honor the legacy of Burning Heart, a novel written and edited by two Black women, she had thought that this animosity was a relic of the past. Is Nella ready to take on the fight of a new generation?
“Poignant, daring, and darkly funny, The Other Black Girl will have you stressed and exhilarated in equal measure through the very last twist” (Vulture). The perfect read for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.
GMA calls the THE NIGERWIFE “White Lotus meets Big Little Lies.” This captivating domestic drama set in Lagos, Nigeria, follows Nicole Oruwari, a member of a community of foreign women married to Nigerian men known as the Nigerwives. But Nicole’s transition from dreary London to the dazzling world of Lagos hides dark secrets, as her seemingly perfect life unravels when she mysteriously vanishes. As the investigation stalls, her determined auntie Claudine arrives, delving into Nicole’s life to uncover truths about her niece’s disappearance. Claudine’s search reveals a web of secrets, isolation, and violence, inadvertently bringing her own concealed past to light. THE NIGERWIFE brilliantly explores family bonds, the weight of secrets, and the struggle to escape the past.
This twisty and electrifying debut novel about a young woman who goes missing in Lagos, Nigeria, and her estranged auntie who will stop at nothing to find the truth is perfect for fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer and The Last Thing He Told Me.
Nicole Oruwari has the perfect life: a handsome husband, a palatial house in the heart of glittering Lagos, Nigeria, and a glamorous group of friends. She left gloomy London and a dark family past behind for sunny, moneyed Lagos, becoming part of the Nigerwives—a community of foreign women married to wealthy Nigerian men.
But when Nicole disappears without a trace after a boat trip, the cracks in her so-called perfect life start to show. As the investigation turns up nothing but dead ends, her Auntie Claudine decides to take matters into her own hands. Armed with only a cell phone and a plane ticket to Nigeria, she digs into her niece’s life and uncovers a hidden side filled with dark secrets, isolation, and even violence. But the more she discovers about her niece, the more Claudine’s own buried history threatens to come to light.
An inventively told and keenly observant thriller where nothing is as it seems, The Nigerwife is a razor-sharp look at the bonds of family, the echoing consequences of secrets, and whether we can ever truly outrun our past.
DIRTY LAUNDRY is the story of the Instagram-perfect life of Ciara Dunphy, an admired wife, mom, and influencer living in a small Irish village. But behind her idyllic social media façade lies a less polished reality—and we’re not just talking about her murder. So, who did it? Was it Mishti Guha, Ciara’s best friend, who feels out of place in her arranged marriage and life in Ireland and secretly covets Ciara’s seamless lifestyle? Or was it Lauren Doyle, the village’s oft-mocked earth mother? Or both, as they confide in each other about the pressures of fitting into Ciara’s impeccable world? As the investigation unfolds, the secrets and desires of these women come to the forefront, exposing the lengths they might go to preserve their own images. This 2023 GMA pick masterfully unravels a tale of envy, intrigue, and the dark side of a life lived for social media approval.
In THE LIGHT PIRATE, Florida faces environmental collapse, with rising sea levels and a destructive hurricane threatening a small southeastern town. Kirby Lowe, an electrical worker, and his pregnant wife, Frida, brace for impact, but as the storm approaches, their sons disappear, leading Kirby on a perilous search. Alone, Frida goes into premature labor, giving birth to an unusual child she names Wanda. The story follows Wanda’s extraordinary growth in a rapidly deteriorating Florida, exploring loss, community, and her quest for meaning in a transformed world. Structured in four parts—power, water, light, and time—this novel reflects on the relentless progression of nature and the challenge of facing an unwelcome future.
Photo credit: iStock / DmitriiSimakov