Find out what the Read with Jenna book club is reading this month and see every book on Jenna Bush Hager’s book club list.
In March 2019, Jenna Bush Hager announced the start of her Read With Jenna book club on the Today show. Quickly the former first daughter developed a loyal following, choosing intriguing discussion-worthy books every month.
Impressed with the quality of Jenna Bush Hager’s book club, I wanted to share the full Read with Jenna book list.
You’ll find plenty of thought-provoking reads among Jenna Bush Hager’s book club books. Although most of her choices are novels, a few nonfiction picks slip in from time to time.
In 2020, Jenna Bush Hager and Book of the Month partnered together, making all of Jenna’s new book selections available in the subscription book box.
Without further ado, here is your complete guide to Jenna Bush Hager’s book club list, including this month’s Jenna Bush Hager Book Club Selection.
Jenna Bush Hager’s December 2022 Pick
The dark academia book that started it all, Donna Tartt’s debut novel is a modern Greek tragedy that details the moral fall of a group of students at a private Vermont college. Classics professor Morrow only admits a handful of select students to study Ancient Greek. After determinedly breaking into this close-knit group, Richard Papen is surprised to find a world of highly flawed characters losing their grasp on morality. Secrets, lies, betrayal, and eventually murder become justifiable actions as they slip further and further in their descent into evil.
Jenna Bush Hager’s November 2022 Pick
When Ann Stillwell gets a job working for The Cloisters, a gothic museum studying divination, she finds she enjoys discussing the researchers’ outlandish theories on the history of fortune-telling. Until Ann finds a 15th-century deck of tarot cards that may actually tell the future. As the past and future seem to blur, things quickly turn deadly and Ann is in a race to find answers.
Jenna Bush Hager’s October 2022 Pick
When a whale washes up on an English beach in 1928, twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave and her household build a theater from the whale’s ribcage. In the Whalebone theatre, Cristabel is able to escape the stress of her stepparents and their expectations. Using their acting schools, Cristabel and her brother become British secret agents during WWII, a task that threatens to tear their family apart.
Jenna Bush Hager’s September 2022 Pick
Growing up in a small town in El Salvador, Javier Zamora watched and his father and mother both migrated to the United States when he was very young. When he turned nine, Javier left the protection of his extended family to reunite with his parents. Traveling alone with strangers with the help of a “coyote,” Javier’s two-week journey turns into a two-month trek full of danger and uncertainty and the kindness of the strangers he was traveling with.
Jenna Bush Hager’s August 2022 Pick
Former poet laureate Dorothy Moy has always channeled her dissociative episodes and mental health into her work. When her daughter starts showing similar behaviors and remembering items from the lives of past ancestors, Dorothy worries she’ll lose custody. So she undergoes an experimental treatment to alleviate inherited trauma, becoming intimately connected with the past generations of women in her family.
Jenna Bush Hager’s July 2022 Pick
One morning, everyone in the world wakes up to find a box on their doorstep which tells you how many years you will live. What do you do with the knowledge, or do you even open the box? As the world goes into a frenzy, lives are torn apart and unexpected friendships are created and a politician’s box becomes a powder keg.
Jenna Bush Hager’s June 2022 Pick
Growing up, Malak, Kees, and Jenna have always struggled to reconcile their own wants with their expectations as Muslim women. Yet, as they age, the balancing act between religion and rebellion becomes harder to manage. Malak wants the dream – the perfect blend of faith and love. Kees has fallen for a white Catholic man whom her family would never accept. Jenna’s years of partying hide a desperate loneliness. As their college years close, one night will change everything and force all three of them in different directions.
Jenna Bush Hager’s May 2022 Pick
Shelby Van Pelt
After her husband died, Tova Sullivan began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Thirty years ago, Tova’s son Erik disappeared on a boat in the Puget Sound, and cleaning the aquarium helps her cope. When she befriends Marcellus, the aquarium’s giant octopus, Marcellus discovers what happened to Erik and must find a way to show Tova the truth before it’s too late.
Jenna Bush Hager’s April 2022 Pick
Tara M. Stringfellow
When she was ten years old, Joan and her mother and sister fled her father’s explosive temper to settle with her mother’s family in Memphis. Fifty years earlier, her grandfather was lynched after becoming Memphis’s first black detective. As she grows, Joan finds healing in painting portraits of the community in Memphis and comes to understand the impossible decisions the women of her family have been forced to make.
Read with Jenna’s March 2022 Pick
As the contentious 2016 Presidential election is underway, Owen Callahan moves back to rural Kentucky to live with his Trump-supporting uncle and grandfather. In exchange for a free writing class, Owen takes a job as a groundskeeper at the local college. When he begins a relationship with Alma, a writer in residence from a liberal East coast family, Alma struggles to understand Owen’s relationship with his family and his hometown.
Jenna Bush Hager’s February 2022 Pick
Estranged siblings Byron and Benny are brought back together by their mother’s death. For their inheritance, they find a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording from their mother. Eleanor’s message tells the turbulent story of her life, one full of secrets and a long-lost child that will leave the siblings questioning everything they thought they knew.
Jenna Bush Hager’s January 2022 Pick
Frida Liu’s life is not what she expected it to be. She can’t seem to live up to her Chinese parents’ expectations and she can’t convince her husband to give up her mistress. The one perfect thing in her life is her daughter Harriet. Until one lapse in judgment lands Frida in a new government reform program, a Big-Brother-like institution that will determine if Frida may retain custody of her daughter.
Jenna Bush Hager’s December 2021 Pick
Sonya used to live the high life – performing on stage, attending glamourous parties, and dating handsome men. When her career falls apart, Sonya finds herself left in the grip of addiction. Her only saving grace is her fierce love of her son, Tommy, and Sonya must decide if she is prepared to give up drinking forever or lose her son.
Jenna Bush Hager’s November 2021 Picks
Recently diagnosed with a severe case of cancer, Greg Tyler is set to fight with everything he has. However, he can’t help wondering what will happen to Freddie and their daughter if he doesn’t survive. Meanwhile, in their small town of Wharton, Connecticut, others are facing addiction, betrayal, and loneliness. As the stories of the townspeople intertwine, A Little Hope is a literary look at the trials we all face and the power of small moments of connection.
In Red Hook, Brooklyn during the early 1900s, Sofia and Antonia are best friends and next-door neighbors. They both belong to the same “family” as their fathers both belong to the Italian mob in the area. When Antonia’s father disappears, a wedge develops between the girls that will affect them as they grow older and begin to question the demands of their “family.”
Jenna Bush Hager’s October 2021 Pick
After spending a year at a prison work farm for involuntary manslaughter, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson returns to his Nebraska hometown. With his mother gone and his father recently deceased, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head West. But his plans are derailed when two friends from the work farm suddenly appear with a scheme of their own.
September 2021 Book Club Pick
Qian Julie Wang
When Qian was seven years old, her family immigrated to the United States. As her parents struggled to cope with the transition from respected professors to “illegal” sweatshop laborers, Qian finds herself an outcast at school and seeks comfort in the library. When her mother becomes ill, Qian’s fears multiply in this moving coming-of-age memoir about the immigrant experience in the US.
August 2021 Book Club Pick
For the first time, Jenna picks a thriller for her August book club selection. Dara and Marie Durant have been dancing practically since birth. After their parents are killed in a tragic accident, they take over their dance studio with the help of Dara’s husband, Charlie. When a suspicious accident occurs just as the annual Nutcracker performance is set to start, the delicate balance between the three is broken and dark secrets come to the surface.
July 2021 Book Club Pick
Jason Mott’s contemporary novel showcases two parallel storylines. In the first, an unnamed Black author sets out on a publicity tour of his latest book. During the tour, he keeps encountering the Kid, a possibly imaginary child. Along with this story, Mott interweaves the tale of Soot, a young Black boy facing injustices in the rural South. As the plot converges, Hell of a Book looks at the costs of racism in America and surprises with one final twist.
June Book Club Pick
Taylor Jenkins Reid
In 1983, four famous siblings throw an epic summer party at their Malibu mansion. Secrets come out, the party gets out of control, and a fire will burn it all down by dawn. Malibu Rising is a gorgeous family drama that surpasses a simple beach read. The story of the Riva children abandoned by their famous rockstar father is heartbreakingly sad and yet still hopeful. The characters come alive as each sibling ponders if they can escape their parents’ fates.
May 2021 Pick
To escape being typecast as a romantic lead, actress Hadley Baxter accepts a role in a biopic of Marian Graves, a female pilot who disappeared in Antarctica. Marian was rescued from a sinking ocean liner as a child and later began flying as a teen, supplementing her pilot lessons by working for a notorious bootlegger. The more Hadley learns about Marian’s attempt to circumnavigate the world, the more she realizes their fates are connected.
April 2021 Pick
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Although they’ve had their struggles, Flora and Julian have been happily married for twenty years. After years of struggling to make ends meet with Julian’s small theater company, a move to Los Angeles five years ago has finally brought some financial success and a reunion with Flora’s best friend Margot. When Flora stumbles across an envelope with Julian’s wedding ring, the one he that fateful, Flora begins to question everything about their marriage and must figure out what to do now.
March 2021 Pick
In Piedmont, North Carolina, a county initiative to bring Black kids from the west side of town into a predominantly white school on the east side sparks fierce debate. To help with the integration, the school puts on a play which Gee and Nicole both join. Both of their mothers are determined that their daughters get the best in life, consequently leading to choices that will last decades.
February 2021 Picks
In the Texas panhandle in 1934, severe drought plagues the land. With crops failing, dust storms whip up, leaving the farmers fighting for survival. In the perilous times of the Great Depression, Elsa Martinelli must decide whether to stay and fight for her land or head west to California which offers her family a better life.
Growing up in Feldenheim, Germany, Annelise has always discounted the growing anti-Semitic sentiments for her family is hardly religious. While working at her parent’s popular bakery, Annelise falls in love, marries, and has a daughter. As things go downhill fast, Annelise must decide whether to take the opportunity to flee to America with her husband and daughter, even if it means leaving her parents behind. Meanwhile, in present-day Wisconsin, Annelise’s granddaughter discovers a stack of Annelise’s old letters which force her to make a decision about her future.
January 2021 Pick
Although he was valedictorian of Bronx Science, twenty-two-year-old Darren is content to work at Starbucks and live with his mother. Until the charming CEO of New York’s hottest tech startup convinces Darren to join an elite sales team. The only Black person in the company, Darren reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman, and hatches a plan to help young people of color enter America’s sales force.
December 2020 Pick
Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison set her debut novel, The Bluest Eye, in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio. In 1941, Pecola Breedlove, an eleven-year-old Black girl, desperately wants blue eyes. Tired of being considered “ugly,” Pecola wishes more than anything to fit into white America. Morrison’s novel typifies her writing – discussing race, abuse, class, and gender in a thought-provoking story.
November 2020 Pick
Although you’d never suspected by looking at her, Ivy Lin has been raised by her grandmother to be the perfect thief and liar. Thus, Ivy is able to maintain the appearance of at least middle-class status and attract the attention of her wealthy classmate Gideon Speyer. When her mother realizes Ivy’s flaws, she sends Ivy to China to live with relatives. Now Ivy is back and again has Gideon’s attention, and she is determined not to let it go.
October 2020 Pick
While vacationing at a home rental in a remote part of Long Island, a white couple is surprised when a Black couple shows up claiming to be the homeowners. They say they are fleeing from a mass blackout and disaster in New York City. A genre-bending family drama that most reviews found thrilling.
September 2020 Pick
In her fifth year studying neuroscience at Stanford, Gifty is determined to find the cause of suffering, studying depression and addiction in mice. The further she dives into the science, the more her childhood faith seems to call to her. Can faith or science alleviate the suffering she sees in her family of Ghanaian immigrants struggling with depression, addiction, and grief?
August 2020 Picks
Grace Turner was an up-and-coming young actress until a car crash ended her career. Now she’s just trying to be a better person. When Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke, former she realizes it’s time to reveal the truth about the manipulative director. For she isn’t powerless anymore.
R. Eric Thomas
In a series of essays, R. Eric Thomas looks back at what it means to be “other.” Viewed through his own experiences as a Black urban kid at a mostly white suburban high school and a gay man at a conservative church all the way to his Ivy league college experience and becoming a writer for Elle online, Thomas uses humor and thoughtfulness to tackle a deeply emotional message.
July 2020 Pick
J. Courtney Sullivan
Elisabeth is an accomplished journalist, struggling to adjust to both a newborn and a new life in a small town. For help, she hires Sam, a senior at the local college, to babysit. Sam is worried about student loans, choosing a career, and deciding whether to marry. The complicated friendship between these two women at different stages in life is the crux of J. Courtney Sullivan’s new novel.
June 2020 Pick
After a careless Facebook comment, Jivan, a Muslim girl from the slums of India, is accused of a terrorist bombing. Lovely, the only one who can provide Jivan with an alibi, will lose everything if she comes forward. Meanwhile, Jivan’s gym teacher decides to use Jivan’s downfall to improve his own circumstances. Majumdar’s debut novel is described as a literary tour de force that will rip your heart out and make you want to change the world around you.
May 2020 Pick
After witnessing an accident, Astrid Strick realizes that she wasn’t the best mother. Watching her children struggle to parent, she ponders about the long-term consequences of her failures and whether she can set things right. A character study about family dynamics, this May release was Jenna’s pick of the month.
April 2020 Pick
The morning after Valentine’s Day 1976, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramirez wanders into Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, a victim of a brutal rape. When justice is slow coming, the fierce women of Odessa, Texas, decide that maybe they should take justice into their own hands. This character-driven piece is said to have a slow start but builds to an intensely thought-provoking conclusion.
March 2020 Pick
Aspiring writer Casey Peabody is determined to make her dreams of a creative life come true. Even though she is now waiting tables and living a lonely life, she believes life has more for her. Then she falls in love with two men at the same time, causing her already precarious life to shatter even more.
February 2020 Pick
This debut novel from up-and-coming author Abi Daré highlights the coming-of-age of a Nigerian woman. All Adunni wants to do is get an education so that she can craft her own future. When her father sells her as the third wife to a local man, Adduni runs away to the city, only to become a servant to a wealthy family. Yet, Adunni finds that no matter her circumstances, she can still speak out for herself and all the other girls just like her.
January 2020 Pick
On a flight from New York City to Los Angeles, 191 people are killed in a plane crash. The sole survivor: 12-year-old Edward Adler. Although Edward recovers physically, learning to deal with the fact that he is alive while so many others, including his parents and older brother, are not is a slow and painful process. With split narration between Edward’s post-crash years and the time leading up to the fatal accident, Dear Edward shows that surviving is just the beginning.
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Read With Jenna Book Club Books 2019
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl
Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams
After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Julie Yip-Williams reflects on her life – from being a blind child in Vietnam to a Harvard-educated lawyer and a mother of two young children. Amazon | Goodreads
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
Which book from Jenna Bush Hager’s book club list will you read first?