20 Great Fiction Books to Give as Gifts

If you’re looking for some perfect books to give as gifts to your loved ones (especially fiction lovers), I’ve got you covered.

I’ve put together a list of some of the most-loved, most buzz-worthy fiction books in the past few years, so you don’t have to go searching around for the right one!

Best Recent Fiction Books to Gift

I made sure to include a mix of genres (within the main fiction category). Because people have different tastes – some might love historical fiction, while others might enjoy mysteries & thrillers more.

Either way, these are all great books to give anyone on your list!

20 best books to give as gifts

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Historical Fiction Books

Book cover: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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This novel follows a rock n’ roll group in the 70’s at the height of their fame – and what ultimately caused the breakup of their beloved band.

All about: rock n’ roll, love, stardom, coming-of-age

Book cover: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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A family moves to the outskirts of Alaska in the 1970s – completely unprepared. But the harsh winter isn’t the only thing they’re up against.

All about: love, survival, family drama, PTSD, the Alaskan wilderness

Book cover: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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This book covers a lonely girl living in the marshes of Florida in 1969, known to the townspeople only as the “Marsh Girl”. When a teenage boy is found dead, she becomes a prime suspect for his murder.

All about: nature, coming-of-age, love, prejudice, loneliness

Mystery & Thriller Books

Book cover: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

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When a chamber inside a special treatment center (for everything from infertility to autism) explodes, it’s discovered that it wasn’t an accident. The investigation that follows exposes dark secrets and betrayals.

All about: family dynamics, healthcare/treatment, dark secrets, courtroom drama

Book cover: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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Libby Jones inherits an abandoned mansion on the river Thames in London, and is eager to finally uncover the truth behind her family and who she is. The story winds back to a time when three families, all harboring secrets, lived together in that same house.

All about: family secrets, murder mystery, psychological thriller

Book cover: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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A famous painter kills her husband, then never speaks again – not even to explain why she did it. A psychotherapist begins working with her, determined to find out what really happened, and why.

All about: relationships, psychology & therapy, murder mystery

Book cover: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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A man is summoned to a gothic mansion for a lavish party. But what he finds is much more sinister: he must discover who killed Evelyn Hardcastle (the daughter of the house), or he’ll continue to wake up every day in a new host’s body, re-living the same day over and over.

It gives off serious Agatha Christie vibes, which I am ALL for.

All about: lavish mansion, historical feel, murder mystery, Groundhog Day

The Whisper Man by Alex North

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From Goodreads: “In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.”

All about: revisiting childhood, family dynamics, serial killers, small town

Book cover: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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Jules Larsen is hired as an apartment sitter to a high-profile and mysterious building in Manhattan – home to the rich and famous. But there are a lot of strange rules she’s required to follow. And not everything is what it seems – especially when a fellow apartment sitter goes missing.

All about: mysterious buildings, dark histories, “locked room” feel

Book cover: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

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This book follows two timelines: a young woman in modern day, and her aunt 35 years ago – both of whom are drawn to the secrets of the same strange place: The Sun Down Motel.

All about: mysterious buildings, amateur detectives, suspense, strange happenings

Contemporary & Romance Books

Book cover: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

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From Goodreads: “A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.”

All about: family drama, love, coming-of-age, character study

Book cover: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

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Lydia Bird lives two timelines simultaneously: one where her boyfriend of ten years dies in a tragic accident, and one where the accident never happens. The story covers grief, love, and the tough choices we have to make.

All about: grief & loss, love, crossroads, second chances

Book cover: Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

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Oona Lockhart is at a crossroads. On New Years Eve at age 19, she has a choice to make: go to London to study economics, or stay in Brooklyn to study music and be with her boyfriend. Instead, she wakes up the next day 32 years into her future – and finds out she’ll live her life out of order, hopping between decades.

All about: life choices, time, magical realism, identity

Book cover: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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By some coincidence, a young woman and her sworn enemy end up with an all-expenses-paid honeymoon vacation. The woman’s boss ends up staying at the same hotel, which forces the couple to pretend they’re actually head-over-heels newlyweds.

All about: enemies-to-lovers romance, humor, vacation, family

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

Book cover: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch

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This novel weaves between two perspectives: a scientist who’s spent her life attempting to cure memory loss, and a New York City cop who’s investigating a phenomenon called False Memory Syndrome (which causes people to remember different lives they’ve never lived, as if they were real). But when you can’t trust your memories, how do you know what’s real?

All about: memory, family, love, scientific discovery, reality

Book cover: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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This was one of the best books I read in 2019. I’ve seen others liken this book to a lovechild of The Hunger Games & The Handmaid’s Tale. That‘s spot on, but this story manages to keep its own unique edge & voice all the same. Haunting, lyrical, addictive, and hopeful; this is the kind of story that never leaves you.

All about: identity, power, women, societal roles, fear, freedom, post-apocalyptic

Book cover: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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An epidemic that causes sleepwalking (toward an unknown location) descends over America. The people closest to them become ‘shepherds’ – protecting them along their journey. But America is gripped with fear and violence, and the mystery behind the disease may either destroy the nation, or bring the survivors together.

All about: post-apocalyptic, society, fear, epidemic, survival

Book cover: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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From Goodreads: “In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.”

All about: magic, identity, coming-of-age, adventure, secret worlds

Book cover: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

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When an ancient evil awakens beneath New York City and threatens to destroy it, the city’s five protectors must come together if they have any hope of saving their beloved home.

All about: urban life, humanity, good vs. evil, myth, social issues

Whether you’re searching for a holiday/birthday gift or you’re just looking to treat yourself (nothing wrong with that!) – I hope this list has been helpful. You can find the full list of perfect books to give as gifts here.

Looking for even more awesome books? Check out my list of the best thrillers of 2020 (so far!).

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