Quick Reads 2020: Find out more about the books

We are very excited to have announced the six books on the Quick Reads list for 2020. Here, you can find out much more about the books publishing in February and read what our brilliant Quick Reads authors have to say about the programme. Visit this page for links to preorder every Quick Read for 2020 online from four different outlets.

Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt: a specially adapted version (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor. You work 97 hours a week. You make life and death decisions. You are often covered in blood (or worse) from head to toe. And the hospital parking meter earns more money than you do. Adam Kay’s diary was written in secret after long days, sleepless nights and missed weekends. It is funny, moving and sometimes shocking. This is everything you wanted to know — and more than a few things you didn’t — about life on and off the hospital ward.

Adam Kay says: “Literacy and healthcare have much in common; they are among our fundamental rights as individuals. They both require sustained funding, governments who believe in the possibilities they offer, and outspoken champions. Quick Reads are the most wonderful champion for literacy.”

A.A. Dhand, Darkness Rising (Corgi, Transworld)

Detective Inspector Harry Virdee has a lot on his plate. His team is facing government cuts, tensions are building between Bradford’s two rival drugs gangs and his wife Saima is due to give birth any day now. So when bodies start turning up in the old industrial district, the pressure is on to get the case wrapped up as quickly as possible, or risk a full-scale gang war. But the man behind the murders is ruthless. And things are getting personal. Harry must think fast and bend the rules if he wants to keep his city, and his family, safe…

A.A. Dhand says: “I’m thrilled to be part of such a vital scheme as Quick Reads and hope to give readers a short, sharp burst of entertainment which brings literacy and fast-paced storytelling into their lives.”

Clare Mackintosh, The Donor (Sphere, Little, Brown)

When Lizzie’s daughter Meg is given a life-saving heart transplant, Lizzie feels hugely grateful to the nameless donor. Then she receives a letter from the donor’s mother, Karen, asking to meet, and it seems like the least she can do. But as soon as Karen is welcomed into their lives, Lizzie feels something isn’t right. And, before long, she can’t help but worry that by inviting Karen in, she might have put Meg in danger.

Clare Mackintosh says: “Quick Reads addresses a very real need — pacey, good-quality storytelling, in an accessible format — and I’m honoured to be contributing to 2020’s line-up with a story I’ve been wanting to write for several years.”

Milly Johnson, The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe (Simon & Schuster)

Lara Cliffe and her three friends are off on a mini break for her hen party. It’s three weeks before her wedding to ‘Steady Freddie’, one of the kindest men on the planet. But something is worrying Lara. Her friends say it’s wedding jitters, but she isn’t so sure. Fifteen years ago the love of her life, Danny Belfont, walked out on her three weeks before their wedding. And she has never been able to get him out of her heart. Then, on the overnight ferry, Lara finds that Danny is playing in the onboard band and he spots her in the crowd. Will she meet him the next night to talk? As the wonderful city of Amsterdam works its magic on Lara, she tries to sort out her thoughts. And if fate has brought Lara and Danny back together… is it really for love or for something quite different?

Milly Johnson says: “It [Quick Reads] opens the door and says ‘come on in and fall in love with books’. Reading is the key to a life enriched.”

Candice Carty-Williams, Notting Hill Carnival: A West Side Story (Trapeze, Orion)

Sapphire is the hot-headed leader of Red Roses in an area where gang loyalty is all that matters. But after a tragic event, Sapphire vows to leave her old life, friends and her gang behind. Life without the Red Roses and the violence that always followed them is certainly quieter to say the least. When she meets a boy called Apollo on her way to Notting Hill Carnival, she feels something she’d never felt before, and thinks he could be the one. That’s until she discovers he’s a member of rival gang. Will she ever escape her past with the Red Roses, and how many lives will be ruined until she does? Funny, emotional and raw, with Notting Hill Carnival acting as the backdrop of this retelling of West Side Story, by the Sunday Times bestselling author of Queenie.

Candice Carty-Williams says: “As someone who comes from a family of non-readers, and someone whose mum is dyslexic, Quick Reads is such an important resource.”

A Fresh Start (Orion) – A collection of short stories showcasing ten bestselling authors edited by Fanny Blake

Jojo Moyes, The Makeover

Following the end of her marriage, a woman finds herself in a department store where she agrees to have a makeover. She needs a fresh start. But the makeover doesn’t go the way either she or the make-up girl expect.

Jojo Moyes says: “I’ve seen first-hand the real impact of Quick Reads and I believe these books are more important than ever.”

Sophie Kinsella, Decluttering

When a couple set aside a day to unclutter their garage, they not only come across happy memories and fun secrets but also a painful family secret.

Sophie Kinsella says: “Simple, straightforward story-telling is a wonderful way to bring books to the widest possible readership, and I hope that a whole new tranche of readers will discover the power of words.”

Ian Rankin, Easy Street

A woman darts back into her house to check everything is ready for her and her husband to go on holiday. As she is reminded of their life together he sits outside in the car. Full of surprises to the last gasp-inducing twist.

Ian Rankin says: “Writers need readers, which is why I’m such a fan of Quick Reads. An ability to read leads to a lifetime of enjoyment and opens up new worlds of knowledge.”

Mari Hannah, Let No One In

Features the first outing for PC Kate Daniels from the bestselling DCI Kate Daniels series. She is on her first ever night shift, left to guard the crime scene, alone and unarmed. What happens next takes her completely by surprise.

Mari Hannah says: “Bravo to The Reading Agency for this wonderful initiative. Reading changes lives; it’s a gateway to many opportunities.”

Louise Candlish, Lock Up and Leave

On the day Clare and her cheating husband are due to go on holiday, she takes satisfying revenge on him and his mistress. It’s payback time.

Louise Candlish says: “A recent discussion about crime fiction with inmates at a local prison confirmed what I’d first discovered as a bored child with a free public library on my doorstep – life is better with books. Much better.”

Adele Parks, A Quiet Road

When a new neighbour raises the tone of the neighbourhood, Annie is only too pleased. The neighbour is divorced, comes with a big chest freezer and has a liking for night-time gardening. How can Annie have got her so very wrong?!

Adele Parks says: “I’ve met with hundreds of people who have told me that Quick Reads have changed their lives. Reluctant readers become confident ones.”

Mahsuda Snaith, The Estate

Asmi and her mother know one kind of estate and it’s not the glorious country pile they are invited to visit. On arrival, Asmi discovers she has inherited the house – but why? How does its history link with hers?

Mahsuda Snaith says: “As a dyslexic reader with a love for stories I absolutely support everything Quick Reads promotes; accessible reads by brilliant storytellers that not only leave you with the satisfaction of completing a whole piece of work but also take you on fantastic journeys.”

Mike Gayle, You and Me

A poignant story of a newly single father taking his teenage daughter shopping for the first time.

Mike Gayle says: “Reading has always been so important to me, a gateway to other perspectives, worlds and times.”

Keith Stuart, An Accidental Date

A spin-off from the bestselling A Boy Made of Blocks. 13-year-old Sam is on the autism spectrum. When he goes on his first date, his anxious father and mother decide to follow him – with surprising results.

Keith Stuart says: “I am incredibly proud to be involved with Quick Reads because literacy is such a vital life skill, not just practically but in terms of mental health and well-being.”

Fanny Blake, Sisters

When two estranged sisters are brought together after their father’s death, they find a letter that will change both their past and their future.

Fanny Blake says: “Reading can widen your horizons without your even having to leave home, and should be a pleasure that that is open to everyone at any age or stage of their lives.”

Get involved

Head to this page for links to order our Quick Reads for 2020 online.

Visit the Quick Reads page on our website for case studies and resources.

Quick Reads work brilliantly as part of Reading Ahead. Email [email protected] to start your organisation’s Reading Ahead journey.

The Reading Agency

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