There’s plenty to look forward to this summer, including a new crop of books that will transport you far away, regardless of your vacation plans. The best books arriving over the next few months take place in coastal Maine, an isolated part of Alaska, East Africa—and even a post-apocalyptic world, among other riveting destinations.
Some of the season’s greatest hits are by already beloved authors, like Tom Perrotta, Taylor Jenkins Reid, David Yoon, and Mohsin Hamid. Some are great introductions for debut writers like Joseph Han and Rebecca Rukeyser.
The 27 top books this summer are listed here.
City of OrangeDavid Yoon (May 24, 2008)
David Yoon’s haunting new novel opens with a man lying supine in a desert, clueless as to what happened to him and where he is. The end of the world is near. It is now the end of the world. Slowly, pieces of his past memories slowly start to return and it is clear that he was married with a child. He learns to adapt to this barren landscape and moves on from being isolated to fearful to finally accepting it. City of Orange is Yoon’s second book for adults, following Version Zero; he’s also written the young-adult novels Sincere in love Super fake love song.
Get it now City of Orange Bookshop at Amazon| Amazon
Either/Or, Elif Batuman, May 24,
In Elif Batuman’s second novel, a piquant sequel to her 2017 Pulitzer Prize-nominated debut novel The Idiot, protagonist Selin Karadag, a relentlessly curious Harvard student, ponders the value of love and lust as she mines her life for her burgeoning, semi-autobiographical creative writing. Drawing its title from Kierkegaard’s seminal work, with which Selin is obsessed, the narrative is a hyper-cerebral romp that is as brainy as it is charming.
Get it now Either/Or Amazon| Amazon
Your beauty is a fool of death, Akwaeke Emezi (May 24)
Akwaeke Eezi offers a new summer romance in their latest book. You made a fool of yourself with your beauty. Feyi Adekola is trying to rebuild her life following the death of her husband. While Feyi begins dating a man who checks off every box, an unexpected spark with someone who’s off-limits makes her reconsider everything she thought she knew about love.
Get it now Your beauty is a joke Amazon| Amazon
Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris (May 31)
David Sedaris’ signature wit has always thrived on the macabre, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that his latest collection of essays, Happy-Go-Lucky, written in the wake of the pandemic panic and the social and political unrest of 2020, is some of his darkest—and most astute—writing yet. From the death of his 98-year-old father to mask mandate drama, no topic is out of bounds for Sedaris’ acerbic humor and sharp observations.
Get it now Happy-Go-Lucky Amazon| Amazon
Yerba BuenaNina LaCour (May 31, 2008)
Nina LaCour, a well-known author of YA novels including Keep an eye on me We’re okay. In Yerba Buena her first adult novel, she introduces two women—Sara and Emilie—who cross paths while trying to figure out who they really are. Both are flawed, with family trauma to sort through, and they’re instantly drawn to each other. They might have had pasts that could hinder their love for each other in this heartwarming story.
Get it now Yerba Buena Amazon| Amazon
CounterfeitKirstin Ch (June 7).
If you appreciate a good caper, you’ll want to pick up Kirstin Chen’s novel about two Asian American women who turn a counterfeit handbag scheme into a big business. It is written in confessions, so readers can get to know the protagonists Ava & Winnie and their journey towards crime. CounterfeitThis is a fast-paced film that’s fun and entertaining, while offering smart commentary on cultural differences between America an Asia.
Get it now CounterfeitBookshop | Amazon
Cult Classic, Sloane Crosley (June 7)
Magical realism meets romance in downtown New York in Sloane Crosley’s witty second novel, Cult Classic. Protagonist Lola is forced to confront her romantic past after she runs into a string of ex-boyfriends, all within the same five-mile radius in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Lola is forced to confront her past by these events, which are quite unlikely. She embarks upon a mysterious and mystical quest to find out what’s really going on.
Get it now Cult Classic Amazon| Amazon
Nuclear Family, Joseph Han (June 7)
Migration, family secrets, and memory collide in Joseph Han’s gorgeous debut novel, Nuclear Family. For the Chos, a Korean American couple living in Hawaii, life has finally settled into comfort—that is, until their son, Jacob, who’s teaching English in Seoul, goes viral for attempting to cross the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea. Jacob’s family is unaware that Jacob was possessed by the spirit of his late grandfather who still has some business to do on this planet.
Get it now Nuclear Family Amazon| Amazon
Seaplanes on Final ApproachRebecca Rukeyser (June 7).
Mira travels to Alaska in the summer to work at a wilderness lodge that is struggling. While there, she obsesses over her step-cousin and watches as the lodge owners’ dysfunctional marriage implodes. Seaplanes on Final Approach This is both a quick character study and an introspective meditation on sleaziness.
Get it now Seaplanes on Final Approach Amazon| Amazon
Tracy Flick Can’t Win, Tom Perrotta (June 7)
He published his first book twenty-four years later Election, Tom Perrotta re-visits his classic antiheroine Tracy Flick Tracy Flick Can’t Win. Taking up the decades that follow Wahl left off, the ever-ambitious Tracy returns to navigating the turbulent waters of high school politics—but this time, on the other side of the student-faculty divide. Tracy, a high school assistant principal in suburban New Jersey, is trying to balance a new relationship and single motherhood with the demands of her job. But then, an unanticipated career opportunity presents itself that promises to transform Tracy’s life.
Get it now Tracy Flick Can’t Win Amazon| Amazon
Horse, Geraldine Brooks (June 14)
Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winner author turns her attention towards the real story of Lexington the racehorse of 19th century. He was one of the most famous in human history. It jumps back and forth between the centuries. A Kentucky slave bonds with his foal, vowing to win. New York City’s gallery owner is obsessed with a mysterious oil painting that depicts a horse in 1954. In Washington, D.C., a scientist and an art historian discover that Lexington was actually in the painting. Horse isn’t just an animal story—it’s a moving narrative about race and art.
Get it now Horse Amazon| Amazon
Solo Flying, Linda Holmes (June 14)
When Laurie returns home to Maine to clear out her beloved great aunt’s estate, she’s only recently removed from calling off her wedding—and is coming to terms with the idea that a conventional relationship might not be in the cards. When she finds a mysterious wooden duck buried in her aunt’s belongings, she embarks on a wild goose chase to figure out its origins, getting reacquainted with her first love along the way. The novel—which follows Holmes’ 2019 summer hit Evvie Drake Moves On—is a refreshing reminder that “happily ever after” doesn’t have to look one specific way.
Get it now Solo Flying Amazon| Amazon
How to speakHilary Mantel, (June 21, 2006)
Hilary Mantel is a literary legend: she’s won the Booker Prize twice, and garnered wide acclaim for her Wolf HallThe trilogy concluded in 2020, and it was later adapted to television. In How to speak, Mantel dispenses a series of semi-autobiographical short stories. The collection—a re-release from 2003—features a new preface. Mantel is a master of detail who writes intelligently and with great insight. Many stories in the collection are about childhood.
Get it now How to speak Amazon| Amazon
LapvonaOttessa Mohfegh, June 21
Ottessa Moshfegh transports readers to a medieval fiefdom in her new novel, which follows 2020’s In Her Hands, Death. The book is about Little Marek, who was abused by his father, the village’s shepherd, and never knew his mother. In a power struggle, he ends up with his father and never knew his mother. Lapvona is violent and provocative, and a departure from Moshfegh’s previous work.
Get it now Lapvona Amazon| Amazon
ThermoplasticLidia Yuknavitch, June 28
The protagonist in Lidia Yuknavitch’s new novel is Laisv, who’s a “carrier”—which means certain objects can help her travel through time to connect with interesting people from eras past. Laisv’s ultimate goal is to save these people, including a dictator’s daughter and an accused murderer. Laisv’s previous works include Joan’s Book Dora the Headcase, Yuknavitch’s writing is moving and incisive.
Get it now Thermoplastic Amazon| Amazon
Stories: The Life CeremonySayaka Murata, July 5,
Sayaka Murata—a Japanese writer whose previous novels include Convenience Store Woman—delivers her first collection of short stories translated into English. The Life CeremonyThe book contains 12 engaging entries, which probe intimacy and individuality as well as rewriting norms. In one, for example, a curtain in a young girl’s room spirals into jealousy as she watches—and tries to stop—her owner’s first kiss. These stories are bold and strange.
Get it now The Life CeremonyBookshop | Amazon
Bathroom Crying, Erika L. Sánchez (July 12)
Poet and young-adult novelist Erika L. Sánchez turns to the struggles and triumphs she’s experienced over the years for material for her latest book, the memoir Bathroom Crying. Touching on a wide range of topics that run the gamut from the deeply personal, like Sánchez’s bouts of depression, to the political, like immigration policy, each essay feels like a conversation with a good friend, thanks to Sánchez’s warm and vulnerable writing.
Get it now Bathroom Crying Amazon| Amazon
The Man Who Could Move Clouds Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 12)
Magic is not just a multi-generational occurrence in Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ family—it’s their legacy, something she details with both wonder and care in her memoir A Man who Could Move the Clouds. Rojas Contreras grew up in Colombia and witnessed her grandmother telling fortunes, as well as her grandfather (a famous curandero or healer), healing the sick and moving the clouds. Rojas Contreras was unsure of her place in this world until a head injury caused her to have amnesia—an experience that her family believes may be key to her accessing her own magic.
Get it now A Man who Could Move the Clouds Amazon| Amazon
UpgradingBlake Crouch, July 12
Blake Crouch’s inventive new novel, equal parts thriller and sci-fi, examines how far our humanity can stretch. It’s about Logan, a scientist whose genome has been hacked—which alters him in unsettling ways. Logan needs to act to prevent these “upgrades” from spreading across the globe. Readers who enjoyed Crouch’s previous novels, such as Dark Matter RecursionFind out more at UpgradingIt’s just as captivating. Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin Partners has snapped up the film rights, and Crouch is attached to the project as an executive producer.
Get it now UpgradingBookshop | Amazon
Dirtbag in Massachusetts: ConfessionalIsaac Fitzgerald (19 July 19).
Isaac Fitzgerald’s life has zigged and zagged: He used to work at a biker bar, and he’s the author of the children’s book How to become a Pirate. He’s been an altar boy and a “fat kid.” He’s also had stints as a firefighter and smuggler. He wrote his memoir. Dirtbag Massachusetts, Fitzgerald reflects on his origins—and coming to terms with self-consciousness, anger, and strained family relationships. He writes with a gritty, yet humane style.
Get it now Dirtbag Massachusetts Amazon| Amazon
The Last White Man, Mohsin Hamid (Aug. 2)
Is whiteness worthless if it stops being what we think it is? That’s the question at the heart of Mohsin Hamid’s The Last White ManAnders is a white male who wakes up to discover that his skin has become darker. Hamid raises larger questions regarding how we see ourselves and each other as he witnesses other cases.
Get it now The Last White Man Amazon| Amazon
Mika: Real LifeEmiko Jean, August 2
In Emiko Jean’s Mika: Real LifeMika Suzuki is optimistic that her new life will allow her to not only rebuild herself but also help her see a better version of what she could be living outside her grim reality. At 35, Mika’s situation is bleak: her love life is in ruins, her family is perpetually disappointed in her, and her living arrangement is less than ideal. But after she gets a phone call from the daughter she gave up for adoption, a tiny white lie turns into an opportunity for a second act—as long as her secret doesn’t come to light.
Get it now Mika: Real Life Amazon| Amazon
AutoportraitJesse Ball (Aug.
In his first memoir, Jesse Ball—whose previous work includes March Book The Divers’ Game—helps readers understand who he is and what shaped him. His personal stories include the fact that one side of his body is higher than another and that his left hand can do more than his right. He also considers the effects of loss on his love life. Autoportrait was inspired by the memoir French writer Édouard Levé wrote shortly before dying in 2007.
Get it now AutoportraitBookshop | Amazon
Flying Women, Megan Giddings (Aug. 9)
In Megan Giddings’ dystopian novel, Flying Women, the mystical collides with the familiar when it comes to women’s autonomy. Josephine Thomas is living in a world in which women must marry by the age of 30 or be registered in a registry that tracks them. Jo’s 30th Birthday approaches and she finds relief in her mother’s last wish. She was thought to have been a witch who disappeared mysteriously when Jo was a little girl.
Get it now Flying for Women Bookshop | Amazon
Afterlives, Abdulrazak Gurnah (Aug. 23)
Germany’s brutal colonization of East Africa (what is known as Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda today) provides the backdrop to Abdulrazak Gurnah’s arresting novel, Afterlives. The novel centers on three teenage people, Hamza, Afiya and Ilyas who are separated by war and slavery and return to their homeland. It explores the gains and losses in search of survival. Gurnah, who won the 2021 Nobel Prize for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism,” employs sensitivity and tenderness in each storyline.
Get it now Afterlives Amazon| Amazon
Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution, R.F. Kuang (Aug. 23)
Poppy War R. F. Kuang’s latest novel focuses on dark academia and imperialism. Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution. Centering on a plucky unnamed protagonist—a student at Babel, Oxford’s Royal Institute of Translation—and his rag-tag cohort, the book uses magic and agathokakological lessons to make a case for a post-colonial future.
Get it now Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution Amazon| Amazon
Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid (Aug. 30)
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s made-for-summer novels like Malibu Rising Daisy Jones & The Six. Her novel is about Carrie Soto (tennis star) who was coached by her father Javier. She won 20 Grand Slam titles. Six years into retirement, Carrie’s record is shattered by a player named Nicki—so she leaps back onto the court for one final season to reclaim what’s hers. Don’t worry if you’re not big on sports stories; this is, ultimately, a heart-filled novel about an iconic and persevering father and daughter.
Get it now Carrie Soto Is Back Bookshop on Amazon| Amazon
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