17 Awesome New Books You Need To Read This Summer

Here’s what’s hot this season.

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Harper

Harper Lee

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

 

Go Set a Watchman is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee’s follow-up to To Kill a Mockingbird, and one of the most anticipated books this summer. Set in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman follows the beloved characters from To Kill a Mockingbird as they struggle with both personal and political problems two decades later.

Publication date: July 14, 2015

2. In the Country by Mia Alvar

In the Country by Mia Alvar

Knopf

Mia Alvar

Michael Lionstar

 

Mia Alvar’s In the Country is a moving collection of stories about the men and women uprooted by the Filipino diaspora. Spanning multiple countries and time periods, Alvar’s illuminating, heartbreaking stories reveal just how universal loss and displacement can be.

Publication date: June 16, 2015

3. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Graywolf Press

Maggie Nelson

Jarrett Eakins

 

Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is a fearless memoir that redefines the genre, fluidly blending critical theory with Nelson’s personal experiences. At the heart of The Argonauts are a love story and a pregnancy, and Nelson’s exploration of both critically sheds new light on sexuality, identity, marriage, and family-making.

Publication date: May 5, 2015

4. Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Spiegel & Grau

Mat Johnson

Meera Bowman Johnson

 

In Mat Johnson’s Loving Day, protagonist Warren Duffy is a mixed-race man who returns to America after experiencing a string of misfortunes in Wales. But after Warren moves into his late father’s mansion in black Philadelphia, he encounters his lost daughter, who believes she is white. Moving yet hilarious, Loving Day is a clever commentary on race, love, identity, fatherhood, and the ghosts that haunt us.

Publication date: May 26, 2015

5. The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North

Blue Rider Press

Anna North

Jenny Zhang

 

Anna North’s The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an elegant, intimate portrait of an exceptionally talented woman and her rise to fame. Elusive cult filmmaker Sophie Stark may be brilliant, but her desire to capture truth in her art has consequences. Bold and enthralling, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark speaks to the costs of creating art and the sacrifices we must make in pursuit of artistic integrity.

Publication date: May 19, 2015

Note: North is a former BuzzFeed employee.

6. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

Harper

Alexandra Kleeman

Graham Webster

 

Alexandra Kleeman’s brilliant debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine is at once eerie and strange and beautiful, an incisive commentary on contemporary culture and womanhood. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine revolves around three characters named A, B, and C, who each in their own way have fallen prey to modern society’s obsession with consumption.

Publication date: Aug. 25, 2015

7. Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

Riverhead Books

Lauren Holmes

Beowulf Sheehan

 

Lauren Holmes’ debut story collection Barbara the Slut and Other People is simultaneously hilarious and deeply insightful. Written with honesty and heart, Holmes’s characters are delightfully real, from the high school student who experiences slut-shaming firsthand to the woman who chooses to sell sex toys instead of becoming a lawyer.

Publication date: Aug. 4, 2015

8. The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

Penguin Press

Naomi Jackson

Lola Flash

 

Naomi Jackson’s debut novel The Star Side of Bird Hill is set in 1989 Barbados, where two sisters are sent away from Brooklyn to live with their grandmother. A heartbreaking coming-of-age story, The Star Side of Bird Hill is ultimately about the choices we must make about love and family, and what it means to go home.

Publication date: June 30, 2015

9. The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato

The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato

Melville House

 

In Catie Disabato’s multilayered mystery The Ghost Network, pop superstar Molly Metropolis disappears without a trace on tour in Chicago, leaving her assistant and a music journalist desperately searching to find her. Molly’s journal leads the two young women underground, to an abandoned subway line where they find the secret headquarters of an Illuminati-like group. Ambitious and imaginative, The Ghost Network seamlessly blends pop culture and conspiracy theory and philosophy.

Publication date: May 5, 2015

10. The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Henry Holt and Co.

Helen Phillips

Andy Vernon-Jones

 

Helen Phillips’ thrilling debut novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat follows a young woman named Josephine, who, after a lengthy unemployment, does not question her new job entering numbers into something called “The Database.” But as her feelings of unease and anxiety grow, she begins to figure out just what the numbers mean and must make a terrifying decision.

Publication date: Aug. 11, 2015

11. Dragonfish by Vu Tran

Dragonfish by Vu Tran

W. W. Norton & Company

 

Vu Tran’s thrilling debut novel Dragonfish follows an Oakland cop who must unravel his Vietnamese ex-wife’s dark past after she disappears from her new husband. Heartbreaking and haunting, Dragonfish speaks to the ghosts that bind us in the present, and the ways in which history both shapes and obligates us in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Publication date: Aug. 3, 2015

12. Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Riverhead Books

Kathleen Alcott

kathleenalcott.com

 

Kathleen Alcott’s Infinite Home is the story of Edith, a widowed landlady, and her beautifully flawed tenants, each relentlessly searching for a sense of family, of love, of home. When Edith’s son threatens eviction, the tenants, each broken in their own way, must work together to overcome the challenges and crises of modern human existence.

Publication date: Aug. 4, 2015

13. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Knopf

Judy Blume

Evan Agostini / Getty Images

 

In the Unlikely Event is iconic author Judy Blume’s highly anticipated first novel for adults in over 15 years. Set in New Jersey where Blume witnessed a bizarre series of plane crashes during her childhood, In the Unlikely Event is an imaginative story spanning three generations of characters, and a charming portrait of the mid-20th century.

Publication date: June 2, 2015

14. The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses

The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses

Little A

Matthew Salesses

matthewsalesses.com

 

Matthew Salesses’s novel The Hundred-Year Flood is very much like a flood itself — devastating and brutal yet beautiful — the story of a young Korean-American man who flees to Prague, hoping to forge a new identity in a new city. As Prague is faced with a flood that only comes once a century, he must reconcile with his identity as an adoptee in this tale of myth, love, loss, self-discovery, and forgiveness.

Publication date: Aug. 11, 2015

15. Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai

Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai

Viking

Rebecca Makkai

Phillipe Matsas / Opale

 

Music for Wartime shows off Rebecca Makkai’s surprising range of short-story writing: Stories of war and destruction appear next to those about love and reality television. Yet the collection still manages to feel like a cohesive, stunning whole, tied together with the wit and heart that courses through each and every story.

Publication date: June 23, 2015

16. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

Grand Central Publishing

Kate Christensen

 

Brimming with wit and vibrant characters, Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie is set in Jazz-Age New York City, where large-hearted Mazie Phillips runs famed movie theater The Venice. When the Great Depression rattles the city, Mazie, whose childhood was marked by poverty, opens her doors to those in need in the Bowery and thus rises to “sainthood.”

Publication date: June 2, 2015

17. The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch

The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch

Harper

Lidia Yuknavitch

lidiayuknavitch.net

 

In Lidia Yuknavitch’s powerful novel The Small Backs of Children, an American photographer takes an iconic photo of a girl and an explosion in an Eastern European village, which soon becomes one writer’s obsession. When the writer becomes suicidally depressed, her husband and friends try to bring the photographed girl, who has become an artist, to America. Brutal and devastating but beautiful, The Small Backs of Children is an exploration of survival, guilt, violence, healing, and what it means to be an artist.

Publication date: July 7, 2015

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