18 Incredible New Books You Need To Read This Summer

Here’s what’s ~hot~ this season.

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

1. The Girls by Emma Cline

Random House

 

Emma Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, is set in late 1960s Northern California, where lonely 14-year-old Evie Boyd is drawn to a group of girls who belong to an infamous cult (loosely based on Charles Manson’s). A dark, seductive coming-of-age story, The Girls is the thrilling account of a young woman getting sucked into a terrifying world.

Publication date: June 14

2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Knopf

Michael Lionstar

 

Yaa Gyasi’s epic novel Homegoing is a sweeping account of two half sisters in 18th-century Ghana and the lives of their many generations of descendants in America. A stunning, unforgettable account of family, history, and racism spanning three centuries, Homegoing is an ambitious work that lives up to the hype.

Publication date: June 7

3. Problems by Jade Sharma

Coffee House Press

 

Jade Sharma’s debut novel, Problems, takes an unflinching look at addiction through the lens of Maya, a young woman in New York with a heroin habit whose life begins to unravel after her husband leaves her. Bold and honest, Problems is a fresh look at recovery, redemption, and one woman’s increasing nest of problems.

Publication date: July 5

4. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Amistad

Marty Umans

 

Another Brooklyn is Jacqueline Woodson’s first adult novel in 20 years. Set in the 1970s, the book follows a young girl named August and her pivotal friendships with three girls after she moves to Brooklyn from the South with her father and brother. Gorgeously written and moving, Another Brooklyn is an examination of the complexities of youth and adolescence, loss, friendship, family, race, and religion.

Publication date: Aug. 9

5. The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

Melville House

 

Martin Seay’s debut novel, The Mirror Thief, masterfully weaves together three eras in three different Venices (Italy, Venice Beach, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas), where the characters of each story are involved in cons and intrigue galore, and mysterious 16th-century mirror technology steals the show. Part historical fiction and part mystery with some magic realism thrown in for good measure, The Mirror Thief establishes Seay as an impressive new voice to watch.

Publication date: May 10

6. Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Scribner

Gus Powell

 

At the center of Annie Proulx’s epic novel Barkskins are two young woodcutters in New France in the late 17th-century and the destruction of forests that results from their decisions and the decisions of three centuries of their descendants. A contemplation of greed, violence, freedom, the colonization of North America, and trees both literal and familial, Barkskins is truly a masterpiece.

Publication date: June 14

7. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Liveright

Jason Berger

 

In Nicole Dennis-Benn’s vibrant debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, three Jamaican women and their community come together to fight for their village when it is threatened by plans for a new hotel, but must reckon with their pasts along the way. A compelling exploration of exploitation, sacrifice, tourism, poverty, and the drive for freedom, Here Comes the Sun will transport your mind — and heart — this summer.

Publication date: July 19

8. Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Little, Brown and Company

Beowulf Sheehan

 

Adam Haslett’s novel Imagine Me Gone tells the story of a family marked by mental illness through the perspective of each member as they deal with their own and each other’s anxieties and depression. A deeply moving portrait of familial love despite tremendous suffering, Imagine Me Gone speaks to the sometimes unexpected ways in which mental illness haunts everyone it touches.

Publication date: May 3

9. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Riverhead Books

Colin Boyd Shafer Photography

 

Garrard Conley’s memoir traces his struggles with his sexuality as a young man and the son of a pastor in a small Arkansas town. When Conley was outed to his parents at 19, he underwent a conversion-therapy program intended to “cure” his “illness” and impure urges but instead came out more resilient than ever. A brave, powerful meditation on identity and faith, Boy Erased is the story of one man’s journey to accepting himself and overcoming shame and trauma in the midst of deep-rooted bigotry.

Publication date: May 10

10. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Riverhead Books

Twin Lens Images

 

In Ramona Ausubel’s novel Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, a wealthy New England family in the 1970s is shocked to discover there is no money left in the family fortune. Married couple Fern and Edgar cope by going their separate ways (a road trip and sailing, respectively) while their three young children are left to themselves with no adult supervision. Filled with humor and heart, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a wonderfully whimsical tale of privilege and class and what happens when you lose everything you’ve come to take for granted.

Publication date: June 14

11. Grace by Natashia Deón

Counterpoint Press

Casey Curry

 

Natashia Deón’s novel Grace looks at the lives of slaves in the South in the 1840s — focusing on a girl named Josephine who was born to a white father and who stands out with her blonde hair and light skin, and her mother who was murdered as she was born. Gripping and deeply affecting, Grace is an examination of injustice, violence, love, legacies, and survival.

Publication date: June 14

12. How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball

Pantheon

Joe Lieske

 

When a teenage girl whose life has fallen apart discovers the secret Arson Club at her new school, her whole world — excuse the pun — lights up in How to Set a Fire and Why. Jesse Ball has written an unforgettably memorable character in the pyromaniac Lucia, who anyone who was once a cynical teenager will recognize and relate to.

Publication date: July 5

13. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith

Nation Books

Danielle Scruggs/Mambu Badu

 

In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith writes about his development and education as a young black man, and the challenges that entails in a culture riddled with prejudice. “How do you learn to be a black man in America?” is the question Smith comes back to again and again, smartly looking at issues encountered both in politics and his personal experience; this is a superbly thoughtful memoir.

Publication date: June 14

14. The Good Lieutenant by Whitney Terrell

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

Whitney Terrell’s novel The Good Lieutenant unfolds backward in time from a tragically botched operation in Iraq that results in the death of Lt. Emma Fowler’s secret lover and many others. More than just your typical war story, The Good Lieutenant traces the backstories of soldiers and Iraqis involved alike, bringing out a very human, intimate side of the Iraq War.

Publication date: June 7

15. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Random House

 

Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, features a young Cameroonian couple pursuing the American dream in Harlem, New York, when the financial crisis of 2008 puts their future in free fall and their marriage begins to unravel. A heartfelt rumination on immigration, race, class, marriage, and hope, Behold the Dreamers offers a new, yet realistic, perspective on the Great Recession.

Publication date: Aug. 23

16. Shrill by Lindy West

Hachette Books

 

Essay collection Shrill is just as clever and outspoken as you’d expect from Lindy West, with pieces that tackle everything from feminism to body image to what it means to be a woman in today’s society. This important, brutally honest book makes for a hilarious read.

Publication date: May 17

17. Inherited Disorders by Adam Ehrlich Sachs

 

Adam Ehrlich Sachs’s debut collection, Inherited Disorders, looks at the nature of relationships between fathers and sons in over a hundred wonderfully absurd vignettes. Hilarious and quirky yet poignant, Inherited Disorders is one of the most original — and entertaining — books of the season.

Publication date: May 3

18. Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

David Shankbone

Dave Eggers returns with Heroes of the Frontier, a wild adventure of a novel following a divorced woman named Josie as she flees from her life in suburban Ohio to Alaska with her two kids in tow. Dark yet often funny, Heroes of the Frontier is the story of a family trying to escape the disappointments and mistakes of the past while facing a natural world that is surprisingly violent.

Publication date: July 26

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