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12 Summer Book Releases We're Excited About (And What You Can Read Now)

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 26, 2020

Reading Ahead

We're always pretty psyched about upcoming new releases, but there's something about summer reading that really gets us going. The list of new books coming out in the next few months is packed with must-reads. Here are twelve titles on our radar. Plus what you can (and should!) pick up while you wait.

Compelling Contemporary

It Is Wood, It Is Stone (June 30)

This gorgeous debut from Gabriella Burnham follows three women living in São Paulo: Linda, an anxious, restless American; Marta, her skilled and steady maid; and Celia, an intoxicating artist. A lush depiction of privilege and power, sex and stability.

What you can read now: If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

Luster (August 4)

Another debut, this razor sharp, darkly comic novel by Raven Leilani portrays a young black woman trying to make her sense of her life in tumultuous times. Edie is working to become an artist, while clocking in and out of her admin job and getting involved in someone else's open marriage.

What you can read now: Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

Migrations (August 4)

In a near-future world where most bird species have gone extinct, quirky ornithologist Franny Stone embarks on a madcap expedition following the last flock of Arctic terns on their migration south. Author Charlotte McConaghy methodically reveals Franny's unconventional story.

What you can read now: Euphoria by Lily King

Provocative Period Pieces

Fast Girls (July 7)

Elise Hooper explores the gripping, real-life history of three little-known American women who raced in the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Berlin Olympics. Each woman must overcome her own personal roadblocks in order to appear on the Olympic track in defiance of those who think women (and people of color) should not compete.

What you can read now: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

The Pull of the Stars (July 21)

Perhaps best known for Room, her heart-rending tale about a mother and son held captive in a small room for nearly a decade, Emma Donoghue's latest feels particularly prescient. Set in 1918 Dublin, this novel centers on a maternity ward nurse over the course of three harrowing days as the Spanish Flu ravages the city.

What you can read now: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

The Book of Lost Names (July 21)

Kristin Harmel offers up a heady mix of tenacity and valor with the story of Eva, a skilled forger who risks her life to help hundreds of Jewish children escape Nazi-occupied France. Intent on somehow preserving the children's original identities, she creates a coded system to secretly record their names.

What you can read now: The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

Chills and Thrills

These Women (May 19)

Good news! This riveting literary thriller by Ivy Pochoda is available right now. In a kaleidoscope of female empowerment and social change, the lives of five marginalized L.A. women become linked in a way they don't yet understand. When murders begin rocking their neighborhood, they rise to the challenge.

You might also enjoy: Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Mexican Gothic (June 30)

In Silvia Moreno-Garcia's twisty new horror novel, her glamorous heroine Noemi Taboada decides to visit her cousin Catalina, who has been sending alarming letters from the isolated mansion where she lives with her mysterious new husband. Set in 1950s Mexico, the story is a suspensful reimagining of the classic gothic novel.

What you can read now: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Only Good Indians (July 14)

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, the latest novel from Stephen Graham Jones follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives.

What you can read now: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Scintillating Short Stories

Cool for America (July 7)

Andrew Martin has drawn comparisons to Irish author Sally Rooney for his mixture of cerebral characters, revelatory moments, and acerbic honesty. This collection of short stories explores the dark zone between artistic ambition and achievement with characters who yearn for transcendence through art.

What you can read now: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears (July 28)

This collection from Laura van den Berg draws readers into a world of wholly original, sideways ghost stories that linger in the mouth and mind like rotten, fragrant fruit. Both timeless and urgent, these eleven stories confront misogyny, violence, and privilege with spiky humor and surreal scenarios.

What you can read now: Isle of Youth by Laura van den Berg

A House is a Body (August 7)

Two-time O. Henry-prize winner Shruti Swamy's debut collection balances dream with reality, modernity with antiquity, and myth with true identity. With a knife blade's precision, these tales travel from India to America and back again, revealing small moments of beauty, pain, and power.

What you can read now: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

These are just a handful of the books that are crowding our summer reading lists. Let us know which titles you're looking forward to tossing in your beach bag.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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