Released this month, these are the intense, inspiring, and mostly independent new reads that everyone will be talking about until the very last day of summer and beyond. Pick up one of these and you'll be the envy of the entire beach!
  1. 1.
    Before the Fall: A Novel
    By Noah Hawley / "Abundant chills and thrills... Noah Hawley's novel grabs you by the throat and won't let go... Before the Fall is storytelling at its best, as Hawley presents a range of diverse characters with rich histories... Seeds of doubt are cast in what is sure to be the summer book you won't want to miss." (The Missourian)
  2. 2.
    Homegoing: A Novel
    By Yaa Gyasi / "Homegoing is an epic novel in every sense of the word — spanning three centuries, 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, Homegoing is an ambitious work that lives up to the hype." (Buzzfeed)
  3. 3.
    Modern Lovers
    By Emma Straub / "Summer in the city has never felt so good... Modern Lovers celebrates the updated look and feel of familial love and all of its complexities. Straub’s clever and perceptive observations on growing up are gentle reminders that coming of age isn’t just for kids." (The Washington Post)
  4. 4.
    Smoke: A Novel
    By Dan Vyleta / "Imagine a world where every dark thought you possessed was revealed by a wisp of smoke. Set in an alternative England, this tale reveals what really lies behind this sinful soot through the eyes of three teenagers who begin to question all they have been told. Smoke is a brilliant combination of fantasy and historical fiction, where layers of mystery and glimmers of truth will keep readers feverishly turning pages until the very end." (Book Passage)
  5. 5.
    Lily and the Octopus: A Novel
    By Steven Rowley / "Sensitive, hilarious, and emotionally rewarding.... The intimacy of pet ownership is sweetly suffused throughout this heartwarming autobiographical fiction... In generous helpings of bittersweet humanity, Rowley has written an immensely poignant and touchingly relatable tale that readers, particularly animal lovers, will love." (Publishers Weekly)
  6. 6.
    The After Party: A Novel
    By Anton DiSclafani / "In her tale of a fraught lifelong friendship, DiSclafani again investigates the power and perils of female sexuality... DiSclafani paints a rich portrait of a cloistered society and its damaged inhabitants in a consistently absorbing narrative... this talented newcomer's gifts for characterization and atmosphere are as sharp as ever." (Kirkus)
  7. 7.
    The Girls: A Novel
    By Emma Cline / "Seduced by [a] thrilling, cult-like family hidden in the California hills, Evie [adjusting to her parents' recent divorce] finds herself pulled into events that will lead to unspeakable violence. Cline's captivating prose strips bare the deep desires and vulnerability of teenage Evie as she struggles for acceptance. The Girls is an enthralling and haunting novel that will linger with readers long after the last page." (Tarah Jennings)
  8. 8.
    I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel
    By Iain Reid / "With his debut novel, Reid sets an extremely high bar for all future psychological thrillers. The entire story takes place in little over 24 hours as Jake and his girlfriend travel to meet and have dinner with his parents. Readers will become riveted, reading faster and faster as the 'unsettling' becomes frightening, and then terrifying. Recommended for all who enjoy a good mind-twisting scare!" (The Book Vault)
  9. 9.
    My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel
    By Grady Hendrix / "If The Exorcist had been authored by Tina Fey instead of William Peter Blatty, it might have borne an uncanny resemblance to what Grady Hendrix has accomplished with My Best Friend’s Exorcism... Fans of satire, nostalgia, dark comedy and, well, demons should read this book." (BookPage)
  10. 10.
    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper: A Novel
    By Phaedra Patrick / "Once in a great while, a character like Arthur Pepper comes along and quietly steals your heart. Arthur might make you cry, but he'll also make you laugh, think, and feel grateful that you came along on his fantastical journey. I won't just be recommending this book to everyone I know, I'll be buying them copies." (Sarah Pekkanen)
  11. 11.
    The Insides: A Novel
    By Jeremy P. Bushnell / "With The Insides, Jeremy P. Bushnell doesn’t so much mash genres together as slice them apart to find the filets. It’s a literary urban fantasy with sharp things to say about the way we live now, darkened by a touch of Scandinavian thriller: rich and urgent and weird, a novel that defies categorization but demands to be consumed." (Robin Sloan)
  12. 12.
    Barkskins: A Novel
    By Annie Proulx / "Annie Proulx’s Barkskins is remarkable not just for its length, but for its scope and ambition. It’s a monumental achievement, one that will perhaps be remembered as her finest work... Despite the length, nothing seems extraneous, and not once does the reader sense the story slipping from Proulx’s grasp, resulting in the kind of immersive reading experience that only comes along every few years." (Publishers Weekly)
  13. 13.
    The Fireman: A Novel
    By Joe Hill / "A pandemic called Dragonscale has infected civilization and threatens to end it. When [a nurse] contracts Dragonscale, [she] is rescued by an enigmatic man known only as The Fireman, who takes her to a camp populated by those who have learned to control their disease. Longtime fans of Hill and his father, Stephen King, will enjoy the homage to King's masterpiece The Stand, while new readers will appreciate Hill's own merit." (Boswell Book Company)
  14. 14.
    Marrow Island
    By Alexis M. Smith / "A stunning novel about sacrifice for the sake of survival in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters... In graceful and dolorous prose, she captures a dense and dramatic landscape, evoking questions of what it means to harm — ourselves, our surroundings — and to heal. Engrossing eco-fiction, eerie and earnest." (Kirkus)
  15. 15.
    Security: A Novel
    By Gina Wohlsdorf / "The thrill of this novel goes beyond its wickedly clever, split-screen, high-tech wizardry — a kind of video gamer’s literary retake of Hitchcock’s Rear Window — and emanates from its strange, disembodied narrator... The effect is terrifying, sexy, dizzying, and impossible to look away from." (Tim Johnston)
  16. 16.
    Goodnight, Beautiful Women
    By Anna Noyes / "Noyes writes convincingly about the landscape... and the working class... Though the stories, told from various points of view, contain threats of violence from rapists and molesters, the greatest menace comes from the harm the young female protagonists seem capable of bringing on themselves... These flawed female characters struggle to survive against threats both external and internal in this well-written debut." (Kirkus)
  17. 17.
    The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks
    By Terry Tempest Williams / "A broadly ambitious and deeply impassioned collection of essays... There are few nonfiction writers who can capture the essence of the American wilderness landscape as eloquently as Williams... her distinctive prose style is capable of conveying a deep spiritual dimension within the physical setting... An important, well-informed, and moving read for anyone interested in learning more about America’s national parks." (Kirkus)
  18. 18.
    Sex Object: A Memoir
    By Jessica Valenti / "Deeply moving, honest, and unflinching, Valenti’s personal story highlights universal truths about being a woman, and makes the case for why feminism today is an unstoppable force." (Cecile Richards)
  19. 19.
    This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society
    By Kathleen McAuliffe / "This book has all the elements of a crime thriller: violence, blood, gore, race and sex. But here the criminals are parasites. McAuliffe tells a vivid and sometimes horrifying tale of the hijackers that control our brains and our behaviour. In company with the best science writers, she shows us that reality can be way more interesting than fiction." (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)
  20. 20.
    The Crow Girl: A Novel
    By Erik Axl Sund / "Brutal, upsetting and brilliantly written, it is the best crime novel of the year so far... The joint authors... rage against misogyny and sexism. They decry child abuse and human trafficking. And, perhaps most importantly, they tell a brilliant story... This novel is dark — jet-black dark... the author's biggest triumph, however, is to make 750 pages whizz past... terse, direct and compelling." (The Metro)
  21. 21.
    Wintering: A Novel
    By Peter Geye / "In starkly elegant prose that matches neatly the deep northern landscape in which it's set, Wintering is a vivid portrait of fathers and sons, generational battles of love and exhaustion, forgiveness and mystery. The bonds crack, shimmer, and hold, like ice, like granite ledges. Peter Geye writes with a nigh-mythic force. An extraordinary novel." (Jeffrey Lent)
  22. 22.
    But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Past As If It Were the Present
    By Chuck Klosterman / "Full of intelligence and insights, as the author gleefully turns ideas upside down to better understand them.... This book will become a popular book club selection because it makes readers think. Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity." (Kirkus)
  23. 23.
    End of Watch: A Novel
    By Stephen King / "[A] tense, thrilling conclusion to King’s Bill Hodges trilogy... One would assume that a writer like King, who has been at the top of his game for decades, would eventually run out of ideas. Instead, he serves up one of the most original crime thrillers to come along in years... A spectacular, pulse-pounding, read-in-one-sitting wrap-up that will more than satisfy King’s constant readers." (Library Journal)
  24. 24.
    The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
    By Neil Gaiman / "I must be one of the few people to love Neil Gaiman most for his nonfiction. Filled to bursting with his humor, wisdom, and hope, all articulated in the thoughtful, generous prose we know and love, The View From the Cheap Seats will keep you company, give you solace, and help you think deeper, smile harder, and breathe easier." (Harvard Book Store)
  25. 25.
    Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded
    By David Hepworth / "One of the many strengths of Hepworth’s book is that it combines both perspectives: emphasising how much a part of 21st-century life these albums remain, while also reminding us that, back when they were made, what most people took for granted was pop’s lack of a shelf life..." (The Spectator)