Whether you’re lounging by the pool or curled up next to the blasting AC, we’ve got a summer book club recommendation for you and all of your favorite bookworms. These eight new releases are sure to get your club talking. There’s a new mystery from Megan Abbott, a new twist on a fairytale favorite from Naomi Novik, and an unforgettable tale about two Colombian sisters from Ingrid Rojas Contreras.
For even more books for your beach bag, check out our summer must-read roundup.
Advance buzz for Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ Fruit of the Drunken Tree has been considerable, and for good reason. Your book club will be transported to Colombia during the time of Pablo Escobar and meet young sisters Chula and Cassandra. The girls’ family employs Petrona, a young woman from a slum in Bogota who works as their maid. Chula and Petrona become friends, and both will watch as their families grapple with the increasingly volatile political situation in Colombia. For readers interested in Colombian history, this is an exceptional novel to pick up this month.
If your book club devoured Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, you won’t want to miss her latest fantasy. Inspired by the fairytale “Rumpelstiltskin,” Spinning Silver follows Miryem, the daughter of a moneylender. Miryem’s family is nearly bankrupt because her father is far better at loaning money than collecting it. Miryem steps in to take control of their finances and soon becomes tantgled with a dangerous king. This is not only a magical tale; it’s also a thoughtful exploration of the anti-Semitism found in other modern retellings of the story. This is one of our top ten SFF recommendations for the summer, and it’s sure to keep your club spellbound.
In this debut novel from Lucy Tan, your book club will get acquainted with the Zhen family. They’ve recently moved to Shanghai after spending several years in the United States, and they’re settling into their new home. Lina, the mother and wife, is not so sure she’s going to be content there. She has no career, and her marriage (which was arranged) is not a particularly happy one. Her husband, Wei, is dealing with some feelings of his own: He isn’t proud of his career as a market strategist. For book clubs that love reading about complicated family dynamics and transitional periods, this book will provide fodder for great conversations.
Eighteen-year-old Viola Li faints at a bake sale and wakes up to learn that she’s developed a rare form of photosensitivity, where every light from the sun to her cell phone’s screen irritates her skin. The diagnosis means replacing her wardrobe with UVA protective clothing, installing blackout shades in her home, and never walking out the door without both a hat and an umbrella. As Viola adjusts to life with a chronic illness, she continues to pursue her dream of becoming a foreign correspondent. Chen calls the book a valentine to her close friend Lorie Ann Grover, an author who shares Viola’s condition. If you book club still can’t stop talking about Girl in the Dark or Everything, Everything you won’t want to miss Chen’s young adult novel.
Diane and Kit first met when they were young and in high school. They were close and had a friendship that pushed each of them to new heights academically. Then, Diane told Kit something that altered the very fabric of their relationship. Ten-plus years later, both women are living their adult lives separately only to find that they’re both up for the same professional opportunity. The competition and the baggage from their past will prove highly combustible. We’re so excited about Megan Abbott’s latest psychological thriller that we named it one of summer 2018’s must-read mysteries.
Did your book club love Hidden Figures? If so, we’ve got the perfect new read for you. This work of alternate history transports readers to 1952. A meteor strikes the east coast of the US, setting off a chain of events that will soon make life on Earth impossible for humans. The race to colonize space begins and Elma York, a Jewish mathematician and pilot, joins the International Aerospace Coalition in the hopes of being the first female astronaut. Hugo-winner Kowal explores sexism, prejudice, grief, and more in this novel. Clubs that enjoy realistic science fiction will find a lot to love here.
In this heartbreaking memoir, Jonathan Santlofer writes about the experience of losing the love of his life: his wife, Joy. Joy died after a mysterious episode where she was suddenly short of breath at home, and part of this book’s mission is to discover exactly why she passed away. The book also confronts grief, loss, and pain in ways that will feel immediate and relatable to readers. This poignant memoir has it all: love, candid reflections on marriage, and a touch of mystery. We’re confident that book clubs interested in nonfiction will find much to discuss here.
Jennifer Gilmore’s young adult novel shifts between the past and the present to explore the lives of two 16-year-old girls: Bridget, who just learned that she’s pregnant, and Ivy, the daughter Bridget ultimately decides to give up for adoption. In 2000, Bridget struggles to decide which path is the right one to take for herself and her unborn child. As she interviews potential adoptive parents, Bridget imagines what her daughter’s life may be like with each of them and with herself. In 2017, Ivy lives with her moms Andre and Joanne. She’s happy and loved, but she can’t help but wonder what her birth mother was like and why she put her up for adoption. Book clubs diving into this new release should prepare for long discussions about identity, family, and the choices we make for ourselves and the people we love.