Summer 2018’s Must-Read Fiction from Lauren Groff, Emily Giffin, R. O. Kwon, and More

Summer 2018’s Must-Read Fiction from Lauren Groff, Emily Giffin, R. O. Kwon, and More

Summer and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly. What’s a beautiful summer day without the perfect book tucked into your tote bag? Luckily, there are lots of exciting new novels coming out in the summer of 2018. Whether you’re a Lauren Groff superfan who has been dying for more ever since Fates and Furies, or you want to check out the work of an exciting debut author like R. O. Kwon, there’s a novel on this list for every kind of fiction reader. Keep reading for summer 2018’s must-read fiction releases.

Florida by Lauren Groff

If you’re like us, you devoured Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies when it came out in 2015 and have been hankering for another book by Groff. This summer, you’re in luck: She is back with a collection of short stories about (as the title suggests) Florida. Revel in the quirks and contradictions of the Sunshine State in these tales which take readers into the lives of Floridians. The characters here are stranded in one way or another, and grappling with their environment. In a starred review, Kirkus called this collection “A literary tour de force of precariousness set in a blistering place, a state shaped like a gun.”

On shelves: June 5

There There by Tommy Orange

This debut novel by Tommy Orange takes readers to Oakland, California where they will meet a dozen Native American characters headed to the Big Oakland Powwow. Their reasons for attending may all be different, and their stories distinct, but their lives will intersect at the gathering. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield is excited to watch Orvil, her nephew, perform a traditional dance at the powwow. Dene Oxendene has recently mourned the loss of his uncle, and is visiting the powwow to remember him. This is an exciting debut from Orange, who is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, and There There is certainly one of the season’s most buzzed-about books. We can’t wait to pick it up!

On shelves: June 5

We Begin Our Ascent by Joe Mungo Reed

Liz and Sol are what you might call a power couple. Liz is in the midst of a thriving career as a geneticist, and Sol is a professional cyclist who just might have a shot at the big time. They also recently became parents. Things seem perfect, but they’re not. Instead, the family begins a slow slide into unhappiness: Liz’s career stalls out, and Sol’s cycling doesn’t advance as he hoped it would and he resorts to doping. Before long, Liz and Sol find themselves involved in an illegal plot to smuggle drugs. How have their happy and successful lives turned into this? You’ll have to read We Begin Our Ascent to find out.

On shelves: June 19

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai’s latest novel takes on the unbelievable sadness and loss of the AIDS epidemic. The story opens in Chicago in 1985, where Yale Tishman is working as the development director at a successful art gallery. Around him, the epidemic is raging, and the people he cares about are dying. A second storyline follows the little sister of one of Yale’s late friends 30 years later, as she lives out her life in Paris. Her name is Fiona, and she is trying desperately to find her daughter (from whom she is estranged), who she fears may have joined a cult. These intertwining stories will move and captivate readers.

On shelves: June 19

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Dr. Voth is on a mission: He is working tirelessly to learn as much as he can about Jack Sheppard, a thief who lived in London in the 18th century. In the course of his work, he stumbles upon a manuscript titled “Confessions of the Fox,” which seems to contain details of Jack Sheppard’s early life. Voth learns that Sheppard lived for years as a female named P before starting a life as Jack. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved: “Academic intrigue meets the 18th-century underworld in Rosenberg’s astonishing and mesmerizing debut, which juxtaposes queer and trans theory, heroic romance, postcolonial analysis, and speculative fiction.” Admit it: Now you’re hooked.

On shelves: June 26

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Readers, meet Nina Browning. Her life in Nashville is comfortable. Her husband is a successful entrepreneur, and her son Finch is headed off to Princeton in the fall. But in an instant, everything takes a dark turn. Finch goes to a party one night, takes a photograph of a younger student named Lyla while she is unconscious, and posts the photo on social media. Soon, all of Nashville is talking about Finch, Lyla, and the social media post. Readers will hear from Lyla, her father Tom, and Nina in the aftermath of the incident and watch as they grapple with what has happened. This novel will captivate existing Emily Giffin fans and win her new ones, too. (Psst: We have the first two chapters over on BookishFirst!)

On shelves: June 26

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Odds are, you already know Ottessa Moshfegh as the author of Eileen and Homesick for Another World. Now, she’s back with a novel about a young woman who is living on the Upper East Side in New York City and decides to take a break from the life she’s been living there. In order to do that, she quits her job at an art gallery (she doesn’t need the money—she inherited plenty when her parents both passed away) and decides to hibernate. Mostly, she plans to take pills and sleep, in the hopes that when she awakes, she’ll feel better about her life. This is destined to be one of the summer’s most buzzed-about books.

On shelves: July 10

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel

All of us go through life holding certain assumptions about the people around us. Often, we learn that those assumptions are incorrect. This is one of the threads uniting the stories in Neel Patel’s new collection, If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi. In it, readers will meet a variety of characters dealing with the way they are perceived versus who they actually are. In the title story, two brothers grapple with their family dynamic and the future of their relationship. In another, a decorator has a lackluster online dating experience but meets someone new. This is certainly one of the summer’s most anticipated short story collections, so if you love short fiction, you can’t go wrong with this one.

On shelves: July 10

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

Historical fiction fans: Drop what you are doing. Beatriz Williams is back with a new novel, and you’re going to want to get your hands on it ASAP. With The Summer Wives, you’ll be transported back in time to 1951, where you’ll join Miranda Schuyler as she settles in at her stepfather’s summer house on Winthrop Island. There, she acclimates to her glamorous surroundings and new peers. Not long after, an unthinkable crime is committed, and Miranda leaves the island for nearly 20 years. When Miranda comes back, she is determined to learn the truth at any cost. For readers who love historical fiction full of intrigue and even some romance, this is the perfect book to pick up.

On shelves: July 10

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

When Will Kendall and Phoebe Lin first crossed paths at Edwards University, both of them were in need of a friend. Will had just transferred schools, and was working in a restaurant to make ends meet. Phoebe may have looked like she had it all together on the outside, but she was experiencing inner turmoil over her mother’s death (which she secretly considered to be her fault). The two hit it off quickly, and before long, Will is head-over-heels for Phoebe. Meanwhile, Phoebe is being drawn into a cult with ties to North Korea. When the cult sets off bombs and Phoebe goes missing, Will becomes obsessed with learning the truth about what has happened to his friend.

On shelves: July 31

Brother by David Chariandy

Readers: Welcome to the Park. It’s a public housing facility in Toronto, and it is home to Trinidadian brothers Francis and Michael, along with their hardworking and loving mother Ruth. Getting by in the Park takes some skill, and the brothers navigate it carefully. The story periodically jumps forward in time to the future, where Francis is missing and Michael and Ruth are struggling to keep moving forward. In a starred review, Kirkus called this book: “An important, riveting novel about dreams, families, and the systems holding them back.” We think you’ll agree.

On shelves: July 31

Severance by Ling Ma

If you’re reading this, you probably remember 2011. It wasn’t that long ago, after all. But you definitely don’t remember it the way author Ling Ma depicts it in her novel Severance. In this 2011, a young Manhattanite named Candace Chen works in an office that produces Bibles. Then, the plague strikes. They call it Shen Fever, and it turns those who are infected into drones who are only able to perform one task for the rest of their lives. Candace manages to avoid Shen Fever, and falls in with a group of other people who have also survived. Together, they are headed to a location known as the Facility in hopes of starting over there. For readers who love their literary fiction with a dash of apocalypse, this one’s for you.

On shelves: August 14

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