As you are aware, it is officially summer! Summer isn't my favorite season--I much prefer winter--but the warmer months aren't a total drag. For example, it seems much easier to find time to read during the summer! Maybe it's because there aren't any big holidays or maybe it's because everyone is at the beach, around a pool, or lounging in front of the AC (Me!!). Either way, it's a glorious time for books, and I have a list of my most anticipated releases this summer (in order of publication date)! I won't get to all of these wonderful books this summer (mostly because I don't have money to buy 10 brand new books and because my reading list is already out of this world long), but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try!
1) Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend (May 24)
Fanny Frankowski wanted nothing more than to live an exceptional life. When her best friend, Rosalie, decides they should runaway, Fanny jumps at the chance. However, an act of betrayal causes Fanny to strike out on her own. Decades later, Fanny is working for the Office of Naval Intelligence and is tasked with carrying out a mission in the Galapagos Island. False identity and fake husband, Ainslie, in tow, Fanny embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. Amid a land of volcanoes, dangerous wildlife, and unfriendly neighbors, Fanny and Ainslie carve out a life for themselves, but the most dangerous thing of all may not be the secrets they're keeping from their enemies, but the secrets they're keeping from each other.
2) Modern Lovers - Emma Straub (May 31)
Former band mates and lifelong friends, Elizabeth, Andrew, and Zoey, watched each other grown up and watched each other's children grow up. However, when their children reach maturity (in more ways than one), the lives of ease they have built begin to unravel around them. Secrets and revelations--about themselves and the fourth bandmember who rose to fame without them--turn their world upside down.
Many hail Modern Lovers as being both funny and smart, and capturing the truth that our passions never go away, they just evolve with us.
3) Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (published in paperback June 7th - originally August 2015)
This one is hard to paraphrase, so I've decided to just directly quote the Goodreads description:
"In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.
In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humor and profound emotion truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent."
4) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (June 7)
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off, where she will live in palacial comfort. Unbeknownst to Effia, Esi is held captive in the dungeons beneath her feet, to be sold into the booming slave trade and shipped to America. Homegoing is the twining together of two threads: one tells the story of Effia and her descendents living through centuries of warfare in Ghana. The second follows Esi and her children living in America right up to the modern day.
5) The Girls by Emma Cline (June 14)
The end of the 1960's. Summertime. Evie Boyd is enthralled by a group of girls she sees in the park. She loves their freedom and is soon mesmerized by the girls and their charismatic leader. Little does she know, she has just joined the ranks of a soon-to-be infamous cult. As she explores the sprawling ranch they live on and moves further away from the rhythms of her old life, Evie moves closer and closer to being able to commit unthinkable violence.
"An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong—this stunning first novel is perfect for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad."
6) Barkskins by Annie Proulx (June 14)
"In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur,” for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters—barkskins. René suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi’kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years—their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions—the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse."
7) Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel (June 14)
Martha's Vineyard, Labor Day 1976. Fern, Edgar, and their three children are celebrating the holiday when they learn that the unimaginable has occurred: they have no more money. Quickly, their once charmed life unravels, sending Fern and Edgar on separate adventures, leaving their three children alone and unsupervised "in an improvised Neverland helmed by the tender, witty, and resourceful Cricket, age nine."
8) I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (June 14)
"I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go."
9) How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball (July 5)
Lucia's home life leaves much to be desired. Her father is dead, her mother's in a mental hospital, she lives in a garage with her aunt, and she's been kicked out of school--again. She spends her days riding the bus to visit her mother, but when she discovers a secret arson club at school, she realizes she'd do anything to be part of it.
10) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (September 13)
**I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book from the publisher, so expect a review before the release date on September 13th!!**
"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom."
There you have it, my most anticipated releases of the summer. We have spy couples living in the Galapagos and teenage girls getting into arson and cults, wealthy families having the rug pulled out from underneath them and people being sold into and escaping slavery. These books run the gamut and I truly think there is something here for everyone. Let me know if you plan to read any of these books AND what books you are looking forward to reading this summer, new or old!