Feature photo: @MaBookYard
In everything from astonishing memoirs to murder mysteries, characters reckon with their past, find redemption, reflect on love and community, and forge new identities in the best books coming out this summer. This roundup of must-reads is packed with unforgettable stories that will stay in your memory long after the final page.
Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (May 3, 2022)
Family of Liars is a prequel to the New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and takes readers back to another summer with the Sinclair family. This is the summer that secrets will be born as mistakes are made, and acts of betrayal are committed that are unforgivable.
Mean Baby by Selma Blair (May 17, 2022)
In this captivating memoir, Selma Blair shares moments from her childhood and growing up that formed her identity before she became a Hollywood actress. The first thing she can remember that anyone ever told her about herself was that she was a mean baby. She then went on to become a rambunctious child, often dramatic and sometimes violent, who craved attention. As an adult, Selma suffered an inexplicable pain, addiction, and a feeling that something within her was wrong, until finally being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Funny, unique, and sometimes heartbreaking, you won’t want to put this book down.
Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri (May 17, 2022)
The act of translating literary works is an intimate experience with the author and her words. In this collection of essays, Jhumpa Lahiri explores translation and reflects on her experience translating her own works from Italian to English. Doing so, she draws on and explores Aristotle, Antonio Gramsci, and Italo Cavino to better understand how translating is an art, an act of expression, and an act of transformation.
The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian (May 10, 2022)
Katie Barstow is an American actress and A-list celebrity. It is 1964, and Katie and her new husband decide to take their celebrity friends on an adventure into the Seregenti of Tanzania in celebration of their recent marriage. The group of wealthy Americans expect luxury and comfort amid the great animals and landscape of Africa. However, the group is met with disaster. With guns held to their heads, they are taken hostage and what was supposed to be a tame adventure becomes a story about risk, wealth, fame and race.
Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean (May 31, 2022)
After finding out that she is a princess in Japan, Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka seems to be living the perfect life. But when the Imperial Household Council withholds approval of her parents’ marriage due to concerns about Izumi and her mother’s background, Izumi is determined to do whatever it takes to convince the council she is princess material. However, as she proceeds to mold herself into an exemplar princess, the question of how much of herself she will need to sacrifice becomes more and more urgent.
Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera (May 17, 2022)
For twenty years the Guerreros have lived in a Dominican neighborhood of New York City known as Nothar Park. When construction on luxury condos begins in their neighborhood, Eusebia decides to do whatever it takes to stop the condos from being built. However, her daughter Luz, a Manhattan lawyer, has just fallen for the handsome white developer leading the project. As tensions escalate, mother and daughter clash over whether the condos are a threat or symbol of progress. This is a beautiful and complex portrait of family, community and ambition.
Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert (June 28, 2022)
Eerie and unsettling events mark the beginning of seventeen-year-old Ivy’s summer vacation. As an increasing number of uncanny occurrences point to something sinister on the horizon, Ivy realizes that she must finally confront a secret her mother’s been keeping about herself. One summer many years ago, when Ivy’s mother Dana was sixteen, she and her friends dived deep into the supernatural. And now the events of that summer are finally catching up to Dana as she and her daughter must now face dark forces.
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez (June 7, 2022)
When true-crime writer Cassie Bowman stumbles upon the detailed report of a murder that occurred decades earlier, she’s enraptured by the events—and the woman—that surround it. Back in 1985, Lore Rivera lead a double life and was married to two men, one in Texas and one in Mexico. When her husbands found out about the betrayal, one man killed the other. Cassie has a series of unexplored questions for Lore about what lead her to make the choices she made. After she meets Lore and begins to question her, however, she realizes that there is much more to the story that is yet to be unearthed.
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley (June 7, 2022)
Kiara’s primary concern in her young life is to make ends meet for her and her brother Marcus, who live alone in an Oakland apartment. One night, a chance encounter with a stranger lands her a job doing something she never thought she’d do: nightcrawling. In need of security, Kiara needs this job. But when she suddenly finds herself a key witness in an investigation that involves the Oakland Police Department, her life becomes even more complicated, and she finds herself awash and vulnerable in the world of scandal.
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (June 7, 2022)
Luz finds herself alone after a white mob runs her brother out of town. It is 1930’s Denver, and Luz Lopez carries within her memories of her family’s past. She is determined to save their stories for future generations. Most of all, she remembers when their indigenous homeland was taken over and the sinister forces that devastated her people. This is a story about survival, secrets that span generations, and love that stretches across time.
Corinne by Rebecca Morrow (July 12, 2022)
Set over fifteen years, Corinne’s story is about unrequited love, reckoning with the past, and forging an identity for yourself. Corrine was cut out from her family and the church that she grew up in. Wanting to move forward with her life, but never able to completely separate herself from her past, Corrine struggles to move on. This is made more difficult as memories of the man she loved, and still loves, continue to haunt her. By the end, she will risk everything.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware (July 12, 2022)
April Clarke-Cliveden was the girl everyone wanted to be around. On Hannah’s first day at Oxford, April is the first person she meets and she is quickly pulled into circle. During their first term, they form a group of friends,Will, Hugh, Ryan and Emily, who all become close. But by the end of the second term, April is murdered. A decade later, Hannah and Will are married. Hannah is reeled by the news when she’s told that the person convicted of April’s murder may have been innocent. Determined to find out what really happened, she revisits her old friends and begins to uncover shocking truths.
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (July 12, 2022)
An unforgettable novel about growing up, body identity, and Black womanhood, Big Girl follows eight-year-old Malaya as she grows up under the pressures of losing weight and being proper while she learns to embrace her true self.
The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 12, 2022)
In this dazzling memoir, Ingrid Rojas Contreras delves into her family’s stories and history that far surpass the enchantment found in many novels. Born in Colombia and raised during the political upheaval of the 1980s and 1990s, Rojas Contreras lives in a home bustling with action. It is said that her grandfather had the power to move clouds, talk to the dead, tell the future, and treat the sick—and that her mother also inherited these powers. When Rojas Contreras suffers a head injury that leaves her with amnesia, she learns that this could be a sign that she herself is about to inherit these gifts. Relearning her family history after her injury, Rojas Contreras explores Colombian history, reflects on her colonial roots, and reckons with the boundary between imagination and reality.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (August 30, 2022)
Carrie Soto was the best tennis player the world had ever seen, and she made a lot of enemies on the way to earning that recognition. After being retired for six years, Carrie’s world is reeling after she watches an amazing new tennis player beat Carrie’s record. Although she is thirty-seven years old and is nowhere near the shape she was in when she was competing, Carrie decides to come out of retirement for one more year of competition and reluctantly enlists the help of an old friend-slash-former-lover to help her win back her title.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney (August 30, 2022)
Only the 80th birthday of their matriarch could bring together Daisy Darker’s family. To celebrate the occasion, her family gathers at Nana’s home in a gothic house on a tidal island. When the tide comes in, they’ll be separated from the rest of the world for eight hours and alone on the island. First, Nana is found dead. Then, the body of a second family member is discovered. Someone is killing the family off one by one, and the Darker’s must come together to discover which one of them is the killer, putting aside past grudges and revealing dark secrets.
Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak (August 2, 2022)
Electrifying and intriguing, Mademoiselle Revolution follows Sylvie de Rosiers after she flees the Haitian Revolution and falls straight into the beginnings of the French Revolution. When she becomes a part of the French revolutionary group, she must come to terms with her past complicity in a slave-society when she lived a privileged life in Haiti. As a biracial woman who has now abandoned her aristocratic roots, Robespierre uses Sylvie as a symbol for their revolution. However, when the Reign of Terror is deployed, Sylvie must rethink her ties to the group and must make a monumental decision that could lead to her execution.
Alias Emma by Ava Glass (August 2, 2022)
New secret agent Emma MakePeace’s first assignment will take all of her skills and everything she’s learned if she’s going to pull it off. Her assignment is to bring the son of a Russian dissident into protective custody. To do this, she’ll have to travel with him by foot through the world’s most surveilled city and avoid the hundreds of thousands of cameras present in the streets. A misstep could mean both of their lives. And when her only contact suddenly goes dark, Emma is left on her own to navigate the streets and make it to safety.