11 New Books That Will Really Get Your Book Club Thinking This Summer

by Melissa Ragsdale

It's summer, and the longer days probably have you inspired to do more... in the company of other people and with a glass of wine. To me, that means it's the perfect time to start your summer book club. Pull together some friends or coworkers, mix up your favorite summer cocktails, and get ready to dive into some books together.

But of course, there's the million dollar question: what is your book club going to read? There are so many fantastic new books coming out this summer, so it can be kind of tough to decide.

A good book club pick needs to foster discussion. Maybe it needs to be a little controversial or a little sad. Maybe it needs to deal with a current issue or it needs to have tons of twists. And of course, your pick can't be too long, otherwise nobody will finish it. This isn't a firm rule, but the book should preferably be new, too, so you can feel like you're in-the-know. So — what are some of the new releases that fit that criteria?

I've looked over the books coming out this summer, and here are my top picks for book club reads of summer:

'A Place for Us' by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us, the first novel published by Sarah Jessica Parker's SJP imprint, centers on an Indian-American Muslim family. The eldest daughter, Hadia is getting married, and her wedding has brought the entire family together — setting the stage for a family drama unlike anything you've read yet.

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'Convenience Store Woman' by Sayaka Murata

This book is short (only 176 pages!) but it contains so much for your book club to discuss. Translated from Japanese, Convenience Store Woman is the story of Keiko Furukura, a young woman who took a job a convenience store clerk while finishing her university degree. It was supposed to be a short-term gig — but now she's 36 years old and still working there.

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'Sick' by Porochista Khakpour

In this highly-anticipated memoir, Porochista Khakpour chronicles her life with Lyme disease. The emotional, physical, spiritual effects of the disease are haunting, but the memoir is sure to also spark discussions about the state of health care in the United States and how difficult it can be to get an accurate, compassionate diagnosis.

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'Small Country' by Gaël Faye

This international bestseller is being talked about all over the world, and it clocks in at only 192 pages — perfect for a summer book club. Set in 1992, the book follows 10-year-old Gabby, who lives a pleasant life with his French father, his Rwandan mother, and his little sister. But when the Rwandan Genocide shatters his mother's country, Gabby is awoken to the hardships of the real world.

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'The Ensemble' by Aja Gabel

This wonderful book takes you into the realm of competitive chamber music and into the lives of four friends who comprise the ensemble. The novel moves through years of their life, as they each each deal with love, heartbreak, career success, career setbacks, and more.

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'Summer of Salt' by Katrina Leno

If your book club is looking to read a YA novel, you definitely want to check out Summer of Salt. Magic is passed down through the generations in Georgina's family. But while her twin sister has already received her magic, Georgina is still waiting for hers to arrive. Meanwhile, on the island on which they live, strange things are beginning to happen.

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'Number One Chinese Restaurant' by Lillian Li

Step into the world of The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland. When tragedy strikes this family-owned joint, each member of the family has to deal with the fallout in their own way. There's plenty here to discuss — and everyone will probably have different opinions on the story.

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'All That I Can Fix' by Crystal Chan

Crystal Chan takes on issues of gun control and mental illness in an unforgettable way in this YA novel. Set in Makersville, Indiana, the book follows Ronney, a mixed-race girl who feels like an outcast. But her world is turned topsy-turvy when the local eccentric lets out all the animals from the zoo and they begin to roam the town freely.

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'The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts' by Tessa Fontaine

In this exciting memoir, Tessa Fontaine recounts her life working, traveling, and "playing" as part of the World of Wonders, America's last traveling sideshow. That's right, Fontaine literally ran away with the circus. Her story about the marvels and heartbreaks of carnival life is thrilling and captivating, and you won't be able to stop talking about it.

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'Motherhood' by Sheila Heti

In this novel, the narrator — also named Sheila — struggles to decide whether or not she wants to become a mother, turning to philosophy, mysticism, and the the people in her life to inform her decision. This one is sure to spark a nuanced discussion within your club.

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'How to Walk Away' by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away is a romantic and moving read that you're going to be aching to talk about with your club. Margaret's got her whole future planned out. But everything changes when she gets in an accident, and she's faced with the possibility that she may never walk again. As she navigates her way through this difficult time, she discovers love in an unexpected place.

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