There is, in some circles, a pervasive understanding about the eighth month of the year:
Nothing happens in August. It's true that August is a month of both extreme languor and extraordinary determination: the heat and humidity keeps you inside, with the good TV and the good drinks, and the good air conditioning, but you also want to fit in as many beach days and park picnics as possible, before summer comes and goes and leaves the cooler days of autumn in its wake. Indoors or outdoors, you can enjoy the last bits of summer before Labor Day weekend with the most anticipated new books of August 2019.
August 2019 is a particularly exciting month for new books. On the list below, you'll spot the first books by #DisabledAndCute creator Keah Brown and
New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino, the long-anticipated second novel of prize-winning author Téa Obreht, the latest thrillers from beloved suspense writers Ruth Ware and Karin Slaughter, and a number of excellent debut novels, essay collections, and short story collections from writers like Stephanie Jimenez, Madeline Stevens, and Sarah M. Broom.
As you compile your end-of-summer reading list, you can't beat the 28 most anticipated books of August 2019:
'They Could Have Named Her Anything' by Stephanie Jimenez (Aug. 1)
In Stephanie Jimenez's debut, María struggles to fit in as one of the few Latina students at the Upper East Side prep school she attends. So when she Rocky, a privileged white girl, welcomes her into her world, she has a hard time saying no. It soon becomes apparent that Rocky thinks money can buy any luxury
or freedom, and soon enough, jealousies between the two girls threaten to implode their precarious friendship. Click here to buy. 'The Right Swipe' by Alisha Rai (Aug. 6)
Alisha Rai is back with a romance about modern love and the fear of vulnerability. Her protagonist, Rhiannon, is the creator of a hit dating app who just so happens to be incredibly particularly when it comes to her own love life. Her most important rule? Protect your heart, at all costs. So when she shares a magical night with former professional football player, Samson, she means business. But then he disappears — only to reappear months later, in cahoots with her business rival.
Click here to buy. 'The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me' by Keah Brown (Aug. 6) Disability rights activist and writer Keah Brown shares her journey to self-love, her frustrations with the way the world treats people with disabilities, her struggles with suicidal ideation, and her love of all things love in The Pretty One. It's hopeful, relatable memoir about a twenty-something just trying to figure out the world and her place in it. Click here to buy. 'Love At First Like' by Hannah Orenstein (Aug. 6) Playing with Matches author Hannah Orenstein, an editor at BDG Media, returns to the world of rom-coms with a delightful story about a Brooklyn jewelry shop owner who accidentally tells her thousands of Instagram followers she's engaged. (She's not.) As it turns out, true love is really good for jewelry sales, and now Eliza needs to find a fake fiancé to ensure that the jewelry shop turns enough revenue to stay in business. Unfortunately, the fake fiancé of her dreams doesn't exactly give her butterflies. Click here to buy. 'Trick Mirror' by Jia Tolentino (Aug. 6) New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino brings her signature wit and curiosity to these essays about the public and private toll of the internet, her mixed feelings about the heroines of her favorite children's books, the absurdity (and absurd joy) of weddings, and her own stint as a reality television star. Click here to buy. 'The Turn of the Key' by Ruth Ware (Aug. 6)
Thriller queen Ruth Ware returns to the genre with a story with parallels to Henry James's ghost story
The Turn of the Screw. When Ware's protagonist Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House as the new live-in nanny, she is blown away by the state-of-the-art smart home — and by the perfect family that inhabitants it. But all too soon, the dream job turns into a nightmare — one that ends with her in prison, charged with murder. Click here to buy. 'Ghosts Of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America' by Karen Abbott (Aug. 6)
This true crime book tells the riveting story of George Remus, a millionaire bootlegger during the Prohibition, and prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the woman who is determined to bring him down. It's a deeply-researched account of one of the most shocking murders of the Jazz Age, and you'll be engrossed by the true story.
Click here to buy. 'The Dragon Republic' by R.F. Kuang (Aug. 6)
In 2018, R.F. Kuang captivated readers with
The Poppy War, a fantasy that used the history of 20th century China as its foundation. In the sequel, The Dragon Republic, Kuang's heroine Rin is out for revenge on the people who compromised the safety of her homeland. Click here to buy. 'Our Women On The Ground' edited by Zahra Hankir (Aug. 6)
In their pursuit of telling the purest distillation of the truth of their homes, Arab women journalists put themselves in harms way time and time again.
Our Women on the Ground is a powerful essay collection about the experience of being an Arab women journalist, as written by Arab women journalists. Click here to buy. 'Lost You' by Haylen Beck (Aug. 6)
You've probably heard the Biblical parable about the two women who each claim one baby is their own. The truth only comes out when King Solomon makes a gory proclamation: Cut the baby in two, so each mother can have a half. In
Lost You, two mothers are locked in a similar battle over one boy, Ethan, and their story of stolen identity and surrogacy gone wrong will give you shivers from beginning to end. Click here to buy. 'The Wolf Wants In' by Laura McHugh (Aug. 6)
In the new thriller from Laura McHugh, Sadie Keller scours her crime- and drug-ridden Kansas hometown for clues about the mysterious and untimely death of her brother. Meanwhile, Henley Pettit plots her escape from the town, once and for all. Both women have their secrets to carry — loads that become even more impossible to bear when the police discover bones in the woods outside town.
Click here to buy. 'Devotion' by Madeline Stevens (Aug. 13)
Madeline Stevens's debut novel centers on two women — Ella and Lonnie — who couldn't be more different, despite the fact that they're both 26-year-old New Yorkers. Ella is single and flat broke, with no prospects of
not being flat broke; Lonnie is talented, rich, and married with a beautiful child. When Ella is unexpectedly asked to be a live-in nanny in Lonnie's Upper East Side home, she doesn't anticipate that the job will lead to jealousy, obsession, and desire — for Lonnie. Click here to buy. 'Inland' by Téa Obreht (Aug. 13)
In 2011, Téa Obreht released
The Tiger's Wife to critical and public acclaim. (It was a New York Times bestseller, the winner of the Orange Prize for Women, and a finalist for the National Book Award.) Now, eight years later, she returns with her second novel, Inland, a tale of the American West that centers on Nora, a frontierswoman, and Lurie, an outlaw, whose stories intersect in a dramatic way. Click here to buy. 'The Yellow House' by Sarah M. Broom (Aug. 13)
Sarah M. Broom tracks 100 years of family and New Orleans history in her debut,
The Yellow House. The memoir — which draws its name from the home that Broom's mother purchased and raised a family of 12 in — examines race, class, generational wounds, and inequality through the lens of one of the United States's most misunderstood cities. Click here to buy. 'Dead Blondes & Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power' by Sady Doyle (Aug. 13)
Sady Doyle wanted to discover why women are so often portrayed as monsters, so she researched and wrote this deep-dive into the stories of Lillith,
The Craft, Mary Shelley and more. Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers just might change how you perceive real and fictional women. Click here to buy. 'Things You A Save In A Fire' by Katherine Center (Aug. 13)
A novel as vibrant as its cover,
Things You Save in a Fire follows Cassie, one of the only female firefighter at her Texas firehouse. When her sick mother asks her to move to Boston, Cassie obliges – only to discover that her new co-workers aren't exactly thrilled by her presence in the firehouse. She receives another jolt when she breaks one of her own rules: Never fall for firefighters. Click here to buy. 'Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention' by Donna Freitas (Aug. 13)
Consent, Donna Freitas writes an experience many women know all too well: Being stalked. What makes this book is uniquely powerful is Freitas's particular expertise in this area: She is a scholar and speaker on issues of consent, religion, Title IX, and sex on college campuses. Click here to buy. 'How To Be An Antiracist' by Ibram X. Kendi (Aug. 13) How To Be An Antiracist, the new book from National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi, is an expansive guide to acknowledging, identifying, understanding, and uprooting racism — in yourself and in society at large. Click here to buy. 'The Swallows' by Lisa Lutz (Aug. 13)
It's the era of #MeToo, and literature is beginning to reflect that in a big way. In Lisa Lutz's
The Swallows, a prep school teacher ignites a gender war when she begins the question the institution's overpowering "boys will be boys" mentality. She soon learns that starting a revolution and threatening the status quo comes with steep consequences. Click here to buy. 'Black Light' by Kimberly King Parsons (Aug. 13)
Kimberly King Parsons's
Black Light explores the darker corners of the human experience in a series of stories all set in Texas. You can get a taste of Parsons's raw and perceptive writing style in "Foxes," published by The Paris Review and featured in this collection. Click here to buy. 'Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead' by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Aug. 13)
You simply can't let summer come and go without reading at least one translated work of fiction. The winner of the Man Booker International Prize, Olga Tokarczuk, is one of Poland's most beloved novelists, and
Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of Your Dead — a murder mystery and fairy tale — showcases exactly why the world is transfixed by her. Click here to buy. 'I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying' by Bassey Ikpi (Aug. 20)
A fresh new voice makes her debut in
I'll Tell You The Truth, But I'm Lying. In these essays, Bassey Ikpi writes of her experiences as a Nigerian-American, as a slam poet, as an artist, as a writer, as a person who has struggled with her mental health, as all of the things that her who she is. Click here to buy. 'The Whisper Man' by Alex North (Aug. 20) There's already a movie in the works, so you know The Whisper will be one of the biggest thrillers of summer. Here's the plot: After the death of his wife, Tom Kennedy moves to Featherbeak with his son in search of a new start. Unfortunately, the town has a sinister past: 20 years earlier, a serial killer named The Whisper Man, who would lure his victims out of their homes by whispering at their window, was captured and imprisoned after murdering five people. So, if he's in jail, why is The Whisper Man back? Click here to buy. 'The Last Widow' by Karin Slaughter (Aug. 20)
In Karin Slaughter's latest suspense novel, Detective Will Trent must discover who is behind the kidnapping of a scientist for the Center of Disease Control — and figure out if it's the same person who's responsible for a bombing in the neighborhood that houses the CDC, two hospitals, and a major university. When the woman he loves — medical examiner Sara Linton — goes missing, the investigation takes a personal turn.
Click here to buy. ‘Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have,’ by Tatiana Schlossberg (Aug. 27)
The subject of climate change is inescapable, as it should be, but too few stories focus on one's everyday impact upon the environment. In
Inconspicuous Consumption, former New York Times science writer Tatiana Schlossberg breaks down exactly how everyday activities — watching Netflix, eating a burger, turning on the light — impact the environment. Click here to buy. 'Everything Inside' by Edwidge Danticat (Aug. 27)
In this story collection by Edwidge Danticat, the author of
Brother, I'm Dying, love takes the center stage, whether it be in the form of dying love, first love, friend love, tested love, or love of one's dreams. Click here to buy. 'The Other's Gold' by Elizabeth Ames (Aug. 27)
A novel about the friendships — and mistakes — of four women,
The Other's Gold is cleverly divided into four distinct sections, each devoted to a different mistake: The Accident, The Accusation, The Kiss, and The Bite. It's an ode to the turmoil and joy of female friendship, and the perfect book to read with your friends. Click here to buy. 'Pumpkinheads' by Rainbow Rowell (Aug. 27)
Rainbow Rowell — who you probably recognize as the author of
Fangirl and Eleanor and Park — teamed up with illustrator Faith Erin Hicks to create Pumpkinheads, a graphic novel about two seasonal best friends, Deja and Josiah, who only see each other during the two months when they both work at the same pumpkin patch in Omaha. This year, everything is different — because they're both seniors in high school and it's the last time they might ever be together. Click here to buy.