There's just about one month left of summer, which means four blessed weeks to use to the term "beach read" with a modicum of sincerity. (As always, Bustle defines "beach read" as a book you'd read on the beach, regardless of genre, author, or format.) I've got some good news for you, beach readers: This week, publishers are releasing some incredible new books that will make excellent weekend getaway companions.
This week's buzziest new title is undoubtedly The Incendaries by R.O. Kwon, which has already been reviews by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Washington Post, USA Today, NPR and the very publication you're reading right now. The novel more than lives up to the hype; it is, true to its title, an incendiary book that asks you to delve deep into the roots of obsession and religion.
But if you're looking for a novel with fewer cults, there's more on this list you might enjoy. Flynn Berry, author of Under the Harrow, is back with another heart-stopping thriller about a London doctor who has one very big secret: Her father is the country's most notorious murder suspect. Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corner, also has a new horror/thriller out this week, The Cheerleaders, about one high school girl's search for answers about the mysterious deaths of her sister and four of her friends, all cheerleaders.
These three riveting novels are just the start — here are the 11 new books you need to know this week:
'The Incendiaries' by R.O. Kwon
Trust me when I say that The Incendaries more than lives up to the massive amount of praise it has garnered in the last few months. Cults, first love, and faith all come together in this shocking story about two college students, Will and Phoebe, who grapple with their separate obsessions in violent, dark, and intoxicating ways. You can read an interview with author R.O. Kwon now.
'The Cheerleaders' by Kara Thomas
The Cheerleaders is just the book to keep you entertained this weekend at the beach. Five years before the start of the novel, five cheerleaders met disturbing and tragic ends over the course of a few weeks. One of those cheerleaders was Monica's sister, and she has never been able to forget what happened. In fact, she thinks there might be more to the story of her sister's death, and she's determined to figure it out. You can read an excerpt now.
'Fruit of the Drunken Tree' by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Two coming-of-age stories are interwoven in this stunning novel about poverty, womanhood, and nationwide violence. The two women at the center of the novel — Chula and Petrona — come from strikingly different backgrounds: Chula lives in a safe gated community in Bogota, while Petrona, her live-in maid, hails from a guerrilla-occupied slum. As the violence in Colombia escalates, the two girls deepen their bond — and unexpectedly become entangled in a web of deception that could change the course of their lives.
'The Shortest Way Home' by Miriam Parker
Hannah will have it all once she graduates from grad school in a few weeks: a high-paying job in Manhattan, a wonderful apartment, and a boyfriend on the brink of a proposal. But while on a romantic getaway to Sonoma, Hannah is offered an unexpected gig: A marketing job at a family-run winery. On a whim, she decides to take the job — and in the process, she changes the course of her life entirely.
'A Double Life' by Flynn Berry
From the outside, Claire seems completely normal: She's a doctor in London who lives a quiet, simple life. But she has a shocking secret: She's the daughter of the country's most notorious murder suspect. And when her father is apprehended by authorities, her entire world shifts out of focus.
'My Beautiful Despair: The Philosophy of Kim Kierkegaardashian'
Based on the Twitter account @KimKierkegaard (which boasts 250,000 followers, as of this writing), My Beautiful Despair hilariously mashes the observations of Kim Kardashian with the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. Recent gems on the Twitter feed include: "Despite what you've heard, I'm not 'Becky with the good hair.' I am Kim with the tangled soul." This is the perfect gift for your friend who watches The Bachelor and reads Sartre in equal measure.
'The Darkest Legacy' by Alexandra Bracken
Before you head to the theater to see the new The Darkest Minds movie, consider reading the newest novel in the YA series upon which its based. The Darkest Legacy takes place five years after the events of the first three novels. Like those books, it centers on the Psi — a group of teens who survived a mysterious plague and have developed superpowers in response. This book, however, focuses on the aftermath of their revolution.
'My Life As A Goddess' by Guy Branum
If you're in the mood for a laugh (it's 2018; everyone needs a laugh), pick up Guy Branum's essay collection and try not to cry from giggling. The book traces through his fascinating life, beginning with his childhood days in a farm community, where he eschewed playing outdoor sports in favor of reading Greek mythology. (That cover makes a little more sense now, huh?) This is a strikingly personal and poignant collection about what it means to "fit in" — and whether or not if it's even worth it to be anything other than yourself.
'Okay Fine Whatever' by Courtenay Hameister
Courtenay Hameister lived in a state of constant anxiety about everything: love, her body, her job, the looming possibility of death at any given moment. But at some point in her mid-forties, she decided it was time to be brave. So she started doing things she was too scared to try before — and wrote a hilarious memoir about the experience. You can read an excerpt now.
'Sea Witch' by Sarah Henning
'The Strange Case of Dr. Couney' by Dawn Raffel
In a story too crazy to be anything but true, Dawn Raffel relates the tale of a mysterious immigrant "doctor" who saved thousands of premature babies by placing them in incubators in World Fair sideshows in Coney Island and Atlantic City.