officially here (the solstice is June 21), but I'm prepared to call it as I see it: The warm temperatures and sunny days mean it's summer, and that means it's time to dive into a "beach read" — a.k.a. any book you would take to the beach, a.k.a. any book at all. I've been known to read about everything from quantum psychics to unrequited love to serial killers on the beach, and I firmly believe that the only requirement for a "beach read" is that it's a book you don't mind getting a little sticky from sunscreen or a little sandy.
Of course, certain genres of book do lend themselves well to getaway reading: Fast-paced thrillers and twisty adventure novels will always be among my top picks for travel entertainment. On that front, this week's new book releases certainly deliver: There's a novel about a female spy during the Cold War, a thriller about first love gone awry, and a fantasy YA about revolution and the land between the living and the dead. There's a horror book that will certainly draw parallels to the trial of Amanda Knox and a book about a reality TV show rocked by a controversial teenager pregnancy. And that doesn't even begin to cover it all. Here are the 11 new books you need to know this week:
'A Reaper At The Gates' by Sabaa Tahir
The third book in Sabaa Tahir's widely beloved Ember in the Ashes series hits bookstores on Tuesday, and it definitely lives up to the hype. In
A Reaper at the Gates, Helene, Laia, and Elias fight against the forces of the Commandant and the new Emperor from three different locations in the empire — including a land between the living and the dead. Click here to buy.
'Tell Me Lies' by Carola Lovering
When Lucy meets Stephen, she falls in love with the confident college boy — and in love with the vision he has of her. But as their relationship blossoms, she begins to suspect that Stephen has a secret. Told in alternating perspectives,
Tell Me Lies is a mesmerizing, propulsive coming-of-age story about the loves you just can't let go, for better or for worse. Click here to buy.
'Jar Of Hearts' by Jennifer Hillier
Once, there were three best friends: Angela, who went missing and was later found dead; Kaiser, who never stopped searching for the truth; and Georgina, who — it was discovered 14 years after the tragedy — played a role in Angela's death. But what really happened that night? And is the truth more complicated than it appears?
Click here to buy.
'The Book of Essie' by Meghan Maclean Weir
Essie is the youngest child on
Six for Hicks, a reality television hit about her ultra-religious family. But when she gets pregnant, her life — and the show — are thrown into chaos. Click here to buy.
'A Place For Us' by Fatima Farheen Mirza
The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's imprint, SJP for Hogarth,
A Place for Us follows the family of Rafiq and Layla, who, on the eve of their daughter's wedding, must grapple with their own pasts and the foundation they've built for their children. Click here to buy.
'Who Is Vera Kelly?' by Rosalie Knecht
Vera is struggling to get by in New York City when she's unexpectedly recruited by the CIA. She moves to Argentina and is tasked with spying on a congressman and a group of student activists who are believed to have ties to the KBG. But the Cold War is just beginning, and Vera might be in over her head.
Click here to buy.
'Final Draft' by Riley Redgate
When Laila's beloved creative writing teacher leaves unexpectedly, he's replaced with a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who is impossible to impress. Laila becomes obsessed with securing her approval and goes to great lengths — emotional, physical, spiritual, and otherwise — to write a story that finally earns her the admiration of her new mentor.
Click here to buy.
'Convenience Store Woman' by Sayaka Murata
A novel in translation,
Convenience Store Woman is the story of Keiko, a girl always considered "strange," even by her own family. When she secured a job at a convenience store while a student at university, her family was thrilled — and naturally assumed it would be a short lived gig. But now Keiko is 36 years old and she still works at the convenience store. But when a young man comes to work at there, he throws off her comfortable existence — possibly for the good of them both. Click here to buy.
'The Fall Of Innocence' by Jenny Torres Sanchez
A heart-wrenching novel about trauma and its long- and far-reaching impacts,
The Fall of Innocence is the story of Emilia DeJesus, a 16 year old who has tried to completely erase the memories of her brutal attack. But when a shocking secret about her attacker's identity is exposed, everything comes flooding back and she must reckon with the truth of that night. Click here to buy.
'The Merciless IV: Last Rites' by Danielle Vega
If you're a horror fan, you don't want to miss Danielle Vega's epic YA series.
Last Rites, the fourth book, is being described as "Stephen King meets the Amanda Knox trial" and it's deliciously terrifying. Click here to buy.
'Fight No More' by Lydia Millet
This story story collection from Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet is the perfect book to pack in your travel or beach bag, especially if you don't have the attention span to get through a whole novel (who does, with the
ocean right there?). At the center of all the stories is Nina, a real-estate broker who moves through the homes of L.A.'s elite searching for men, home, and belonging. Click here to buy.