'If You Leave Me' By Crystal Hana Kim & 16 New Books You Need To Know This Week
I pray you have the good luck and forward thinking to live somewhere that is not Manhattan, because this borough is currently a 13-mile-long sauna filled with rats, steaming piles of trash, and sizzling puddles of urine. If you don't live here, let me assure you that the reprieve from summer in New York City doesn't even last long indoors — because, as you might imagine, after walking through clouds of food cart steam and accidentally skimming a puddle of suspicious-looking trash juice, I now smell too. This city I love dearly and am proud to call home is a cesspool, but at least I have these new book releases to keep me company as I lay directly beside my air conditioner. You can enjoy them, too. Hopefully somewhere that is not here.
This week brings with it a variety of books that will transport you away from your current circumstances to places like Copenhagen, Cuba, and the fictional Gotham City. Many of these books feature women — fictional and real — who push boundaries and resist the rules to create a world that gives them the things they want and need. In no particular order, here are the new book you should read this week:
'If You Leave Me' by Crystal Hana Kim
In my mind, flowers symbolize two things: love and grief. And as the cover indicates, this book delivers both in equal measure. In an exquisite and wrenching story about forbidden love, family legacy, and civil war, 16-year-old Haemi Lee flees Korea to a refugee camp and later marries Jisoo, the older and wealthier cousin of the boy she truly loves, Kyunghwan. But she can't shake him completely — and years later, she decides to forsake the life she's known in favor of a life of love, setting off a chain of events that effects her family for generations.
'The Victorian And The Romantic' by Nell Stevens
I re-read Pride and Prejudice more often than I go to the dentist, so I relate to the idea of writing an entire memoir based on your fictional relationship with a long-dead author. In The Victorian and the Romantic, Nell Stevens seamlessly weaves together her story — figuring out her life, falling in love, falling out of love, and writing her doctorate thesis on her favorite author, Elizabeth Gaskell — and the history of one of literature's most beloved figures.
'Catwoman: Soulstealer' By Sarah J. Maas
It is 2018, and dammit, we deserve a female hero who wears a lot of leather and kicks a lot of men's asses. Catwoman: Soulstealer is the story of Selina Kyle's teenage years written by one of YA's most beloved authors, and yes, I also wish it were nonfiction.
'Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History' by Keith O’Brien
If you, like me, love Top Gun but have somewhat squishy and complicated feelings about Tom Cruise, let me suggest an alternative to your "need for speed" cravings: Fly Girls, a history of airplane racing and the women who loved it. You read that right: Airplane racing was apparently a huge freakin' deal in between the two World Wars, and predictably, men were hailed as heroes of the sport while women were portrayed as silly for even trying. But as Keith O'Brien recounts in his new book, five incredible women — including Amelia Earhart — fought for the chance to race against men. And won.
'The Third Hotel' by Laura van den Berg
If you're looking for a book that'll transport you somewhere warm and wonderful and invite you into a story that's (very likely) way more messed up than anything going on in your life, have I got a book for you. In The Third Hotel, Clare arrives in Havana for a film festival, only to experience something rather odd: She runs into her dead husband, Richard. In the chapters that follow, she attempts to discover the truth of his death and mysterious reappearance in this vivid, surreal, and heart-stopping new novel.
'The Bucket List' by Georgia Clark
In Bustle's 'Braving BRCA' column, writer Sara Altschule writes about how she discovered she has a BRCA gene mutation — which means she has higher susceptibility of developing breast cancer. The decision to take the test to see if you have the mutation is terrifying — and in the book, Bucket List, Georgia Clark tackles it head-on in a story about a woman who is diagnosed with the BRCA1 mutation and decides to create a "boob bucket list" of things she want to accomplish before she undergoes a preventative mastectomy.
'Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America' by Beth Macy
Intensely researched stories about the opioid crisis have been trickling in for few years, but truly comprehensive books on the topic have just started hitting bookshelves in the last few months. In Dopesick, journalist Beth Macy charts the epidemic in small communities in Central Appalachia, wealthy suburbs, and everywhere in between and details the insidious, indiscriminate effects of addiction.
'The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy' by Anne de Courcy
Like House Hunters, but with rich American heiresses instead of vaguely-naive-yet-implausibly-loaded couples and impoverished British aristocrats instead of suburban five-bedroom homes with separate sinks in the master bath (but no granite countertops.) In The Husband Hunters, Anne de Courcy tells the story of the American women who married into the British royal class and brought their glamour, poise, and money right along with them.
'The Masterpiece' by Fiona Davis
Did you know there used to be an art school in Grand Central Station? Neither did I! In The Masterpiece, Fiona Davis weaves together two timelines and the story of two women: Clara Darden, who in the year 1928 is a 25-year-old art teacher at the Grand Central School of Art, and Virginia Clay, who in 1974 stumbles upon the long-forgotten school and embarks on a quest to discover who painted a stunning watercolor she unearthed from the dust.
‘A Deal with the Devil’ by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken
In Deal With The Devil, CNN journalists Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken detail a scam almost too wild to be true. Basically, a French "psychic" named Maria Duval scammed $200 million from elderly people in exchange for personalized letters that promised good health, prosperity, and fortune.
'Heretics Anonymous' by Katie Henry
Promoted as The Breakfast Club meets Saved (hell yes), Katie Henry's new novel is set in a Catholic school where a group of outcasts have formed a secret society called the Heretics Anonymous. But these Heretics aren't content with just, you know, hanging out: They want to expose all the school's secrets through a series of stunts. And new kid Michael isn't sure he's totally on board with the diabolical mission.
'Finding Yvonne' by Brandy Colbert
Yvonne has always had her violin to keep her company — even when her mom walked out, even as her relationship with her father grew more and more tense. But now she's about to graduate, and she just might not be good enough to go to a conservatory after high school. Things get even more complicated when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, and she's forced to make a tough decision about her future.
'Before She Sleeps' by Bina Shah
You may have noticed there are many books being described as The Handmaid's Tale for 2018. Honestly, reality is The Handmaid's Tale for 2018, and every single one of these books is important and necessary reading. In Before She Sleeps, women are forced to have as many children as possible in order to repopulate the planet. But there are women who resist society's pressure to become breeding machines, and they will fight to reclaim their right for sex with intimacy.
'This Mournable Body' by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Written by one of Zimbabwe's most beloved authors, This Mournable Body asks readers to consider the effects of colonialism and capitalism on ordinary people. Tambudzai is desperate for change, so she swaps her boring job for work as a biology teacher and moves from a youth hostel to a boarding house. Yet her plans to remake herself are continually and painfully compromised at every turn, and despite her hustle, she finds herself in a battle for survival when what she wants is a chance to thrive.
'Rust & Stardust' by T. Greenwood
Next month, Sarah Weinman's nonfiction book The Real Lolita — about the true crime that inspired Vladimir Nabokov's most famous novel — will be released. This month, T. Greenwood drops their fictional take on the story of Sally Horner, the real 11-year-old who was kidnapped by a 52-year-old man and held hostage for two years.
'Certain American States: Stories' by Catherine Lacey
The first short story collection from acclaimed novelist Catherine Lacey, Certain American States is a breathtaking examination of ordinary lives become extraordinary through painful-but-normal events: breakups, deaths, cross-country moves. The crux of the human condition is that nearly everyone irrationally believes their problems to be remarkable but instinctually knows they are mundane, and Catherine Lacey's stories beautifully reflect that dilemma.
'Open Me' by Lisa Locascio
When Roxana Olsen embarks on a post-high school graduation trip to Copenhagen, she doesn't expect to immediately meet and fall for Søren, a 28-year-old tour guide who invites her to spend the remainder of her summer in a small coastal town with him. (Totally normal summer vacation occurrence, right?) But as she experiences a romantic and erotic becoming, she also falls deep into a toxic relationship and finds herself drawn to a local outsider, Zlatan. This one everything needed for the perfect summer book — thrills, romance, sex, and far-away locales.