As the calendar turns again, August brings the distant call of school bells and autumn rumblings. But it's still summer for another month, so now's the best time to get as much summer beach reading in as possible. And you're going to fall hard for the fantastic new fiction releases heading your way in the coming weeks.
Identity is a huge theme in this month's reading. These books are a punch to the heart, and you'll feel a wave of emotions as you watch these characters fight to define themselves. Readers will have a chance to explore the threads that unite us — and the differences that make us unique. These authors are bringing tons of brilliant insights and thought-provoking questions to the table, and each of these books will inspire you to look at yourself and look at the world a little differently.
Plus, August reading is not without its fair share of adventure. From epic fantasy to stories of survival, this month's reading is driven by courage. Get ready for long nights of frantic page turning, because you are not going to be able to put down some of these amazing reads.
In fact, you're going to want to read every single one of these books. So don't let these final days of summer go to waste. Settle in to your favorite reading spot, and get ready to tear into some fantastic new reads.
1'Sour Heart' by Jenny Zhang (August 1; Lenny)
This short story collection is exciting for two reasons: 1) it's the first book published by the new Lena Dunham's new Lenny imprint, and 2) it's a wonderful book you'll fly through in a single weekend. Through these stories of adolescence in NYC, Zhang proves herself to be a fresh and magnetic storyteller.
2'New People' by Senna Danzy (August 1; Riverhead)
College sweethearts Maria and Khalil are about to be married. Their shared biracial identity has always been an important part of their lives and relationship, so when Maria finds herself falling for another man, it feels like her identity itself is at stake. This an intimate, thought-provoking read that will stick with you long after you're done reading.
3'A Kind of Freedom' by Margaret Wilkerson-Sexton (August 8; Counterpoint)
Set in New Orleans, this stunning debut novel tells the stories of three generations of a black family and explores the "legacy of racial disparity in the South." First, there is Evelyn in the 1940s, who meets her family's disapproval when falls in love with a man from a different class. Then, in 1986, there's her daughter, Jackie, who is married to a crack addict and raising a young child. Finally, in the modern-day, there's Jackie's son T.C., who is just about to leave prison, where he served for marijuana possession.
4'If The Creek Don't Rise' by Leah Weiss (August 22; Sourcebooks)
This striking debut novel takes you to Baines Creek, a small, battered Appalachian town filled with poverty and secrets. At the center of the story is Sadie Blue, a pregnant 17-year-old newlywed who has just realized that her marriage has been a mistake. Her story is told through the many different people within the town, and each voice adds another layer to the portrait of their community.
5'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie (August 15; Riverhead)
This astounding novel has already been long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The story follows two families — both living in the U.K. and both of Pakistani descent — as their lives intersect with devastating consequences. Politics, religion, identity, power, and love all have their parts to play in this unforgettable novel.
6'Things That Happened Before the Earthquake' by Chiara Barzini (August 15; Doubleday Books)
After the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Italian teenager Eugenia is ripped from her life in Rome and forced by her parents to move to L.A. Now she has to navigate the a tumultuous American public high school, at a time when tensions are high and the city is ready to burst.
7'The Stone Sky' by N. K. Jemisin (August 15; Orbit)
The third book in N. K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy is finally here, so now is a good time to catch up on the first two novels if you haven't read them already. In a world in where apocalypse-esque events occur every few hundred years, two women stand at the center of what may be the final end.
8'A Stranger in the House' by Shari Lapena (August 15; Pamela Dorman Books)
This chilling book comes to us from the author of The Couple Next Door. The last thing that Karen remembers is making tea while waiting for her husband to come home. But when her husband discovers her in the hospital after a car crash, with all signs indicating that she left the house in a blind panic, they're both plagued by questions that neither of them can answer. What really happened — and why was she running?
9'Stay with Me' by Ayobami Adebayo (August 22; Knopf)
Set in Nigeria in the eighties, this book follows Yejide and Akin, a young married couple. Though polygamy is a common practice in their society, the two have agreed to stay monogamous. But when they have trouble conceiving a child, Akin's parents arrange for him to have a second wife, and Yejide decides to take dangerous measures in order to get pregnant.
10'My Absolute Darling' by Gabriel Tallent (August 29; Riverhead)
This is one of those books that will squeeze all of your insides. Turtle is a tough 14-year-old girl living under the rule of an abusive, survivalist father. But when she falls for a boy, Turtle's view of herself changes and she begins to plan her escape, using the skills her father has taught her to pull herself up and out. This book is hard to put down, and Turtle is likely to become one of your all-time favorite characters.