Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Books to Put on Hold at the Library Right Now

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Rachel Brittain

Contributing Editor

Rachel is a writer from Arkansas, most at home surrounded by forests and animals much like a Disney Princess. She spends most of her time writing stories and playing around in imaginary worlds. You can follow her writing at Twitter and Instagram: @rachelsbrittain

One of my favorite things is putting new holds in at the library, particularly if I can snag that much-esteemed first stop on the wait list. But that’s not always easy to do, especially with popular new releases that already have a holds list six months long. You know exactly the ones I’m talking about. What choice is there, though, when you only learn about those buzzy new releases after the fact? Well, actually, there’s another way.

Did you know it’s totally possible (and easy!) to put books on hold at your library before they’re even released? It’s easy to do through the Overdrive app simply by searching the title of the book you’re interested in and suggesting it for the library. If the book is purchased, your name will be top of the holds list. And with these buzzy 2021 fall releases, you definitely want to get in line as quickly as possible. These are the books you’re going to want to put on hold at the library right now.

Cover of My Heart Is A Chainsaw

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Release date: August 3, 2021

Stephen Graham Jones is a star when it comes to melding horror with literary fiction, exploring themes of colonialism and racisms alongside Indigenous experiences. He hasn’t been described as the Jordan Peele of horror fiction for nothing. His 2020 novel The Only Good Indians was one of our Best Books of 2020, not to mention a New York Times Best Seller. My Heart is a Chainsaw is another such masterpiece. In it, a girl uses her obsession with horror films to cope with the horrors and abuse of her own life. And it’s sure to stack up an impressive holds queue at your library, so don’t sleep on this one, folks.

Cover of Radiant Fugitives

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

Release date: August 3, 2021

This debut has already received multiple starred reviews and is being described as a “tour de force.” Three generations of a Muslim Indian family come together over one week, unearthing years of struggle and betrayal as Seema tries to reconnect with her mother and sister after being cast out from the family. The complicated lives and relationships of these women are told from the perspective of Seema’s unborn child at the moment of his birth, painting a tapestry of familial bonds interspersed with the poetry of Wordsworth, Keats, and verses from the Quran.

cover image of Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Release date: August 17, 2021

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s reputation as a magnetic storyteller with hit after hit on her hands means her newest historical thriller set in 1979s Mexico City is sure to face an immediate wave of hold requests at your local library. Moreno-Garcia is well known for bestsellers like The Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic, not to mention much-deserved new editions of some of her earlier novels including Certain Dark Things.

Every book Moreno-Garcia writes feels somehow completely unlike all her others, ranging from fantasy and gritty supernatural adventures to historical thrillers, and yet each one is as propulsive as the last. If you’re a fan of her writing or noir mysteries to begin with, go ahead and put this one at the top of your hold list.

Image of the book cover for Last Chance Library

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

Release date: August 31, 2021

An eclectic group of library patrons come together to fight for their local library in this heartwarming new read for book lovers and bibliophiles everywhere. Freya Sampson’s debut has all the markings of a hit: a book-centric premise, a quirky cast, and a librarian protagonist finally forced step out from behind the shelves and open herself up to the world. The premise is giving me big Fredrik Backman vibes, so if you like feel-good found family stories about books and people with a dash of romance, you’re definitely going to want to put The Last Chance Library on hold.

Image of cover of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Release date: September 7, 2021

Fans of Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series as well as those who love magical realism and authors like Isabel Allende and Alice Hoffman are going to be in for a real treat with this one. The Montoya family has never left home, and they know better than to question the casual magic that is entwined in their lives, keeping the pantry full of food even without trips to the store. But when they’re invited to Orquídea Divina’s funeral by Orquídea herself, instead of a burial, they’re met with a transformation. But now someone is picking off Orquídea’s descendants one by one, attempting to destroy the family tree. In an attempt to save themselves and their family’s legacy, Marimar, Rey, Tatinelly, and Rhiannon travel to Ecuador to discover the source of Orquídea’s buried secrets. An enchanting novel that sounds like Practical Magic meets Anna-Marie McLemore, The Ineritance of Orquídea Divina should be at the top of your fall TBR.

Image of book cover of Matrix

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Release date: September 7, 2021

The bestselling author of Fates and the Furies is back with a gripping historical fiction novel about a woman cast out of the royal court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Deemed too coarse for courtly life, Marie de France is sent to England to become the prioress of a struggling abbey where she discovers the the incredible bond of sisterly devotion. Matrix is a novel of female power and ingenuity in an age where neither were valued nor accepted.

Image of A Lot Like Adiós

A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria

Release date: September 14, 2021

Alexis Daria’s You Had Me at Hola smashed onto the scene last year to immediate acclaim and A Lot Like Adiós is set to do the same. And with book blurbs from the likes of Jasmine Guillory, Emily Henry, and Priscilla Oliveras, it’s no wonder! When her childhood best friend and crush returns home to New York to open up a second location of his L.A. celebrity gym, Michelle isn’t sure she should let Gabe back into life. After all, he already left her once. But when she’s called in to lead the marketing campaign for the new location, it looks like the two of them will have to face up to their past. Can Gabe and Michelle really commit this time, or will their love story end with nothing more than an adiós once again?

harlem shuffle book cover

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Release date: September 14, 2021

Colson Whitehead is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author, quickly becoming a household name. His bestsellers The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys were critical and commercial successes, and it’s hard to imagine any new work he comes out with not becoming an instant bestseller. Thus, Harlem Shuffle‘s place on this list. When furniture salesman Ray Carney gets caught up in a plan to rob the Hotel Theresa — the “Waldorf of Harlem” — his seemingly respectable life becomes one of conmen and crooks. Harlem of the 1960s, after all, is a complicated place.

This sounds very much like an Ocean’s Eleven–style heist story with Whitehead’s own unique take, and I for one can’t wait to read it.

Cover of The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb And Other Poems by Amanda Gorman

Release date: September 21, 2021

Amanda Gorman shot into the spotlight as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, and as if that wasn’t enough she then won us over heart, mind, and spirit with her lyrical and moving poetry. It’s no surprise, then, that her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, has already been published in a special edition from Viking Books. So it’s no great leap to assumer her debut poetry collection will be an instant hit. This is one of the books everyone will be talking about this fall, so be sure to get in line before the holds list starts racking up a months long wait.

image of cover for Under the Whispering Door

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Release date: September 21, 2021

For fans of TJ Klune’s 2020 bestseller The House in the Cerulean Sea, his upcoming novel about a dead man learning how to survive the afterlife is probably at the top of your TBR. It doesn’t hurt that the premise — an unfulfilled and unlikeable man finds connections he never could’ve imagined with a ragtag band of misfits in an unusual house — is just similar enough to his other book to pique a fan’s interest. So with The House in the Cerulean Sea fans already lining up to check this book out, you’re not going to want to wait for this charming book about a tea shop, a dead lawyer, reapers, capital-D Death, and the Ferryman with a heart just big enough to turn one sad dead man’s afterlife around. Not to mention it’s the perfect mix of creepy and cozy for fall.

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth Book Cover

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka

Release date: September 28, 2021

Wole Soyinka was the first Black writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and a fierce political activist. In his first novel since since winning the Nobel Prize in 1986, Soyinka explores political corruption and abuse of power. Set in an imaginary Nigeria, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth tells the story of stolen body parts, a doctor trying to stop their sale for ritualistic purposes, and the Yoruba royal about to assume a prestigious post in the United Nations — if someone doesn’t ensure he never makes it there first — in a book at once a whodunit and a call to arms.

Erroll McDonald, Vice President and Executive Editor at Knopf/Doubleday described the book as “a wicked, gleefully irreverent, and rollicking satire on how power and greed can corrupt the soul of a nation.”

cloud cuckoo land adult fiction book cover

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Release date: September 28, 2021

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of All The Light We Cannot See has returned with another sweeping literary fiction novel exploring past, present and future through the lives of young people on the cusp of adulthood. Cloud Cuckoo Land begins with the past, through the lives of children on opposite sides of the city wall during the 1453 siege of Constantinople, then the present, following an idealistic teen during an attack on a library in present day Idaho, and finally shifts to the future in the voyage of an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet decades from now. Throughout it all, books and stories provide solace and guidance to these young people navigating complicated and changing times. This is a novel unlike any other, sure to be a hit with book clubs and casual readers alike.

To find more books to put on hold at the library right now, check out some of these other recommendations from Book Riot: