Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Summer 2018 Reads

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Sarah S. Davis

Staff Writer

Sarah S. Davis holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's of Library Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah has also written for Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Psych Central, and more. Sarah is the founder of Broke By Books blog and runs a tarot reading business, Divination Vibration. Twitter: @missbookgoddess Instagram: @Sarahbookgoddess

Summer is reading season, sure as a tall glass of cold brew. Generally, a more relaxed feeling creeps into the warm air, and it’s hard not to surrender to a good book. Here at Book Riot, we’re more excited than ever about this summer’s new releases. With a potpourri of books that transport you to a fantastical world, swoon-worthy romances that make you weak in the knees, compelling memoirs about diverse experiences, and more, Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2018 has something for everyone. So kick back on the beach, camp out in front of the A/C, and surrender to some truly awesome books to add to your summer 2018 reading list.

Most-Anticipated Summer 2018 Reads



May 1

little fish by casey plett coverLittle Fish by Casey Plett

Casey Plett’s short story collection, A Safe Girl to Love, quickly became a staple of transgender literature and won a Lambda Literary Award, and she’s just released her debut novel, Little Fish, from Arsenal Pulp Press. In it, a 30-year-old trans woman discovers that her Mennonite grandfather may have also been transgender. She moves through the world of trans community while searching for the truth of her grandfather. My Twitter timeline has been alight with trans women proclaiming their love for this book since its late May release, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! —Alex DiFrancesco

may 29

so close to being the shit yall don't even know by retta coverSo Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

Retta is a hilarious, bigger-than-life personality on social media. Her Parks & Recreation character, Donna Meagle, is one of the best-rendered characters in comedy history. So I’m so excited to learn about her childhood, her initial career plans (she was originally supposed to attend med school at Duke University and instead left for Hollywood), and how she came to be a beloved comedic force. —Elizabeth Allen


calypso by david sedaris book coverCalypso by David Sedaris

I will read literally anything David Sedaris writes (as proven by the 500+ page collection of diary entries published last year that I read in one day). I can’t wait to get my hands on his new essay collection, described as “required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke.” Sign me up! —Susie Dumond




june 5

sick by porochista khakpour coverSick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

As a lifelong “sick kid,” I am eagerly awaiting Porochista Khakpour’s memoir of chronic illness and years of being treated for a whole host of issues before finally arriving at the accurate diagnosis: late-stage Lyme disease. What follows is a meditation on disability, mortality, and life from the sick bed. Khakpour’s memoir promises to be an “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf’s influential essay on illness, for a new generation and a landmark  —Sarah S. Davis


Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne CeltInvitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

Celt’s first book, The Daughters, was my favorite book of 2015, and I’m a regular reader of her weird animal comics, so it only makes sense that her new book Invitation to a Bonfire is one of my most anticipated books of 2018. It is an intense, page-turning, slow burn of a novel. I love it. —Jesse Doogan



There There by Tommy OrangeThere, There by Tommy Orange

I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I am a fan of having my heart stomped and kicked by fiction. I love reading a novel that wrecks me. And HOLY CATS did this one wreck me! It’s so good I could die. It’s a multigenerational novel about twelve characters attending a powwow in Oakland. Each has their own reasons for going, such as seeing family, getting in touch with their culture, honoring relatives, making amends, and for one character, causing harm. Have the tissues ready: this is a hard-hitting devastating novel in the most beautiful, life-affirming way. How can it be a debut?!? —Liberty Hardy


fat girl on a plane by kelly devos coverFat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

There is fat in the title! Of this YA novel! And a fat girl on the cover! Of this YA novel! This book is made for me. This is an Own Voices book based on the author’s real experiences, which honestly floods me with relief, and while it covers a subject matter near and dear to my big, fat heart, it also has been praised for witty, compulsively-readable prose (comparisons to Liane Moriarty and Sophie Kinsella caught my eye). I’m going to be honest—weight loss is a part of this plot, and that makes me feel nervous, but all reviews point to a realization that weight loss is perhaps not the answer Cookie was looking for, so my fingers are crossed and my anticipation is high. This fat girl can’t wait to read this one on in the beach in my best bikini! —Ashlie Swicker


witchmark by cl polk coverWitchmark by C. L. Polk

In a WWI-style world with magic, Miles Singer is trying to escape both his family and his past, but the poisoning death of a patient at the veterans hospital where he works may force him out of hiding. Early reviews use phrases that hit all my favorite things: “charming historical,” “romantic adventure,” “magical sci-fi mystery,” “bicycle chases,” and “happy gays.” I am totally here for more fantasy with bicycles. And happy gays. —Aimee Miles

june 26

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman book coverA Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

A short story collection full of re-imaginings of East and South Asian folklore and mythologies that looks absolutely incredible. Tales full of star-crossed lovers, feigned identities, meddling immortals, etc. Also, the contributing author list is a who’s who of incredible up and coming diverse authors. It makes me so incredibly excited. —Danielle Bourgon

june 28

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

One of my favourite books of 2017 was the YA novel Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt, and I loved interviewing her for my podcast. I’m so excited that her follow-up, about teens behind the scenes of a play, is going to be published in the U.S. as well as the UK. Unconventional, about a girl who helps her dad run fan conventions and meets a hot young author at one of them, was full of realistic, fun characters and delicious awkwardness between them, and I can’t wait to see what Maggie Harcourt has done with Theatrical. —Claire Handscombe



an ocean of minutes by thea lim coverAn Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Time travel, a deadly epidemic, and a love story for the ages collide in this powerful debut novel. I was lucky enough to get to read a galley, but I can’t wait for this to come out in June so I can recommend it to everyone. In an alternate version of 1970s America, a terrible epidemic begins to wipe out significant chunks of the population. When Polly’s boyfriend, Frank, gets sick, she agrees to sign up for an experimental time travel experience to save him. In exchange for a few years of Polly’s labor in the future, Frank will be given life-saving treatment in their present. But something goes wrong, and Polly is accidentally sent an extra five years forward in time. With no idea where Frank is in the dystopian future she encounters, she sets out to find him, risking her life for the sake of a love that she can’t be sure has endured. —Kathleen Keenan

spinning silver by naomi novik coverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I LOVED Uprooted and am so excited to read another fairytale retelling from Novik. Spinning Silver is a feminist retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. I read an early version of it as a short story published in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales and loved it. It was one of my favorite stories in the collection, and I remember thinking at the time “This would make such a great novel.” And my dreams came true. I’m lucky: I have an ARC so I get to read it before its July release. —Margaret Kingsbury


the prison letters of nelson mandela coverThe Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela edited by Sahm Venter

What was privileged information for Mandela’s family and biographers will finally be made widely available in mid-July with Liveright’s publication. A Long Walk to Freedom was the retracing life and psych of Mandela, but this collection will provide something that the reflective edits of an autobiography cannot: raw politics, desperation, humanity, and watching the political ideals of Mandela take shape as he endured the worst punishments by the Apartheid government. —Bob Batson

JUly 24

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

This is the third book in Chambers’s Wayfarers series (the first one which you might recognize is The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet). I could not be more excited. She writes beautifully imagined science fiction with such real, complex (human, other sapient species, and AI) characters. What I really love about her vision of the future is that, while it isn’t rose-colored or anything, it is ultimately hopeful. —Casey Stepaniuk


the duke buys a bride by sophie jordan coverThe Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

When Marcus, Duke of Autenberry, comes across Alyse Bell being auctioned off in a village square, abandoned by the friend who was supposed to help her buy her freedom, he does the only thing he can to help her: he buys her himself. A marriage-that-isn’t-really? A road trip across Scotland? An undeniable attraction between two unlikely lovers? Yes please! Sophie Jordan’s inspiration for her upcoming novel comes straight from historical records in the UK that document “wife sales” in the 19th century. Sarah MacLean describes it as “deliciously sexy and fun” as well as a discussion about the commodification of women, and I’m super super excited to see how Jordan will balance her heavy subject matter with her usual humor to bring about the requisite happily ever after. —Jessica Avery

july 31

a duke by default by alyssa cole coverA Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

I love Cole’s Reluctant Royals series so far, and while A Princess in Theory was great, I think A Duke by Default may be my favorite. It centers on socialite Portia Hobbs, who’s decided to put her partying past behind her and throw herself into becoming a more present person. Part of this plan involves an internship at a Scottish armory, where she meets the handsome swordmaker Tavish McKenzie. This book was an absolute delight, and I love how Portia dealt with her unsupportive parents and “hot mess” tendencies. I highly recommend it! —Lacey deShazo

the incendiaries by ro kwonThe Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

In this debut novel, a Korean American woman is drawn into acts of domestic terrorism tied to a group connected with North Korea. I’m always interested in books about cults or extremist groups and books by women of color so this novel seems to be right at the center of my wheelhouse. Not only that, but it’s such an original and timely take on religious fundamentalism. —Sophia Khan



august 7

the forest queen by betsy cornwell coverThe Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

A gender swapped, feminist Robin Hood retelling featuring sixteen-year-old Sylvie, who protests her brother’s exploitation of their tenants by running away to Sherwood forest. At first, their aim is an egalitarian, self-sufficient community. But when the wrongs of the king and his noblemen become to big to ignore, Sylvie becomes the forest queen. And with her followers, including the faithful Robin and Little Jane, she risks their hard-won peace to fight against injustice.  —Alison Doherty