Keep track of all your most anticipated new releases with the New Release Index, available through Book Riot Insiders!
Never fear, our contributors are here to topple your August To-Be-Read stacks with their new release recommendations! Whether we’ve read them and can’t wait to see them on the shelves, or we’ve heard tell of their excellence in the book world and have been (not-so) patiently waiting to get our hot little hands on them, these are the new titles we’re watching our libraries and bookstores for this month.
What books are you looking forward to in August? Let us know in the comments below!
The Dire King by William Ritter (August 22, Algonquin): The final installment in Ritter’s Jackaby series, which can best be described as Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who. It has everything: mystery, ghosts, an evil cabal organization plotting against Jackaby. I gobbled up the previous three books in the series a few months ago and I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out!
The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton (August 15, Counterpoint): First of all, this is the best book title of 2017, hands down. Second, and more importantly, this is the book to read if you want to understand what the hell happened in the United States in 2016. If you follow Sexton on Twitter (and you should), you know he brings a sharp eye, fierce intellect, and resilient capacity for surprise to the problem of American political life. And that’s just 140 characters at a time. Just imagine what he can do with 300+ pages.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (August 29, Random House Books for Young Readers): I’m mildly annoyed that Leigh Bardugo’s take on Wonder Woman, the first in the DC Icons series, didn’t hit shelves when the movie arrived, but whatever. I’m 1000% certain Bardugo won’t let me down as Diana teams up with a teen girl named Alia who, like Helen of Troy before her, is a Warbringer destined to bring about, you know, war.
The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun (August 1, Arcade Publishing): Shirley Jackson meets Han Kang in this Korean slow burning horror story. After a car accident that kills his wife and leaves him almost completely incapacitated, Oghi ends up in the care of his mother-in-law. At first this is straight up body horror as we see the world through Oghi’s eyes. But slowly it changes to become something else entirely if you look for what’s lying just below the surface. One of my very favorites of the year so far.
Piglettes by Clémetine Beauvais (August 8, Pushkin Children’s Press): It’s not often that a French YA book makes it over to both the UK and the US, so this one must have something special — and it certainly sounds original and fun. The three girls voted “ugliest” in their school in a Facebook poll set off across France on their bikes, selling sausages along the way and becoming friends and social media stars. This might turn out to be the perfect heartwarming summer read.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (August 22, Hogarth): Set in post-war Ireland, this wonderful novel is the story of one man’s search for love and identity in a cruel and unforgiving world. Given up for adoption at birth to a rich but emotionally unavailable couple, Cyril Avery has spent his childhood keeping his head down. Then he gets to boarding school and meets Julian. Julian is everything Cyril is not: handsome, charming, and bold. And while Cyril knows it is natural to want to be friends with Julian, he feels something else for him: love. Now, in Ireland at the time, being gay wasn’t just considered a sin in the eyes of the Church, it was an actual crime that could land you in prison. So Cyril lives his days in quiet torment, unable to express his true feelings, something that carries on into Cyril’s adulthood. The novel follows Cyril as he moves from Ireland to Amsterdam to NYC, in search of happiness and a sense of himself, not knowing that little parts of his past are all around him. This book is positively heartbreaking, yes, but it is also ridiculously funny, and quite a bit dirty, too. Pretty sure it will end up being my favorite book of 2017.
Annika Barranti Klein
A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang (August 1, Lake Union Publishing): The Gilded Age, New York City, Spanish Influenza–and maybe murder? Yes, please.
Leona: The Die is Cast by Jenny Rogneby (August 1, Other Press): A newly translated, hard-boiled Scandinavian thriller with a flawed female protagonist and a seven-year-old who gets away with a multi-million dollar bank robbery. If that’s not fascinating enough, you need to check out the author’s biography: born in Ethiopia, adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one, an investigator in the Stockholm City Police Department, and a former Swedish pop singer who once opened for Michael Jackson in Estonia.
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (August 1, Marvel Press): Miles’ spidey-sense is on the fritz as he struggles to get his school life back on track and fight the baddies putting his neighborhood at risk in Reynolds’ debut to Marvel’s comic universe. Reynold’s talent is undeniable, and the voice he brings to Miles Morales is fresh and exactly what a young adult novel about (the superior) Spider-Man needed. If the new Spidey movie left you wanting more, this is exactly the thing to pick up.
The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale E. Bredesen, M.D. (August 22, Avery): I like to keep up with the latest medical research and few things are likely to catch my attention like a book proclaiming the end of one of the most devastating diseases of the modern era. In this book, Bredesen claims that Alzheimer’s is not one condition but three, identifies 36 metabolic factors that can trigger downsizing of the brain, and outlines a preventative plan that has so far yielded remarkable results in hundreds of test patients. I’m excited to see where this research leads.
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H Wilson (August 1, Doubleday): I was a big fan of Wilson’s Robopocalypse, which was a NYT bestseller and a great introduction to science fiction for people who normally don’t read that genre. I’m excited to see his fascination with machines transfer to steampunk, one of my favorite genres.
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez (August 22, Viking): Malú is an awesome rock-music-loving-ziner punk girl (whose zine pages you get to see mixed throughout the book). Her Mom moves them from Gainesville to Chicago where Malú has to start a new school for the seventh grade. As you can imagine Malú is less than thrilled about this new development in her life. Worse is that she’ll now be far from her dad who is the one who understands her punk heart while her mom is more interested in her being a señorita. I am always here for latina writers writing latina girls growing up in the U.S. influenced by their parents cultures while also trying to fit into a world that doesn’t always want them to be who they are.
Venturess by Betsy Cornwell (August 1, Clarion Books): Mechanica was one of my favorite Cinderella reimaginings of all time. I loved the steampunk world, the fierce feminism, and that the Cinderella character was a talented inventor. This sequel turns up all of the elements I love to an eleven. Nicolette’s happily ever after doesn’t have anything to do with marrying the handsome prince. Instead, she’s enjoying her successful career and unconventional relationships. And now, she’s preparing for a new adventure – a peace to the Faerie land to try and bring an end to their kingdom’s bloody war. I’m excited for everyone to read this amazing sequel and learn about the second half of Nicolette’s story.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F.C. Yee (August 8, Amulet Books): Chinese mythology meets BtVS in this hilarious, imaginative novel about a Chinese American high schooler who has to fight demons AND stay on top of her homework — at the same time. Sounds like it’s going to hit ALLLLLLL of my buttons — superheroes, high school woes, and crack-you-up writing. Can’t wait!!
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (August 29, Sourcebooks Fire): Friends, just check out this one sentence summary (courtesy of the author): A genderfluid thief auditions to become the queen’s newest royal assassin but must survive the competition while putting their true motives into motion–revenge. You can’t see me, but I’m making grabby hands at this book for the next month!
Karma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge (August 15, Simon & Schuster): Karma Khullar, a bi-racial Indian-American girl, is about to start middle school when she encounters an unexpected problem: seventeen hairs have emerged on her upper lip. Faced with changing friendships, a mean girl who tries to steal her best friend, an annoying older brother, and unexpected family dynamics, Karma attempts to navigate a new reality that all middle grade kids can relate to. A wonderful middle grade filled with heart and humor.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (August 8, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers): Pointe, Colbert’s first novel, wrecked me when I read it, in all the best ways. Her ability to tie emotional threads together coupled with a vibrant and strong writing style will likely make for another devastatingly good story about a girl who finds herself falling for the same girl her brother loves. I am so excited to read her next book!
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (August 22, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group): There are many reasons to be excited about this book. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Bailey’s Prize. It was celebrated by The Guardian as, “A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit”. The Financial Times described it as, “a tale of real complexity and humanity”. But here’s why I can’t wait to read it: Shadows of Eclipse, a short story by the same author, was thoroughly beautiful and unputdownable. I have very high expectation for this novel, but something tells me that Ms. Adebayo will rise to the occasion.
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (August 15, Orbit): THE LAST IN THE BROKEN EARTH TRILOGY!!!!! I am so excited. This is, by far, my most anticipated book of the year. I loved the first two in the series, and they’ve easily placed on my best fantasy series ever list, even though I haven’t read the 3rd. In case you haven’t read these yet, they’re an apocalyptic, 2nd world fantasy experience you won’t want to miss. The main character is out to save her daughter and seeks revenge over her son’s murder. Oh, and she’s an orogene, which means she has magical powers that can control geologic formations. This is a super original and awesome series, that will be complete come August 15th, so it’s a great time to start reading if you haven’t yet.
Moonbath by Yanick Lahens (August 15, Deep Vellum): Lahens is an entirely new author to me, but I’m intrigued by this book and by the author, who is a cultural leader in Haiti and has been publishing novels in French since 2000. Moonbath was originally published in 2014 and is newly translated by Emily Gogolack. The novel tells the story of four generations of women dealing with a family curse. It won the prestigious Prix Femina in 2014.
The Lauras by Sara Taylor (August 1, Hogarth): With what appears to be a nonbinary or genderqueer narrator, Sara Taylor’s new book is not about gender. Instead, it’s about a 13-year-old narrator and their mother, taking a road trip together to find the mother’s various friends, all named Laura, all of whom played an important role in her life. The book has already been super well-reviewed in the UK, and I look forward to reading it when it comes out in the US.
The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra (August 1, Harper Perennial): Stielstra’s essays are so masterfully done, that after almost every one, I had to put the book down and take a breather, and reflect on what I’d just read. She tackles postpartum depression, family, debt, parenting, childhood illness, politics, and more. When Roxane Gay gives a book a glowing blurb, you know it’s the real deal.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (August 8, Kathy Dawson Books): I fell hard for Fowley-Doyle’s writing when I read her debut novel, The Accident Season, a couple of years ago, and I’ve been itching for more of her writing ever since. I love her Irish settings, and it looks as though Spellbook of the Lost and Found will be moody and magical–just the thing to get me in the mood for fall!
The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember (August 22, Harmony Ink Press): We have a nonbinary hero trained to fight, and to bond with animals to kill opponents. Tashi finds out they’ve gotten in over their head, however, and goes into hiding at a monastery. They also develop feelings for the enemy’s star commander. This looks like a tantalizing read about moral ambiguity and infatuation in the time of war.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (August 15, 2017, Riverhead Books)
Already longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, Kamila Shamsie’s novel is modern take on the Greek tragedy Antigone. Shamsie develops a complex family portrait of three siblings trying to make sense of their identities in the wake of rampant xenophobia and the fallout of their absent jihadist father. Told from five distinct points of view, Shamsie’s narrative patiently comes together with superb prose and a loving commitment to every character.
Seeing Red by Lina Meruane (August 3, Atlantic Books, UK Release): This book is translated by Megan McDowell who is the translator of some of my favourite books in recent years. The fact that it’s a semi-autobiographical book about a woman having trouble with her vision piqued my interest. The novel tracks the devastating and repulsive journey of the consequences of this visual impediment and how it affects her own life and that of her loved ones. I’m extremely intrigued about this book and can’t wait to dive into it.
A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, (August 15, Counterpoint Press): Sexton’s debut novel explores the fragility of the black upper class as it traces the fall of a prominent New Orleans family through three generations of systemic racism and familial strife. Her account of how fictional descendants of Louisiana’s first black doctor wind up strung out and incarcerated is both vividly imagined and sensitively rendered. The prose shines in its portrayals of the poignancy and persistence of black love in trying times, keeping what could be a grim tale fascinating and optimistic.
Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy by Tim Harford (August 29, Riverhead Books): If you know the name Tim Harford, it’s probably from one of his earlier books, The Undercover Economist, a primer on the big principles of economics. In Fifty Inventions…, Harford looks at a range of crucial inventions – paper money, passports, the iPhone, the Pill, leaded gasoline, the Billy bookcase, and tons more – that have significantly contributed to economic change over time. I feel like this one is going to be fun to dip in and out of over the month.
James Wallace Harris
All These Worlds (Bobiverse Book 3) by Dennis E. Taylor (August 8, Audible Studios): This trilogy which began with We Are Legion (We Are Bob) and continued in For We Are Many is about a 21st century man, Bob Johansson, who becomes a computer program next century. Bob experiences about every kind of science fiction adventure any fan can imagine. The first two books were as fun as reading The Martian by Andy Weir and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline concurrently. The first volume has gotten over thirty-two thousand ratings at Audible, which is more than all but the most famous science fiction books, yet few people know about this series.
The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told by Muhammad Umar Memon (August 16, Aleph Book Company): A collection of twenty-five translated, curated Urdu stories, this book promises to cover some far-reaching ground, from the origins of Urdu short fiction to the radically political writings during Indian Independence and Partition, to some great modern experimental fiction. I am hoping to revisit some classic masterpieces as well as discover some hidden gems in this volume.