Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

The Best New Book Releases Out July 25, 2023

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

As July wraps up, we have been blessed with Obama’s summer reading list, and a great selection of new book releases this week. There’s a historical fiction that looks at one teen’s experience coming of age in the Carville institiute in Louisiana, which was the only national leprosarium for a time. And then there’s a mystery that shows how three friends in Ireland confront the reality of when their friend went missing 20 years ago.

Today’s list is rounded out by a look at an AI construction as an investigative reporter, two women fighting for their place in a magical world, one man’s journey from sighted to blindness, and more.

cover of King of the Armadillos

King of the Armadillos by Wendy Chin-Tanner

It’s the ’50s in New York City when 15-year-old Victor Chin’s life changes. He’s diagnosed with leprosy and forced to leave his family in the Bronx to quarantine with other patients at federal institute Carville in Louisiana. Initially, he fights against his confinement, dreaming of escape and prepared to live as an outlaw. But then he reconsiders. He realizes a freedom that exists outside of his obligations to his Chinese immigrant family, and finds himself through a first love, music, and the many characters of Carville.

cover of Kala

Kala by Colin Walsh

Three friends who last saw each other as teenagers are reunited on Ireland’s west coast 20 years after a terrible summer changed everything. Their wild friend Kala disappeared all those years ago, and now remains — like a skull with a picture tucked inside it — are being found in the woods. Then two more girls go missing and the three, Joe, Helen, and Mush, have to step up to do what’s right.

cover of The Sun and the Void

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz

In Romero Lacruz’s magical world inspired by South American folklore, two women try to find their way. Reina lives on the fringes of society but finds some sense of protection and safety in her estranged grandmother’s magic. But staying in the older woman’s favor requires her to entertain a whispering, ancient god. Then there’s Eva, who is the shame of her family and who tries her best to hide her magic, even if it goes against her nature. Get ready for morally gray characters, sapphic pining, and a vividly imagined world.

cover of Emergent Properties

Emergent Properties by Aimee Ogden

Ogden is a Nebula Award-nominated author, and in Emergent Properties, tells the story of Scorn, an AI who has disappointed zir parents. Created by two CEOs of the world’s most powerful corporations, Scorn has chosen to live zir life as an investigative reporter. And, since having started investigating zir latest story, ze realizes they have no memory of the past few days. Which probably means zir is on to something big, and ze might be able to prove themselves after all.

cover of The Country of the Blind by Andrew Leland

The Country of the Blind by Andrew Leland

Leland has retinitis pigmentosa, which means that he lived his first few decades being sighted, but gradually lost his sight through the years. Now, he sees the world through a narrow tube, and in this memoir, he documents his transition from sighted to blindness. He writes of how he prepared for blindness — of the changing dynamics between family members and how he had to make adjustments. He also prepared to be immersed in a new culture, full of its own history, politics, and more.

cover of Choose Cover Image THEIR VICIOUS GAMES BY

Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington

Adina knows that as a Black teen, she’s under more scrutiny than others. It’s why she usually tries to let things go and appear friendly. But one day, she loses her cool and subsequently loses her acceptance to an Ivy League school. There’s a way she could get it back, though. If she enters and wins the Finish, a contest sponsored by the wealthy and influential Remingtons. She and 11 other young women will compete for favor with the founding family, but the mysterious challenges she needs to win — the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale — are way more intense and deadly than she thought.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!