newsCO Book Reviews | 24 Incredible Books You Should Read This Summer

February 14, 2018


2017-05-26 16:02:40

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A wrestler sets his sights on the NCAA championship; a man goes on a statewide search for his missing son. A trends forecaster learns to cope with the market’s return to IRL experiences; an ex-musician reflects on his glory days. The journeys — both literal and metaphorical — that make up this summer’s new titles will move you. Below are a few of the books we’re most looking forward to in the coming months.

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

In LA, “the beauty’s in the tap water.” At least that what memoirist Lady Daniels says when S., the woman she’s hired to care for her young son while she works, arrives at her door, looking plainer than she’d expected. But she grows close to S. amid the heat of the Hollywood summer. -Maddie Crum, Books and Culture Writer

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.


New People by Danzy Senna

The award-winning author of Caucasia is publishing her first novel in over 10 years this summer: a striking, off-kilter exploration of race and class. Biracial graduate student Maria lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé Khalil, also biracial, where they’ve ensconced themselves in a bourgeois, racially mixed community of intellectuals. Maria finds herself falling into an unrequited obsession with a black poet that threatens to shatter her relationship, her reputation, and her fragile mental state. -Claire Fallon, Books and Culture Writer

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam

Sixteen years ago (!), Matthew Klam wrote a collection of much-anthologized stories. He hasn’t published a book since then, so Who Is Rich?, his first novel, actually earns the perhaps hackneyed label of “highly anticipated.” The book follows Rich, a struggling cartoonist, and Amy, a painting student, through their dangerous liaisons at an artist’s retreat. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

 The Locals by Jonathan Dee

Dee, the author of several previous novels, including 2010’s The Privileges, has plenty of experience analyzing the perils of wealth and power. The Locals promises a particularly timely twist, featuring a white working class community in Massachusetts that elects a millionaire expat from New York City as its mayor. Can he save them from economic decline, or will his radically conservative policies wreak havoc ― and what will the new regime mean for the community? -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

In his debut book about athleticism and obsession, Habash follows the titular character on his journey to become an NCAA-winning college wrestler. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the prose is dizzyingly good. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Eastman Was Here by Alex Gilvarry

Gilvarry’s second novel takes us back to the 1970s, as a dissolute, once-prominent writer attempts to deal with his atrophied career and an unexpected separation from his wife. Hoping to prove himself once again, to his critics and to the wife he routinely cheated on, he decides to head to Vietnam, where he will research and write a magnum opus on the war. How could that plan possibly go wrong? -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis

If you’re interested in class, and the ways it can inform a community’s politics, Louis’ novel is a worthy read. He manages to write lyrically about the literal, physical blood and sweat that dirtied his childhood in a small, poor town in France, and about what it was like to live there as a gay man. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar

Umrigar peels back the heartwarming narrative surrounding interracial adoption in a novel about a black boy separated from his mother, an addict sent to jail under dubious circumstances. Her beloved son is permanently placed with a wealthy white couple, and it’s not until years later that he is confronted with the dark reality behind his adoption. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

Lonesome Lies Before Us by Don Lee

In his last novel, The Collective, Lee demonstrated his skill at writing about the fears and ambitions that drive artists’ lives. He explores similar themes in his latest novel, about a musician who never quite made it, for superficial reasons: his appearance, his lack of charisma. The book’s lyrics were all written by Will Johnson, of Monsters of Folk Fame. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

The author of the provocative hit Tampa returns with this Lisa Frank-sheathed, subversive tale of a woman pulled between a boisterous, messy life in a trailer park with her father and his companion, a sex doll, and a deeply circumscribed and monitored, yet luxurious, life with her husband, the CEO of a tentacular tech corporation. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Touch by Courtney Maum

When trend forecaster Sloane Jacobsen realizes that tactile, in-person experiences are on the rise, she panics ― what’s a woman whose life is built around digital connectivity to do? Maum’s own resume informs her satire; she’s worked as a trend forecaster, and currently works as a product namer for MAC Cosmetics. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Modern Gods by Nick Laird

Domestic drama, adventure travelogue and political thriller meet in this dazzling saga by Laird, a poet and novelist. An Irish family finds itself dangerously entangled in two very different religious extremist movements, as one daughter seeks fulfillment in a second marriage to a local man with a mysterious past and her sister seeks it in a work trip to report on a new cult in Papua New Guinea. Family tensions, and individual traumas, must be reckoned with. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim

In his slim, smart new book, Eugene Lim weaves together two seemingly disparate narratives. Two boys ― social outcasts ― bond over drawing and pornographic comics in their isolating Midwestern town. Meanwhile, a cast of superheroes wax poetic about art, protest and Capitalism. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Adebayo’s novel is the story of a marriage, from the perspective of both partners. Although it’s expected that Yejide and Akin ― a couple living in Nigeria ― will be polyamorous, they agree to forgo the convention. That is, until Yejide fails to get pregnant, and Akin decides to bring a second wife into their home. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

The Answers by Catherine Lacey

The heroine of Lacey’s moody, surreal sophomore novel begins suffering from a host of inexplicable medical problems, only alleviated by a wildly expensive New Age therapy. Broke, isolated, and haunted by her troubled childhood, Mary joins a cultish relationship experiment funded by a wealthy actor to pay for her treatments. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

If a Murakami story doesn’t in some way involve a magical cat, is it really a Murakami story? In his latest ― a collection of seven tales, all involving men who are isolated or otherwise lonely ― a vanishing cat makes a welcome appearance. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

A beach read for masochistic parents, Meloy’s novel depicts a family cruise gone horribly awry. A shocking tragedy exposes the cracks in two sets of parents, and their longtime friendships with one another. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley

The author of The Past further demonstrates her knack for quiet lyricism in a new collection. As in her latest novel, Hadley’s stories often center on brewing familial tensions. Diaries are read in secret; houses are explored in the dark. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

A family saga rooted in black Louisiana society, A Kind of Freedom follows three generations of young adults ― Evelyn, a studious girl from an established Creole family who falls in love with a man from a rough background; her daughter Jacqueline, whose successful pharmacist husband spirals into a cocaine addiction, leaving her to care for their infant son T.C.; and T.C., hustling the streets of post-Katrina New Orleans to make a living for himself, his sometime-girlfriend, and the baby they’re expecting. In the process, Wilkerson Sexton subtly lays bare the ever-present societal forces at work to undermine black success and family. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan

Kurniawan has become the rare Indonesian author to break through to a typically translation-allergic U.S. market, after his novels Beauty Is a Wound and FT Emerging Voices Fiction Prize winner Man Tiger were published stateside in 2015. Like Man Tiger, Vengeance Is Mine promises dark, sexually charged and subversive comedy in the story of a Javanese teenager who becomes impotent after witnessing a violent rape ― then, troubled and desperate, gets drawn into a dark criminal underworld. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma

With his last novel, Family Life, Sharma demonstrated his skill at writing economically and feelingly about familial tensions and tragedies. In his forthcoming story collection, A Life of Adventure and Delight, promises to do the same. The stories, including “We Didn’t Like Him,” a smart examination of class in India, have been published elsewhere, in The New Yorker and Best American Short Stories. -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Like debut author Clemmons, narrator Thandi is the Pennsylvania-grown daughter of a South African mother and an American father. In the novel, constructed of precise, charged vignettes, Thandi traces her parents’ history and her own upbringing; meanwhile, her strong-willed mother is dying of cancer. Thandi is left searching for meaning, and sorting through her scattered internal collage of experiences to piece together a cohesive racial and personal identity. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

The author of the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things has written another sprawling epic, another story that weaves together the quotidian rituals that make up a life and the trying relationships that test our spirit. This time, Roy has dedicated her book, simply, to “the unconsoled.” -MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

The Nobel Prize winner returns with a tragic and dreamy novel: A young, fatherless laborer finds a parental figure in the well-digger he is working for. But when he’s caught up in a distracting romantic fantasy over a mysterious beauty from a theater troupe, his master is killed in an accident, leaving the young man once again adrift, and wracked with guilt. -CF

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter 

The author of Ugly Girls ― a smart, spare novel about a pair of lovable young delinquents ― returns with a book about the myriad forms of addiction. An overweight father takes a trip in an RV to find his son, an addict who’s gone missing. If Eat Only When You’re Hungry is anything like Hunter’s last book, it’ll be both a tender examination of character, and a spot-on look at class in America. –MC

Buy it on Amazon, or at your local bookstore. 

★★★★★newsCO Top Books & eBOOKS★★★★★.

“The NAIM Code” By Jordan Duran – 2 Books in 1–Buy it On Lulu

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“Read the newsCO Book Review”–:Frank’s Funeral

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