There’s nothing better than finding a few new good books to read. As someone who reads numerous books every year, I can tell you that the joy of being immersed in new worlds is one of the many joys of life. Personally, I prefer fiction books that visually paint new worlds with their prose, enveloping your mind with things unlike our own world. Whether it be post apocalyptic, high fantasy, futuristic, or an alternate universe that’s simply unlike our own, there are some cool universes and unique settings to be found in fiction books. What’s more, many books place you, the reader, in the role of a character with a life that is typically far unlike your own (which is part of the fun).
So if you’re looking for some new fiction to dive into, here are the top 10 good books to read this summer:
1. Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Russo, who brought us the highly-acclaimed Nobody’s Fool back in 1993, returns to the town of Bath, New York with Everybody’s Fool. This time around, the infamous Sully, after having recently come into some money, is brought face-to-face with his own mortality as he receives the news from a VA cardiologist that his heart is failing and he only has a year or two left to live. Russo brings back many old friends in this sequel, and they are just as eccentric and lovable as ever; he has a knack for creating memorable characters that are flawed-but-endearing, with a familiarity that makes you want to get a drink with them. Sully, for example, is a cynic with self-destructive tendencies, but he is also fiercely loyal and would do anything to keep the bad news from his friends and family. This book is full of heart and sharp wit; it is irreverent, compelling, and laugh-out-loud funny.
Price: $18.98 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle), $16.46 (Paperback), $29.37 (Audio)
2. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a WWII tale set in London, from the author of the unforgettable #1 New York Times bestselling novel Little Bee. It follows Mary, a privileged young socialite who shocks her family by volunteering for the war effort and is assigned to teach children who are evacuated from London; and Tom, an education administrator, who sets her up with a job teaching those children who are deemed undesirable in the countryside. He is distressed when his best friend, Alistair, enlists, but finds solace in Mary and they develop a relationship. Mary then meets Alistair and falls in love with him as well, much to the chagrin of her jealous best friend Hilda; a love triangle ensues, which I normally find irritating but Chris Cleave’s writing makes it forgivable. His prose is absolutely gorgeous, and he manages to take a familiar wartime love story and turned it into something extraordinarily beautiful and heartbreaking.
Price: $16.19 (Hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle), $17.17 (Paperback)
3. LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Award-winning author Louise Erdrich brings us LaRose, a powerful tale of a man, Landreaux Iron, who kills his neighbors’ five-year-old son in a horrific hunting accident. Seeking a way to atone, he finds an unlikely answer in the sweat lodge (an Ojibwa tradition): he and his wife Emmaline decide to give their own five-year-old son, LaRose, to the grieving family to raise as their own. LaRose had been best friends with Dusty (the boy who was killed), and the two families had been incredibly close, so they welcome him with open arms. He is eventually allowed to visit his biological parents, and the two families gradually begin to heal; that is, until a man with a grudge against Landreaux begins raising questions about what really happened that fateful day. This novel is a powerful study in tragedy, grief, and love, offering an intimate look at each of the characters; the story itself is beautifully descriptive, fascinating, and utterly heartrending.
Price: $18.53 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle), $21.38 (Paperback)
4. The Pier Falls: and Other Stories by Mark Haddon
The Pier Falls: and Other Stories is a fantastic collection of short stories from the internationally bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon. The seemingly eclectic collection of stories spans various styles and genres, but all are connected by common themes of both loneliness and the need for relationships, as well as resilience in the face of tragedy. The titular story, about a pier collapsing into the sea, perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the book. The anthology contains nine stories in total, each powerful on its own; together, they take the reader through a range of emotions from horror to laughter to sadness; the range that Haddon displays is amazing. His prose is almost lyrical; each story is meant to be savored slowly, as they are each hauntingly beautiful and impressive in scope. I would highly recommend this collection even to those who aren’t typically fans of short stories.
Price: $20.29 (Hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle)
5. The Fireman by Joe Hill
Joe Hill (short for Joseph Hillstrom King), none other than the son of the famed Stephen King and author of Heart-Shaped Box, brings us his post-apocalyptic offering: The Fireman. A plague of unknown origin is rapidly spreading across the country, which becomes known as Dragonscale due to the fact that it covers its victims with black and gold markings – shortly before they spontaneously combust. There is no known cure. Harper Grayson is a nurse that cares for infected patients, until her hospital burns down; then one day, she notices the telltale markings appearing on her skin. She also finds out that she is pregnant and decides she wants to live, violating a pact she made with her husband. He leaves. Cue the Fireman. He is a mysterious stranger that she met at the hospital once, and he takes Harper to a community of people afflicted with Dragonscale who are learning to control the fire. Perhaps Hill’s writing can be compared to his father’s, but he is an amazing storyteller in his own right; The Fireman is wholly captivating, terrifying, and downright amazing. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic tales, this is a unique take on them that you don’t want to miss. I’m looking forward to its release, which is why I included it on our list of the best new books to read in May.
Price: $19.19 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle), $16.19 (Paperback)
6. Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, is a psychological thriller that will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and the like. A young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment in downtown Chicago; her roommate, searching for answers, finds a letter to My Dearest, which leads her to wonder if Esther was the person she thought she knew. Meanwhile, Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher at a coffee shop when he meets a mysterious woman named Pearl and falls under her spell. As the stories unfold, you will find yourself glued to the pages; Kubica is a master of suspense, and the fast-paced plot is full of twists and turns. Who exactly is this Alex guy, and what does his story have to do with Esther? Where is she? Who is My Dearest? These questions will keep you up all night turning pages.
Price: $21.12 (Hardcover), $11.99 (Kindle), $14.33 (Paperback, $33.31 (Audio))
7. Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe
Dear Fang, With Love is already receiving a ton of praise from reviewers, with many saying that it contains one of the “most fascinating protagonists in recent memory.” It follows the story of Vera, a ravishing, troubled and highly intelligent seventeen-year-old who takes a trip to Europe with her estranged father, with the hope that the trip might help them to forget the past and create a future. Lucas, the father, has entered back into her life after seventeen years, but following a psychotic break at a high school party, Vera and Lucas take a trip to Lithuania, his grandmother’s homeland, for the summer. While there, Lucas discovers a secret about his grandmother and Vera searches for her own answers about her psychotic break and why her father initially left her many years ago. It’s a beautifully written story that tugs at the heartstrings, which is why I’ve included it on this list of good books to read this summer.
Price: $18.71 (Hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle), $34.99 (Audio)
8. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
When a writer gets an endorsement from Stephen King, you know the writer’s work has to be good. This is the case with Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors, book three of the passage trilogy, which King calls “a thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.” Now, if that doesn’t make you want to pick up the trilogy and read it immediately, than I don’t know what will. It’s a tale of light versus dark, injected into a thrilling epic novel.
Price: $16.80 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle)
9. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
From the creator of Fargo comes Before the Fall, which is being called the thriller novel of the year. It follows the story of a down on his luck man and a four year old boy who happens to be the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy family, who he’s forced to look after following a plane crash. Along the way, the man finds that the plane crash might not have been an accident after all, and as he tries to uncover its mystery, readers are taken on a tale that raises questions of fate, human nature, and the undeniable ties that bind us all together.
Price: $16.82 (Hardcover), $13.99 (Kindle), $21.61 (Audio CD)
10. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty July 26th
In July, author Liane Moriarty, the New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, is set to release Truly Madly Guilty, a novel that takes on the lives of three different families who get together for a barbecue. With six responsible adults, three kids and a dog in the mix, what could possibly go wrong? Moriarty takes on important issues in our lives like marriage, sex, parenthood, and the friendships we cherish, and the events at that barbecue will have you questioning how strong your own relationship may or may not be.
Price: $20.24 (Hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle), $39.99 (Audio)