New Book Releases: August 4, 2020

Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.

A SAINT FROM TEXAS, Edmund White. The latest novel from the legendary LGBTQ activist and author, about a pair of sisters from Texas who go on to live very different lives — one as a member of Parisian high society, the other as a nun in Colombia. In a starred review, Kirkus says it’s a “high-spirited confection” and “a fun thank-you gift to readers.” Bookshop.

IMPERFECT WOMEN, Araminta Hall. When a seemingly perfect woman is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends who, with her death, begin to understand how little they really knew her. Film rights acquired by Elisabeth Moss for an upcoming TV series (!!!). Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE COMEBACK, Ella Berman. A Hollywood star mysteriously retreats from the spotlight, returning one year later in hopes of confronting the trauma left behind by the abusive director who made her career. A Read With Jenna book club pick. Read my mini-review here. Bookshop.

LOBIZONA, Romina Garber. When her mother is arrested by ICE, an undocumented Argentine teen in Miami discovers her magical ancestry. Bookshop.

THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, Akwaeke Emezi. After his death, a Nigerian family strives to understand their gentle, extraordinary son. Kirkus writes that it’s “vividly written and deeply affecting.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE SILENT WIFE, Karin Slaughter. An investigator receives information from a prison inmate that corrupt cops implicated the wrong man in a brutal attack — and that the real culprit is a serial killer on the loose. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

LUSTER, Raven Leilani. In one of the most highly anticipated novels of the summer, a young, aimless Brooklynite begins an open relationship with a digital archivist and his wife. Brit Bennett says it’s “a darkly funny, hilariously moving debut from a stunning new voice.” Read a profile of Leilani here. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

HARROW THE NINTH, Tamsyn Muir. The highly-anticipated sequel to the beloved Gideon The Ninth, about a necromancer who, alongside her much-hated rival, must fight to survive in a gothic mansion in space. Bookshop.

THE DISASTER TOURIST, Yun Ko-Eun, Lizzie Buehler (Translator). A travel agent at a disaster tourism agency whose job is in on the line must win back her colleagues by posing as a tourist and assessing the agency’s least profitable destination. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE, Alex Pavesi. Thirty years ago, mathematician Grant McAllister devised the precise formula for the perfect detective novel, writing seven genius stories to prove his point. Now a young editor wants to republish the stories, discovering that there are unsettling, mysterious inconsistencies and mistakes in the text. Bookshop.

EVERY BONE A PRAYER, Ashley Blooms. A tender novel in which a young Appalachian child with a magical ability to communicate with animals must find strength in herself while enduring abuse. BuzzFeed calls it “a painful, beautiful, and necessary examination of trauma and autonomy.” Bookshop.

VANISHING FALLS, Poppy Gee. When a glamorous socialite goes missing in a small town in Tasmania, a local woman puts together the mystery of what happened to her, an endeavor that threatens to expose her own monumental secrets. Bookshop.

BRONTE’S MISTRESS, Finola Austin. A wealthy widow falls in love with her son’s tutor, the handsome but erratic young Branwell Brontë. But gossip about the relationship — and disclosure in the young tutor’s famous sisters’ novels — threaten to disrupt the widow’s life and fragile social standing. Bookshop.

THE MORNING FLOWER, Amanda Hocking. In the sequel to the YA fantasy The Lost City, a young woman goes on a desperate journey to find her missing friend and a mysterious man who could be her father. Bookshop.

LOVE AFTER LOVE, Ingrid Persaud. After learning a secret about his mother and her colleague Mr. Chetan, a young Trinidadian flees to New York, but his family secrets follow him. Marlon James says it’s “dazzlingly told in the most electrifying prose you will read all year.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

WANDERING IN STRANGE LANDS: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots, Morgan Jerkins. A cultural critic recreates her ancestors’ journey across the United States. Booklist calls it “required reading.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MIGRATIONS, Charlotte McConaghy. A nature-lover embarks on an Arctic trip to track the final migration of the world’s last flock of terns, but her unraveling secrets threaten the safety of the crew. Emily St. John Mandel calls it “extraordinary.” Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, Caroline Leavitt. When a woman wakes up from a two-month-long coma, she discovers she has the ability to portray people’s innermost desires in her portraits of them. Bookshop.

MY LIFE AS A VILLAINESS, Laura Lippman. A collection of essays from the famed crime novelist. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

BEHIND THE RED DOOR, Megan Collins. When a memoirist and famous childhood kidnapping victim goes missing once again, a woman begins to investigate on her own, discovering in the process her own connection to the missing woman and her past. Bookshop.

THEY WISH THEY WERE US, Jessica Goodman. A high school student at an elite prep school hears rumors that the boyfriend who killed her best friend several years ago may be innocent. Jean-Marc Vallée is producing a TV series based off the book, starring Sydney Sweeney of Euphoria. Bookshop.

TRUE STORY, Kate Reed Petty. A ghostwriter copes with the emotional and psychological aftermath of a long-ago sexual assault. In a rave New York Times review, Megan Abbott calls it “spellbinding.” Bookshop.

BONUS BOOK OPINIONS! I’ve been on hiatus from these lists, but not from reading. A few books I’ve finished in the past few months that you can buy now include:

HEAD OVER HEELS, Hannah Orenstein. I breezed through this fun, romantic novel about a gymnast who returns to her hometown to coach a young Olympic hopeful. My mini-review. Bookshop.

MOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE, Robin Wasserman. A stunning exploration of memory and identity, about a woman who wakes up in an experimental medical institute with no recollection of who she is, the young doctor who treats her, and the daughter who’s looking for her. Read my mini-review here. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING, Alexis Henderson. A wonderful (alt) historical fantasy novel about a young woman in a puritanical society. Read my mini-review here. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

MEXICAN GOTHIC, Silvia Moreno-Garcia. In this delightful gothic horror, a glamorous Mexican socialite travels to a rural village where her newlywed cousin has fallen mysteriously ill. My mini-review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

FLORENCE ADLER SWIMS FOREVER, Rachel Beanland. A heartwarming historical novel in which a mother compels her family to hide her daughter’s drowning death from another, pregnant, daughter. Mini-review. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.

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