This Is The One Book You Should Read in August

published Aug 4, 2022
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Credit: Viv Yapp

It’s hot. But you already know that. Instead, may I present you with some of August’s great new book releases, so you can lose yourself between the pages and *hopefully* forget about the temperature for a while. 

Part summer thriller and part coming-of-age, Francesca Padilla’s powerful debut novel offers a nuanced story about a teen fighting for a better life, showing the many shades and struggles of growing up as it depicts life in all its messy authenticity. Through Minerva, a full-of-heart teen fighting for change as her life unravels around her, Padilla shows that it’s okay to not be okay, to accept help, and to forgive yourself and move forward. “What’s Coming to Me” is a book for anyone who’s felt left behind, unmoored, or stuck. For anyone familiar with the tragic face of grief. For anyone who, through it all, has found hope, help, and happiness despite every obstacle.

Here are some others to add to your TBR list:

Belinda Huijuan Tang’s debut spins an emotional story set in a post–Cultural Revolution China. Exploring questions of cultural identity and the scars immigration can leave on a family over decades, Tang’s novel is drawn from a true story at the center of her own family’s past. When Tang Yitian, a Chinese-American math professor based in California, receives an unexpected phone call from his mother saying Tang’s father has mysteriously disappeared, he returns home to his family’s rural village in China despite he and his father not talking for years. “A Map for the Missing” is a gorgeous, devastating story that reckons with the scars immigration can inflict on a family across decades.

An originally self-published BookTok sensation, “A Broken Blade” is a lush, romantic dark fantasy about a stirring rebellion in a colonial world, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas. The novel follows Keera, the most talented spy in the kingdom and the King’s favorite assassin. But when Keera is called upon to hunt down the so-called Shadow who is wreaking havoc on the kingdom, she follows him into the mysterious lands of the Fae. Keera finds that the Faeland is not what it seems, and neither is the Shadow. Conceived as a love letter to BookTok’s avid fantasy community and drawing from her own experiences as an indigenous woman, this action-packed story is a tale of anti-colonialism, adventure, and heart.

In this adult historical fantasy set along Washington, DC’s Black Broadway in the 1920s, Clara Johnson, a young Black woman who can talk to spirits, is tasked with embarking on a heist to release a debt she holds. Thus begins a spellbinding adventure story that blends Black folk magic, history, and romance. If you love historical fiction and enchantment, look no further than “The Monsters We Defy.”

May-Lee Chai’s new short story collection “Tomorrow in Shanghai” is drawn together with the underlying theme of not being seen. A vibrant and illuminating follow-up to her award-winning story collection, “Useful Phrases for Immigrants,” “Tomorrow in Shanghai” urges readers to consider the tensions within Chinese and Chinese American families due to globalization and diaspora, capitalism, differing experiences of racism, and different generations’ outlooks. While the stories aren’t set during this contemporary moment, they were shaped and inspired by the pandemic atmosphere amid anti-Asian sentiments and attacks, the objectification of Asian women, and the media obsession with “rich Asians.”

Get ready for spooky season early with Maureen Kilmer’s Suburban Hell, a horror comedy about a group of women in the Chicago suburbs whose new neighbor happens to be a demon. With demonic possession, haunting history, and suburban malaise, think “Bad Moms” meets “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”