what i'm reading: summer 2018

Whether the summer heat sends you running for the beach or locking your doors and cranking up the A/C, the warm doldrums ahead are perfectly suited to reading! For me, there is very little more pleasant than heading outside with a cool drink and a good book to read on a summer evening. Provided you can keep the mosquitoes away, that is. (Seriously, I'm a biologist with a graduate degree and I still don't see the point of these nasty little vampire flies!) This year the summer months are stuffed full of great new books coming out. These are only a few from that list for which I already have copies to read and review. They range from contemporary, to fantasy, to science fiction and horror: a mix that should have a little something for everyone!


My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (June 26, HarperTeen) This follow-up to My Lady Jane moves entirely into the fictional realm with its tongue-in-cheek retelling of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre! In this new world Charlotte and Jane are friends, having grown up together in the same school, and Jane has a secret: she can see (and talk to) ghosts. When a young agent of the de-funded royal ghost hunting service catches wind of her unique talent, Jane gets tangled up in a plot that reaches all the way to the King of England!

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (June 5, Doubleday) Gillian Flynn meets Gossip Girl in this thriller about what happens when an average girl gets tangled up in the glitz and excess of New York's young social elite. Lavinia's wealth and exuberance sweeps away her new friend Louise, who barely even thinks twice when invited to live with her in her expansive apartment. That friendship comes with strings attached: financial and emotional. As the sisterly feelings between Louise and Lavinia break down, they do so with twisted and deadly consequences.


Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (July 10, Thomas Nelson) I know that they're only loosely connected by a similar historical setting, but being a big fan of V for Vendetta makes me really excited for this one! Going the opposite direction of a futuristic dystopia, Fawkes sets its action in a historical fantasy realm bedeviled by a disease called the Stone Plague. Two factions in England blame one another for the plague's rise and their conflict feeds what becomes the infamous Gunpowder Plot. With a teenage protagonist torn between his family, the girl he loves, and the disease spreading in his own body, this promises to be a fast-paced read.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July 10, Del Rey) This loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin follows Miryem, the daughter of a Jewish moneylender whose borrowers have gotten lazy with repaying their loans. When Miryem discovers she has a talent for her father's work and makes an ill-advised boast it garners the attention of a Staryk king, ruler of a wintry realm beyond the reach of most mortals. From fire demons to nursemaids and princesses to peasant girls, this snowy fable unfolds through the eyes of characters that promise to be just as beautifully written as those we came to love in Uprooted.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (July 17, St. Martin's Press) This sounds like a modern update of the play Bad Seed! Children's perspectives are so rarely seen in adult literature (Ian McEwan's Nutshell comes to mind as an example) that I'm immediately captivated when a new release chooses one for a narrative voice.

Contagion by Erin Bowman (July 24, HarperTeen) I've been binging on fantasy reads lately—and don't get me wrong, it's my favorite genre!—so the prospect of adding more science fiction and horror into my routine is long overdue. When I read the synopsis about a rescue crew sent to check on an interstellar SOS signal, the first thing that sprang to mind was a cross between Alien and Outbreak. Elements of horror and mystery come together in an outer space setting, which has me looking forward to a genre-busting thriller!

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix (July 24, Simon Pulse) Another science fiction thriller, this time following Kenzie and a group of teenagers training to become guards on a specialized prison in outer space for superpowered teens deemed too dangerous to remain on Earth. A riot puts Kenzie's life in danger, except the prisoners aren't the only threat. A mysterious threat lurking outside will force everyone into a fight for their lives!

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (July 31, Delacorte Press) Summer is the perfect season for a thriller. In The Cheerleaders, a small town no longer has a high school cheer squad after several members died by accident, by suicide, and in murders. Five years later and Monica starts seeing suspicious circumstances cropping up again. They seem to indicate that whatever happened to the dead cheerleaders has something to do with her, even though no one in town will talk about it.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (July 31, Little, Brown) And then there's this stand-alone fantasy about two sisters who will do anything to protect one another. Serina spent her whole life training to become a Grace—a kind of royal trophy woman—yet takes the blame for a dark secret in her sister Nomi's life. With Serina in prison and Nomi now in her place in royal society, the two young women must fight to survive and reunite with one another.


Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood (August 7, St. Martin's Press) Lolita is one of my favorite pieces of classic literature. The taboo subject matter is a vehicle for some exceptionally dark humor (Nabokov is, by and large, hilarious, don't @ me) and a keenly drawn psychological portrait. What some may not know is that Lolita was based on the true-life story of Sally Horner's kidnapping in 1948. This new book by T. Greenwood is a fictionalized account of that crime, told at last from the perspective of the young girl affected by it. I love the choice of perspective and I love that this isn't a Lolita retelling—although it may make want to pick it up for another read!

Mirage by Somaiya Daud (August 28, Flatiron) First of all, that cover is gorgeous. Secondly, how awesome is it that we're getting a sci-fi #ownvoices book? A young woman named Amani is kidnapped and forced to act as a body double for the princess of a cruel empire. She has to manage to stay alive and navigate the pitfalls of a growing forbidden crush. This reads like a veritable smorgasbord of my guilty pleasure tropes: hidden identities, forbidden romance...all in a space setting!

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker (August 28, Razorbill) The number of sea-related YA novels out this year has been super high and I'm loving it! Rather than mermaids or sirens, though, Seafire focuses on pirates. Not just any pirates: a crew of badass women captained by an orphan looking to avenge her family's murder. I can't think of a more perfect cap to the summer season than this!

What summer releases are you looking forward to? Is there a book missing from this list you think I should read this summer?
Tell me about your TBR in the comments below!

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