Summer means two things: long days and warm nights. Whether you’re more about hitting the pool or curling up in a comfy, air-conditioned space, a great summer book makes everything better. July’s new releases are chock full of great choices, from a female-driven Star Wars novel and a juicy behind-the-scenes sports tell-all to a modern take on America’s racial divide and a decades-old secret novel by one of the nation’s favorite writers. Get comfortable, put on those reading glasses and prepare to dive into some highly worthwhile reads.
1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee ($15): We all remember the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which up until last year was the only book ever published by beloved author Harper Lee. The circumstances around the release of her new novel — which she actually wrote prior to penning her history-making bestseller and kept on ice all these many years — have raised eyebrows, with some literary critics and fans wondering if the 89-year-old genuinely meant to publish the book. Curious readers who’ve been starved for more of Lee’s perfect prose can finally end the suspense over what becomes of Scout later on in her fictional but culturally influential life.
2. How to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin + Nicola Kraus: The Nanny Diaries is our go-to rainy day movie and read, so picking up the newest novel from dynamic writing duo Emma and Nicola is a no-brainer. Whether you’ve got the whole grown-up thing under control or you’re trying to hold it all together, we’re betting you’ll enjoy this hilarious read.
3. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell ($27): Software engineer Gayle Laakmann McDowell has worked at the holy trinity of tech companies: Google, Apple and Microsoft. At Google, she was in charge of interviewing hundreds of fellow software engineers and evaluating thousands of hiring packets. These days, she’s a consultant, helping tech companies improve their hiring processes and helping startups with their acquisition interviews. With almost 200 sample questions likely to come up in real life, it’s definitely something aspiring developers should consider picking up.
4. Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs ($19): The author of 17 New York Times-bestselling books is back again with another installment in her Temperance Brennan series, which inspired the FOX series Bones. Aside from her writing career, she’s one of fewer than 100 forensic anthropologists who have been certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, which is to say the woman knows her stuff, and she knows how to write a novel dripping with suspense too.
5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ($18): If you only read one book on race this year, make it this one. Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison herself calls it “required reading,” which is no surprise, considering the quality of Coates’s body of work to date. His essays at The Atlantic on race are some of the finest of this century, and his perspective is a much-needed one. It’s a sobering read, but an important one that can’t be overlooked.
6. About a Girl by Sarah McCarry ($17): This quick read is the third installment of The Metamorphoses trilogy by McCarry, a YA series focusing on a future Nobel Prize-winning astronomer named Tally. During her search for the mother who abandoned her long ago, Tally meets and falls in love with Maddy, who ultimately changes the course of Tally’s life. For the not-yet-indoctrinated, its predecessors, Dirty Wings and All Our Pretty Songs, will blow you away.
7. The Best Team Money Can Buy by Molly Knight ($18): To be entirely accurate, the book’s proper title is The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse. In other words, it’s a work of nonfiction ripe with insider scoop on the Dodgers’ 2013-2014 seasons, from the historic team sale to the brand’s internal strife and its resulting transition to a new front office.
8. Dark Disciple: Star Wars by Christie Golden ($21): For Star Wars fans who can’t wait to get their fix in December with the next movie release, here’s a perfect midsummer treat to satisfy those appetites. Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the novel is centered upon the adventures of Asajj Ventress, a former Sith apprentice-turned-bounty hunter. As an added bonus: Surprise! Our complex and fascinating antihero just so happens to be a woman.
9. Damage Done by Amanda Panitch ($18): We don’t know about you, but when Roxane Gay says that a book will stun you, we drop everything and purchase it immediately. Damage Done promises to be the YA version of Gone Girl you never knew you were craving. This book will give you shivers, just in time for summer’s hottest temps.
10: Shadow Shaper by Daniel José Older: Okay, so this book technically came out on June 30, but that’s basically a July release. Seriously, if you are a YA book lover searching for your next fantastical read and characters with tremendous depth (who isn’t?), get your hands on this book asap!
What books are on your must-read list this summer? Spill in the comments section below!