Elizabeth Entenman
Updated July 31, 2017 3:13 pm
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Riverhead Books / Lenny

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of August. It feels like yesterday we were talking about the books we can’t wait to read in July. But it’s a new month, which means a ton of new titles that you need on your nightstand.

There are a lot of exciting new books to look forward to this month. The titles we can’t wait to read include a clever short story collection, an artistic mystery, and an incredibly honest portrayal of what it’s like to have anxiety. There are stunning debut novels and highly anticipated follow-ups. And there are a few coming-of-age tales, too, if that’s your thing. Trust us: You’re going to want to read every single one.

Here are 17 new books we can’t wait to read in August!

1. New People by Danzy Senna, out August 1

Riverhead Books

Maria has a great life — she’s planning a wedding with her college sweetheart, working on her dissertation, and participating in a documentary about multiracial identity. So why can’t she stop thinking about another man? The more she daydreams, the more her seemingly perfect life unravels. New People will challenge your assumptions about how you define yourself and others.

2. All Things New by Lauren Miller, out August 1

Three Saints Press

When Jessa gets in an accident, her severe anxiety shows itself in a new way: She begins to see bruises and scars on others around her. All Things New is a deeply honest and personal story of mental health and authenticity that will make you feel less alone. As a teen, author Lauren Miller suffered from high-functioning anxiety herself, so the subject is very close to her.

3. The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose, out August 1


How did 17-year-old Lee Cuddy find herself on the run, hiding out in abandoned buildings? Through a series of lies, betrayals, and secrets — and some works by artist Marcel Duchamp. When Lee retreats to a place called the Crystal Castle, she realizes she’s part of a much bigger, more sinister plan. But when she tries to escape, she realizes she has a target on her back. Meet your new favorite genre: art mystery.

4. Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, out August 1


If you’re searching for a new short story collection, Sour Heart is the perfect read. Jenny Zhang tells the stories of immigrants who moved from China and Taiwan to New York City in the ‘90s. Did we mention that Sour Heart is the first book in Lena Dunham’s Lenny imprint?

5. The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, out August 1

FSG Originals

We like going to haunted houses for Halloween, but we would never actually want to live in one. Unfortunately, Julie and James aren’t so lucky. When strange things keep happening in their new house — hidden rooms, stains that appear on the wall — they realize they bought a bona fide haunted house. The Grip of It is intense, enthralling, and downright creepy. You won’t be able to put it down.

6. Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter, out August 8

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Greg is an overweight 58-year-old man. His son, Greg Junior, is prone to disappearances. But his latest disappearance feels different. So Greg sets out on a road trip from West Virginia to Florida to find him and bring him back home. Along the way, Greg faces all the mistakes he’s made through the years and realizes just how broken his family is. Lindsay Hunter quietly invites you into Greg’s world and paints a vivid picture of indulgence and addiction. You won’t be able to look away.

7. This is Not the End by Chandler Baker, out August 8


If you could bring one person back to life, who would it be? This is Not the End is set in a modern-day society with newly developed resurrection technology. Here’s how it works: On your 18th birthday, you may elect to bring one person back from the dead. Which means Lake must decide between bringing back her best friend, or her boyfriend. Or should she forfeit entirely?

8. A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor, out August 15

Dial Books

Emma is used to living in her older sister Henri’s shadow. It was never a problem until Emma betrayed Henri and they grew apart. Fast forward to now, where they find themselves stranded on a deserted island with a boy named Alex. As Emma starts to fall for Alex, she grows even farther apart from her sister. But if they want to find their way back home, they must figure out how to reconcile and work together. A must-read for anyone with a deep sisterly bond.

9. The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek, out August 15


Last year Jarett Kobek self-published The Future Won’t Be Long, a satirical exploration of internet culture and corporations in the 21st century. It was a huge success and led to a follow-up — The Future Won’t Be Long. Kobek’s new book tells the story of how his characters Adeline and Baby first met in New York in the late ‘80s.

10. How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas, out August 15

Tim Duggan Books

How to Behave in a Crowd is narrated from the perspective of an 11-year-old named Isidore. But make no mistake — this is a book for adults. When Isidore’s family experiences a tragedy, he realizes that they, too, struggle with grief. The more he comes of age, the more he realizes that the adults around him are just as lost as he is. Equal parts heartbreaking and charming, you’ll become an instant fan of Camille Bordas.

11. Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini, out August 15

Doubleday Books

Things That Happened Before the Earthquake is another coming-of-age story, but this one with a gritty twist. It follows Eugenia, a teenage Italian immigrant trying to find her place in her new home of Los Angeles. Set in the early ‘90s, the story takes place between the Rodney King riots and the Northridge earthquake. Amidst the violence, Eugenia begins to navigate her new life while maintaining bits of her old one. And then, the earthquake hits — and everything changes.

12. Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino, out August 15

Atria Books

There’s an unwritten rule that you must read at least one sticky-sweet romantic book per summer. And we suggest Wish You Were Here. It tells the story of Charlotte, the young woman searching for love but never quite finding it. Then she meets Adam. They have an instant connection, but he ghosts her. Months later, Charlotte is still thinking about Adam and decides to find him. But what she finds is not what she expected.

13. Eastman Was Here by Alex Gilvarry, out August 22


Alan Eastman doesn’t have a lot going for him at the moment. He’s a washed-up writer whose marriage just fell apart. Since he has nothing else to lose, he heads to Saigon to cover the end of the Vietnam War. We love a good story of redemption — especially one set in the ‘70s.

14. The Futilitarians by Anne Gisleson, out August 22

Little, Brown and Company

The Futilitarians is not your average book club. It’s an Existential Crisis Reading Group that meets once a month to discuss life’s biggest questions through literature. For Anne Gisleson, it became a way to carry on after the loss of her father and her twin sisters. In The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading Gisleson searches for answers to life’s toughest questions and finds a way to make her pain beautiful.

15. Sargent’s Women by Donna M. Lucey, out August 22

W. W. Norton Company

In Sargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas, Donna M. Lucey dives into the lives of four extraordinary women of the Gilded Age: Elise Palmer, Elizabeth Chanler, Sally Fairchild, and Isabella Stewart. They were all painted by portraitist John Singer Sargent, and now, Lucey reveals the intricate stories behind his subjects’ lives.

16. The Burning Girl by Claire Messud, out August 29

W. W. Norton Company

Have you ever grown apart from a best friend? The Burning Girl tells the story of Julia and Cassie, two inseparable peas in a pod. They do everything together — until they start to grow from girls to women, and their self-understanding kicks in. A few years later, Cassie finds herself in trouble. And despite their distance, Julia is the only person who can save her.

17. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent, out August 29

Riverhead Books

My Absolute Darling is the perfect end-of-summer YA book. It follows Turtle, a teenager who lives a quiet, isolated life, never opening up to anyone. Then she meets Jacob and her view of the world expands. Turtle is the strong, resilient heroine we didn’t know we needed, and you’ll fall head over heels in love with My Absolute Darling.