The dog days of summer are here, requiring iced coffee by the gallon, Pop-Ices by the yard, and enough books to arm us for many days spent in front of the fan/AC/open freezer. Here are 25 we’ve got our eyes on, featuring devil’s deals, reimagined superheroes, and doors into magic lands.
Miles Morales, by Jason Reynolds (August 1)
Meet Miles Morales, an alt-Marvel Universe take on the boy behind Spider-Man’s red and blue. In Reynolds’ hands, this half-black, half-Puerto Rican scholarship student balances superheroism with family life in the Brooklyn projects, and a growing sense of disconnect with the blinkered teachings of his elite prep school. A new backstory and rich city setting round out a fresh, engrossing, timely take on the amazing Spider-Man.
When I Am Through With You, by Stephanie Kuehn (August 1)
Kuehn’s latest dark psychological thriller told in crystalline prose follows a group of teens into the wooded mountains outside their tiny town, where dangers and personal demons await. When a horrific chain of events ends in death for some of the campers, antihero Ben—who, he reveals early on, does not escape the night either innocent or unscathed—will try and fail to right wrongs and get the survivors safely off the mountain.
The Wood, by Chelsea Bobulski (August 1)
Winter was young when her father vanished, leaving her the sole guardian of the wood, a stretch of trees behind their house that are more than they appear. The wood is full of portals to other places, and when visitors slip through, Winter must guide them back to where they belong—but she must never outstay her welcome in the trees. Lately the woods have been changing, growing darker and more dangerous. Without her father to turn to, Winter puts her trust in a secretive visitor from 18th-century England, whose mysterious knowledge of the wood could change everything.
Solo, by Kwame Alexander (August 1)
Life as the son of a rock star isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for Blade Morrison, who flees his home and his comeback-obsessed father’s addictions after a discovery about his own past leaves him reeling. He sets off on a journey from L.A. to a tiny Ghanaian village, in a verse tale of self-discovery that thrums with Blade’s love of music and his hunger for community and connection.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moira Fowley-Doyle (August 8)
In this dreamy sophomore novel from the author of The Accident Season, a small Irish town is hit by a strange plague of loss—items small and large go missing, replaced by resurfacing oddities, including the diary pages of a girl named Laurel. Local girl Olive meets a trio of squatters in an abandoned housing development who may have a link to the strange events, and finds that the key to understanding what’s going on may also lie in her own hidden past.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F. C. Yee (August 8)
Holy elevator pitch: A student striving for entrance to a top university discovers she’s a spirit so powerful she can punch her way into Heaven. A cute Chinese transfer student helps Genie along in her transition from college-bound teen to boundary-smashing heroine, just in time to counteract a hellish invasion.
The Hearts We Sold, by Emily Lloyd-Jones (August 8)
Dee was young when the demons made themselves known to the world, with their bloody bargains that grant humans their greatest desire: all they have to give up in return is a body part. When Dee’s scholarship comes under threat and she faces a return to her horrible home life, she makes a less permanent trade, or so she thinks: her heart, on a two-year lease, in exchange for all the money she needs. But soon she learns the cost of her bargain may be more lasting than she once believed.
Little & Lion, by Brandy Colbert (August 8)
In Colbert’s first novel since Pointe, Suzette has just returned to LA following a stint at boarding school, where she was sent following her older brother, Lionel’s, diagnosis with bipolar disorder. She’s happy to be home, but a cascade of complications—starting with Lionel’s disclosure that he’s going off medication—threaten to derail her. Suzette deals with new crushes, her sexuality (and the emotional fallout of a homophobic incident at her old school), and with feeling like her brother’s keeper, in a contemporary tale that promises to be as delicately propulsive as Colbert’s debut.
In Some Other Life, by Jessica Brody (August 8)
Brody’s latest high-concept contemp takes on a Sliding Doors scenario in its tale of one girl with two possible lives: in one, Kennedy turned down a scholarship to elite Windsor Academy in order to stay near the crush who just asked her out. Her life seems great…until she walks in on her crush-turned-boyfriend kissing someone else. One blow to the head later, and she wakes up in the shoes of a Kennedy who ran with the scholarship, and is now navigating the high-flying prep-school life. But soon she’l learn that no version of life is perfect, no matter how things look from the outside.
This Is Not the End, by Chandler Baker (August 8)
In a world where every citizen is granted access to resurrection technology just once in their lives—on their 18th birthday, for one person—Lake is facing a horrific choice. Her boyfriend and best friend have died in a car crash she narrowly survived, and now she must decide which to bring back to life, with the added complication of knowing she once promised her resurrection to someone else. As her 18th birthday approaches, the noose tightens…
The Authentics, by Abdi Nazemian (August 8)
Daria considers herself to be an “Authentic” Iranian American, as opposed to one of the “Nose Jobs” belonging to the clique headed by her one-time BFF. But on top of drama involving a crush, friend-group politics, and an overinvested mother, a school genealogy assignment leads Daria to a shocking discovery about her own past. She’s sent her down an unexpected path of self-discovery, and inspired to revisit her understanding of what makes someone authentic.
Crystal Blade, by Kathryn Purdie (August 15)
Last year’s Burning Glass introduced readers to Sonya, an Auraseer in the kingdom of Riaznin, able to sense and even take on others’ emotions. After a tragedy in the Riaznin palace, she’s sent to serve as the emperor’s protector, reading the intentions of those around him to keep him safe. But a nascent alliance with the emperor’s brother could be her undoing, as rebellion brews beyond his palace walls. In follow-up Crystal Blade, she and her love have brought down the emperor, but are far from free. And darkness comes from within as well as without, as Sonya struggles to navigate the dangerous new frontiers of her power.
In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (August 15)
As with the protagonist of Lev Grossman’s wonderful Magicians trilogy, Brennan’s own nominal, pain-in-the-ass hero Elliot finds that being whisked away to a magical land doesn’t solve all the problems of being him. While on a field trip, Elliot is discovered to have an affinity for magic that grants him entrance into the Borderlands, where he attends magic school in preparation for a battle ahead. Over the course of four years he grows up and out some of his more unlikable impulses, discovering and questioning, along with the reader, the flawed but fascinating world order in which he has been placed.
Wicked Like a Wildfire, by Lana Popović (August 15)
Raised in a secluded Montenegrin town, sisters Iris and Malina have spent their lives guarding a family secret from their neighbors’ prying eyes: like their mother, the girls have the gift of manipulating beauty. Flowers explode into fractals for Iris, while Malina can use music to shape people’s moods. Their strict mother bakes magical desserts—until a brutal attack leaves her in a state of pre-death suspension. The sisters set off to untangle the dark legacy behind the assault, and their own dangerous magic.
A Map for Wrecked Girls, by Jessica Taylor (August 15)
Emma and her charismatic older sister, Henri, find themselves in a sun-soaked nightmare when they’re beached on the shore of a deserted island, with one dead boy in the water and one bereaved boy, Alex, with them on the sand. The girls’ fierce, unequal connection is painted through flashbacks, as things fall apart in real time on the island. As Emma tugs away from Henri’s grip, she grows closer with Alex, in a taut tale of sisterhood and survival.
How to Disappear, by Sharon Russ Hoat (August 15)
After losing her best and only friend to a move, deeply shy, socially anxious Vicky embarks on a social media project meant to assuage her loneliness: Instagram feed Vicurious, for which she photoshops herself into other people’s pictures. The feed strikes a chord, and soon she’s amassed not just a following but an online community of likeminded folks. Now she has a choice: continue to hide in her offline life, or use her unexpected influence to help people who, like her, aren’t sure how to be seen.
Ferocious, by Paula Stokes (August 15)
In Vicarious, sisters and best friends Winter and Rose Kim worked as stunt doubles for Vicarious Sensory Experiences (ViSEs), living out intense episodes ranging from swimming with sharks to close celebrity encounters for people who want to experience them for a price. Then Rose disappeared, leaving behind a ViSE account of her killing…but Winter isn’t certain seeing is believing. In this sequel, she knows the truth: her sister is dead, and she has a brother she has never met. Her hunt for both revenge and family takes her back to the South Korea of her birth, and sends her deeper into the arms of her own demons.
The Rattled Bones, by S.M. Parker (August 22)
Rilla lives a quiet life in a tiny Maine village with her grandmother, following her mother’s institutionalization and her father’s death at sea. While struggling to keep her family’s lobster business afloat, she’s lured by a strange vision, of a ghostly girl singing a siren’s song from the shores of abandoned Malaga Island. Soon Rilla falls in with Sam, a college kid who’s studying Malaga’s dark mysteries. Their investigations lead them toward proof of the supernatural and horrifying truths based on real-life events.
Dress Codes for Small Towns, by Courtney C. Stevens (August 22)
Billie is the daughter of a small-town preacher, whose gender-nonconformity makes it hard for her to fit in the box that identity implies. But she always feels at home with her tight group of friends, even more so after a silly prank leads to shared community service. But when her friend Janie Lee admits to a crush on one of the boys in the group, Billie is awoken to her own desires, including feelings for both the boy in question and Janie Lee, leading her to self-discoveries that threaten to rock her clique’s boat.
The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 22)
Molly and Pepper are two troubled teens—she the daughter of a convicted arsonist and a mother dead by suicide, he a Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy attempting to squeak his way toward graduation—drawn together by the mystery found in a diary kept by Ava Dreyman, a young German rebel killed just before the Berlin Wall fell. Their voices combine in a twisting mystery bridging historical and contemporary times.
Wonder Woman, by Leigh Bardugo (August 29)
Short pitch: Leigh Bardugo takes on Wonder Woman! Long pitch: Before she was Wonder Woman, Diana was an Amazonian princess with something to prove. During a race in which she’s determined to prove her strength, Diana instead saves a castaway from a marine explosion: Alia Keralis, who has a bloody destiny of her own. She’s a Warbringer, descended from Helen of Troy, fated to usher in as much chaos as her forebear. The two girls must band together against the forces set to destroy them both.
Mask of Shadows, by Linsey Miller (August 29)
Genderfluid Sal is an excellent thief, but has sights set far higher than a lifetime of robbery. Fueled by a taste for revenge against the upper-crust nobles who destroyed their past, Sal’s in for more than just social-climbing when they set out to become a member of the Queen’s personal band of assassins. But auditions for the Left Hand may prove to be deadly, sweeping Sal up into bloody intrigue, even as they discover there’s far more to live for than revenge.
Zero Repeat Forever, by G.S. Prendergast (August 29)
The arrival of alien race the Nahx marks the end of life as we know it in this invasion thriller. Eighth is the mind-controlled Nahx bodyguard who loses his directive when the one he’s meant to protect dies, and Raven is a teen on retreat at a summer wilderness camp when the world takeover begins. In alternating narration, the two share a story of terror, domination, and the tentative, strangely protective bond they form across enemy lines, including Eighth saving Raven’s life against all odds.
All Rights Reserved, by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (August 29)
Katsoulis envisions a world in which every word and every communicative gesture, must be paid for, from a “hello” to a nod. Speth is readying herself for her 15th birthday, when she’ll begin to be charged for her words alongside all other legal adults, when the unthinkable happens: because of his family’s impossible debt, her friend commits suicide. Grieving him in word or deed would send her own family spiraling into debt, so she commits to an alternative—absolute silence. The resulting media frenzy may ignite a revolution, change the world, or end her life.
The Dazzling Heights, by Katharine McGee (August 29)
Series starter The Thousandth Floor introduced a futuristic, 22nd-century Manhattan, where the divide between the haves and the have nots can be measured in floors: much of the borough’s population is housed in a single thousand-floor skyscraper, from the impoverished families living below to the elite mega-rich of the upper levels. Its sequel continues the tangled tale of a clutch of teens living in the massive vertical city, where boundless money and glittering tech live side by side with blackmail, con artists, incestuous crushes, and murder.