Every month, librarians across the country pick the ten upcoming titles they’re most excited to read. This month’s picks include a deliciously creepy take on Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the story of an 8 year old girl forced to attend Weight Watchers, and a pair of romance novels that grapple with the intersection of love and mental health.
Top Pick: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
A retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher, Kingfisher’s latest adds the
creepiest of flesh to the bare-bones tale by Poe. Complete with a scary,
isolated mansion and eerie behaviors of the residents, this version not only
makes perfect sense within the original narrative, but adds a depth of
understanding that suddenly makes all the pieces fall into place. For fans of
Mexican Gothic, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Night Stranger. —Sheri Stanley, Gulfport Library
Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter
Aja Owens could not be more mortified by her first meeting with hottie Walker Abbott, who happens upon her mid-panic attack in the frozen food aisle of a Piggly Wiggly in Greenbelt, S.C. She comforts herself by thinking she’ll never have to see him again — until she learns that he’s the estranged grandson of her elderly bingo buddy.
Walker and Aja find kindred spirits in each other and neither can resist their intense chemistry. But Walker’s memories of Greenbelt are all horrible, and he can’t bear to stay in town for long. In an attempt to keep a lid on their budding feelings, they make a casual sex pact to hook up only when one of them wins at bingo. Slaughter refreshingly balances steamy scenes with the unfolding drama surrounding Walker’s childhood trauma and Aja’s generalized anxiety, and the romance manages to be breezy and light without trivializing either protagonist’s struggles. (Publishers Weekly, 4/4/22)
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
Growing up in a rapidly changing Harlem, eight-year-old Malaya hates when her mother drags her to Weight Watchers meetings; she’d rather paint alone in her bedroom or enjoy forbidden street foods with her father. For Malaya, the pressures of her predominantly white Upper East Side prep school are relentless, as are the expectations passed down from her painfully proper mother and sharp-tongued grandmother. As she comes of age in the 1990s, she finds solace in the music of Biggie Smalls and Aaliyah, but her weight continues to climb—until a family tragedy forces her to face the source of her hunger.
Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee
Lizzy Overachiever Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.
If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.
Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books.
Grace Under Fire by Julie Garwood
Grace MacKenna is in Boston to celebrate her sister’s husband’s parents’ anniversary when she stumbles into an active crime scene. While walking from her hotel, a shooting victim running from his assailant collapses into her. His would-be killer quickly follows, and, though traumatized, Isabel manages to grab the victim’s gun and shoot the attacker before he can do any more damage.
Michael Buchanan, a Navy SEAL turned attorney and Grace’s least favorite of her sister’s husband’s brothers, meets her at the police station, quickly appoints himself as her lawyer and bodyguard, and helps her field questions from cops. Michael even follows Isabella on a trip to Scotland the following week to claim the land she inherited from a great uncle, determined to protect her and worried that her involvement in the shooting may not have been an accident. Indeed, Michael and his FBI agent brothers soon discover that there’s a price on Isabel’s head. As Isabel and Michael work together to untangle this mystery, the simmering attraction between them only grows. (Publishers Weekly, 5/30/22)
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin. Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season.
Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel-but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game. The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn.
The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay
What if the coolest girl you’ve ever met decided to be your friend?
Art Barbara was so not cool. He was a seventeen-year-old high school loner in the late 1980s who listened to hair metal, had to wear a monstrous back-brace at night for his scoliosis, and started an extracurricular club for volunteer pallbearers at poorly attended funerals. But his new friend thought the Pallbearers Club was cool. And she brought along her Polaroid camera to take pictures of the corpses.
Okay, that part was a little weird.
So was her obsessive knowledge of a notorious bit of New England folklore that involved digging up the dead. And there were other strange things – terrifying things – that happened when she was around, usually at night. But she was his friend, so it was okay, right?
Decades later, Art tries to make sense of it all by writing The Pallbearers Club: A Memoir. Seamlessly blurring the lines between fiction and memory, the supernatural and the mundane, The Pallbearers Club is an immersive, suspenseful portrait of an unusual and disconcerting relationship.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Tea Monk Sibling Dex wandered into the wilderness to discover something different, and that turned out to be the robot Mosscap, the first to approach humanity since the Awakening, when all robots left. Now everyone wants to meet Mosscap. As the two travel together through Panga’s towns, meeting new people and old friends, Dex is by turns frustrated and amazed by Mosscap’s wonder for the mundane and incessant questions, while Mosscap learns about community and belonging. Lessons on barter, companionship, family, and presence begin to answer the questions that both Mosscap and Sibling Dex have for themselves and others. (Library Journal, 6/1/22)
Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs
Jerome Sugar learned the art of baking in his grandma’s bakery, also called Sugar, on historic Perdita Street in San Francisco. He supplies baked goods to the Lost and Found Bookshop across the street. When the restaurant that shares his commercial kitchen loses its longtime tenant, a newcomer moves in: Margot Salton, a barbecue master from Texas.
Margot isn’t exactly on the run, but she needs a fresh start. She’s taken care of herself her whole life, pulling herself up by her fingernails to recover from trauma, and her dream has been to open a restaurant somewhere far, far from Texas. Margot instantly takes to Jerome’s mother, the lively, opinionated Ida. The older woman proves to be a good mentor, and Margot is drawn to Jerome. Despite their different backgrounds their attraction is powerful–even though Jerome worries that Margot will simply move on from him once she’s found some peace and stability. But just as she starts to relax into a happy new future, Margot’s past in Texas comes back to haunt her.
Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowswer & Robyn Smith
Wash Day Diaries tells the story of four best friends–Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie–through five connected short story comics that follow these young women through the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx. The book takes its title from the wash day experience shared by Black women everywhere of setting aside all plans and responsibilities for a full day of washing, conditioning, and nourishing their hair. Each short story uses hair routines as a window into these four characters’ everyday lives and how they care for each other.
From self-care to spilling the tea at an hours-long salon appointment to healing family rifts, the stories are brought to life through beautifully drawn characters and different color palettes reflecting the mood in each story.
See the full list here: Library Reads July 2022
Descriptions provided by the publishers unless otherwise noted.