The Best New Books of August 2022

School’s almost back in session, but the summer’s just heating up — in the bookstore, that is. This month, readers can look forward to debut novels, long-awaited sequels, fantastic works in translation, and much more.

August’s crop of new books might be one of the year’s most eclectic assortments of releases. Whether you’re looking for a graphic novel about an acting class gone wrong, a provocatively titled memoir of child stardom, the sequel to last year’s sapphic fantasy hit, or a brand-new novel of language and empire, you’re in luck.

Carrie Soto is Back By Taylor Jenkins Reid

When Carrie Soto retired from tennis six years ago, she was the best player the world had ever seen, shattering every record imaginable. Now a hotshot new tennis star is threatening to break Carrie’s legacy. At 37, Carrie attempts to come back for one more epic season to defend her title, even if defying all the odds means she has to train with a man from her past.

If you’ve read Malibu Rising, Carrie Soto is that tennis player, but you don’t need to read Malibu Rising to enjoy the book. I love that Reid gives crossovers hinting at her other books in such a way that it’s fun for fans, but doesn’t preclude you from reading the book independently.

I absolutely loved Carrie Soto is Back. I started it half an hour before my bedtime and literally did not put it down until I had finished it. Taylor Jenkins Reid shines with her brilliant writing and complex characters. You do, however, need to at least enjoy tennis, because much of the suspense comes from the actual tennis matches.


Walking Gentry Home By Alora Young

At just 19, Alora Young, former Youth Poet Laureate of the Southern United States, has written a lyrical debut book in verse that traces her matrilineal family history through time. She starts with Amy, the first of her foremothers to arrive in Tennessee; next is Gentry, Young’s great-grandmother who was driven into marriage at 14; and finally, there is Young’s own mother, a teenage beauty queen. “The only way to tell this story is through poetry,” Young writes, “because Black girlhood is eternally laced with rhythm, from the Negro hymns Amy Coleman whispered as she bore her enslaver’s child to the rhythm of the gospel my mother sang at fifteen when she was hailed a child prodigy.”


Witches By Brenda Lozano

The beguiling story of a young journalist whose investigation of a murder leads her to the most legendary healer in all of Mexico, from one of the most prominent voices of a new generation of Latin American writers

Paloma is dead. But before she was murdered and even Paloma, she was a traditional healer named Gaspar. Before she was murdered, she taught her cousin Feliciana the secrets of the ceremonies known as veladas, and about the Language and the books that unlock their secrets.

Sent to report on Paloma’s murder, Zoe meets Feliciana in the mountain village of San Felipe. There, the two women’s lives twist around each other in a danse macabre. Feliciana tells Zoe the story of her struggle to become an accepted healer in her community, and Zoe begins to understand the hidden history of her own experience as a woman, finding her way in a hostile environment shaped by and for men.

Weaving together two parallel narratives that mirror and refract one another, this extraordinary novel envisions the healer as a storyteller and the writer as a healer and offers a generous and nuanced understanding of a world that can be at turns violent and exultant, cruel and full of hope.


A Broken Blade By Melissa Blair

Keera is a killer. As the King’s Blade, she is the most talented spy in the kingdom. And the king’s favored assassin. When a mysterious figure moves against the Crown, Keera is called upon to hunt down the so-called Shadow.
She tracks her target into the magical lands of the Fae, but Faeland is not what it seems . . . and neither is the Shadow. Keera is shocked by what she learns, and can’t help but wonder who her enemy truly is: the King that destroyed her people or the Shadow that threatens the peace?

As she searches for answers, Keera is haunted by a promise she made long ago that will test her in every way. To keep her word, Keera must not only save herself but an entire kingdom.


The Family Remains By Lisa Jewell

In a sequel to the dark thriller, The Family Upstairs, the police have discovered Birdie’s remains and start to investigate what really happened in the house. With the police asking questions, Lucy is terrified they will find out that she killed her ex-husband, while at the same time we learn the backstory of Michael and his second wife. Meanwhile, Henry’s obsession with Finn continues as he tries to track Finn down in Chicago.

Confused? You need to read the first book (and probably refresh your memory with a summary) because Jewell jumps right in where the last book left off. Admittedly, it was fun to see what happened to all the characters from The Family Remains. Yet, on the whole, the sequel felt completely unnecessary. Far from adding much to the story, Jewell stripped out the darker elements that made The Family Upstairs so memorable and went with a slow-burn character study.


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