Your summer reading list – sorted!
Need a new read to bring to the beach (or, y'know, to keep on the bedside table)? The literary brains at Muddy have rounded up the best new and upcoming novels to add to your TBR pile.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Set in the early 60s, this impressive debut novel from author and science editor Bonnie Garmus tells the tale of clever chemist Elizabeth Zott, who dreams of smashing through the glass ceiling in the world of science. Instead, circumstances find her fired from her lab, pregnant, and, er, the host of a TV cooking show? Toughing it out, she uses her platform to address a nation of overlooked housewives, and suddenly, everyone is listening. So good, Apple TV snapped it up before it was even released, and their series starring Brie Larson is due on the small screen in the next few years.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Steel yourselves for some summertime heartbreak. Following in the footsteps of his super-successful debut novel Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart delivers another hard-hitter in the form of Young Mungo, the story of Protestant Mungo and Catholic James and their ill-fated love on the hyper-masculine, working class streets of Glasgow. Tackling the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family and the violence queer people face, this one’s not a light read, but it’s absolutely worth it.
You Be Mother by Meg Mason
The only thing Abi ever wanted was to have a normal family, so when she gets pregnant by an Australian exchange student, she is quick to leave her old life in Croydon and move to Sydney. Now, with three-month-old Jude on her hip, she is alone in a completely foreign environment – until she meets her wealthy older neighbour, Phyllidia, who quickly becomes a mother figure to her. A beautifully written book about what it means to find a home away from home and have a sense of belonging, as well the complexity and comfort of female friendships. I wasn’t sure what to think going into this book, having loved Sorrow and Bliss, but I was left in awe. The perfect summer book that demands to be re-read.
My Summer Darlings by May Cobb
From the author of The Hunting Wives comes a new thriller mystery that’s got all the drama, suspense and chaos that her fans would expect. This is another edge-of-your-seat job. When sexy stranger Will Harding moves in to one of the grandest homes in an insular East Texas town, he becomes an obsession of three of his neighbours – middle-aged childhood friends, Jen, Kittie and Cynthia. When he vanishes they’re all desperate to find the truth but what they uncover is shocking, sinister and deadly.
Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey
An icon for many women from their 30s to their 70s, actress Jennifer Grey has pulled off a rare coup – publishing a memoir that’s both nostalgic and self-deprecating. From vivid memories of her childhood to her career in Hollywood and the challenges of being an ‘American sweetheart’, there’s stories of whirlwind romances with the likes of Johnny Depp and Clark Gregg, but also the brutal reality of the plastic surgeries that caused the sudden end of her career.
We Were Dreamers by Simu Lu
Another memoir, and another unexpected source. Best known for his role as Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Simu Liu is only 33, but his life story takes him from China to Canada and the challenge of moving so far from his family and culture. Then there’s the leap from Liu’s career as a young accountant, via a Craig’s List ad, to Hollywood heartthrob today. Told with wit and heart-warming honesty, it’s an inspiring tale from immigrant to superhero.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award Finalist Akwaeke Emezi writes poignantly about loss and love. Five years after Feyi Adekola’s partner passes away suddenly, she is still scarred, but a steamy encounter cascades into a whirlwind romance with the perfect guy. But if he is perfect then why is she slowly sabotaging it by getting closer to the one person off-limits? A novel about human nature and the tortuous path of love.
None of This is Serious by Catherine Prasifka
None of This is Serious follows Dublin student Sophie, who has always lived in the shadow of her best friend Grace. To cope, she finds comfort in her online persona and the relationship she forms there. At its core, this is a book about how uncertain life can be, especially when it comes to the fragility of your early 20s, and how the virtual world can blur the lines of friendships. It’s a book with heart, and reading it made me feel a lot – but most importantly, it made me feel seen. Give it a whirl and see if you feel the same.
Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller (31 May)
With modern historians usually wanting to praise heroes, martyrs and pioneers, this non-fiction exploration of the ‘baddies’ of a minority community is refreshing. Bad Gays is all about celebrating the existence of the “villains” amongst the LGBTQ+ community. It subverts the notion of gay heroes and queer icons and dares to ask what can we learn about LGBTQ+ history and identity by studying the fascists, thugs, gangsters, famous artists austere puritans, imperialists and many more.
Night Crawling by Leila Mottley (7 June)
Fasten your seatbelts for this one. Night Crawling tells of seventeen-year-old Kiera, who’s been left to fend for herself. With a mother in and out of rehab, an estranged brother and a nine-year-old named Trevor reliant on her, Kiera is on the brink of homelessness and desperate. When one night she is picked up by two police officers and forced to take a gruesome deal for her freedom, she lands in the middle of a media storm. A short, fast-paced novel that will take your heart and rip it to shreds.
Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen (9 June)
A swift, surprising and sharply comic Kirstin Chen dares to peek behind the curtain of upscale designers and shine a light on the exploitative Chinese factories with this novel. Despite the dark subject matter, Counterfeit is a light and quick read but suits the airport thriller shunners. Ava Wong’s life is a facade. Under the perfect porcelain hides a crumbling family and fake success. Enter Winnie Fang. Ava’s old drop-out roommate from college. A woman dripping in luxury. Her secret? An ingenious counterfeit scheme. Winnie needs an accomplice and Ava needs a change.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (9 June)
What happens when your 40th birthday is coming closer, your father is on his deathbed and all you want is for life to stop, pause and give you a breather? Well of course, you go back to your sixteenth birthday. Alice Stern, however, realizes that each time she decides to go back in time, she is faced with a different part of her life and its consequences. All so she can spend a little bit more time with her dad. A tender story about growing up and learning to take life one day at a time.
Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak (23 June)
An intense and thrilling horror novel by the Edgar-nominated author of The Impossible Fortress. Hidden Pictures gives horror a creepy twist and a heart-warming mystery. Readers are left in suspense as we follow Mallory Quinn straight out of rehab, taking a babysitting job for a rich family with a young son, Teddy. Mallory is quick to get comfortable in her new life until she notices Teddy’s drawing getting more and more disturbing. From simple stick figures to hyper-realistic scenes of a supernatural murder. Can Mallory decipher the messages quick enough to save Teddy before it’s too late?
George Michael: A Life by James Gavin (7 July)
The life story of late music icon George Michael was always going to be a good read. This book explores the fabricated image he had created for himself as a hyper-macho sex god as he tried to hide his true sexuality. Of course, his obsession with fame backfired and the media mauling began, and with it George’s self-destruction. Acclaimed music biographer, James Gavin, attempts to give this complex and eventful life an accurate and engaging retelling, from birth as Georgios Kyriakos Panayiotou, an immigrant’s son, to his rise in Wham and beyond. By interviewing people close to him, Gavin paints a definitive portrait of the pop legend.
Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe (7 July)
Patrick Radden Keefe has been named to be one of the best journalists of our time and has been decorated with awards to back that claim. So it wasn’t a surprise when Rogues was announced. The journalist brings together some of his most engaging and celebrated articles in one book. Keefe explores the intricacies of forging hundreds of thousands; what it’s like to be a whistleblower for one of the largest banks in the world; profiles a passionate death-penalty attorney who represents ‘the worst of the wors’; amongst other gruelling real-life stories of humans whose life took them down a path of crime.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware (4 Aug)
A contemporary thriller from the bestselling author Ruth Ware, and a perfect sunlounger page-turner. This book is a real gem and full of red herrings and twists – perfect for fans of Agatha Christie. April was the first person Hannah met at Oxford. And it was Hannah who found April’s body a few months later. Now, a decade later, a young journalist comes knocking on the door of an expecting Hannah bearing new evidence that up-ends the original verdict. This new information will turn Hannah’s life into a spiral. She starts questioning her friendships and realises that everyone is hiding something.
Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak (4 Aug)
A powerful story with a biracial lead. Zoe Sivak is a master of historical fiction that makes you feel, question and empower. It’s 1791 and Sylvie de Rosiers is both a lady born into privilege and a damning reminder of her planter father’s infidelity to an enslaved woman. After the Haitian Revolution begins, Sylvie flees to Paris at the start of the French Revolution. Inspired by Robespierre and his mistress, Cornelie, she joins the revolution and starts unravelling her own complicity in slave society and her future in the new world. Battling between being exploited for her race by Robespierre, Cornelie’s love and her aristocratic roots. All while trying not to lose her head.
Girl Crush by Florence Given (9 Aug)
Florence Given, author of the bestselling nonfiction Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, is dipping her toes into the fiction world with her debut novel Girlcrush. A dark retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, she aims to put women at the forefront of the story. In this modern exploration of seduction, we follow Eartha. She is an openly bisexual woman who becomes a viral sensation on the fictional app WonderLand where people share and live their deepest fantasies. With past trauma coming through to haunt her and the line between real and virtual life blurring, Eartha must choose. Who is she really?
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (23 Aug)
After the success of The Love Hypothesis, Ali Hazelwood is back with another STEM rom-com. Because who doesn’t love a good explosive experiment? In Love on the Brain, we follow Bee, an ambitious-to-the-bone scientist who is forced, for the sake of her career, to work alongside her (incredibly attractive) archenemy, Levi Ward. When crisis strikes, she finds him turning into an ally and maybe something more … she can swear that she can catch him studying her. A STEMinist rom-com that will leave you wanting for more.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (30 Aug)
Bestselling author of Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones and the Six and the phenomenal sensation The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid is back. And this one’s another book full of romance, determination and well-loved tropes. Carrie Soto, the top tennis player the world has ever seen, is retired. But six years on, she can’t stand watching British player, Nicki Chan, romping through the rankings and threatening to beat her grand slam record. So, she comes out of retirement and is ready to sacrifice everything and battle the limitations of her 37-year-old body to try to reclaim the top spot. A classic comeback tale but told in an engaging and fun style.