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Aurora Rising

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

My favorite reads from last year were the bestselling Illuminae series, which Kaufman and Kristoff cowrote. When I learned that they were collaborating on a new trilogy, well, I don’t think I can accurately describe my excitement. An SF YA with an ensemble cast of misfits, blistering sarcasm, and characters who are really good at what they do but terrible when interacting with other people? Sign me up, please! —Drucilla Shultz, assistant editor


The October Man

Ben Aaronovitch (Subterranean)

It’s lucky that Aaronovitch turns out new additions in his Rivers of London supernatural police procedural series so often, since their deadpan humor and sexy river gods make them perfect diversions in any season. The latest entry is a spin-off, introducing a new protagonist, magic-practicing cop Tobias Winter, in a new setting: Germany. It’s a wine-related mystery I can’t wait to uncork. —Hannah Kushnick, reviews editor


The Paper Wasp

Lauren Acampora (Grove)

That feeling when you know things are about to go horribly wrong, but you’re not sure exactly how and you can’t look away? That’s the sensation of reading Acampora’s debut novel, which opens with Abby, an artistic near recluse in a dead-end job, on her way to visit Elise, a promising Hollywood actress, after they’ve reconnected at their high school reunion. Because here’s the thing about rekindling a friendship—it just might end in ashes. —Carolyn Juris, features editor


The Perfect Fraud

Ellen LaCorte (Harper)

What is a beach read exactly? For me, it’s a perfect page-turner that adds to the bliss of summer. This one hits all the marks with two women, one a reluctant fourth-generation commitment-phobic faux psychic, the other a brash single mother with a very mysteriously sick child. The tension rises as the women’s lives collide in the red rocks of Sedona. —Louisa Ermelino, editor-at-large


The Redemption of Time: A Three-Body Problem Novel (Remembrance of Earth’s Past)

Baoshu, trans. from the Chinese by Ken Liu (Tor)

Nine years ago, science fiction novelist Cixin Liu published Death’s End in China, finishing his 1,500-page Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. “No matter how many posts we wrote, the magnificent, grand arc of the trilogy was at an end,” Baoshu writes, describing the “melancholy” that inspired him to write a fanfiction tribute. This cosmic Romeo and Juliet story takes a welcome journey back to Liu’s fictional universe (with the master’s blessing). —Jason Boog, West Coast correspondent


Red, White & Royal Blue

Casey McQuiston (Griffin)

In McQuiston’s delightful alternate universe, the U.S. elected a Texan woman president in 2016. Her half-Mexican son, Alex, is obsessed with Henry, Prince of Wales, whom he thinks a tiresome bore—until Henry gets tired of dropping hints and kisses him. Hysterical late-night texting and passionately romantic letters ensue. Their story cracked me up almost nonstop, with just enough tension, pointed politics, and happy sniffling to balance the humor. McQuiston’s unconventional royal rom-com is absolutely divine. —Rose Fox, senior reviews editor


Searching for Sylvie Lee

Jean Kwok (Morrow)

When I was invited to a promotional lunch for Kwok, the bestselling author of Girl in Translation and other mainstream novels, I thought there was some mistake. After all, I’m PW’s mystery/thriller editor. Well, it turns out Kwok’s latest centers on an insecure young woman’s search for her older sister, Sylvie, who’s gone missing. My curiosity piqued, I started to read. No surprise, the interpersonal relationships keep the pages turning. —Peter Cannon, senior editor



Vasily Grossman, trans. from the Russian by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler (New York Review Books)

Grossman (1905–1964) is best known for his excellent novel Life and Fate, a War and Peace–scale epic about the German invasion of Russia during WWII that was written in the U.S.S.R. in 1960 and banned by the Soviet authorities. But Life and Fate was a sequel whose 1952 precursor, Stalingrad, is finally being brought out in English this summer. At its center is the Battle of Stalingrad, which Grossman witnessed firsthand as a war reporter. —Daniel Berchenko, managing editor


Vintage 1954

Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

Two things I love: Paris in the fall and time travel as a plot device in fiction. Three Parisians and an American tourist share an aged bottle of Beaujolais—and the next morning wake up to a world that no longer exists. This is the perfect summer read—clever, yet light and breezy, and full of a joie de vivre that I associate with the French. We’ll always have Paris, circa 1954, thanks to Laurain’s latest charmer. —Claire Kirch, Midwest correspondent



Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore (Fantagraphics)

This is an imaginative Afrofuturist horror story, a grisly, albeit tongue-in-cheek, urban monster tale that also lampoons the hollow racial and class-identity poseurs of the social media set. A creative collaboration between two indie comics stars, this new graphic novel directs its satirical barbs at both white and black hipsters and offers an inspired and comic literary response to the destructive impact of gentrification and racial displacement in blighted urban neighborhoods. —Calvin Reid, senior news editor


Disappearing Earth

Julia Phillips (Knopf)

Three decades ago, I traveled to Siberia. I was hoping to sneak into the remote peninsula of Kamchatka but only made it as far as Irkutsk—but Phillips, in this beautifully written novel, takes me right there. It’s the story of two sisters who disappear somewhere within the 180,000 square miles of remote wilderness and mountains. Phillips tells a powerful story of Kamchatka’s residents in the wake of the girls’ disappearance and gracefully explores the tension between Russians and Kamchatka’s indigenous inhabitants. —Mark Rotella, senior editor


The Dry Heart

Natalia Ginzburg, trans. from the Italian by Frances Frenaye (New Directions)

I’m always drawn to short novels that pack a punch—Fleur Jaeggy’s Sweet Days of Discipline (101 pages), Willem Frederick Hermans’s An Untouched House (88 pages), and José Revueltas’s The Hole (79 pages) are all the more powerful for how brief they are. It’s less about finding the time to read Natalia Ginzburg’s The Dry Heart, an 83-page novel about an Italian woman who shoots and kills her husband on page one, than it is preparing yourself for it. —Gabe Habash, deputy reviews editor


Home Remedies

Xuan Juliana Wang (Hogarth)

Endearing characters with bizarre fixations fill Wang’s superb debut collection, a perfect book to dip into this summer. Two synchronized divers grow up with lives and bodies completely entwined. A 10-year-old works for her parents’ travel agency and suddenly falls under the spell of a qi master. A massive Chinese carp bloom clogs American rivers. Largely caught up within the U.S.-China “import-export boom of the early nineties,” Wang’s striking characters are fresh, clever, and shouldn’t be missed. —Seth Satterlee, reviews editor


Hot Comb

Ebony Flowers (Drawn & Quarterly)

“I liked getting my hair braided by my mother,” Flowers says, simply but with poignant resonance, in the story that opens her collection of comic narratives woven around the lives of black women, girls, and their hair care rites of passage. Strand by strand, she binds together tales about family, race (and pointedly, racism), and culture with a sharp intellectual intimacy reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston spun with cartooning exuberance influenced by Lynda Barry, in wry, curlicue drawings. —Meg Lemke, reviews editor



Téa Obreht (Random House)

Remember when status galleys were a thing? Were they? If they were, and still are, then this is that, Obreht’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2011 phenomenon The Tiger’s Wife. It’s kind of a western. It’s kind of a ghost story. And part of it is narrated by a reformed outlaw to a camel named Burke. It’s definitely its own thing, and it’s something you want to get lost in. —Jonathan Segura, executive editor


The Mad Hatter Mystery

John Dickson Carr (Penzler)

Carr first became known to me through the most purely enjoyable book I read last year, The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries. In it, editor Otto Penzler included two stories by Carr and declared him the genre’s grand master. This sterling introduction, and a plot description—London terrorized by a top hat stealing spree—suggestive of P.G. Wodehouse gone bloodily awry, has sent this newly reissued 1933 whodunit right to the top of my summer reading list. —Everett Jones, reviews editor


Message from the Shadows

Antonio Tabucchi, trans. from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel et al. (Archipelago)

The latest story collection from late Italian fiction writer Antonio Tabucchi is a career-spanning selection of 24 greatest hits translated by six translators. Tabucchi’s work is mesmerizing, with the gentle rhythms of his lush, languid prose always carrying a light melancholy, walking the fine line between our world and what he called his shadow world. Some might call it magic realism, but the experience is more akin to lucid dreaming—something of which his hero, Fernando Pessoa, would be proud. —John Maher, digital and news editor


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