The Summer 2023 Reading Group Guide Preview

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The American Booksellers Association’s Summer 2023 Reading Group Guide will continue as a free e-newsletter delivered to customers by email via Matchbook Marketing. This summer's guide will be sent on August 10.

This guide includes the following categories: Dazzling Debuts, Family and Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Other Worlds, and Thrills & Chills. The tiles are also available as an Edelweiss collection. All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.

The titles appearing in the Summer Reading Group e-newsletter are:

Dazzling Debuts

The Boys By Katie HafnerThe Boys
By Katie Hafner
(Spiegel & Grau, 9781954118348, $18, May 2)

“Ethan Fawcett, in his unassuming way, demands that once you start The Boys, you won’t stop until the last page. In a quest for love, belonging, and forgiveness, Ethan will steal your heart, and the joy he earns will completely warm it, too.”
—Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

The Caretakers: A Novel
By Amanda Bestor-Siegal
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063138209, $18.99, Apr. 25)

“A story about au pairs working for affluent families on the outskirts of Paris, The Caretakers is truly about the relationship between mothers and daughters. This unromantic look at life in the most romantic city will entrance readers.”
—Kelli McDonald, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Florida Woman
By Deb Rogers
(Hanover Square Press, 9781335455031, $18.99, May 30)

“This was a wild ride. Bananas, even. You know something weird is going down at the macaque sanctuary, and you can't stop reading because you need to know what it is. Truly a fun read; big Midsommar vibes, but make it Florida.”
—Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

The Last Karankawas: A Novel
By Kimberly Garza
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250871527, $16.99, Jun. 13)

The Last Karankawas is a vivid love letter to the intertwined Filipino and Mexican immigrant communities of Galveston and the awesome natural beauty of South Texas. I was transfixed by this multifaceted debut.”
—Jhoanna Belfer, Bel Canto Books, Long Beach, CA

Nightcrawling: A Novel
By Leila Mottley
(Vintage, 9780593312605, $17, Apr. 11)

Nightcrawling gives voice to a young girl who is forced to fend for herself in a world that is not kind to Black girls. Inspired by true events, this novel tackles corruption, seeks justice, and forces readers to see those who are forgotten.”
—Jonathan Pope, Prologue Bookshop, Columbus, OH

Saltwater Demands a Psalm: Poems (Indies Introduce)
By Kweku Abimbola
(Graywolf Press, 9781644452271, $16, Apr. 4)

“Combining Ghanaian pictographs with the grave result of being Black in America, Abimbola honors victims of police violence. Each person is renamed, reimagined, and rebirthed. Saltwater Demands a Psalm is as much joy as reverence.”
—Nikita Imafidon, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS


Family & Coming of Age

Blue Hour: A Novel By Tiffany Clarke HarrisonBlue Hour: A Novel
By Tiffany Clarke Harrison
(Soft Skull, 9781593767495, $15.95, Apr. 4)

“A powerful book that tackles two difficult topics — infertility and police brutality — and their effects on marriage and motherhood. Even in the rawest moments, it’s strikingly beautiful. A slim novel that packs such an emotional punch.”
—Alex Colevas, Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, DE

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy: A Novel
By Jamie Ford
(Atria Books, 9781982158224, $17.99, May 2)

“Grab a pen — you’ll want to take notes while reading this wild tale of the trauma, triumphs, and truths intertwined in seven generations of Moy women. This one’s as sure to be dog-eared as it is impossible to put down.”
—Trina Ortiz, Arts & Letters Bookstore, Granbury, TX

Nuclear Family: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Joseph Han
(Counterpoint, 9781640095946, $17.95, Jun. 20)

“This stunning debut follows a young man who, possessed by his grandfather’s ghost, attempts to cross the Demilitarized Zone in North Korea. A remarkable — and at turns hilarious — story of family, grief, and intergenerational trauma.”
—Lindsay Lynch, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

The Rabbit Hutch: A Novel
By Tess Gunty
(Vintage, 9780593467879, $17, Jun. 27)

“An absorbing debut novel about the inhabitants of a housing project in a dying Indiana town. Reading this made me feel askew, off balance with its evocative, twisted use of language and structure. Gunty is an author to watch.”
—Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Rainbow Rainbow: Stories
By Lydia Conklin
(Catapult, 9781646221776, $16.95, Jun. 6)

“These short stories feature queer characters across many age groups, orientations, and time periods, which highlights their unique and universal queer experiences, often told with raw and intense imagery.”
—Hannah Cloutier, The Bookery Manchester, Manchester, NH

When Women Were Dragons: A Novel
By Kelly Barnhill
(Anchor, 9780593466575, $17, May 16)

“What a gorgeous, weird, wonderful book. As bizarre and fantastical as it is, it’s also a beautiful study of gender, relationships, and what happens when we allow too much to remain unsaid simply because ‘we don't talk about that.’ ”
—Keenan DeHarpport, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA


Historical Fiction

The Foundling: A Novel By Ann LearyThe Foundling: A Novel
By Ann Leary
(S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781982120399, $17.99, Apr. 4)

The Foudling is a propulsive novel that transports readers to 1920s Pennsylvania, where perfectly capable women were placed in asylums for ‘crimes’ such as unwed pregnancies. Leary reveals the bravery required to bring the truth to light.”
—Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

Four Treasures of the Sky: A Novel
By Jenny Tinghui Zhang
(Flatiron Books, 9781250811806, $17.99, Apr. 4)

“An imaginative, tragic story of great cultural significance set in the long-forgotten era of Chinese Exclusion in the United States. The characters of Four Treasures of the Sky will stay in the hearts of readers long after the story’s end.”
—Michael Takeuchi, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA

Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel
By Anthony Marra
(Hogarth, 9780451495211, $18, Jun. 27)

“I loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and could not wait to read Mercury Pictures Presents. Marra does not disappoint! A bit of Italy, 1940s LA, espionage, World War II — the story is intwertwined, complex, and the perfect literary read.”
—Suzy Takacs, The Book Cellar, Chicago, IL

Properties of Thirst
By Marianne Wiggins
(Simon & Schuster, 9781416571278, $19.99, May 30)

“By turns lyrical and gritty, this potential classic sees WWII through the experiences of a set of memorable characters, clashing and loving in California’s desert, and builds to a stunning ending. Be sure to read the afterword.”
—Joe Strebel, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

The Two Lives of Sara
By Catherine Adel West
(Park Row, 9780778387077, $18.99, Jun. 6)

“I loved the characters in this book. They were so relatable and familiar to me. Sara is a very complicated character who endures much pain, but somehow learns to love despite the pain and trauma of her life.”
—Cheryl Lee, 44th and 3rd Bookseller, Norcross, GA

Woman of Light: A Novel
By Kali Fajardo-Anstine
(One World, 9780525511335, $18, Apr. 18)

Woman of Light centers around Luz ‘Little Light’ Lopez, a clairvoyant young woman who sees the pasts of her people while coming of age in 1930s Denver. Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s vivid writing brims with the life of the land in the American West.”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA


Other Worlds

Juniper & Thorn: A Novel By Ava ReidJuniper & Thorn: A Novel
By Ava Reid
(Harper Voyager, 9780062973177, $18.99, Apr. 25)

“Ava Reid captures the horrifying reality of abuse and how trauma can shape a person, and gives the reader a protagonist to root and hope for. With prose that reads like a dark fairy tale, Juniper & Thorn is a masterpiece!”
—Bridey Morris, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Life Ceremony: Stories
By Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Transl.)
(Grove Press, 9780802161345, $17, May 2)

“A can of worms that’s wriggling with intensity, weirdness, and appalling satisfaction featuring antiheroes, eerily-placid social norms, and sex. Life Ceremony is a pleasure that will make you wonder if you’re on the right planet.”
—Thu Doan, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Novel
By Monique Roffey
(Vintage, 9780593467350, $17, Jun. 27)

“A mystical tale of tragedy and hope! Roffey transports the reader into humankind’s darkest depths, while bewitching us with the beauty and fear of love. Distinct voices echo across time with notes of caution and untold wonders.”
—Celina Muñoz, Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond, WA

Our Wives Under the Sea: A Novel
By Julia Armfield
(Flatiron Books, 9781250229908, $17.99, Jun. 27)

“A strange, captivating portrait of grief, marriage, and illness — poignant during these long COVID years. Leah’s slow deterioration and Miri’s desperate attempts to hold on as things forever escape her grasp...what a doozy!”
—Austin Carter, Pocket Books Shop, Lancaster, PA

Siren Queen
By Nghi Vo
(Tordotcom, 9781250820563, $18.99, May 30)

“This seductive letter to Golden Age Hollywood wraps around you like a beautiful, terrifying serpent until you’re helpless in its grip. A fantastical feminist fantasy-noir of the dark magic and darker business behind the silver screen.”
—Jonathan Hawpe, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Woman, Eating: A Literary Vampire Novel
By Claire Kohda
(HarperVia, 9780063140899, $18.99, Apr. 4)

“An unsettling tale that reads like an eccentric fable. Lydia, a young artist, must reconcile her vampiric tendencies and her deep desire to be human. A coming-of-age story unlike any other, perfect for literary readers and horror fans.”
—Rachael Conrad, PRINT: A Bookstore, Portland, ME


Thrills & Chills

Metropolis: A Novel By B. A. ShapiroMetropolis: A Novel
By B. A. Shapiro
(Algonquin Books, 9781643753881, $17.99, May 30)

“Metropolis — a very old, multi-story self-storage building; each unit holds memories, secrets, and treasures from another time and place. That is, until someone falls down the elevator shaft! A clever story with outstanding characters.”
—Karen Solar, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Run Time
By Catherine Ryan Howard
(Blackstone Publishing, 9798212173407, $16.99, Jul. 11)

“Now this is what I love about Catherine Ryan Howard — plots that defy trends, characters dangling over the abyss. Run Time had me exactly where I love to be: teetering on a high wire, completely off balance, and loving every minute of it.”
—Tarin Paradise, Naughty Dog Books, Nashville, IN

By Ramona Emerson
(Soho Crime, 9781641294812, $16.95, Apr. 25)

“Rita Todacheene lived on a Navajo reservation until her unusual ability to talk to ghosts ostracized her. Now in Albuquerque working as a forensic psychologist, Rita’s heritage and her skills merge as she pursues a killer.”
—Susan Sinclair, Newtown Bookshop, Newtown, PA

Two Nights in Lisbon: A Novel
By Chris Pavone
(Picador, 9781250872302, $19, May 2)

“This is quite a different thriller. I guessed all the way through — who’s playing who, would the big secret be exposed, and what does all this have to do with national security? You won’t be able to put this down until you find out for yourself.”
—Rani Birchfield, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

Upgrade: A Novel
By Blake Crouch
(Ballantine Books, 9780593157527, $18, Jun. 27)

“Blake Crouch does it again! Yet another read-it-all-in-one-go sci-fi thriller. What really set this one apart from other works was the way it hinted on the universal: of what we need as human beings to survive what’s coming for us.”
—Aaron Akbar, Dudley's Bookshop Cafe, Bend, OR

We Spread
By Iain Reid
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781982169367, $17.99, May 30)

“Sparse prose tells us a captivating story steeped in a rising feeling of dread. It’s about aging, the cost of remembering and the cost of forgetting. I can’t wait to share this book with others so we can talk about that ending!”
—Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI