58 Best Books Of August 2022, From Romance To Fantasy & More – Bustle
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.
Below, the 58 most anticipated books of August 2022.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Someone is killing the wealthy, Insta-perfect guests of a wellness spa, and Ronnie — a Queens native who followed a friend to Sedona — may be the only person able to discover the truth about the desert resort.
Dogs of Summer
The unnamed narrator of this debut novel — originally published in 2020, and translated into English this year — is known only as Shit, the title given to her by her best friend, Isora. Coming of age in working-class families on Tenerife, far from the beachy resorts that make the island famous, Shit and Isora are anxious to grow up and explore the world outside their town. But their lives begin to spiral out of control as Isora pursues pleasure at any cost, and Shit questions how far she’s willing to go for her friend.
The Book Eaters
Sunyi Dean’s debut novel centers on Devon, a young woman growing up on the Yorkshire Moors in a family of book eaters — people who eat books instead of food, and remember the contents of every page they consume. As a girl, Devon’s diet has consisted only of fairy tales and superstition, even as her brothers are given high-flying adventure novels to enjoy. But when she gives birth to a child who is a
mind eater, she’s forced to find a way out of her family’s restrictive traditions.
Long Live the Pumpkin Queen
Long Live the Pumpkin Queen picks up where The Nightmare Before Christmas left off. Here, newlywed Sally Skellington has just been crowned the Pumpkin Queen — a role with rules and responsibilities that recall her time in Dr. Finkelstein’s lab. Disenchanted, Sally stumbles upon the door to Dream Town, and accidentally releases a villain on Halloween Town’s unsuspecting residents. And so the new Pumpkin Queen must step up to the plate to save the town, or risk losing everyone she loves — and herself — forever.
How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying)
Astrid, an aspiring med student, has a plan for her life — down to the day, the hour, the
minute. All that changes, though, when she starts going out with her chaotic former classmate, Max, whose work as the superhero Kid Comet constantly disrupts Astrid’s meticulously planned schedule. Now, Astrid has to balance her studies and her relationship with Max — all while making sure she doesn’t become his nemeses’ next victim.
The Women Could Fly
Lakewood author Megan Giddings’ new novel is set in an alternate reality in which witches are regularly put on trial. The story centers on Jo, a young Black woman whose mother disappeared when she was just a teenager. Now approaching her 30th birthday — the date on which all unmarried women must agree to be monitored by the Bureau of Witchcraft — Jo finds herself disillusioned with her boyfriend and continually frustrated by her feelings for her best friend. Desperate and fearful of losing her independence, Jo plans a trip to a mysterious island linked to the inheritance her mother left behind.
The Rabbit Hutch
The Rabbit Hutch follows one week in the life of Blandine, a teenager living in a dying Rust Belt town. Blandine recently aged out of the foster-care system, and now lives in a dilapidated apartment building with three boys in the same situation. Together, these four teens struggle to get their bearings in a world that was not built for them — but as pressure mounts on the group, things quickly begin to spiral toward violence.
Alexis Hall’s follow-up to
Boyfriend Material is Husband Material. Here, fake-daters-turned-real-boyfriends Luc and Oliver are forced to weather a very busy wedding season while debating where their own relationship is headed.
The Last White Man
Exit West author Mohsin Hamid returns to stores this month with The Last White Man. Here, white people across the globe are affected by a strange phenomenon: their skin is turning darker, without explanation. Together, a pair of white lovers and their widowed parents must navigate these strange waters of identity and prejudice.
The Devil Takes You Home
After his daughter’s medical bills leave the family mired in debt, Mario becomes a hitman to make ends meet — and throws himself even further into the criminal underworld when he’s unable to save either his daughter or his marriage. But as he goes deeper down the rabbit hole, this newly minted contract killer discovers a world full of monsters he never imagined were real.
Mika in Real Life
From the author of
Tokyo Ever After comes Mika in Real Life. The story here follows Mika, a 35-year-old woman, and Penny, the daughter Mika gave up for adoption 16 years ago. When Penny reaches out for the first time, Mika’s life is falling apart — but she wants to be the kind of biological parent Penny can be proud of. So she does the only thing she can think of: She lies. As she comes to care for both Penny and her adoptive father, though, Mika must decide what’s more important — keeping up appearances, or honesty and openness.
Long Past Summer
An emotionally charged novel in the vein of
The Mothers and An American Marriage, Noué Kirwan’s Long Past Summer centers on Mikaela, a small-town Black girl turned big-city lawyer. Mikaela likes to think she’s put her adolescence behind her, but she’s put on a collision course with the past when a picture of herself and her high school best friend — who’s now married to Mikaela’s first love — lands on the cover of a major magazine.
Mercury Pictures Presents
Fifteen years ago, Maria Lagana left Fascist Italy for Hollywood and made a career for herself as a B-movie producer. But with America about to enter WWII, her European past has never felt more present.
All This Could Be Different
Sneha graduated during the Great Recession, but was lucky to land one of the few entry-level jobs available in corporate America. Even if the going isn’t easy, she’s making it work: getting her friends jobs at the same company, sending money to her recently deported parents, and nurturing a romantic relationship with another woman. And yet, no matter how hard she tries, there are some things she can’t outrun.
A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic
When Cicely’s beloved aunt — a popular influencer and vodou practitioner — is possessed on the eve of Cicely’s birthday, the Haitian American teen must rally her allies, including her best friend and her biggest crush, to save her.
The Hookup Plan
The latest installment in Farrah Rochon’s Boyfriend Project series is
The Hookup Plan. Here, a pediatric surgeon buckling under the demands of her high-stress job decides to follow her friends’ suggestion to find a no-strings-attached fling… and ends up hooking up with her onetime rival, Drew, at their high school reunion. For a while, Drew’s just the distraction London needs. But once she learns that he’s been tapped to decide the fate of her hospital, things get a lot more heated, and not in a good way.
The long-awaited third book in Valerie Valdes’ Chilling Effect series is out this month.
Fault Tolerance finds Captain Eva Innocente and the rest of La Sirena Negra’s crew faced with an unknown force that threatens to destroy all life in the Universe. The key to humanity’s salvation may lie in an unexplored region of space, but before they can reach it, the crew will have to defeat a deadly mercenary.
Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure, and an Unfinished Revolution
Teen Vogue columnist reckons with her personal connection to American feminism in Bad Sex. After growing up in the shadow of her mother — famous Second Wave feminist Ellen Willis — Nona Willis Aronowitz found herself living the white-picket-fence life her mom’s contemporaries railed against. When Aronowitz was thrust back into the dating pool at the end of her marriage, though, she turned to her mother’s writing for guidance.
Set in an alternate past in which the Nazis took over England and the Third Reich survived World War II,
Widowland centers on Rose, a Ministry of Culture employee tasked with writing anti-fascist ideas out of English literary classics. As the coronation of King Edward VIII and Queen Wallis approaches, however, Rose is given a new mission: go undercover in Widowland — the slums housing single women over 50 — and root out any subversive activity before the big event.
The Portable Anna Julia Cooper
Anna Julia Cooper — one of the most influential and oft-overlooked Black scholars — wrote and published one of the earliest Black feminist texts,
A Voice from the South, in 1892. Editor Shirley Moody-Turner collects the entirety of A Voice from the South in this new tome, along with many of Cooper’s other previously unpublished plays, poems, articles, and letters.
The Family Remains
In this sequel to
The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell returns her attention to the case of mass suicide that haunted that previous novel. This time, bones connected to the old case have washed up from the Thames, and Lucy Lamb’s carefully reconstructed life may be about to come crashing down around her.
Mother in the Dark
Moving between the past and a few short days in the present,
Mother in the Dark explores the tense relationship between Anna — an Italian American New Yorker who grew up in Boston — and her mother, Diana, who began showing symptoms of mental illness when Anna and her sisters were young.
I’m Glad My Mom Died
Jennette McCurdy, onetime star of Nickelodeon’s
iCarly and Sam & Cat, recounts her complicated road to fame — and decision to leave the spotlight — in I’m Glad My Mom Died. Raised by a stage parent who loved being a stage parent, McCurdy experienced disordered eating and mental illness earlier than many. In her memoir, she offers an unflinching look at the child-star machine.
The final book in Rosaria Munda’s Aurelian Cycle,
Furysong picks up with Annie, Lee, Griff, and Delo as they’re scattered to the winds following a major blow to their resistance efforts. And Lee finds himself at a crossroads when an unlikely ally approaches him with plans for a coup, forcing him to choose between reuniting with the Guardians and forging his own path.
Blood Like Fate
Liselle Sambury continues Voya’s story in this sequel to
Blood Like Magic. Now acting as the head of her family — after paying a steep cost to tap into her magical powers — Voya finds her list of allies shrinking. The boy she loves thinks she murdered his father; her family blames her for the loss of her grandmother; and her ancestors aren’t answering her prayers. But when a vision of her coven’s destruction comes to her, Voya must find a way to lead her family out of perdition, even as they remain reluctant to trust her.
A Map for the Missing
When his father vanishes from his tiny hometown, Yitian, a Chinese American man, must travel back to China to discern the cause of his disappearance. There, Yitian turns to his ex-lover, the Shanghai-born wife of a bureaucrat, for help. In doing so, he opens the floodgates to memories of their shared past — and painful conversations about where they parted ways.
The Memory Index
Ravaged by a disease that impedes memory processing, humanity is forced to use artificial means to access their lived experiences. Some, known as “recollectors,” only need these treatments once a day; “degens,” on the other hand, require much more frequent use. In this strange new world, Freya, a teenage degen, searches for answers to the mystery of her father’s murder. She thinks she’s been given a lifeline when she’s placed in a trial for a new memory drug — but when Freya discovers she’s the only degen among 500 recollectors in the study, she begins to question why she was chosen to participate.
This 2003 short-story collection from Japan’s Banana Yoshimoto — one of the finest authors writing today — lands on U.S. bookshelves this month. Here, women recovering from trauma and tragedy must find new ways of interacting with a society that expects them to be well.
Hira, a 16-year-old Pakistani exchange student spending a year in small-town Oregon, takes center stage in Dur e Aziz Amna’s clever debut. Hira was prepared to find everything about her host country bewildering and disappointing — but just as she begins to see that things in the U.S. aren’t so bad, a personal tragedy lands in her lap, separating her from the town at large.
Sabrina author Nick Drnaso returns to stores this month with Acting Class. Here, a drama teacher who calls himself John Smith takes on a class of 10 mostly unrelated adults, each of whom has personal problems that are just beginning to bubble to the surface. As the charismatic Smith demands more and more from his students, the class struggles to separate fact from fiction, and their fragile senses of self start to crumble.
Adele, a soap opera actor looking to revive her career with a pivot to film, has just been cast in a new horror film from Hollywood darling Steve Dade. She reluctantly returns to Ireland for the shoot, wary that the ghosts of her past will catch up with her — and her fears only mount when she finds herself stuck the secluded forests of West Cork in the middle of winter. Before long, strange events begin to plague the production, and Dade’s leading lady gets caught in a fight for her life.
In her debut novel, Darug author Julie Janson traces the history of European violence in Australia. The story centers on Muraging — a 10-year-old Darug girl living in 19th-century Australia, who’s taken from her father and placed in a residential school designed to sever her from her Aboriginal tribal culture. After six years, Muraging escapes and attempts to make her way in an increasingly colonized world.
Amy & Lan
On an English farm run by three families, two young children — the eponymous Amy Connell and Lachlan Honey — come of age surrounded by people and animals, love and loss. Their parents bought the land together, in the hopes of living out a pastoral fantasy — but what initially makes for an idyllic childhood soon gives way to infighting.
From the poet behind
Life Without Air comes Paul, a claustrophobic novel about a British grad student’s problematic romance. Paul, a former anthropologist, runs an eco-farm where Frances — a 21-year-old student fleeing a destabilizing incident in Paris — is set to spend a week sorting out her thoughts. Within the week, she’s in Paul’s bed… and under his spell.
After a transgender curandera named Paloma is murdered, journalist Zoe sets out from Mexico City to investigate. Her search leads her to Feliciana, Paloma’s cousin and protegée, who’s now serving the village of San Felipe as a folk healer and wisewoman. Together, Zoe and Feliciana begin a dialogue that questions the state of womanhood in a country grappling with colonized values.
Echoes of Grace
After a pair of tragedies leave them reeling, sisters Graciela and Mercedes Torres scrabble to find meaning and stability amid the rubble of their once-solid life. For Graciela, who is missing memories from one fateful week in her childhood, the trauma begins to manifest as a series of mysterious visions connected to Mercedes.
The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy
Astrophysicist, folklorist, and
Exolore host Moiya McTier gives the galaxy a voice in The Milky Way. With a cast of characters as varied as the stars, McTier lays out how our little corner of the Universe came to be… and how it might someday end.
Dance with the Devil
The third installment in Kit Rocha’s Mercenary Librarians series is
Dance with the Devil. Here, Dani and Rafe find themselves searching for answers following the death of Tobias Richter, the vice president of the corporation that controls Atlanta. It’s all a lot to grapple with — and it doesn’t help that the pair’s sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife.
The Oleander Sword
In the second installment in Tasha Suri’s Burning Kingdoms series, Malini continues working to secure her claim to Parijatdvipa’s throne, while Priya tries to save Ahiranya from a plague. To accomplish their missions, the two young women will need to work together in the face of ever-mounting odds.
Love in the Time of Serial Killers
In this uproarious rom-com, a PhD candidate working on a thesis about true crime becomes convinced her seemingly mild-mannered neighbor is a serial killer. Phoebe has kept herself guarded for years, but as she searches for evidence that Sam truly is a mass murderer, she realizes the walls she’s built around her heart are deteriorating, one brick at a time.
The Hundred Waters
Years ago, former New York City model Louisa Rader settled down in Connecticut with her wealthy husband to raise their young daughter. She finds renewed purpose in championing the development of a local art center — a pursuit that brings Gabriel, an ecologically minded artist, into her orbit. The consequences ripple out from there, disrupting her and her daughter’s once staid, domestic life.
The Ghetto Within
Argentine filmmaker Santiago H. Amigorena fictionalizes the story of his grandfather, a Jewish immigrant who fled Poland for Argentina in the 1930s, in
The Ghetto Within. Vicente finds community with a small group of Polish Argentinians, and soon marries Rosita and raises a family. But no amount of time in exile can snuff out Vicente’s memories of Warsaw and the mother he left behind.
Once every 100 years, the Centennial — a competition between the rulers of six realms — takes place on a mysterious, ephemeral island. In order to break the curses plaguing their realms, the rulers must take part in this deadly gambit… and one of them must die. Isla Crown has spent her entire life training for this event, but once she’s faced with her five opponents — some of whom are wildly attractive — Isla realizes that no amount of prep could have readied her for what the Centennial brings.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy
Hart and Mercy couldn’t be more different. He’s a grumpy zombie-slayer who works to keep civilians safe from the dangerous creatures of Tanria. She’s a sunshine-y undertaker whose only mission in life is to save her foundering business. They’re forever on one another’s nerves, so thank goodness for the anonymous penpals they’ve both been writing to, who seem to really get them. How long do you think it’ll take these two enemies to realize they’ve been writing to each other?
Small Town, Big Magic
Overachiever Emerson Wilde has succeeded at everything she’s ever tried, including keeping an independent bookstore afloat in tiny St. Cyprian, Missouri and becoming president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce. But when planning a local festival goes horribly awry, and the mayor — Skip Simon, her lifelong nemesis — seems to be behind the festival’s supernatural troubles, Emerson is thrust on a journey of self-discovery that will force her to harness her witchy powers or risk losing everything.
Convinced that the only way to fully commune with God is to venture into the wilderness, a 7th-century ascetic takes two young disciples to a remote island off the coast of Ireland. There, the two younger men, Cormac and Trian, must gather their wits about them to withstand the increasing pressure from their leader.
When Robin, a Chinese orphan taken in by a mysterious British linguist, is accepted to the Oxford University Royal Institute of Translation (aka “Babel”), it’s the culmination of years of training. But Babel serves a single purpose, and that’s to expand the British Empire — the institution that separated Robin from his homeland after the deaths of his parents. And when he’s recruited by a resistance movement aimed at taking down Babel from the inside, Robin realizes this may be his only chance to set things right.
A Venom Dark and Sweet
The magical adventure begun in
A Magic Steeped in Poison reaches its fantastic conclusion here. Still reeling from the Banished Prince’s crimes against Dàxi, four women — the tea-mage Ning and her sister, Shu, along with Princess Zhen and her bodyguard, Ruyi — gather allies in their quest to wrest back control from a usurper with a taste for poison.
My Government Means to Kill Me
This month, screenwriter Rasheed Newson publishes his debut novel,
My Government Means to Kill Me. Here, a young Black man from a well-to-do family leaves his family fortune behind to make his own way in New York City. There, he goes toe-to-toe with his landlord, Fred Trump, and helps to found ACT UP: an organization fighting to stop the spread of AIDS and end the stigma against HIV-positive people.
The second novel in Karin Slaughter’s Andrea Oliver series,
Girl, Forgotten follows Andrea, a U.S. Marshal, as she works to solve a decades-old cold case — that of young Emily Vaughn’s death on prom night in 1982 — while also protecting a small-town judge from death threats.
In this taut, tragic novel of intergenerational trauma, a family’s matriarch lies on her deathbed. Four of her relatives — Julie B., Alex, Jan, and Lydia — come to say goodbye, leading to a tempestuous reunion and a long-overdue reckoning.
The House of Fortune
The long-awaited follow-up to 2014’s
The Miniaturist, The House of Fortune returns to Amsterdam, some 20 years after the events of the first novel. This time, the story focuses on Nella Brandt’s niece, Thea, who may be forced to enter a marriage of convenience to save her family from misfortune.
All of Our Demise
The thrilling story that began in
All of Us Villains comes to its stunning conclusion in All of Our Demise. With their arena crumbling around them, the remaining contestants in this magical battle royale must decide whether to uphold tradition… or overthrow it.
The Spear Cuts Through Water
The Vanished Birds author Simon Jimenez comes The Spear Cuts Through Water. The Moon is dying. Ever since she granted one man’s wish for sons, creating a lineage of god-emperors, the Moon has been locked away beneath the palace, her beauty and light separated from the outside world. In retaliation, her lover, the Water, has plunged the world into unending drought. Now, with little time left, the Moon is ready to escape her prison and end the legacy of tyranny she helped to create.
Amy, Jess, Melissa, and Liz just wanted to build a She Shed — a place away from their kids, husbands, and the PTA. But when their humble DIY project unleashes a demonic force — one that takes hold of Liz’s body — it’ll be up to the three friends to rescue the whole neighborhood from the hell that’s fast approaching.
The Dragon’s Promise
This sequel to
Six Crimson Cranes finds Princess Shiori struggling to make good on her 11th-hour promise to return the dragon’s pearl. Not only does the journey lead her through a web of intrigue and danger, but the pearl itself also seems out to get her, using its magic to help or hinder her quest at random. It’s going to take all the princess’ resources — and more than a little of her magical talent — to make it out of this one.
Carrie Soto Is Back
When Carrie Soto retired from professional tennis six years ago, she boasted a whopping 20 Grand Slam titles and every record worth holding. So when an up-and-coming tennis star looks poised to break Carrie’s records on the court, the 37-year-old former star decides to come back for one last season to secure her legacy, once and for all.
A Taste of Gold and Iron
Alexandra Rowland’s engrossing fantasy standalone centers on Kadou, the queen’s anxious younger brother, who’s embroiled in a major incident when his devoted attendant and lover threatens the queen’s paramour. Assigned a new guardian, the taciturn Evemer, and desperate to prove himself, Kadou launches an investigation into a counterfeiting scheme that can be traced to the very heart of the palace.
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