New releases: August 2017 – fiction

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Summer vacation is just flying by! Can you believe it’s already August? I sure can’t! But at least there’s some good news: new lists of the newest book releases coming out this very month. And since it’s the first Wednesday, we’ll be diving right into Goodreads’ newest fiction releases. Judging by the covers, it’s a very diverse selection this month. I can’t wait! Other new releases of August 2017 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

  1. Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
    Publication date: August 1st 2017
    Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence. Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.
  2. The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
    Publication date: August 29th 2017
    Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way. 
  3. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
    Publication date: August 29th 2017
    Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero—and in the process, becomes ours as well. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
  4. Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
    Publication date: August 22nd 2017
    Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late‑night talk show punchline; she is slut‑shamed, labelled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general. How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long‑ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva/Jane’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her. 
  5. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
    Publication date: August 22nd 2017
    Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

I often have trouble with the new fiction lists, since the subjects and genres are so far and wide apart. This week again, I’m afraid I’ll add none of the new releases to my list. I feel like the first one is a little forced in using both the divorcee/mother and the university student perspectives on sexuality. Also, a term like ‘white-dude privilege’ doesn’t make me think I’ll like this kind of writing style. The second one sounds interesting but there is so little information about the storyline that it could go almost anywhere, I like a little bit more specificity to decide whether I’ll like a book or not. So I looked at the reviews on Goodreads and decided against the book, though I can’t exactly say why. I’m not reading number three either, but in this case, I know exactly why! The blurb reads of a Katniss-like character in modern society growing up in a troubled home. But when looking at some of the comments and reviews, I immediately shut this book down. I don’t want to read about stuff like that and if the reviews are to be believed, Tallent also wrote very brusquely and harshly about all of it, so no thank you! I’m not a fan of “my mom did something in the past and I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive her” stories or stories about forty-something women going through life changes, so the fourth book isn’t my cup of tea either. I prefer “new adult” books, probably because I’m actually in that age span at the moment, so I should maybe revisit this book when I’m nearing my forties? And I don’t even have any idea what the fifth book is about, but I the blurb doesn’t sit well with me at all, so I’ll pass.

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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