Hot Summer Books: Amy  Schumer's Memoir, Harry Potter Sequel and 16 Other Must Reads

10:00 AM 6/10/2016

by Andy Lewis

Schumer opens up about her teen years and Potter grows up in the script to a new London production as THR recommends which books to bring to the beach.

Istock; Courtesy of Arthur A. Levine Books; Courtesy of Penguin Random House. Courtesy of Hachette Book Group; Courtesy of Simon & Schuster
  • Sweetbitter

    by Stephanie Danler

    Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    Alfred A. Knopf, May 24

    Elevator pitch: Midwestern ingenue Tess moves to New York, gets a job in a trendy restaurant (a lightly fictionalized Union Square Cafe) and finds herself in a love triangle with the sensitive senior waiter and the mysterious hunk of a bartender.

    Buzz: Strong reviews and an avalanche of publicity suggest this Kitchen Confidential-meets-Bridget Jones debut (with lots of sex) could be the hit of the summer among young women.

  • Before the Fall

    by Noah Hawley

    Hachette Book Group

    Grand Central, May 31

    Elevator pitch: An alcoholic artist becomes a reluctant media hero when he saves the life of a 4-year-old boy in a mysterious plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.

    Buzz: Hawley, who has won an Emmy, Peabody and Golden Globe as the creator of FX's Fargo, is drawing strong early reviews (a screen adaptation is in development at Sony).

  • Modern Lovers

    by Emma Straub

    Riverhead Books

    Riverhead, May 31

    Elevator pitch: Four college friends (and former members of a one-hit 1980s band called Kitty's Mustache) struggle with midlife ennui in present-day Brooklyn. Old jealousies flare when a movie producer expresses interest in a film about a bandmember who died of a heroin overdose at 27.

    Buzz: Booksellers who read advance copies are high on this Big Chill-for-Gen X story from the author of The Vacationeers.

  • Everybody Behaves Badly

    by Lesley M.M. Blume

    Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Eamon Dolan, June 7

    Elevator pitch: The real-life boozers and bohemians who inspired Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises are chronicled in Blume's history of the author's famous 1925 trip to Pamplona, Spain, and the subsequent six-week writing spree that produced the modern masterpiece.

    Buzz: In a season light on nonfiction page-turners, Blume's raucous, fun and also smart account really stands out.

  • I Almost Forgot About You

    by Terry McMillan

    Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    Crown, June 7

    Elevator pitch :After 50-something Georgia Young's college crush dies suddenly, she quits her optometry practice, sells her house and sets out to find all her exes.

    Buzz: McMillan already has a track record in Hollywood (Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) and is back in her sweet spot with another feel-good tale about middle-aged love.

  • Lily and the Octopus

    by Steven Rowley

    Simon & Schuster

    Simon & Schuster, June 7

    Elevator pitch: This trippy novel about a man, his dog and his octopus delves into the delicate subject of letting go and coping with grief.

    Buzz: Insiders rave that this hard-to-describe story is hard to forget. Struggling screenwriter Rowley nabbed a near $1 million advance for what could become the summer's No. 1 tearjerker.

  • The Girls

    by Emma Cline

    Penguin Random House

    Random House, June 14
    *Editor's Choice

    Elevator pitch: A fictional spin on the Manson family murders from the perspective of one of the young girls caught in the cult leader's orbit, this is as much a meditation on girlhood as it is a thriller.

    Buzz: Near-universal early praise from publishing insiders, a $2 million advance and a preemptive acquisition by Scott Rudin have helped make the 27-year-old Cline's book the most talked-about debut of the year.

  • All the Missing Girls

    by Megan Miranda

    Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

    Simon & Schuster, June 28

    Elevator pitch: Ten years after her best friend disappeared without a trace, a young woman returns to her rural hometown and discovers that another girl has just disappeared.

    Buzz: A twisty plot, unreliable narrator and high-concept hook (the story unfolds backward, present to past) is drawing comparisons to Gone Girl.

  • Underground Airlines

    by Ben H. Winters

    Mulholland Books

    Mulholland Books, July 5

    Elevator pitch: In this counterfactual novel about a world where there was no Civil War and slavery continues, a young black bounty hunter chasing a runaway slave uncovers secrets that government officials want to keep hidden.

    Buzz: With alternate history big right now, The Man in the High Castle meets Birth of a Nation plotline is poised to make Winters, who had a hit with the postapocalyptic mystery The Last Policeman, a publishing star.

  • Focus: The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers

    by Michael Gross

    Courtesy of Atria Books

    Atria Books, July 5

    Elevator pitch: A gossipy peek behind the curtain at the world of fashion photography from the 1940s to the present.

    Buzz: Gross (740 Park) knows how to drop names and has any eye for salacious stories about rivalries (Harper's versus Vogue), secret love affairs (Irving Penn and Jean Patchett) and hidden pasts (Richard Avedon).

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition)

    Story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany; Book by Jack Thorne

    Arthur A. Levine Books

    Scholastic, July 31

    Elevator pitch: This isn't a novel but the script for the new Potter play, which is based on an original story and premieres the day before publication in London's West End. Still, with the tagline "The eighth story. Nineteen years later," a lot of kids (and grown-ups) are going to be lining up to buy it.

    Buzz: It's already Amazon's best-selling fiction book of 2016 — 10 weeks before its release.

  • The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

    by Amy Schumer

    Courtesy of Gallery Books

    Gallery Books, Aug. 16

    Elevator pitch: In this collection of personal essays, the comedian opens up about her teen years, family, boyfriends and sex life.

    Buzz: The track record of female comics' books (Tina Fey's Bossypants, Amy Poehler's Yes Please) and Schumer's white-hot career point to a big hit. 

  • Rich and Pretty

    by Rumaan Alam

    Courtesy of Ecco

    Ecco Press, June 7

    Elevator pitch: This New York City novel on adulthood and the pushes and pulls of friendship follows Lauren and Sarah in the run-up to a wedding that threatens their once-strong bonds.

    Buzz: The former Lucky and Elle Decor journalist’s debut novel has been making the “best of” summer lists for its smart take on female friendship

  • End of Watch

    by Stephen King

    Courtesy of Scribner

    Scribner, June 7

    Elevator pitch: The Mr. Mercedes trilogy ends with the captured mass murder, now comatose, telekinetically urging innocents to commit suicide.

    Buzz: Summer blockbusters from King are as certain as Fourth of July parades.

  • House of Secrets

    by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

    Courtesy of Grand Central

    Grand Central Publishing, June 7

    Elevator pitch: The daughter of a conspiracy theorist regains consciousness after a car accident that has killed her father. With her memory lost and the FBI questioning her, Hazel-Ann Nash takes it upon herself to investigate her father's past and his infatuation with Benedict Arnold's Bible.

    Buzz: Meltzer, who specializes in National Treasure-esque thrillers, says this one was inspired by an invitation he got from the Department of Homeland Security to use his prodigious literary imagination to brainstorm different ways terrorists might attack the United States.

  • Sarong Party Girls

    by Cheryl-Lu Lien Tan

    Courtesy of William Morrow

    William Morrow, July 12

    Elevator pitch: In what becomes a journey of self-affirmation, titular party girl Jazzy haunts Singapore clubs in search of a white, foreign husband who can give her the ultimate status symbol: a "Chanel baby."

    Buzz: The Emma re-imaging is tapping into the new market for diverse rom-coms that made Crazy Rich Asians a hit.

  • Truly Madly Deeply

    by Liane Moriarty

    Courtesy of Flatiron

    Flatiron Books, July 26

    Elevator pitch: What starts as a pleasant barbecue in Sydney ends with a child's life in the balance and further complications in the marriages of those involved.

    Buzz: Australian writer Moriaty’s profile has never been higher with the Reese Witherspoon/Nicole Kidman-produced adaptation of Big Little Lies coming to HBO in 2017.

  • Heroes of the Frontier

    by Dave Eggers

    Courtesy of Knopf Publishing Group

    Alfred A. Knopf, July 26

    Elevator pitch: This novel expanded from a November 2014 New Yorker article finds Josie, unmoored after her Ohio dental practice folds, renting a rickety RV and setting out to Alaska to make a new life for herself and her two small children.

    Buzz: The eclectic Eggers, out with his seventh novel (and first in two years), has always managed to find an audience with his accessible but literary works, even though the subject matter skips around.

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