By: Emily Perper

Hi, Sneaks. As you read this, I’m relaxing lakeside in western New York, and I’m not sorry. I’m bringing galley copies of The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder and Sour Heart: Stories with me, so I thought I’d let you in on my vacation reads below. I’ve thrown in New People, too, a fascinating new novel by Danzy Senna. Grab ’em on Tuesday, August 1.

Carolyn Murnick swung by Curious Iguana several months ago while visiting friends in Frederick and filled us in about her upcoming book, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder. Growing up in the ’80s, Carolyn and Ashley were inseparable, outsiders who banded together. Their paths began to diverge when they went to different high schools. Carolyn remained on the fringe; Ashley became beautiful and popular. By their twenties, they lived on opposite coasts and had vastly different interests and hobbies. One year after their final in-person visit, Ashley was murdered in her Hollywood home. She was 22 years old. Stricken, Carolyn flew to Los Angeles to investigate the murder and to follow the trial of the serial killer accused of stabbing her childhood best friend. (Simon & Schuster, $26)

Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang is the first book published by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s imprint, Lenny. Zhang is already an accomplished poet and essayist, writing frequently about race, immigration, relationships, and sexism. Many of her stories in Sour Heart are written through the lens of the daughter of Chinese immigrants, a role she inhabits IRL. She rejects the idea that whiteness is an indicator of universality in storytelling: “Anything can happen to a Chinese American girl – just as much of the canon of English literature involves white men or women. So it was a little test to myself, wanting to show that every type of story is possible with these characters,” she said to The Guardian. Vulture, The Week, BuzzFeed, Nylon, The Millions and more publications have Sour Heart on their lists of summer’s most anticipated books—don’t miss it! (Lenny/Random House, $26)

It’s 1996 in Brooklyn, and Maria and Khalil are engaged and set to star in a reality show called New People. They’re the poster children for a post-racial society, highly motivated and educated. When Maria starts to rethink the privilege of “passing” for white after a chance encounter with a Black poet, her seemingly perfect life and her relationship with Khalil start to fracture. Kirkus Reviews described Danzy Senna’s novel this way: “Senna’s fearless novel is equal parts beguiling and disturbing… [she] combines the clued-in status details you’d find in a New York magazine article with the narrative invention of big-league fiction…. Every detail and subplot…is resonant. A great book about race and a great book all around.” New People is an Indie Next List pick for August 2017. (Riverhead/Penguin, $26)

Other new releases (so many this week!), sorted by author’s last name:

  • Brave Deeds by David Abrams (fiction)
  • The Book of Barb: A Celebration of Stranger Things’ Iconic Wing Woman by Nadia Bailey (pop culture/humor)
  • Nest of Vipers by Andrea Camilleri (mystery)
  • The River at Night by Erica Ferenick (psychological thriller)
  • The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (historical fiction)
  • Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham (memoir)
  • The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker (fantasy)
  • Morningstar: Growing Up With Books by Ann Hood (memoir)
  • A Woman’s Place is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers by Hannah Kimberley (biography)
  • Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka (literary thriller)
  • One Summer Day in Rome by Mark Lamprell (romance)
  • Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope, and Chocolate by Anne Otsby
  • The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun (psychological thriller)
  • The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (fantasy)
  • The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose (literary thriller)
  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (literary thriller)
  • A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert (historical fiction)
  • Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjorn (fiction)
  • Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor (memoir)
  • The Lauras by Sara Taylor (fiction)
  • The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast (fiction)