Chilling thrillers, Dirtbag memoirs, and all the deep-dive literary fiction not to miss this month.
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July 2022 Books to Read Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark Dirtbag, Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro
Credit: Book Illustration by EW

Midsommar, in the traditional Swedish sense, means green fields and flower crowns and perhaps ritual murder (at least on screen). Mid-summer, if you're lucky, just brings a delicious new pile of books and six more hazy, hammock-y weeks to read them at your leisure before Labor Day.

Below, six fresh releases to see you through the peak of the season. (And if six is not enough, click here for our June roundup.)

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Credit: Knopf

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Sam and Sadie meet as two lonely kids in Los Angeles, and then again years later on a train platform in Boston. This is not a love story though, or at least not a traditional romance: What brings them together is video games, and if you don't know a Switch console from a hole in the floor (or more importantly, don't care), Tomorrow is still a remarkably absorbing portrait of friendship, identity, and the urge to create something beautiful, whether it be on the page or in pixels. (Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson also play a role.) Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) clearly knows her way around an RPG, but it's the analog intimacy of Tomorrow's wise, sensitive storytelling that stays.

Any Other Family, Eleanor Brown Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam's Sons
Credit: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown

Five parents, four children, one birth mother: That's the unlikely math in the latest domestic-fiction standout from Brown (The Weird Sisters). Brianna was only 14 when she gave birth to her first daughter, then soon after a set of twins; several years later another baby girl arrives, and all end up in uniquely open adoptions. The decision to raise them in a sort of loose collective — and to gather them all together over the course of two weeks at a luxe vacation home in the Colorado mountains — highlights the wide disparities of age, experience, and attachment styles in this wry, clear-eyed depiction of the gifts and pitfalls that come with chosen family.

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier
Credit: Minotaur Books

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

"There is a time and a place for erect nipples, but the back of a Seattle police car definitely isn't it." So begins Things, a four-twists-and-a-backflip thriller that actually turns out to be as much a slow-burn character study as it is a whodunit. Which is not to say the story isn't propulsive from that opening line: Paris Peralta is under arrest because her famous TV-comedian husband is dead and she — scared, brown-skinned, nearly 30 years younger — was found disoriented and holding the straight razor that killed him. Murder, stolen identity, and rampant sexual abuse are just the start of Dark-ness, but the Filipino-Canadian Hillier (Jar of Hearts, Little Secrets) writes with a keen relatability that makes the pages fly.

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
Credit: Scribner / Marysue Rucci Books

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark

Into every long and lazy summer, at least one great heavyweight novel must fall. This year's candidate is Fellowship, the result of some 20 years' work by Alice Elliott Dark (In the Gloaming, Think of England). Her protagonists are the product of even more unhurried time: Eightysomething Agnes and Polly, best friends as well as neighbors whose connection goes back decades in their coastal Maine village, but whose lives and choices have otherwise wildly diverged. You might need wrist supports to prop up a brick of a book that clocks in at nearly 600 pages in hardcover, but Dark's brisk, generous prose is worth the weight.

Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro
Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro

Sixteen-year-old Fahad hoped to spend the summer with his mother in London; instead, his father drags him to the family's far-off estate in rural Pakistan to teach him how to be a man. There, he meets a local boy called Ali, in what proves to be both a sexual and emotional awakening (call it Call Me By Your Other Name). Trained as a lawyer — he holds degrees from Cambridge and Stanford — Soonro has already elicited glowing praise from lit-star contemporaries like Rumaan Alam and Alexander Chee for his dreamy, vividly drawn debut, a coming-of-age idyll firmly rooted in the culture and custom of its homeland setting, but universal in the depth of feeling it evokes.

Dirtbag Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald CR: Bloomsbury
Credit: Bloomsbury

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional by Isaac Fitzgerald

You may know him as a regular Today Show contributor, or the author of the bestselling children's book How to Be a Pirate. It turns out Isaac Fitzgerald contains multitudes in this frank, engaging memoir: severely lapsed Catholic, lifelong rabble-rouser, well-inked tattoo aficionado. He's also held nearly every odd job on both sides of the law (barback, international aid worker, sushi chef, porn star) and the tales of childhood deprivation, boarding-school privilege, and young-man vision-questing recounted here find the bittersweet spot between dirtbag and sublime.

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