Things are heating up out there, and it’s time to cool down in the AC with a good book…or brave the warmth for a spot on the sand with a beach bag filled with books. Here are five reads to dive into this summer.
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (Out now)
Thought-provoking? Yes. Disability representation? Yes. Nonstop action? Yes. All of these factors describe Corinne Duyvis’ On the Edge of Gone. This novel tests heroine Denise and her family and friends when a comet—the comet to end the world—is hurtling toward Earth and dead-set on annihilation. Denise and her loved ones hope to make it on a spaceship that will take them to another planet, but only if they can contribute something. Denise is autistic, and she worries that she might be slighted for it. What are her talents? Denise must do some good old fashioned soul searching and do it quick!
Genesis Girl (Blank Slate #1) by Jennifer Bardsley (June 14, 2016)
This dystopian novel stars our eighteen-year-old heroine, Blanca, who has always lived a sheltered life, especially in her country where access to the Internet is extremely regulated. For Blanca and her fellow students at the Tabula Rasa School, the Internet is forbidden, and their lack of an online fingerprint makes them extremely valuable after graduation. Blanca is purchased by a family who is disturbed to see how obedient she is when she arrives…but will she stay that way forever? This novel explores questions of access to information, identity, and rebellion. One Goodreads reader wrote: “The story grabbed my attention from the first page and never let me go. I read the book in one sitting, which is something I haven’t done in quite a while. I could not put it down.” Definitely a novel to read during a summer thunderstorm blackout or when you’re camping or vacationing off the grid.
The Road to Winter by Mark Smith (June 27, 2016)
Another dystopian novel releasing this summer portrays life in a country that’s been decimated by a plague. The Road to Winter follows the story of sixteen-year-old Finn, who wanders around the wasteland with his beloved pet dog, Rowdy, and tries to steer clear of the Wilders, brutal and ruthless scavengers. Finn must shelter Rose, an escaped slave, but she is hiding secrets of her own. This riveting novel is about survival, friendship, and love in the wake of a post-apocalyptic world in a country where the remaining government has dystopian inclinations.
Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch (July 5, 2016)
This sci-fi dystopian novel explores what happens after a virus-generated apocalypse. Our protagonist is Cardinal, who manages to escape the virus and find shelter in another part of the country. There he helps care for orphans in a mountain camp with his new best friend (and former enemy). One day a mysterious woman appears with a movement to “clean up” the town and rebuild. This novel asks you to question how your world can be radically changed after such a disaster when you make unlikely alliances and your priorities morph. It builds on the page-turning suspense of whether or not everything is as it appears to be…and who you should trust.
Vicarious (Vicarious #1) by Paula Stokes (August 16, 2016)
This novel, the first in a planned duology (series with two books), leaves you with a killer plot twist. The entire novel, in fact, takes you on one wild reading trip. Our heroine is Winter Kim, who along with her sister, Rose, works in a dystopian society as a digital stunt girl who is willing to do all kinds of things—swim with sharks, bungee jumping, and so on—while Winter’s boyfriend records their Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs, to sell to strangers. Stokes’ worldbuilding is so immersive and so convincing that you totally buy it, only to find out as the novel progresses that “reality” is much different. As one Goodreads reviewer wrote, “Wow. I don’t even have words….You guys are in for one hell of a ride.”