Amazon's Best Books of August: Today's Releases

Erin Kodicek on August 01, 2017

New_peopleThe “King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom” are the perfect, twenty-something Brooklynite couple planning their nuptials when an infatuation with an acquaintance threatens to unravel their relationship. Danzy Senna’s New People follows Maria and Khalil as they navigate the thorny terrain of young love, identity, and adulthood. Senior Editor Chris Schluep says: "Acute observations on race, status, and the choices we make—as well as some clever set pieces—make this an entertaining, thought-provoking read."

Learn more about today's best books of the month releases below, or browse all of our favorites for August here.

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Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
Tom Perrotta’s latest is about a recent empty nester, struggling with this alien status and desperate for a distraction, when a very saucy one is served-up anonymously on her phone. No, it's not a message from Anthony Weiner, but it is something that piques Mrs. Fletcher's interest to such a degree that she becomes obsessed with a certain porn site and suddenly her sleepy suburban existence is sleepy no more. Meanwhile her son, whose clueless moments of Neanderthalism are proving a liability with the college ladies, is trying to find his footing in life too. Right off the bat you know that Mrs. Fletcher is going to veer into awkward territory, and it does have its cringe-worthy moments (which I think Perrotta inflicts with glee). But these characters are so expertly drawn that it’s easy to relate to, and sympathize with, their bumbling attempts at working through existential crises (unintentionally hilarious, and even shocking these efforts may be). The secondary characters are just as strong, and refreshingly unexpected. When Mrs. Fletcher’s ex-husband is introduced, you find out that he left her for a younger model he courted on Craigslist, and you think...Of course! But he’s actually not what you think at all, nor is his new wife. These are ordinary people making life-changing mistakes at a time when they should be (mostly) grown up. That’s the thing, though--no matter where we are in life--we always have growing to do...Perrotta, ever the provocateur, ties up a narrative loose end by creating yet another in the end. It’s something that will needle at you, in an uncomfortably good way. Such is Mrs. Fletcher. --Erin Kodicek

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Safe by Ryan Gattis
For a place known for so much sunshine and glitter, Los Angeles carries a rich tradition of writers willing to explore its shadows: Raymond Chandler, Walter Mosley, Ross MacDonald (the all-time overlooked-yet-not-underrated crime writer), Don Winslow, and James Ellroy, to name a just a few. Ryan Gattis is the latest to step into SoCal noir. Safe is a tale of two criminals: “Ghost” is a nominally reformed safecracker working for the feds and trying to stay straight; “Glasses” is a drug-runner and “cleaner,” younger and more violent. And when Ghost is sucked back into one final, illicit job, Glasses is compelled to defend his territory. Gattis’s strengths dialogue and plot, and his knack for style and language propels the action via alternating points of view, driving characters through deepening, darkening, and increasingly morally complex situations toward their inevitable fates. Safe might fall within a venerated and venerable tradition, but it’s all fun: fast, grim, twisty, and original. --Jon Foro


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