Fill your tote for beach reading, and beyond.

The Best New Books to Read This Summer

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This season, spend time in stories of steamy Los Angeles nights, explorations of motherhood, a love letter to librarians, a deep dive into an Upper West Side cult, and more excellent new releases.

‘Evidence of Things Seen’ by Sarah Weinman

Edited by Weinman, this incisive collection of true-crime reporting spans from May Jeong’s VF story on the Atlanta spa shooting victims to Amanda Knox’s essay on narrative ownership. (Ecco)

‘Zero-Sum’ by Joyce Carol Oates

An electric story collection from a lit icon and Twitter star: One woman gently sets her daughter out with the trash, girls lay a sticky trap for their community’s hidden sex pests; violence simmers and sometimes boils over. (Knopf)

‘The Sullivanians’ by Alexander Stille

The author interviewed more than 60 former affiliates of the Sullivan Institute, a psychoanalytic center turned sexually abusive cult, for his disturbing, gripping deep dive. (FSG)

‘Easy Money’ by Ben McKenzie

The O.C.’s McKenzie and journalist Jacob Silverman examine the seedy underbelly of crypto, from Sam Bankman-Fried to celeb influencers. (Abrams Press)

‘When Crack Was King’ by Donovan X. Ramsey

With intimacy and precision, Ramsey elucidates two decades of an epidemic exacerbated by structural racism and police brutality through the experiences of four affected individuals. (One World)

‘The Elissas’ by Samantha Leach

Leach chronicles a trio of early deaths: her childhood best friend—Elissa, sent to for-profit “therapeutic boarding schools” for troubled teens—and her classmates there, Alyssa and Alissa. (Legacy Lit)

‘Banyan Moon’ by Thao Thai

Alienated mother and daughter Huơng and Ann are flung together by the death of the family matriarch in Thai’s rich novel of inheritance and generational divides. (Mariner)

‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by Beth Nguyen

The author—whose father fled with her from Saigon in 1975—considers her fraught, scant relationship with her biological mother, other formative maternal connections, and her own role as mom to her sons in this thoughtful excavation. (Scribner)

‘The Librarianist’ by Patrick deWitt

This engrossing fictional portrait of a retired librarian volunteering at an old folks home unspools its main character’s life—betrayals, loss, triumphs—with humor and tenderness. (Ecco)

‘All-Night Pharmacy’ by Ruth Madievsky

In this vivid debut, an unmoored Angeleno follows her older sister, Debbie, into addiction and pill scams; when Debbie vanishes, our narrator’s relationship with a psychic fills the void—for a time. (Catapult)

‘The Sunset Crowd’ by Karin Tanabe

Secrets and power struggles abound in Tanabe’s stylish novel of three women angling for immortalization—or at least 15 minutes of fame—in 1970s Hollywood. (St. Martin’s Press)

‘Hope’ by Andrew Ridker

In this biting satire, the well-to-do Greenspan family squirms through one very bad year, from its 80-year-old grandmother siphoning her savings to a teen online paramour, to the patriarch’s alleged medical fraud. (Viking)

‘The Girl in the Yellow Poncho’ by Kristal Brent Zook

Zook contends with childhood abandonment by her white father and describes the Black women who raised her in this evocative rumination on growing up biracial in America. (Duke University)

‘The Apology’ by Jimin Han

In Han’s surreal genre twister, from the afterlife, centenarian Jeonga Cha looks back on the family rifts she created while trying to keep up appearances. (Little, Brown)