10 refreshing books to discover in July

Welcome to the nerdist Reading list. Every month, I select book recommendations that delight, charm, and terrify me. Basically, it’s the place to find the best fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and romance books and comics to add to your pile of books to read. To make things easier, each month will include a selection of previously published books that you can grab instantly. We also have new books that you will definitely want to pre-order or add to your library reservations. This month we have summer novels, sci-fi superheroes, groundbreaking manga and more!

Fantasy/Science Fiction
Onyeka and the Sun Academy by Tọlá Okogwu – Available Now
Books by Margaret K. McElderry

Black Panther meets the X-Men in this dynamic mid-level adventure. Onyeka is just a normal kid, or so she thinks. Everything changes when she nearly drowns and learns that her afro has psychokinetic powers. This delightful tale introduces readers to a wonderful British-Nigerian heroine, a whole new school for gifted youngsters, and tells a powerful story about self-acceptance and the wonder of embracing who you are. It’s a must-read for superhero fans, lovers of magical school stories, and those who simply love a big adventure.

Star Wars: Jedi and Sith Tales by various authors – Available now
A cover for Star Wars Stories of Jedi and Sith shows Darth Vader half-lit blue and half-lit red
Disney Lucasfilm Press

What does it mean to be good? Who defines what is moral or immoral? These are the kinds of questions that star wars has long encouraged the public to ask. In an immersive new mid-tier collection, some of our favorite authors dig deeper into these questions, exploring the world of Jedi and Sith. Talents such as Roseanne A. Brown, Sarwat Chadda, Karen Strong, Sam Maggs, Michael Moreci and Alex Segura each offer their perspective on the dark side and the light, and how they impact those who live in a galaxy. very, very far.

beasts of ruin by Ayana Gray – Available July 26
The cover of Beasts of Ruin shows a black girl staring at the reader through a shadowy forest, behind her a black boy stares enigmatically
GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

The highly anticipated sequel to Ayana Gray’s hit fantasy beasts of prey is almost there. This gripping novel introduced readers to Koffi and Ekon. Coming from two different rungs of society, the pair bond when Koffi’s strange powers are unleashed. After their journey through the dreaded Great Jungle, beasts of ruin finds them separated and desperate to reunite even as Koffi finds himself in the service of a terrifying new master. If you haven’t already fallen in love beasts of prey this is the perfect time to catch up before that happens.


Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest – Available Now
The cover of Zyla and Kai shows a young black couple in front of carnival rides

This beautiful YA romance will give you the kind of nostalgia for your teenage years that leaves you feeling bad. Zyla and Kai were dating, but they broke up…or so everyone thinks. They never made sense anyway, so the breakup comes as no surprise. But when, months later, the couple runs away on a school trip to the Poconos, suddenly everything is thrown into question. Told across two timelines, the whimsical warmth of Zyla & Kai will charm your socks off while keeping you guessing right down to the very last page.

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola – Available Now
The cover of Honey and Spice shows a black woman with long braids staring at the reader
William Morrow and company

If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of Bolu Babalola, then what have you done with your life? go read love in colorhis delightful collection of reimaginings of romantic folklore awaiting his full debut, Honey & Spice. If you’re already a fan, you’ll be hooked for the story of Kiki Banjo, host of the popular student radio show brown sugar. The queen of relationship escape is put to the test when she kisses notorious waster, Malakai Korede. Soon the pair get involved in a fake relationship in order to save face, but we all know where that leads. Babalola is in her element, asserting herself as the new queen of romance.


Never go home by Kate Williams – Available Now
The cover of Never Coming Home shows a beautiful beach with a bloodied body in the center behind the massive title letters
Delacorte Press

Agatha Christie’s influence has always been far-reaching, but right now we’re seeing an appreciation and celebration of her work that feels even more vital than usual. The latest in this trend is Never go home. A contemporary reimagining of And there was none, this chilling tale invites 10 influencers to an island. But, of course, they’re all guilty of something far worse than too many sponsored posts. A really fun twist on one of the ultimate murder mystery setups, this is just killer summer reading. Williams has a lot of fun playing with our expectations and keeping us on our toes on the thriller until the very last page.

The daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Available July 19
The cover of Daughter of Doctor Moreau shows a young Mexican woman standing under an overgrown arch
Del Rey Books

Quickly becoming one of our favorite authors, Silvia Moreno-Garcia blew us away with mexican gothic and The velvet was the night. That’s why we’re thrilled to have his next book hitting shelves this month. The daughter of Doctor Moreau takes on the classic HG Wells story The island of Doctor Moreau and reimagines it in the context of 19th century Mexico. Dreamy and dark, it seems like an enchanting addition to Moreno-Garcia’s catalog. We can’t wait to see what the author does with one of the most haunting and bizarre fictional tales of all time.

Comics/Manga/Graphic Novels

Wash logs by Robyn Smith and Jamila Rowser – Available Now
photo of four animated black women hugging each other on the cover of the washing newspaper
Books of Chronicles/Robyn Smith/Bex Glendining/Kazimir Lee

We are big fans of the original wash day minicomic here at nerdist. So it was with great excitement that we learned that the original creative team released a graphic novel version of their award-winning tale. After Kim, Tanisha, Davene and Cookie, four black women from the Bronx, we follow the story through the prism of their daily lives, their friendship and their hair care routines. Wash logs is the kind of thoughtful, engaging slice of life we ​​rarely get in American publishing, and it feels even more vital and unique for that reason. Rowser and Smith are an incredible creative force and this book proves they are to be reckoned with.

star knights by Kay Davault – Available now
Star Knights Cover Shows a Black Prince and a Green-Haired White Character in a Cosmic Adventure
Random House Chart/Kay Davault

A cute frog out to save the day is at the heart of this beautifully illustrated graphic novel. Determined to overcome his destiny as a mud dweller and pursue his dream of becoming a knight, Tad finds himself on a quest with a surprise party of adventurers, including the Star King! Kay Davault delivers a rambunctious, ultra-cute story about friendship, hijinks, and staying true to who you are. Perfect for readers of all ages who love fun and beautiful art.

talk to my back by Murasaki Yamada – Available July 12
The cover of Talk to My Back shows a line drawing of a Japanese woman in a 1950s dress with the title over her in cursive
Drawn and quarterly

Drawn & Quarterly has published some of our favorite books this year. talk to my back is a prime example of the kind of radical and rare findings they have published. Murasaki Yamada is a pioneer of the alt-manga scene in Japan. This collection of comics from 1981 to 1984 delves into the life of a housewife, Chiharu. This intimate examination of domestic life, loneliness and the weight of being a mother is every bit as unexpected and unique as it was then. Yamada’s playful and often sparse line art makes for an enjoyable and easy read, even as the topics and tone confront more uncomfortable and hard-to-swallow truths.

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