Summer Book Preview: Spider-Man, samurai and the supernatural


Renee Ahdieh's "Flame in the Mist" follows the daughter of a samurai in feudal Japan. Courtesy Photo and Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

“Woman No. 17: A Novel” — May 9

New York Times-bestselling author Edan Lepucki has this summer’s psychological noir on lock. A writer solicits help from a younger artist in caring for her two sons. As the entire family is drawn into the younger woman’s orbit, the relationships between the artist, writer and her teenaged son become twisted, exposing secrets on all sides.

“Flame in the Mist” — May 16

As the daughter of a samurai, Mariko is sent to elevate her family’s standing in a political marriage, but when a gang of bandits attacks her, Mariko escapes, disguises herself as a boy and enters the bandits’ world of intrigue and secrecy. Renée Ahdieh’s latest young adult work is billed as “Mulan” meets “Throne of Glass.”

“Hunger” — June 13

Roxane Gay pushed back the release date for this novel to make way for “Difficult Women,” whetting fans’ appetites for more of her prose. In this collection, she focuses on her own body and the inverse relationship between size and being seen.

“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” — June 13

Sherman Alexie wrote 78 essays and 78 poems about his mother, a complex and chaotic figure. This memoir chronicles the volatile relationship between abusive parent and child, and the way those bonds last even after death.

“Easy Motion Tourist” — June 13

A British tourist falls into the seedy underbelly of Lagos after spending a little too much time in proximity to a murder scene. Leye Adenle crafts a fast-paced, idiosyncratic noir that delves into the sex and organ trades in Nigeria.

“A.D.: After Death” — July 28

Technically, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire’s comic book series about a future where death has a genetic cure has been running since November 2016. But this fully painted volume from the writer and artist known from “Wytches,” “Descender,” DC’s “Batman” and “American Vampire” has already been optioned for a movie. Better catch it in print before it hits the big screen.

“Sour Heart” — Aug. 1

The daughters of Chinese immigrants in New York City narrate seven short stories that leap across generations and time periods. Jenny Zhang treats each of her subjects with wit and sensitivity, pulling readers into an experience they may or may not share.

“Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel” — Aug. 1

Secretly disappointed that Marvel cast yet another white dude in the Spider-Man reboot? Miles Morales is the latest Marvel superhero cheated out of a movie franchise, then given a young adult novel franchise — see Black Widow —. This book combines supervillain shenanigans with a clear look at the challenges facing young black men in the United States’educational system.

“Tiger’s Watch” — Aug. 22

Julia Ember’s second young adult novel is unlike any you’ve seen before. It features a genderfluid protagonist and anthropomorphic bond. Teenaged Tashi has spent their life training as a soldier who kills using a bonded animal. When their capital city falls, Tashi flees to a monastery, which is quickly overrun with enemy soldiers. While Tashi begins to fall for one of the young commanders, their bonded tiger, Katala, continues to attack and kill the troops that invaded their country.

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