Summer may almost be over, but don’t worry! If you still want to soak up the last few days of summer reading,there’s still time to get in your beach or pool reads. Or if you prefer, there’s time to start reading spooky, suspenseful, and downright chilling reads as we get ready for the best time of the year: Autumn! Dive into this list and explore the best new books of August!
The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall
What better way to get ready for Fall with a sapphic dark academia novel? Live your best spooky life with this chilling thriller with a sweet romance at its core, making it one of the best new books of August.
Synopsis: Everyone has heard the story of the Narrow. The river that runs behind the Atwood School is only a few feet across and seemingly placid, but beneath the surface, the waters are deep and vicious. It’s said that no one who has fallen in has ever survived. Eden White knows that isn’t true. Six years ago, she saw Delphine Fournier fall into the Narrow–and live.
Delphine now lives in careful isolation, sealed off from the world. Even a single drop of unpurified water could be deadly to her, and no one but Eden has any idea why. Eden has never told anyone what she saw or spoken to Delphine since, but now, unable to cover her tuition, she has to make a deal: her expenses will be paid in return for serving as a live-in companion to Delphine.
Eden finds herself drawn to the strange and mysterious girl, and the two of them begin to unravel each other’s secrets. Then Eden discovers what happened to the last girl who lived with Delphine: she was found half-drowned on dry land. Suddenly Eden is waking up to wet footprints tracking to the end of her bed, the sound of rain on the windows when the skies are clear, and a ghostly silhouette in her doorway. Something is haunting Delphine–and now it’s coming for Eden, too.
Release Date: August 1, 2023, via Viking Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
Guardians of Dawn: Zhara by S. Jae-Jones
A rich fantasy novel with a well-built and intricate worldbuilding is all I really want in a book. If you agree, you have to check out S. Jae-Jones’ new fantasy, Guardians of Dawn: Zhara.
Synopsis: Magic flickers. Love flames. Chaos reigns.
Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called an abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.
Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about–appeasing her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control–without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.
In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.
Release Date: August 1, 2023, via Wednesday Books. Order Here.
The Bewitching Hour by Ashley Poston
Buffy tie-in novels are the best. These stories are just sanctioned fanfiction and I’ve read almost all of them. I am so excited that Tara’s prequel story is in Ashley’s capable hands.
Synopsis: Tara Maclay isn’t thrilled to be starting her senior year of high school in a new town. But if she can just keep her head down, then maybe she can make it through this year in Hellborne, Vermont without the town living up to its name.
Of course, her plan falls apart immediately, as dead students start turning up around her, and she’s suddenly voted Most Likely To Have Murdered Them by the rest of the senior class. Oh, and the fellow new girl Tara’s crushing on? Turns out to be a witch-hunter…So maybe it’s not the worst thing that Tara’s magic is majorly malfunctioning.
As the body count rises, Tara has to overcome her fears, reconnect with her magic, and cast herself in a more central role to save the town–even if it means putting her new relationship at risk.
Release Date: August 1, 2023, via Disney Hyperion. Order Here.
Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher
Kingfisher’s Nettle & Bone was one of my favorite reads of last year. It had a fairy-tale romance with writing that was cozy and characters that I loved and wanted to spend time with, even for the short length of the novella. I’m very excited for Thornhedge, which promises to be just as good.
Synopsis: There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story. Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right? But nothing with fairies is ever simple. Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…
Ghost Book by Remy Lai
Ghost Book makes the best new books of August list because Remy Lai never disappoints. This sweet graphic novel about a girl befriending a boy ghost is as charming and unique as her other adventures.
Synopsis: July Chen sees ghosts. But her dad insists ghosts aren’t real. So she pretends they don’t exist. Which is incredibly difficult now as it’s Hungry Ghost month, when the Gates of the Underworld open and dangerous ghosts run amok in the living world. When July saves a boy ghost from being devoured by a Hungry Ghost, he becomes her first ever friend. Except William is not a ghost. He’s a wandering soul wavering between life and death. As the new friends embark on an adventure to return William to his body, they unearth a ghastly truth–for William to live, July must die. Inspired by Chinese mythology, this dark yet resoundingly hopeful tale about friendship, sacrifice, and the unseen world of ghosts is a dazzling heir to beloved Studio Ghibli classics.
Release Date: August 15, 2023, via First Second. Order Here.
Forgive Me Not by Jennifer Baker
A searing, emotional, and important novel that takes on the flawed criminal justice system and incarceration. Not an easy read but one that will hopefully start a necessary conversation.
Synopsis: All it took was one night and one bad decision for fifteen-year-old Violetta Chen-Samuels’ life to go off the rails. After driving drunk and causing the accident that kills her little sister, Violetta is incarcerated. Under the juvenile justice system, her fate lies in the hands of those she’s wronged–her family. With their forgiveness, she could go home. But without it? Well . . .
Denied their forgiveness, Violetta is now left with two options, neither good–remain in juvenile detention for an uncertain sentence or participate in the Trials. The Trials are no easy feat, but if she succeeds, she could regain both her freedom and what she wants most of all: her family’s love. In her quest to prove her remorse, Violetta is forced to confront not only her family’s grief, but her own–and the question of whether their forgiveness is more important than forgiving herself.
Foxglove by Adalyn Grace
Adalyn Grace’s Belladonna was the start of Signa Farrow’s story and another of my favorite reads of last year. The gothic romance between a girl who can’t die and Death was so suspenseful and enticing. The sequel promises to be as alluring and romantic as we’ve come to expect from Adalyn Grace. If you haven’t caught up with the first book, be sure to check out Belladonna before the sequel comes out!
Synopsis: A duke has been murdered. The lord of Thorn Grove has been framed. And Fate, the elusive brother of Death, has taken up residence in a sumptuous palace nearby. He’s hell-bent on revenge after Death took the life of the woman he loved many years ago. Now he’s determined to have Signa for himself, no matter the cost.
Signa and her cousin Blythe are certain that Fate can save Elijah Hawthorne from wrongful imprisonment if the girls will entertain Fate’s presence. But the more time they spend with him, the more frightening their reality becomes as Signa exhibits dramatic new powers that link her to Fate’s past. With mysteries and danger around every corner, the cousins must decide whom they can trust as they navigate their futures in high society, unravel the murders that haunt their family, and play Fate’s unexpected games–all with their destinies hanging in the balance.
The Brothers Hawthorne by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
If you’re desperate for any crumb of a story about the Hawthorne Brothers following The Final Gambit, you’re in luck. Jennifer Lynn Barnes has answered our prayers this summer. She’s releasing a companion novel about two of our favorite Hawthorne boys, Jameson and Grayson. This book shares their point-of-view from before, during and after Avery’s arrival in their lives.
Synopsis: Grayson Hawthorne was raised as the heir apparent to his billionaire grandfather, taught from the cradle to put family first. Now the great Tobias Hawthorne is dead and his family disinherited, but some lessons linger. When Grayson’s half-sisters find themselves in trouble, he swoops in to do what he does best: take care of the problem—efficiently, effectively, mercilessly. And without getting bogged down in emotional entanglements.
Jameson Hawthorne is a risk-taker, a sensation-seeker, a player of games. When his mysterious father appears and asks for a favor, Jameson can’t resist the challenge. Now he must infiltrate London’s most exclusive underground gambling club, which caters to the rich, the powerful, and the aristocratic, and win an impossible game of greatest stakes. Luckily, Jameson Hawthorne lives for impossible.
Drawn into twisted games on opposite sides of the globe, Grayson and Jameson—with the help of their brothers and the girl who inherited their grandfather’s fortune—must dig deep to decide who they want to be and what each of them will sacrifice to win.
Release Date: August 29, 2023, via Little, Brown Young Readers. Order Here.
House of Marionne by J. Elle
With a rave blurb from the queen of enemies to lovers romance, Ali Hazelwood, House of Marionne has certainly become a highly anticipated release for August for many, me included. If that doesn’t do it for you–then the promise of a fantasy romance with forbidden lovers, magic, and a secret society just might.
Synopsis: 17 year-old Quell has lived her entire life on the run. She and her mother have fled from city to city, in order to hide the deadly magic that flows through Quell’s veins. Until someone discovers her dark secret.
To hide from the assassin hunting her, and keep her mother out of harm’s way, Quell reluctantly inducts into a debutante society of magical social elites called the Order which she never knew existed. If she can pass their three rites of membership, mastering their proper form of magic, she’ll be able to secretly bury her forbidden magic forever. If caught, she will be killed. But becoming the perfect debutante is a lot harder than Quell imagined, especially when there’s more than tutoring happening with Jordan, her brooding mentor and–assassin in training.
When Quell uncovers the deadly lengths the Order will go to defend its wealth and power, she’s forced to choose: embrace the dark magic she’s been running from her entire life or risk losing everything, and everyone, she’s grown to love. Still, she fears the most formidable monster she’ll have to face is the one inside.
I Feed Her To The Beast and the Beast Is Me by Jamison Shea
You might choose a book from this best books of August list by getting your spooky season reads started early. This YA horror novel by debut author Jamison Shea is timely and unforgiving and will stay with you long after you finish.
Synopsis: Laure Mesny is a perfectionist with an axe to grind. Despite being constantly overlooked in the elite and cutthroat world of the Parisian ballet, she will do anything to prove that a Black girl can take center stage. To level the playing field, Laure ventures deep into the depths of the Catacombs and strikes a deal with a pulsating river of blood.
The primordial power Laure gains promises influence and adoration, everything she’s dreamed of and worked toward. With retribution on her mind, she surpasses her bitter and privileged peers, leaving broken bodies behind her on her climb to stardom.
But even as undeniable as she is, Laure is not the only monster around. And her vicious desires make her a perfect target for slaughter. As she descends into madness and the mystifying underworld beneath her, she is faced with the ultimate choice: continue to break herself for scraps of validation or succumb to the darkness that wants her exactly as she is–monstrous heart and all. That is, if the god-killer doesn’t catch her first. From debut author Jamison Shea comes I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me, a slow-burn horror that lifts a veil on the institutions that profit on exclusion and the toll of giving everything to a world that will never love you back.
Release Date: August 29, 2023, via Henry Hot & Company. Order Here.