The Masters Review’s Summer Reading List 2016

June 17, 2016

Summer is almost officially here. It is the season of relaxing with a book on the beach, at the park, on your porch—you name it. The hardest part of summer reading can be deciding where to begin. We’ve compiled a list of nine awesome debut books by new writers to help you get started.

THE GIRLSThe Girls by Emma Cline

Emma Cline’s debut novel, released earlier this week, has already received a lot of buzz. Set in 1960s California, it is the story of fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd, who joins a cult. In a New Yorker review, James Wood writes: “Emma Cline, at twenty-seven, has been fast-tracked by the Muses; she has the painterly ability to look again and see (or sense) things better than most of us do.” High praise, indeed.

Publication date: June 14

YOU ARE HAVING A GOOD TIMEYou Are Having A Good Time by Amie Barrodale

Though this is her first collection, Amie Barrodale’s stories have already appeared in publications such as The Paris Review, Harper’s, and McSweeney’s. Mary Gaitskill says: “Barrodale’s stories make me think of an updated John Cheever—that is to say she is witty, soulful and sharp all at once.”

Publication date: July 5

NIGHT OF THE ANIMALSNight of the Animals by Bill Broun

Broun’s debut novel takes place on a night in 2052, when one man decides to free all the creatures in the London Zoo. The man’s name is Cuthbert Handley, and he believes he can talk to animals. If that’s not a good teaser, we don’t know what is.

Publication date: July 5

MONTEREY BAYMonterey Bay by Lindsay Hatton

Monterey Bay is set in 1940, and tells the story of fifteen-year-old Margot Fiske. It includes in its cast of characters the great novelist John Steinbeck and, in a wonderful twist, the biologist Ed Ricketts, who served as the basis for Doc in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Margot works as Ricketts’s sketch artist, drawing the sea creatures that he studies.

Publication date: July 19

HOME FIELDHome Field by Hannah Gersen

Hannah Gersen’s debut novel Home Field is about a high school football coach in rural Maryland whose world is thrown tragically off course when his wife commits suicide—leaving him to care for their three children and to re-examine the life he has built for himself and his family.

Publication date: July 26

THE GRAND TOURThe Grand Tour by Adam O’Fallon Price

The Grand Tour gives the genre of the road novel a delightfully literary twist. The road trip is, in fact, part of a book tour taken by an old, jaded literary novelist and his biggest fan, a shy and endearing college student. A perfect book to take on your summer travels.

Publication date: August 9

RIVERINERiverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here by Angela Palm

Angela Palm’s Riverine won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. In these linked essays, Palm writes about growing up in rural Indiana, a crush she had on the boy next door, and a harrowing crime that casts her past in a different light.

Publication date: August 16

BEHOLD THE DREAMERSBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue’s much lauded debut novel comes out this August. It tells the story of Jende and Neni Jonga, a young Cameroonian couple who move to New York with their son just before the Great Recession hits.

Publication date: August 23

THE NIXThe Nix by Nathan Hill

In this gargantuan debut novel, the protagonist, Samuel Anderson-Anderson, sets out not only to find, but to write a biography about the now-famous mother who abandoned him when he was a child.

Publication date: August 30


by Sadye Teiser


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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