Tensions Are Running High in July New Fiction

Tensions run high in these July new releases. Some are gripping, others are competitive and another deals handles tension with humor. All make great summer reads – or anytime reads! Check out these page turners soon.

1. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

eye peeking through a gap in an elevator door

The Escape Room is Megan Goldin’s debut novel. You will be on the edge of your favorite reading chair with this thriller set on Wall Street. Four young rising stars discover the price of ambition as they compete in a team-building exercise. The actual escape room is an elevator in a high-rise building. The colleagues crowd into the elevator, the lights go off and the doors stay shut. It quickly becomes clear this is no ordinary competition. They’re caught in a dangerous game of survival. The group solves cryptic clues as the game begins to reveal dark secrets about each of them. The co-workers must put aside their rivalries and work together to break free.

“High wire tension from the first moment to the last. Four ruthless people locked in a deadly game where victory means survival. Gripping and unforgettable!” –Bestselling author Harlan Coben


2. Bad Axe County by John Galligan

gray sky with circling birds

“On a summer day in 2004, high school senior Heidi White … has just given a speech as the newly crowned Wisconsin Dairy Queen. Her chaperone draws her aside to tell her that her parents have been shot on their farm. The police believe it to be a murder-suicide, but not Heidi.

“In 2016, Heidi is the interim sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, where she’s searching for Pepper Greengrass, a 16-year-old runaway. Chapters from Pepper’s perspective reveal that she has traveled with her pimp to a backwoods stag party, where she underestimates his vicious intent while looking for opportunities to escape. Heidi’s investigation eventually leads to a sex trafficking ring, embroiling members of the local baseball team and casting suspicion onto one-time pitching ace Harley Kick, Heidi’s husband, who may be involved with another teenage girl’s disappearance. Galligan smoothly balances multiple story lines as Heidi also draws closer to the truth about her parents’ deaths. Readers will hope this is the start of a series.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Lurking in the isolated coulees at the edge of the Mississippi River are some of the meanest, foulest, cruelest hearts imaginable, and John Galligan evokes them with all the intensity of a mad poet. But in county sheriff Heidi Kick, a woman chipped and broken on every edge, Galligan offers a righteous force in opposition…. A dark beauty of a novel.” –William Kent Krueger, New York Times Bestselling author of Desolation Mountain


3. The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

This is a juicy, entertaining novel about the tensions and competitiveness among a previously happy group of friends when an exclusive school opens in their community. Four families have been a part of each others lives since their children were born. They are now in a serious competition to get their kids into the new school for gifted children. It’s a humorous, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids and the lengths they all will go to succeed, no matter the cost.

“Like Big Little Lies with standardized testing, this addictive novel digs hard into the culture of striving parents and anxious children, exploring privilege, competition and the elusiveness of happiness. A deeply pleasurable read.” – Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of The Female Persuasion


4. The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

woman reading a book with legs folded in front of her

The Last Book Party has received numerous mentions including Summer 2019 B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection, one of Parade’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2019, an O, The Oprah Magazine Best Beach Read of 2019 and a New York Post Best Beach Read of 2019.

Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer working as a low-level assistant. She eventually lands a new job as a research assistant and secures an invitation to an exclusive and famed “Book Party” where attendees dress as literary characters. By the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer ties. The literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

The Last Book Party is a delight. A story of a young woman trying to find herself while surrounded by the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape in the late 80s, I found myself nodding along in so many moments and dreading the last page. Karen Dukess has rendered a wonderful world to spend time in.” Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six


 5. You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

cartoon of school crossing guard

The title alone will make you both cheer and wince if you’ve ever been a room mother or a school volunteer. This is the follow up to Gelman’s hit book Class Mom. Her main character Jen Dixon is sassier and irreverent as ever in this sequel set in Kansas City.

Jen navigates both school and parental politics along with parents who need parenting themselves. Her husband buries himself in his work. Her older daughters navigate adulthood. Jen is once more roped into being a room parent, this time for her son’s third grade class. This book is refreshingly down-to-earth and downright funny.

“This delicious sequel to Class Mom will resonate whether you’re in the thick of the PTA years or looking back at them longingly. Get ready to laugh out loud with this highly relatable and breezy read.” ―Jane L. Rosen, author of Nine Women, One Dress


Jennifer Jones

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 17 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If you don’t like it, at least the price is right!”