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Shuffling of the Shelves – August Part 2

By Hannah Moore, Lucy Shardlow, Melissa Tran and Holly Watson


From spell-binding stories to nail-biting thrillers and even some well-known names in literature surging back to the top with a little help from the film industry – we round up what has been heating up the charts as we approach the end of summer!


At number six in the Waterstones charts, we have Victor Jestin’s recent release, Heatwave, winner of multiple prizes and a dark psychological thriller with a unique premise. On holiday, a socially awkward teen witnesses a man die while failing to help him, and then buries the body. Falling into a spiral of guilt and fear, we watch as Leonard comes to terms with his mistakes. Taking the number seven spot is children’s novel Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief by David Owen, which follows Alex and his friends’ exciting quest to rescue a water dragon from an aquarium prison. For any fans of Percy Jackson, this is a must-read. Adam Nicolson’s Life Between the Tides is at number ten; a non-fiction book about sea life that looks at the human relationship with the sea and linking science with philosophy. This text is perfect for anyone looking to learn more about the world.


The WHSmith chart is full of summer thrillers this August. At number eight is The Faithless by Martina Cole, a story about family ties and betrayal that will have you dying to turn the page. Following Cynthia Tailor and her failing marriage and less than perfect children, The Faithless shows what happens when you pick yourself over those that you love. Ranking at number ten is Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell. Cornwell is well loved for her crime fiction so it is no surprise that her novel is in the charts. Autopsy is book twenty-five in the Scarpetta Series and follows the dystopian world that exists post-pandemic. When a woman’s body is found violently mangled in a public place, Scarpetta must utilise her US Secret Service connections to solve the investigation, before the serial killer strikes again. Autopsy is a nail-biting summer crime novel you do not want to miss.


Beth O’Leary has re-entered the Amazon charts this year, this time with her novel The No-Show which sits at number three this month in the most sold chart. O’Leary’s novel became an “instant Sunday Times bestseller” on release with her previous novels making her a bestselling author that many rom-com lovers can’t get enough of. At number five we have The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. The novel follows two teenagers, with very different religious and cultural backgrounds, as they seek refuge in a tavern that becomes a secret meeting place away from the outside world. Shafak is a British-Turkish author and takes a lot of inspiration from her Turkish roots in her writing, with this being no exception. Many readers have become spell-bound by Shafak's storytelling, with fellow author David Mitchell describing the novel as “Balm for our bruised times” (Amazon).


The Bookstagram community is raving about Gillian McAllister’s thriller Wrong Place, Wrong Time, which has recently risen to the charts after being made August’s Pick of the Month in Reese Witherspoon’s book club. McAllister’s novel follows the story of a mother, Jen, who tries to prevent a murder that her son has committed, waking up each morning to find herself further in the past. Described as riveting and mind-bending, there is no wonder that this is the “perfect book to round out the summer” (@reesewitherspoon on Instagram). Red, White and Royal Blue has been making an impact on BookTok after the announcement of the film adaptation directed by Matthew López. This LGBTQ+ romance novel centres around Alex Claremont-Diaz (the son of America’s first female president) and his relationship with British Prince Henry. What begins as a fake instagrammable friendship soon shifts into something deeper and more dangerous, potentially jeopardising the relationship between the two nations.


Our noteworthy book this month is Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. Released in 2000, Oates’ novel has recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to the announcement of a Netflix adaptation being created. Blonde is primarily fictional yet focuses on the woman behind the cultural icon Marilyn Monroe. Separated into five sections from childhood all the way to afterlife, Blonde retells a “fragmentary and exhaustive, fictional and historical” recollection of Monroe’s life (Amazon). Some readers have complained that the lines between fiction and fact are too blurry. One reader comments that they were left “unsatisfied” by characters being addressed by initials instead of full names, yet others have noted how this perfectly encapsulates the life of a woman whose life was ultimately a facade (Waterstones). Blonde is due to be released on Netflix late September and will star Ana de Armas as Monroe. With biopics of icons such as Elton John and Elvis becoming popular in recent times, it is not surprising that there is so much hype surrounding this upcoming one on Monroe.

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