By Hannah Moore, Holly Watson and Melissa Tran
As we head into July, feminist literature and stories focused on powerful women are at the forefront of popular fiction. We are also starting to see summer-themed books gaining more attention as people are no doubt looking for some escapist reads to take on holiday.
There has not been much movement in the Amazon charts this month, with many books we covered last issue still shuffling around! Yet Shari Lapena is one author who has entered the most sold chart with Not a Happy Family. Lapena is well known in the thriller genre for popular reads such as The Couple Next Door and A Stranger in the House. Not a Happy Family is her sixth thriller and is a hit with readers. Another highly renowned female author who has entered the charts this month is Jodi Picoult with Vanishing Acts. Picoult is no stranger to the charts as a Sunday Times bestseller with works such as My Sister’s Keeper. Vanishing Acts follows Delia Hopkins, a missing persons’ investigator, as she comes to terms with her own father’s crime of kidnapping her as a child.
As we can see, romance novels and thrillers are still dominating the charts and it will most likely stay this way throughout the summer.
The number four spot in the Waterstones chart is held by Lauren Groff’s new release, Matrix. Cast out from the French court, seventeen-year-old Marie is sent to England as prioress of a bleak abbey consumed by poverty and illness. She soon becomes involved in a new sisterhood that aims to take back her life in France. At number nine we have the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki. Exploring themes of grief, mental illness and philosophy, this unique novel takes place as fourteen-year-old Benny Oh starts to hear voices after the death of his father and must learn how to listen to what matters.
Richard Osman holds the number two spot in the WHSmith fiction chart for The Man Who Died Twice, which was published in September 2021 and is the highly anticipated sequel to The Thursday Murder Club, which holds the number six spot. This series follows four friends, Joyce, Elizabeth, Ron and Ibrahim, as they attempt to solve a murder case. Full of humour and shocking twists and turns, Richard Osman’s series continues to prove popular. Colleen Hoover currently holds the number three spot for the internet sensation It Ends with Us which follows Lily Bloom who meets the alluring neurosurgeon Ryle and a heart-breaking narrative ensues. The number seven spot is also held by Hoover for her novel Ugly Love, which follows the romantic endeavours of Tate Collins and her attractive pilot neighbour, Miles Archer. Hoover’s continued success shows the strong influence social media popularity has on the book charts.
One book that is popular on Booktok and Bookstagram right now is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. The novel follows two main characters from childhood as they bond in hospital over their love for video games. This culminates in them creating games together and becoming successful, but fame and money issues bubble beneath the surface of the virtual worlds they create. Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, Lisa Allen Agostini’s book, The Bread the Devil Knead, has been making waves in the online book community. Aletha is confident in the outside world but behind closed doors, she is dealing with domestic abuse and having an affair in an attempt to cope. Witnessing the murder of a woman by a jealous lover forces Aletha to try and change her situation.
The BookTok community is also raving about Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh. Known for her previous trending novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Moshfegh’s newest novel will unsettle even the most dedicated horror fans. The novel follows Marek, a delusional shepherd’s son who gets twisted into the unusual forces of spirits and the occult that change the nature of the natural world. The Guardian has named Lapvona a most anticipated book of 2022, which has only been emphasised by Booktok and Bookstagram’s rave reviews and reactions.
Our chosen noteworthy author this week is Joseph Coelho as he has recently been announced as the new Waterstones children’s laureate. Coelho will heavily focus on poetry during his laureateship as he is an award-winning children’s poet, with books such as the Luna Loves series, Fairytales Gone Bad, My Beautiful Voice and an activity book entitled How to Write Poems. Coelho’s poetry itself is an example of how he wants to give children the opportunity to be creative and find their own voice, with My Beautiful Voice looking at overcoming shyness and finding a voice through poetry. Coelho wants to focus on the accessibility of poetry for children of all backgrounds and abilities, recently stating that: “I think it’s so important, to let young people know ‘You are a writer,’ and to find ways to allow them to become passionate about poetry.” (The Guardian).