WE KNOW WE’RE CUTTING IT CLOSE, BOOK NERDS. Please forgive us. But we made it, we’re back from our reading and TV and movie binge vacations with a bunch more great book recs based on everything we’ve been loving. What have you been watching? Listening to? How about reading? Hopefully we’re covering it all, and this roundup of book recommendations can be the perfect TBR-building end to your summer!
Every month, we come back with book recs inspired by the shows we’re watching, the movies we’re seeing, and the music we’re listening to. You can check out past months’ in the pop culture tag up top (or just by clicking here!), or scroll down to see what’s new!
Pop Culture Book Recs: August 2018
Sharp Objects (HBO)
A reporter confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder.
ALLEGEDLY by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say…
THE CHEERLEADERS by Kara Thomas
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook. First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad…
The Innocents (Netflix)
When teenagers Harry and June run away from their repressive families to be together, they’re derailed by an extraordinary discovery—June’s ability to shape-shift.
PLACES NO ONE KNOWS by Brenna Yovanoff
Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life. Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one…
BRUJA BORN by Zoraida Cordova
Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life…
Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day woman.
ODD ONE OUT by Nic Stone
Dumped. Again. And normally Coop wouldn’t mind. But his best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring him to text some girl. Rae assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make her feel like she’s right where she belongs.She also wants to kiss him. And her…
DREAMLAND BURNING by Jennifer Latham
When Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself. One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels Will Tillman into a racial firestorm…
Gossip Girl (The CW)
Privileged teens living on the Upper East Side of New York can hide no secret from the ruthless blogger who is always watching.
THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR by Katharine McGee
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118. A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something… and everyone has something to lose. Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched. And Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal…
ALL OF THIS IS TRUE by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault. Soleil, meanwhile, wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, she couldn’t believe their luck…
Five teenagers become the last line of defense for the galaxy in an intergalactic battle against the evil alien force led by King Zarkon.
WARCROSS by Marie Lu
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. She never means to accidentally glitch herself into the Warcross Championships…
HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him…
Schitt’s Creek (CBC & Netflix)
When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt’s Creek.
GLITTER by Aprilynne Pike
Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison…
HERETICS ANONYMOUS by Katie Henry
Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic—she wants to be a priest. But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts…
Crazy Rich Asians
This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.
PRIDE by Ibi Zoboi
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons—even as her older sister starts to fall for the charming Ainsley…
THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend. And after they have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND by Kasie West
When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley…
WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
In 1993, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians.
LIKE WATER by Rebecca Podos
In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another. That changes the day she meets Leigh…
IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Misa Sugiura
Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty…
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance…
THE OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight
It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself. This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues…
After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.
MONSTER by Michael Grant
Four years after the events of the FAYZ, new meteorites are hitting Earth, and the whole world is exposed to a strange alien virus that gives humans unique superpowers. As some teens become heroes and others become dangerously out of control with their new powers, the world will become more terrifying than the FAYZ ever was…
SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker
After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet…
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Best friends unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.
100 HOURS by Rachel Vincent
Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends. While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach. But paradise has its price…
NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST by Ally Carter
Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. No phone. No Internet. And not a single word from Logan…
In a small town in Massachusetts, a group of friends attempt to prove the Slender Man doesn’t actually exist—until one of them mysteriously goes missing.
BROKEN THINGS by Lauren Oliver
It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly. The only thing is: they didn’t do it…
THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Ernshaw
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, Penny has accepted the fate of the town…
goodnight n go – Ariana Grande
One of these days
You’ll miss your train and come stay with me
We’ll have drinks and talk about things
And any excuse to stay awake with you
EMERGENCY CONTACT by Mary H.K. Choi
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. When she heads to college to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind. Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there, too. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration when he’s a famous movie director. When Sam and Penny cross paths…
THIS IS KIND OF AN EPIC LOVE STORY by Kheryn Callender
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along…
Natural – Imagine Dragons
Leave behind your heartache, cast away
Just another product of today
Rather be the hunter than the prey
SEA WITCH by Sarah Henning
Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead. Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. But when a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore…
THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. Her black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars…
Happier – Marshmello & Bastille
I want to see you smile but
Know that means I’ll have to leave
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises.
INVISIBLE GHOSTS by Robyn Schneider
Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated. Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death…
Majesty – Nicki Minaj, Eminem, & Labrinth
Whatever you say, Mrs. Majesty
Whatever you want, you can have from me
REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin…
LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Rhiannon Thomas
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne. Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe…
Idol – BTS
Point your fingers, I couldn’t care less
No matter what your reason to blame me is
I know what I am
WANT by Cindy Pon
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost…
BEFORE SHE IGNITES by Jodi Meadows
Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland. But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says…
SOS – Cher
You seem so far away, though you are standing near
You made me feel alive, but something died I fear
99 DAYS by Katie Cotugno
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done…
AUTOBOYOGRAPHY by Christina Lauren
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. When his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar, Tanner can’t resist having a go. Four months is an eternity—how hard can it be? It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian…
What TV shows, movies, music—anything, really—do you want to see some book recs for? Let us know in the comments below, and check back next month!