What to Read Right Now: Timely Books With Hollywood Appeal

Each week, The Hollywood Reporter will offer up the best new (and newly relevant) books that everyone will be talking about — whether it’s a tome that’s ripe for adaptation, a new Hollywood-centric tell-all or the source material for a hot new TV show. 

Rights Available

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Matthews (CAA)

The often familiar coming-of-age story takes on a wholly original perspective in this debut novel about an Indian immigrant, recently arrived post-college in Milwaukee, who must navigate a dreary corporate job and financial stress amidst the mostly unspoken-of trauma that’s left her without her family in her adopted country. The book — from the founder of the pandemic-era mutual aid group Bed-Stuy Strong — is heartbreaking and imbued with the occasionally hard-to-swallow realities of living in the margins, but ultimately hopeful.

When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff (Aevitas)

Medoff’s fifth novel, about a wealthy family trying to protect their legacy after their youngest son is accused of a heinous crime, combines the wealth-intrigue of Succession with the mystery of a true-crime podcast — plus a little bit of Lolita thrown into the page-turning mix.

Recommended Reading

Raising Lazarus by Beth Macy

The journalist’s last nonfiction work, which became the Emmy-nominated Hulu miniseries Dopesick, is known as the definitive account of America’s opioid epidemic: how corporate greed and the government’s failure to regulate the drugs led to a crisis. In her new book, on shelves Aug. 16, she trains her reporting onto the front lines of people who are actively working to save others from opioids. She follows aid workers, activists and grieving family members as they try to take down Big Pharma.

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Acne by Laura Chinn

The longtime television scribe (General Hospital) and actress (Grey’s Anatomy, Happy Endings) releases a memoir that rehashes her offbeat, occasionally traumatizing childhood — her parents were Scientologists, and their divorce led her to push the envelope of dangerous teenage behavior — told through the lens of her longtime struggle with her skin. It’s irreverent and funny, and boasts endorsements from Tina Fey, Ilana Glazer and Woody Harrelson.

Recently Announced

Good In a Room by Yulin Kuang

In an unprecedented move, screenwriter and director Kuang scored a three-book, seven-figure book deal at Avon — after a six-way auction. Her first novel, which is expected next summer, will tell of a screenwriter and author with a mysterious, linked past who find themselves in the same writer’s room.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

The queen of beach reads just agreed to deliver four more novels, starting with a story of a broken-up couple who pretend to be together in order to keep an annual friends’ trip to Maine intact. Henry’s books have sold a collective 2.5 million copies (and climbing) to date, making her literary universe ripe for adaptation.