All Grown Up

Five years after completing her Neapolitan quartet, Elena Ferrante has the #8 book in the country with The Lying Life of Adults, a “sumptuous” novel, our review said, narrated by “the adolescent only child of a middle-class Neapolitan couple in the early 1990s.” Originally planned for June, the book’s pub date was shifted to September, a move that seems not to have hurt Ferrante’s trajectory.

Atmospheric Conditions

Debuting at #16 in children’s fiction, Punching the Air is a YA novel-in-verse by poet and activist Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five (formerly known as the Central Park Five), and Ibi Zoboi, whose children’s and YA novels include the National Book Award–nominated American Street. They “craft a powerful indictment of institutional racism and mass incarceration,” our starred review said, “through the imagined experience of Amal, a Black, Muslim 16-year-old facing imprisonment.” In a conversation PW published in August, the coauthors discussed the roots of their collaboration. “The Central Park Five changed my perspective as a sixth grader,” Zoboi told Salaam, who was 15 at the time of his wrongful conviction. “When other incidents took place in high school and college, it radicalized me.”

In Clubland

September’s Read with Jenna pick, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, lands at #4 in hardcover fiction. It’s Gyasi’s “meticulous, psychologically complex second novel,” our starred review said, after 2016’s Homegoing, which also received a starred PW review and numerous other accolades. She draws on personal experience in her new book, which “examines the consequences of a Ghanian family’s immigration to Huntsville, Ala.,” the review said. “At once a vivid evocation of the immigrant experience and a sharp delineation of an individual’s inner struggle, the novel brilliantly succeeds on both counts.”

New & Notable

Dav Pilkey
#1 Children’s Fiction, #1 overall
Pilkey’s part-dog, part-human police officer tops the charts with this ninth installment; book 10, Mothering Heights, is set for spring 2021. Release to date sales for the series top 9.7 million print units.

Louise Penny
#1 Hardcover Fiction, #2 overall
In this 16th outing for Chief Insp. Armand Gamache, head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, he travels to Paris ahead of his grandchild’s birth and becomes embroiled in the investigation of a probable homicide involving his family. “Penny’s nuanced exploration of the human spirit continues to distinguish this brilliant series,” our starred review said.