‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is a post-Roe v. Wade bestseller, Jenny Han’s YA dominates summer sales

It’s been nearly 40 years since Margaret Atwood published her seminal novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Anchor, 336 pp.). But less than a week after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, the novel is back on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list at No. 128.

The dystopian feminist novel centers on handmaid Offred, who lives in a totalitarian theocratic state known as the Republic of Gilead, where handmaids are forced to birth children for the ruling class. The novel makes frequent appearances on banned books lists. 

A specially commissioned, unburnable edition of the novel was recently auctioned for $130,000 by Sotheby’s, with the proceeds donated to PEN America, which advocates for free expression worldwide.

An art handler holds Margaret Atwood's Unburnable Book, a fireproof edition of her prescient and often banned book "The Handmaid's Tale" at Sotheby's in New York City on June 3, 2022.

The 1985 novel reached as high as No. 4 in 2017 when the streaming series based on the novel premiered on Hulu. “The Testaments,” the author’s follow-up to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” debuted at No. 2 on the bestsellers list in 2019. 

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’:Sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ well worth the wait

Sales spike for ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ 

Jenny Han’s young adult novel “The Summer I Turned Pretty” (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 304 pp.) got a sales boost after its adapted series premiered June 17 on Amazon Prime, but a week later it is dominating the list.  

This is not the first time the author’s young adult novels have been turned into a series; Han previously saw a sales spike in 2018 when “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was turned into a series by Netflix. 

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” nabbed the top spot on the list, followed by “It’s Not Summer Without You” at No. 3, “We’ll Always Have Summer” at No. 4 and “The Complete Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy” at No.33.

Author Jenny Han

The trilogy follows Belly, a young woman who spends her summers at a beach house with family friends, including brothers Jeremiah and Conrad, who for Belly fall somewhere between good friends and crushes. This summer is one where everything changes for Belly, including her relationships with Jeremiah, Conrad and herself. 

More Jenny Han:‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ author’s favorite book as a young adult will surprise you

New thriller a top debut for Riley Sager

Author Riley Sager has his highest debut on the best sellers list this week with his latest novel “The House Across the Lake” (Dutton 368 pp.) at No. 14. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window” serves as inspiration for the thriller.

The story follows recently widowed actress Casey Fletcher who, in an attempt to escape some bad press, retreats to her family’s Vermont lake house with a pair of binoculars. But she soon discovers the couple across the lake isn’t as glamorous as they first appear.

Of the novel, a USA TODAY review notes, “If you thought you knew Sager’s typical double-twists, and the tropes and trips of the suspense and thriller genre, there’s a tonal shift three-quarter of the way in that will either feel brilliant – or infuriating. Either reaction leads to a page-turning climax.”

‘The House Across the Lake’:Riley Sager thriller keeps readers guessing

Contributing: Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY; Associated Press