Get Ready, Because These Are All The Best Books Releasing In July

·34 min read
  Alexa Fishman
Alexa Fishman
Literary fiction
Alexa Fishman

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

This haunting book about a deep sea diver and her civilian wife dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic work experience gripped me from the first chapter. The language is spare but hypnotic, and struck me with its deep insights into the complicated nature of relationships. With this novel, Julia Armfield is unafraid to deal with uncomfortable issues, asking readers how much it’s possible to ever really know someone, no matter how long you’ve been with them. I savored each delicious sentence of Our Wives Under the Sea, underlining passages on almost every page, and genuinely missed the characters when it ended. —David Vogel

This haunting book about a deep sea diver and her civilian wife dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic work experience gripped me from the first chapter. The language is spare but hypnotic, and struck me with its deep insights into the complicated nature of relationships. With this novel, Julia Armfield is unafraid to deal with uncomfortable issues, asking readers how much it’s possible to ever really know someone, no matter how long you’ve been with them. I savored each delicious sentence of Our Wives Under the Sea, underlining passages on almost every page, and genuinely missed the characters when it ended. —David Vogel

Flatiron Books

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

Ever Geimausaddle’s life is defined by others. That’s not an exaggeration, this story is quite literally told through the people in his life, following Ever through their own pathways and finally to his own words. From his father’s kidney failure to his mother’s attempts to hold things together. From his Cherokee grandmother urging an interstate move to his dying grandfather’s goal of reconnecting him with his heritage. From those who came before Ever to the generation after him. This miraculous story presents a collective imagining not only of who its main character is, but who everyone else anticipated and dreamed he could become. It is a must-read. —Rachel Strolle

Ever Geimausaddle’s life is defined by others. That’s not an exaggeration, this story is quite literally told through the people in his life, following Ever through their own pathways and finally to his own words. From his father’s kidney failure to his mother’s attempts to hold things together. From his Cherokee grandmother urging an interstate move to his dying grandfather’s goal of reconnecting him with his heritage. From those who came before Ever to the generation after him. This miraculous story presents a collective imagining not only of who its main character is, but who everyone else anticipated and dreamed he could become. It is a must-read. —Rachel Strolle

Algonquin Books

Kaleidoscope by Cecily Wong

Wong’s insightful and compelling novel follows two sisters in a moving and complex look at ambition and success. The Brightons are a Chinese American biracial family who have achieved the American dream by creating Kaleidoscope, a shopping empire that deals in luxury goods. Morgan, the eldest daughter, is the one who receives all the favorable press and praise while her sister, Riley, lives in her shadow. When one life-altering event changes everything Riley thought she knew, she embarks on a journey to come to terms with the truth. —Farrah Penn

Wong’s insightful and compelling novel follows two sisters in a moving and complex look at ambition and success. The Brightons are a Chinese American biracial family who have achieved the American dream by creating Kaleidoscope, a shopping empire that deals in luxury goods. Morgan, the eldest daughter, is the one who receives all the favorable press and praise while her sister, Riley, lives in her shadow. When one life-altering event changes everything Riley thought she knew, she embarks on a journey to come to terms with the truth. —Farrah Penn

Dutton

NSFW by Isabel Kaplan

Haunting and hilarious in equal measure, NSFW follows one ambitious Harvard grad's journey up the ranks in television development as she tries to set boundaries with her successful and overbearing mother. Set a few years before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement, this sharp, unflinching novel takes a magnifying glass to the cognitive dissonance required by women who dare to exist — or even succeed — in a male-dominated world. The rich nuances of the narrator's personal and professional life in Hollywood, which blur together with every page, are as farcical as they are strikingly realistic. A must-read for any Angeleno. —Will Hunt

Haunting and hilarious in equal measure, NSFW follows one ambitious Harvard grad's journey up the ranks in television development as she tries to set boundaries with her successful and overbearing mother. Set a few years before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement, this sharp, unflinching novel takes a magnifying glass to the cognitive dissonance required by women who dare to exist — or even succeed — in a male-dominated world. The rich nuances of the narrator's personal and professional life in Hollywood, which blur together with every page, are as farcical as they are strikingly realistic. A must-read for any Angeleno. —Will Hunt

Henry Holt & Company

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is easily one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. As the author puts it, it’s a story about work, and it’s a story about love — but it is so much more than that. It’s an evocative, heart-wrenching, passionate novel about creation and storytelling, collaboration and friendship, failure and grief, and a coming-of-age tale about two best friends: Sadie and Sam. The two met in the hospital in middle school, bonded over their love for video games, and were reunited in college where, shortly after, they decide to program and create a video game of their own. With the help of Sam’s roommate Marx, the three successfully produce a hit: Ichigo. In the years that follow (the book begins in the late ‘80s and spans throughout the late 2000s), the three will struggle with ambition and success, friendship fallouts and heartache, and defining what this career trajectory means for them. It’s beautifully told and unforgettable. (Content warning: Spoiler ahead. Due to recent tragedies, it’s important for me to mention that the last third of this book does include traumatic death by gun violence. Please read with care.) —Farrah Penn

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is easily one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. As the author puts it, it’s a story about work, and it’s a story about love — but it is so much more than that. It’s an evocative, heart-wrenching, passionate novel about creation and storytelling, collaboration and friendship, failure and grief, and a coming-of-age tale about two best friends: Sadie and Sam. The two met in the hospital in middle school, bonded over their love for video games, and were reunited in college where, shortly after, they decide to program and create a video game of their own. With the help of Sam’s roommate Marx, the three successfully produce a hit: Ichigo. In the years that follow (the book begins in the late ‘80s and spans throughout the late 2000s), the three will struggle with ambition and success, friendship fallouts and heartache, and defining what this career trajectory means for them. It’s beautifully told and unforgettable.

(Content warning: Spoiler ahead. Due to recent tragedies, it’s important for me to mention that the last third of this book does include traumatic death by gun violence. Please read with care.) —Farrah Penn

Knopf Publishing Group

Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro

Fahad is a 16-year-old from Pakistan who is gay but not out. His father, Rafik, has forced him to spend his summer, not in London, where his mother is, but in the village where their family farm, recently bequeathed to Rafik after the death of his uncle, is located. The farm gives the family the great wealth and political influence that Rafik craves. Fahad eventually befriends a local teen named Ali, and as their relationship deepens both emotionally and physically, danger lurks. The novel alternates in points of view between the father and the son and spans over decades, lending an emotional richness and ambition to this impressive debut. —Tomi Obaro

Fahad is a 16-year-old from Pakistan who is gay but not out. His father, Rafik, has forced him to spend his summer, not in London, where his mother is, but in the village where their family farm, recently bequeathed to Rafik after the death of his uncle, is located. The farm gives the family the great wealth and political influence that Rafik craves. Fahad eventually befriends a local teen named Ali, and as their relationship deepens both emotionally and physically, danger lurks. The novel alternates in points of view between the father and the son and spans over decades, lending an emotional richness and ambition to this impressive debut. —Tomi Obaro

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Keya Das's Second Act by Sopan Deb

Shantanu Das wakes up every day feeling regretful about the death of his daughter Keya, an aspiring writer who tragically died in a car accident. The last conversation Shantanu had with Keya was the night she came out to her family as gay and they rejected her. So when the opportunity to produce an unpublished play of hers presents itself, her father views it as a chance to right the wrongs of the past while he still can. With humor, heart, and understanding, this novel explores the constant gnawing doubts many of us experience when dealing with loss. A perfect summer book for anyone who loves a family story that’s not neat or tidy, but makes space for all the complicated feelings that accompany grief. —David Vogel

Shantanu Das wakes up every day feeling regretful about the death of his daughter Keya, an aspiring writer who tragically died in a car accident. The last conversation Shantanu had with Keya was the night she came out to her family as gay and they rejected her. So when the opportunity to produce an unpublished play of hers presents itself, her father views it as a chance to right the wrongs of the past while he still can. With humor, heart, and understanding, this novel explores the constant gnawing doubts many of us experience when dealing with loss. A perfect summer book for anyone who loves a family story that’s not neat or tidy, but makes space for all the complicated feelings that accompany grief. —David Vogel

Simon & Schuster

The Pink Hotel by Liska Jacobs

The Pink Hotel is a darkly satirical novel that toes the very thin line between exaggeration and reality, thrusting readers into the privileged world of Beverly Hills. We’re introduced to Keith and Kit Collins, newlyweds who’ve arrived at The Pink Hotel for their honeymoon. Only Keith failed to tell Kit that it’s also a trial run for him. The general manager of the hotel is interested in hiring Keith, and he wants to see if he has the skills to keep up. But as Los Angeles’s fire season sweeps across the county, causing riots and a general “eat the rich” attitude, the hotel remains an open sanctuary to the privileged elite. It reminded me of The White Lotus meets Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk — ridiculous and unsettling, yet sharp in pointing out the uncomfortable flaws within society. Jacobs excels in her descriptions, painting a vivid and lush scene on each page. This might not be the beach read you expected this summer, but it will certainly keep you hooked. —Farrah Penn

The Pink Hotel is a darkly satirical novel that toes the very thin line between exaggeration and reality, thrusting readers into the privileged world of Beverly Hills. We’re introduced to Keith and Kit Collins, newlyweds who’ve arrived at The Pink Hotel for their honeymoon. Only Keith failed to tell Kit that it’s also a trial run for him. The general manager of the hotel is interested in hiring Keith, and he wants to see if he has the skills to keep up. But as Los Angeles’s fire season sweeps across the county, causing riots and a general “eat the rich” attitude, the hotel remains an open sanctuary to the privileged elite. It reminded me of The White Lotus meets Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk — ridiculous and unsettling, yet sharp in pointing out the uncomfortable flaws within society. Jacobs excels in her descriptions, painting a vivid and lush scene on each page. This might not be the beach read you expected this summer, but it will certainly keep you hooked. —Farrah Penn

MCD

Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

This debut is essential reading for anyone who loves great writing. Zain Khalid is a supremely talented writer and his skills with words dazzle on every page of this book. Three biologically unrelated boys are adopted by an Imam and raised above a mosque in Staten Island, living with their father who is devoted to his job, but conspicuously absent in their home life. When Imam Salim decides to make a journey back to Saudi Arabia, the boys follow him in the hopes of learning more about him and their past. But there are more questions to be asked before any answers are found. A novel about family, belonging, sexuality, and the insidious influence of capitalism on daily life, Brother Alive reminded me just how powerful a great novel can be. As I finished it I found myself looking at the world in a more expansive way, and that’s something I’m immensely grateful for. —David Vogel

This debut is essential reading for anyone who loves great writing. Zain Khalid is a supremely talented writer and his skills with words dazzle on every page of this book. Three biologically unrelated boys are adopted by an Imam and raised above a mosque in Staten Island, living with their father who is devoted to his job, but conspicuously absent in their home life. When Imam Salim decides to make a journey back to Saudi Arabia, the boys follow him in the hopes of learning more about him and their past. But there are more questions to be asked before any answers are found. A novel about family, belonging, sexuality, and the insidious influence of capitalism on daily life, Brother Alive reminded me just how powerful a great novel can be. As I finished it I found myself looking at the world in a more expansive way, and that’s something I’m immensely grateful for. —David Vogel

Grove Press
nonfiction and poetry
Alexa Fishman

All Down Darkness Wide by Sean Hewitt

A unique and singularly captivating entry into the genre of queer memoir, written by acclaimed Irish author Sean Hewitt, this is a must-read for anyone who loves nonfiction. The inciting incident is the beginning of a romance between Sean and Elias, a relationship that quickly becomes more complicated than either of them anticipated. Deftly and sensitively dealing with issues of mental illness, religious trauma, and the search for love and community as a queer person, this memoir is gripping and deserves to be read by anyone looking for some hope in these especially dark times. There are no easy answers to the big questions of life, but Hewitt’s excellent writing helped me feel a little less alone. —David Vogel

A unique and singularly captivating entry into the genre of queer memoir, written by acclaimed Irish author Sean Hewitt, this is a must-read for anyone who loves nonfiction. The inciting incident is the beginning of a romance between Sean and Elias, a relationship that quickly becomes more complicated than either of them anticipated. Deftly and sensitively dealing with issues of mental illness, religious trauma, and the search for love and community as a queer person, this memoir is gripping and deserves to be read by anyone looking for some hope in these especially dark times. There are no easy answers to the big questions of life, but Hewitt’s excellent writing helped me feel a little less alone. —David Vogel

Penguin Press

Self Portrait With Ghost: Short Stories by Meng Jin

A photographer reminisces about a past lover she learned has died, a single mother tries to beautify herself to keep the attention of a rich widower, a young woman brings the baby she nannies on illicit dates with a man from her village — the stories in this collection, the second book by author Meng Jin, are strange and captivating narratives featuring women protagonists who are prickly and inscrutable, aching for better futures in China and America. Later stories are more contemporary; we watch a young girl named Selena grow from middle school to adulthood and navigate her complicated friendship with a girl named Ruth. Jin’s writing is sharp and corrosive — a great follow-up from a talented writer. —Tomi Obaro

A photographer reminisces about a past lover she learned has died, a single mother tries to beautify herself to keep the attention of a rich widower, a young woman brings the baby she nannies on illicit dates with a man from her village — the stories in this collection, the second book by author Meng Jin, are strange and captivating narratives featuring women protagonists who are prickly and inscrutable, aching for better futures in China and America. Later stories are more contemporary; we watch a young girl named Selena grow from middle school to adulthood and navigate her complicated friendship with a girl named Ruth. Jin’s writing is sharp and corrosive — a great follow-up from a talented writer. —Tomi Obaro

Mariner Books

Acne by Laura Chinn

Actor Laura Chinn opens her memoir with a chapter that almost everyone can relate to: struggling with acne and its detrimental effects on self-esteem. But ultimately, suffering from persistent acne was what led her to soul-searching. Throughout her book, Chinn explores her childhood and adulthood through a raw and humorous lens, from moving to Los Angeles from Florida, her parents' divorce, her biracial identity, her experience with drinking and partying, and much more. It’s an engaging and touching journey that’s sure to resonate with many. —Farrah Penn

Actor Laura Chinn opens her memoir with a chapter that almost everyone can relate to: struggling with acne and its detrimental effects on self-esteem. But ultimately, suffering from persistent acne was what led her to soul-searching. Throughout her book, Chinn explores her childhood and adulthood through a raw and humorous lens, from moving to Los Angeles from Florida, her parents' divorce, her biracial identity, her experience with drinking and partying, and much more. It’s an engaging and touching journey that’s sure to resonate with many. —Farrah Penn

Hachette Books

Dirtbag, Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald

The former BuzzFeed Books founder’s intimate debut essay collection spans Fitzgerald’s childhood in Boston, precarious adolescence in rural Massachusetts, class-defined high school years in a wealthy boarding school, and adulthood in San Francisco while tackling timely topics like masculinity and body image, class, addiction, and what we inherit from our parents. Equal parts illuminating and poignant, Fitzgerald’s essays attempt to untangle what it means to be a man in this world and in his own body. —Karolina Waclawiak 

The former BuzzFeed Books founder’s intimate debut essay collection spans Fitzgerald’s childhood in Boston, precarious adolescence in rural Massachusetts, class-defined high school years in a wealthy boarding school, and adulthood in San Francisco while tackling timely topics like masculinity and body image, class, addiction, and what we inherit from our parents. Equal parts illuminating and poignant, Fitzgerald’s essays attempt to untangle what it means to be a man in this world and in his own body. —Karolina Waclawiak

Bloomsbury Publishing

Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sánchez

In this powerful memoir-in-essays, Sánchez explores her experiences growing up as a Mexican American in Chicago and her adulthood as an award-winning author with severe depression. In an early essay, she explores the importance of humor in her life. She brings that humor combined with vulnerability and beautiful prose to the following essays discussing her chronic yeast infections, suicidal ideation, abortion, tumultuous love life, and, ultimately, the happiness she has now found. It’s a deeply personal, compassionate, and moving glimpse into her life that left me in tears at the end. I highly recommend checking out the audiobook read by the author if you’re an audiobook listener. —Margaret Kingsbury

In this powerful memoir-in-essays, Sánchez explores her experiences growing up as a Mexican American in Chicago and her adulthood as an award-winning author with severe depression. In an early essay, she explores the importance of humor in her life. She brings that humor combined with vulnerability and beautiful prose to the following essays discussing her chronic yeast infections, suicidal ideation, abortion, tumultuous love life, and, ultimately, the happiness she has now found. It’s a deeply personal, compassionate, and moving glimpse into her life that left me in tears at the end. I highly recommend checking out the audiobook read by the author if you’re an audiobook listener. —Margaret Kingsbury

Viking
mystery and thrillers
Alexa Fishman

First Born by Will Dean

Katie and Molly Raven might be identical twin sisters, but their looks are about all they have in common. Molly lives a very structured life, finding extreme comfort in routine. She prefers to walk a straight and narrow path of solitude while avoiding spontaneity and change at all costs. Katie, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She’s an outgoing, vibrant soul, who many consider to be the life of the party in any situation. Katie is always looking for an adventure and has never been afraid to take risks. But despite their differences, Molly and Katie have an unbreakable bond. Unfortunately, the safe bubble Molly built for herself immediately pops when she finds out Katie has been murdered. And since no one knows Katie quite like her sister, Molly hopes the deep connection she has with her twin will help the police with their investigation. Author Will Dean weaves together a roller coaster ride of a thriller that takes a drastic turn just when you think you know where the story’s headed. With vivid descriptions of “the city that never sleeps,” characters who are as colorful as they are scheming, and an enthralling story filled with wild scenarios, readers won’t be able to put this book down! —Morgan Murrell

Katie and Molly Raven might be identical twin sisters, but their looks are about all they have in common. Molly lives a very structured life, finding extreme comfort in routine. She prefers to walk a straight and narrow path of solitude while avoiding spontaneity and change at all costs. Katie, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She’s an outgoing, vibrant soul, who many consider to be the life of the party in any situation. Katie is always looking for an adventure and has never been afraid to take risks. But despite their differences, Molly and Katie have an unbreakable bond. Unfortunately, the safe bubble Molly built for herself immediately pops when she finds out Katie has been murdered. And since no one knows Katie quite like her sister, Molly hopes the deep connection she has with her twin will help the police with their investigation. Author Will Dean weaves together a roller coaster ride of a thriller that takes a drastic turn just when you think you know where the story’s headed. With vivid descriptions of “the city that never sleeps,” characters who are as colorful as they are scheming, and an enthralling story filled with wild scenarios, readers won’t be able to put this book down! —Morgan Murrell

Blackstone Publishing

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

This gothic retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is an extremely creepy yet fun read. Alex Easton is a nonbinary soldier without an uncanny bone in their body. Nothing has ever scared Alex Easton. When Easton receives a letter from one of their childhood friends saying she’s dying and to come immediately, Easton travels to the decrepit Usher mansion in a remote area of Ruritania. The landscape is dotted with flesh and blood-colored mushrooms that let off a putrid smell and hares that move in strange, jolting ways. When Easton meets their childhood friends Madeline and Roderick Usher, they find both emaciated, with erratic white hairs covering their bodies. Something definitely isn’t quite right, and Easton aims to get to the bottom of it. The audiobook narrated by Avi Roque is delightfully creepy. It’s a fast read, and I managed to listen to it in a single work day. —Margaret Kingsbury

This gothic retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is an extremely creepy yet fun read. Alex Easton is a nonbinary soldier without an uncanny bone in their body. Nothing has ever scared Alex Easton. When Easton receives a letter from one of their childhood friends saying she’s dying and to come immediately, Easton travels to the decrepit Usher mansion in a remote area of Ruritania. The landscape is dotted with flesh and blood-colored mushrooms that let off a putrid smell and hares that move in strange, jolting ways. When Easton meets their childhood friends Madeline and Roderick Usher, they find both emaciated, with erratic white hairs covering their bodies. Something definitely isn’t quite right, and Easton aims to get to the bottom of it. The audiobook narrated by Avi Roque is delightfully creepy. It’s a fast read, and I managed to listen to it in a single work day. —Margaret Kingsbury

Tor Nightfire

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

This hair-raising haunted house story follows Vera, the daughter of a convicted serial killer, as she returns to her childhood home to care for her dying mother. The house brings back childhood memories of both special moments between Vera and her father and tense moments with her mother. While Vera feels more right and at home here than anywhere else she’s ever lived, something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the bothersome and pretentious artist staying on the property as he works on a series about love and monsters centering Vera’s family. Or maybe it’s the *something* creeping into her bedroom at night, moving the furniture, stealing her blankets, and leaving notes in her father’s handwriting. The basement lies just below Vera’s childhood bed, the basement where her father tortured and murdered men. The place where, whatever it is, seems to escape to when night turns to day. The audiobook narrated by Xe Sands is a truly nail-biting listen. —Margaret Kingsbury

This hair-raising haunted house story follows Vera, the daughter of a convicted serial killer, as she returns to her childhood home to care for her dying mother. The house brings back childhood memories of both special moments between Vera and her father and tense moments with her mother. While Vera feels more right and at home here than anywhere else she’s ever lived, something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the bothersome and pretentious artist staying on the property as he works on a series about love and monsters centering Vera’s family. Or maybe it’s the *something* creeping into her bedroom at night, moving the furniture, stealing her blankets, and leaving notes in her father’s handwriting. The basement lies just below Vera’s childhood bed, the basement where her father tortured and murdered men. The place where, whatever it is, seems to escape to when night turns to day. The audiobook narrated by Xe Sands is a truly nail-biting listen. —Margaret Kingsbury

Tor Books
historical fiction
Alexa Fishman

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Kitty Talbot needs a husband — fast. Saddled with her father's massive debts, she only has one season to save her family from ruin. Armed with her wit and ambition, she heads down to London's debutante battlefield. But Lord Radcliffe, who sees through Kitty's plan, is determined to foil everything for her. That is, if their scorching rivalry doesn't turn into something else first. A fun and biting historical romance that isn't afraid to put its leading lady first. —Kirby Beaton

Kitty Talbot needs a husband — fast. Saddled with her father's massive debts, she only has one season to save her family from ruin. Armed with her wit and ambition, she heads down to London's debutante battlefield. But Lord Radcliffe, who sees through Kitty's plan, is determined to foil everything for her. That is, if their scorching rivalry doesn't turn into something else first. A fun and biting historical romance that isn't afraid to put its leading lady first. —Kirby Beaton

Pamela Dorman Books

Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens

Briefly, A Delicious Life is historical fiction at its most daring and inventive. A novel based on the tumultuous romance between writer George Sand and composer Frederic Chopin where the other primary character is 400-year-old ghost Blanca who lives in the Spanish village where they’re vacationing, this novel defies easy description. Nell Stevens’ considerable talents as a writer allow this book to be many things all at once, without feeling scattered. As Sand and Chopin navigate their complicated relationship, Blanca falls hopelessly in love with Sand, despite not being able to communicate with her. A unique twist on both the historical romance and the coming-of-age novel, this is one that you won’t want to miss. It’s a transporting read filled with romance, ghosts, and the mysteries of love. —David Vogel

Briefly, A Delicious Life is historical fiction at its most daring and inventive. A novel based on the tumultuous romance between writer George Sand and composer Frederic Chopin where the other primary character is 400-year-old ghost Blanca who lives in the Spanish village where they’re vacationing, this novel defies easy description. Nell Stevens’ considerable talents as a writer allow this book to be many things all at once, without feeling scattered. As Sand and Chopin navigate their complicated relationship, Blanca falls hopelessly in love with Sand, despite not being able to communicate with her. A unique twist on both the historical romance and the coming-of-age novel, this is one that you won’t want to miss. It’s a transporting read filled with romance, ghosts, and the mysteries of love. —David Vogel

Scribner Book Company

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

Lena's life is falling apart. Instead of a life on the London theater stage, she's singing in a basement club in Soho, passing as white and hiding her mixed-race heritage. Plus, she just got dumped by her married lover. But a rare opportunity presents itself in the form of a stranger's offer: a ticket on the Queen Mary to New York and the promise she'll be met with a leading role on Broadway. With her dreams in sight, and a murder at the club she's all too willing to get away from, she heads off to America. Death follows her aboard, however, when she gets brought into a wealthy family’s circle and one of them is killed. A dazzling mystery unfurls in this historical voyage that feels like a new classic. —Rachel Strolle

Lena's life is falling apart. Instead of a life on the London theater stage, she's singing in a basement club in Soho, passing as white and hiding her mixed-race heritage. Plus, she just got dumped by her married lover. But a rare opportunity presents itself in the form of a stranger's offer: a ticket on the Queen Mary to New York and the promise she'll be met with a leading role on Broadway. With her dreams in sight, and a murder at the club she's all too willing to get away from, she heads off to America. Death follows her aboard, however, when she gets brought into a wealthy family’s circle and one of them is killed. A dazzling mystery unfurls in this historical voyage that feels like a new classic. Rachel Strolle

Berkley Books

Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott

A dazzling blend of history and fantasy, this novel is set in Britain's Dark Ages and follows sisters Isla and Blue as they navigate the dangers of being women in this turbulent time. After their father dies, the sisters must escape their island home — and the local warlord hellbent on enslaving them — to the Ghost City, where they discover a group of rebel women. But this new community won't be enough to fend off enemies — they'll also have to learn how to fight back. —Kirby Beaton

A dazzling blend of history and fantasy, this novel is set in Britain's Dark Ages and follows sisters Isla and Blue as they navigate the dangers of being women in this turbulent time. After their father dies, the sisters must escape their island home — and the local warlord hellbent on enslaving them — to the Ghost City, where they discover a group of rebel women. But this new community won't be enough to fend off enemies — they'll also have to learn how to fight back. —Kirby Beaton

Random House

Groupies by Sarah Priscus

After her mother dies, Faun Novak grabs her polaroid camera and hops on a bus to LA, hoping to get a taste of the 1970s rock 'n' roll scene. Luckily, her old friend Josie is now a model, muse, and girlfriend to Cal Holiday, lead singer of mega band Holiday Sun. Faun becomes obsessed with photographing her new life of glamorous parties while also becoming close with the band's gang of groupies. As the summer spins out of control, Faun sees just how dark her new lifestyle can get in this biting and mesmerizing look into fame, media, and friendship. —Kirby Beaton

After her mother dies, Faun Novak grabs her polaroid camera and hops on a bus to LA, hoping to get a taste of the 1970s rock 'n' roll scene. Luckily, her old friend Josie is now a model, muse, and girlfriend to Cal Holiday, lead singer of mega band Holiday Sun. Faun becomes obsessed with photographing her new life of glamorous parties while also becoming close with the band's gang of groupies. As the summer spins out of control, Faun sees just how dark her new lifestyle can get in this biting and mesmerizing look into fame, media, and friendship. —Kirby Beaton

William Morrow & Company

Sister Mother Warrior by Vanessa Riley

Taking place during the Haitian Revolution, this bold and striking novel follows two very different women as a country fights for freedom. Gran Toya was known as a fierce warrior in West Africa, but after being betrayed and sold into slavery, she ends up on a sugar plantation in Saint Dominique. Marie-Claire Bonheur is a free woman of color — thanks to her grandfather's whiteness — who has dedicated her life to helping those oppressed by society. When she falls in love with an enslaved man, the lives of these women collide amidst revolution. —Kirby Beaton

Taking place during the Haitian Revolution, this bold and striking novel follows two very different women as a country fights for freedom. Gran Toya was known as a fierce warrior in West Africa, but after being betrayed and sold into slavery, she ends up on a sugar plantation in Saint Dominique. Marie-Claire Bonheur is a free woman of color — thanks to her grandfather's whiteness — who has dedicated her life to helping those oppressed by society. When she falls in love with an enslaved man, the lives of these women collide amidst revolution. —Kirby Beaton

William Morrow & Company
romance
Alexa Fishman

Nobody's Princess by Erica Ridley

After reading The Perks of Loving a Wallflower last year, I was so excited to jump into more Erica Ridley novels! The third book in the Wild Wynchester series follows Graham, who operates as a kind of spy and assists his family in helping those in need. After decrypting the scandal sheets, and what he believes is a series of coded messages, he knows what he has to do. Setting out to rescue a princess, he instead finds Kunigunde de Heusch, decidedly not a damsel in distress and definitely not interested in his assistance. Kuni, a companion to the princess, is instead determined to become the first Royal Guardswoman of her country. Graham seems to believe in her dreams and provides protection from her two guard brothers who are tracking her after she stowed away to London. If you’re a Bridgerton lover wanting something new to read while between seasons, this is the book for you this month! —Rachel Strolle

After reading The Perks of Loving a Wallflower last year, I was so excited to jump into more Erica Ridley novels! The third book in the Wild Wynchester series follows Graham, who operates as a kind of spy and assists his family in helping those in need. After decrypting the scandal sheets, and what he believes is a series of coded messages, he knows what he has to do. Setting out to rescue a princess, he instead finds Kunigunde de Heusch, decidedly not a damsel in distress and definitely not interested in his assistance. Kuni, a companion to the princess, is instead determined to become the first Royal Guardswoman of her country. Graham seems to believe in her dreams and provides protection from her two guard brothers who are tracking her after she stowed away to London. If you’re a Bridgerton lover wanting something new to read while between seasons, this is the book for you this month! —Rachel Strolle

Forever

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Hannah Brooks may not look like she could take you down in under two seconds, but she can if she must. She works as an Executive Protection Agent, protecting those that hire her for her skills. After a series of unfortunate events in her life, her boss decides she’s the only one who can handle their next client, and so Hannah accepts the job protecting superstar actor Jack Stapleton. While Jack is an A-list action movie star, he’s been off the grid for the last few years in order to deal with his own trauma. And when Jack’s mom gets sick, Jack needs Hannah’s surveillance services to protect his family from any weird stalkers while he’s back home in Texas. The catch? Jack wants Hannah to pretend to be his girlfriend so he won’t have to explain the whole stalker thing to his family. But as Hannah and Jack get to know each other, real feelings begin to form. Center’s laugh-out-loud rom-com is a perfect summer read. The characters are vivid, the plot is compelling, and she balances grief, heartache, hope, and romance in a tender, believable way. —Farrah Penn

Hannah Brooks may not look like she could take you down in under two seconds, but she can if she must. She works as an Executive Protection Agent, protecting those that hire her for her skills. After a series of unfortunate events in her life, her boss decides she’s the only one who can handle their next client, and so Hannah accepts the job protecting superstar actor Jack Stapleton. While Jack is an A-list action movie star, he’s been off the grid for the last few years in order to deal with his own trauma. And when Jack’s mom gets sick, Jack needs Hannah’s surveillance services to protect his family from any weird stalkers while he’s back home in Texas. The catch? Jack wants Hannah to pretend to be his girlfriend so he won’t have to explain the whole stalker thing to his family. But as Hannah and Jack get to know each other, real feelings begin to form. Center’s laugh-out-loud rom-com is a perfect summer read. The characters are vivid, the plot is compelling, and she balances grief, heartache, hope, and romance in a tender, believable way. —Farrah Penn

St. Martin's Press

The Accidental Pin-Up by Danielle Jackson

This picture-perfect romance is a new favorite and launches a new romance star! Cassie, a plus-size Black woman and photographer, is supposed to be shooting a national campaign for her best friend Dana’s lingerie line. What was supposed to be an opportunity for her photography, and her company, Buxom Boudoir, transforms into an unexpected role for Cassie — model. Cassie, having anticipated being behind and not in front of the camera, has to quickly change her course after complications with Dana’s pregnancy. But an additional wrench is thrown into the job when she discovers who the photographer is…Reid Montgomery. Isn’t it bad enough that he’s been her long-time rival, does he also have to cause sparks to fly and feelings to emerge on set while photographing her? —Rachel Strolle

This picture-perfect romance is a new favorite and launches a new romance star! Cassie, a plus-size Black woman and photographer, is supposed to be shooting a national campaign for her best friend Dana’s lingerie line. What was supposed to be an opportunity for her photography, and her company, Buxom Boudoir, transforms into an unexpected role for Cassie — model. Cassie, having anticipated being behind and not in front of the camera, has to quickly change her course after complications with Dana’s pregnancy. But an additional wrench is thrown into the job when she discovers who the photographer is…Reid Montgomery. Isn’t it bad enough that he’s been her long-time rival, does he also have to cause sparks to fly and feelings to emerge on set while photographing her? —Rachel Strolle

Berkley

Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

It doesn’t feel like summer without a fun romance, and Tieu delivers with Circling Back To You, which includes fake dating, office romance, and a little competition. Cadence Lim is a 31-year-old Chinese American woman who has worked for Prism Realty for the last five years. Her colleague Matt Escanilla is a 34-year-old Filipino-American guy who is one of the company’s top brokers. When a business trip brings them to their hometown, Cadence agrees to be Matt’s fake girlfriend at his family gatherings. As they grow closer, their feelings grow stronger, and just when everything starts to align, competing promotions threaten to separate them. —Farrah Penn

It doesn’t feel like summer without a fun romance, and Tieu delivers with Circling Back To You, which includes fake dating, office romance, and a little competition. Cadence Lim is a 31-year-old Chinese American woman who has worked for Prism Realty for the last five years. Her colleague Matt Escanilla is a 34-year-old Filipino-American guy who is one of the company’s top brokers. When a business trip brings them to their hometown, Cadence agrees to be Matt’s fake girlfriend at his family gatherings. As they grow closer, their feelings grow stronger, and just when everything starts to align, competing promotions threaten to separate them. —Farrah Penn

Avon Books

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Honey & Spice is an absolutely delightful rom-com that feels both contemporary and classic (and would be an excellent film, please, Hollywood, I’ll go see it like 12 times in theaters!) Kiki Banjo is the host of Brown Sugar, a Whitewell University student radio show dedicated to keeping the women of the African-Caribbean Society out of heartbreak and player-caused turmoil. But currently, Kiki is the one in a relationship crisis. After all, she publicly denounced Malakai on her show as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” and then was seen kissing him not long after. To save her show, and for Malakai to save his reputation, the pair decide to fake a relationship. Kiki plans to keep a firm grip on her heart, but Malakai’s charm and their connection do begin to wear her down. But to transform their relationship from fake to real, she’ll have to be willing to open herself up to him. —Rachel Strolle

Honey & Spice is an absolutely delightful rom-com that feels both contemporary and classic (and would be an excellent film, please, Hollywood, I’ll go see it like 12 times in theaters!) Kiki Banjo is the host of Brown Sugar, a Whitewell University student radio show dedicated to keeping the women of the African-Caribbean Society out of heartbreak and player-caused turmoil. But currently, Kiki is the one in a relationship crisis. After all, she publicly denounced Malakai on her show as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” and then was seen kissing him not long after. To save her show, and for Malakai to save his reputation, the pair decide to fake a relationship. Kiki plans to keep a firm grip on her heart, but Malakai’s charm and their connection do begin to wear her down. But to transform their relationship from fake to real, she’ll have to be willing to open herself up to him. —Rachel Strolle

William Morrow & Company

For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa

Ready for a sizzling, sexy summer read that fully delivers on the enemies-to-lovers trope? La Rosa (former Deputy Editor at BuzzFeed) writes a scrumptious romance debut is set in the culinary world and told from two POVs: Nina Lyon and Leo O’Donnell, two co-hosts on a super successful reality TV cooking show. Behind the scenes, Leo and Nina don’t quite get along. But when a particularly nasty jab from Leo makes it on air, Nina quits the show. In order to save their reputation and their restaurants, their agent forms a plan: Nina and Leo will fake date as a PR move. The more they’re seen together, the more fans want to support them. But what happens when a sprinkle of real feelings are baked into the final product? —Farrah Penn

Ready for a sizzling, sexy summer read that fully delivers on the enemies-to-lovers trope? La Rosa (former Deputy Editor at BuzzFeed) writes a scrumptious romance debut is set in the culinary world and told from two POVs: Nina Lyon and Leo O’Donnell, two co-hosts on a super successful reality TV cooking show. Behind the scenes, Leo and Nina don’t quite get along. But when a particularly nasty jab from Leo makes it on air, Nina quits the show. In order to save their reputation and their restaurants, their agent forms a plan: Nina and Leo will fake date as a PR move. The more they’re seen together, the more fans want to support them. But what happens when a sprinkle of real feelings are baked into the final product? —Farrah Penn

Hqn

Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter

Aja and Walker are introduced at bingo night. Well, more like reintroduced. Walker first encountered Aja mid-panic attack, when she did not know he was the estranged grandson of her favorite bingo partner. The thing is, Walker doesn’t plan on staying in Greenbelt, South Carolina. He’s moved here to help out his grandmother. But because he and Aja can’t seem to squash the attraction between each other, they create a bingo-based sex pact to avoid any emotional blowback. Aja knows he plans on leaving, after all, and she has to look after her own heart. Jodie Slaughter’s latest small-town romance places a lot of thought and care into portraying a realistic look at anxiety. While you’ll find a steamy romance within the pages, I enjoyed the tender handling of mental health struggles from both Aja and Walker’s perspectives. —Farrah Penn

Aja and Walker are introduced at bingo night. Well, more like reintroduced. Walker first encountered Aja mid-panic attack, when she did not know he was the estranged grandson of her favorite bingo partner. The thing is, Walker doesn’t plan on staying in Greenbelt, South Carolina. He’s moved here to help out his grandmother. But because he and Aja can’t seem to squash the attraction between each other, they create a bingo-based sex pact to avoid any emotional blowback. Aja knows he plans on leaving, after all, and she has to look after her own heart. Jodie Slaughter’s latest small-town romance places a lot of thought and care into portraying a realistic look at anxiety. While you’ll find a steamy romance within the pages, I enjoyed the tender handling of mental health struggles from both Aja and Walker’s perspectives. —Farrah Penn

St. Martin's Griffin
science fiction and fantasy
Alexa Fishman

Where You Linger by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Prolific short story writer Stufflebeam makes her book-length debut with this fascinating collection of 12 queer science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories. In the opening story, skeletons of extinct animals quietly plead for freedom as a group of friends gather in a campground, all obsessed with the same girl and ignoring the skeletons around them. In the following story, ghosts keep a father company as his memories slowly slip away while his daughter cooks and cleans up after them and wishes the ghosts would take her father for good. Stufflebeam explores memory once more in the Nebula-nominated novelette, Where You Linger. The narrator undergoes an expensive procedure to relive memories of her promiscuous early love life to try and pinpoint why she felt compelled to cheat on her ex-wife, despite her deep feelings for her. Varied yet intricately connected by themes of memory and loss, these stories are as memorable as they are creative. —Margaret Kingsbury

Prolific short story writer Stufflebeam makes her book-length debut with this fascinating collection of 12 queer science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories. In the opening story, skeletons of extinct animals quietly plead for freedom as a group of friends gather in a campground, all obsessed with the same girl and ignoring the skeletons around them. In the following story, ghosts keep a father company as his memories slowly slip away while his daughter cooks and cleans up after them and wishes the ghosts would take her father for good. Stufflebeam explores memory once more in the Nebula-nominated novelette, Where You Linger. The narrator undergoes an expensive procedure to relive memories of her promiscuous early love life to try and pinpoint why she felt compelled to cheat on her ex-wife, despite her deep feelings for her. Varied yet intricately connected by themes of memory and loss, these stories are as memorable as they are creative. —Margaret Kingsbury

Vernacular Books

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

I'm unable to resist the enemies to lovers trope, so if you’re anything like me you’ll love A Strange and Stubborn Endurance. Velasin is a royal from Ralia, where queerness isn’t legal, but is socially tolerated. When Vel’s affair with a man is revealed publicly, instead of disowning him, his father arranges his marriage to Caethari, the brother of the woman he was originally betrothed to in the neighboring kingdom of Tithena. Lucky for us, it’s

I'm unable to resist the enemies to lovers trope, so if you’re anything like me you’ll love A Strange and Stubborn Endurance. Velasin is a royal from Ralia, where queerness isn’t legal, but is socially tolerated. When Vel’s affair with a man is revealed publicly, instead of disowning him, his father arranges his marriage to Caethari, the brother of the woman he was originally betrothed to in the neighboring kingdom of Tithena. Lucky for us, it’s "loathe at first sight" between Vel and Cae, which is where the fun begins. Add in a vividly rendered fantasy world where queerness is embraced and celebrated, some political intrigue, and plenty of steamy scenes that'll have readers sweating, and you’ve got a recipe for your next great beach read. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but this is one I'll be recommending all summer. —David Vogel

Tor Books

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

The second book in the Monk and Robot novella series, which begins with A Psalm for the Wild-Built, is as charming and heartwarming as the first. The series takes place in a utopian future where people help support one another and the environment in villages while robots, who are now free, inhabit the forest. Dex is a nonbinary, tea-serving monk who befriends Mosscap, a curious robot, on a sojourn to the forest. Now that Mosscap has helped Dex on their exploration of the wilds, it’s Dex’s turn to show Mosscap the human world. The two are now good friends and have an easy rapport as they travel from village to village, uncovering many philosophical dilemmas along the way and making many new friends. Both books are such refreshing reads. —Margaret Kingsbury

The second book in the Monk and Robot novella series, which begins with A Psalm for the Wild-Built, is as charming and heartwarming as the first. The series takes place in a utopian future where people help support one another and the environment in villages while robots, who are now free, inhabit the forest. Dex is a nonbinary, tea-serving monk who befriends Mosscap, a curious robot, on a sojourn to the forest. Now that Mosscap has helped Dex on their exploration of the wilds, it’s Dex’s turn to show Mosscap the human world. The two are now good friends and have an easy rapport as they travel from village to village, uncovering many philosophical dilemmas along the way and making many new friends. Both books are such refreshing reads. —Margaret Kingsbury

Tordotcom

Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’ll just say it: months when there’s a new Silvia Moreno-Garcia book > other months. This reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau follows Carlota, the only daughter of Dr. Moreau who lives in a luxurious estate, removed from the strife of the Yucatán peninsula. Moreau is assisted by the outcast Montgomery, an Englishman sent to oversee the experiments. These experiments, part-human part-animal hybrids, are financed by the Lizaldes. Though there is a bit of conflict among them, the real shift arrives six years later with the Lizalde son, Eduardo, which rocks the entire dynamic that had already been fracturing. And Carlota’s questions only continue to grow. Flawlessly combining science fiction and history, Moreno-Garcia’s latest is an absolute treasure. —Rachel Strolle

I’ll just say it: months when there’s a new Silvia Moreno-Garcia book > other months. This reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau follows Carlota, the only daughter of Dr. Moreau who lives in a luxurious estate, removed from the strife of the Yucatán peninsula. Moreau is assisted by the outcast Montgomery, an Englishman sent to oversee the experiments. These experiments, part-human part-animal hybrids, are financed by the Lizaldes. Though there is a bit of conflict among them, the real shift arrives six years later with the Lizalde son, Eduardo, which rocks the entire dynamic that had already been fracturing. And Carlota’s questions only continue to grow. Flawlessly combining science fiction and history, Moreno-Garcia’s latest is an absolute treasure. —Rachel Strolle

Del Rey Books

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

Roffey tackles themes of colonialism, toxic masculinity, racism, and misogyny through the lens of folklore in this historical fantasy set on a fictional Caribbean island in the 1970s. Far in the past, a group of jealous women cursed Aycayia to live forever as a mermaid. She’s lived a long, content, and lonely life in the sea until she spies David, a fisherman, and the two begin a slow flirtation. When white tourists catch and brutalize Aycayia, David rescues her and brings her home. The longer she’s on land, the more she loses her mermaid self. Just as she begins envisioning a hopeful future as a human, the sea starts calling her home. It’s a fascinating mythic novel. I especially enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Ben Onwukue and Vivienne Acheampong. —Margaret Kingsbury

Roffey tackles themes of colonialism, toxic masculinity, racism, and misogyny through the lens of folklore in this historical fantasy set on a fictional Caribbean island in the 1970s. Far in the past, a group of jealous women cursed Aycayia to live forever as a mermaid. She’s lived a long, content, and lonely life in the sea until she spies David, a fisherman, and the two begin a slow flirtation. When white tourists catch and brutalize Aycayia, David rescues her and brings her home. The longer she’s on land, the more she loses her mermaid self. Just as she begins envisioning a hopeful future as a human, the sea starts calling her home. It’s a fascinating mythic novel. I especially enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Ben Onwukue and Vivienne Acheampong. —Margaret Kingsbury

Knopf Publishing Group

The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne

This gorgeous, feminist retelling of “Rapunzel” immediately captivates. Haelewise’s mother, a midwife, made a bargain with Haelewise’s father that she would suppress her magic and embrace Christianity. Haelewise, however, made no such bargain, and her magic refuses to be suppressed from the start, fighting its way to notice by causing fainting fits. The magic also allows Haelewise to feel the presence of souls as they enter and depart the world, making her unusually gifted for midwifery. The townsfolk fear Haelewise and her suspected witchcraft, so after her mother’s death, Haelewise flees the town and escapes into the forbidden forest, where she finds Mother Gothel living in a tower and trains with her in old magic. However, it’s clear from the beginning that Mother Gothel is hiding something from Haelewise. When a princess fleeing an unwanted marriage finds refuge in the tower, the secrets slowly start unfolding. Readers of Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden will adore this new fairytale fantasy. —Margaret Kingsbury

This gorgeous, feminist retelling of “Rapunzel” immediately captivates. Haelewise’s mother, a midwife, made a bargain with Haelewise’s father that she would suppress her magic and embrace Christianity. Haelewise, however, made no such bargain, and her magic refuses to be suppressed from the start, fighting its way to notice by causing fainting fits. The magic also allows Haelewise to feel the presence of souls as they enter and depart the world, making her unusually gifted for midwifery. The townsfolk fear Haelewise and her suspected witchcraft, so after her mother’s death, Haelewise flees the town and escapes into the forbidden forest, where she finds Mother Gothel living in a tower and trains with her in old magic. However, it’s clear from the beginning that Mother Gothel is hiding something from Haelewise. When a princess fleeing an unwanted marriage finds refuge in the tower, the secrets slowly start unfolding. Readers of Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden will adore this new fairytale fantasy. —Margaret Kingsbury

Redhook

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys

This alien first-contact novel takes place in a hopeful future Earth where watershed networks have overthrown corporate control to create communities focused on protecting the environment and taking care of people. However, just when things look like they’re getting better on Earth, aliens come offering to whisk humanity away from the planet that will surely destroy them as humanity has almost destroyed it. New mother Judy Wallach-Stevens is the first to make contact with the aliens. It’s night when she receives an alarm of possible environmental contamination in the Chesapeake Bay. Figuring that it’s false, she brings her infant and wife to investigate, and the trio discovers a spaceship of intelligent insectoids instead. After first contact, everyone worldwide wants to speak with the aliens, but the matriarch refuses to speak to anyone but Judy because she’s a mother. Emrys presents a fascinating future full of possibilities in conversation with the more popularly imagined stark dystopian future of environmental collapse and corporate control. —Margaret Kingsbury

This alien first-contact novel takes place in a hopeful future Earth where watershed networks have overthrown corporate control to create communities focused on protecting the environment and taking care of people. However, just when things look like they’re getting better on Earth, aliens come offering to whisk humanity away from the planet that will surely destroy them as humanity has almost destroyed it. New mother Judy Wallach-Stevens is the first to make contact with the aliens. It’s night when she receives an alarm of possible environmental contamination in the Chesapeake Bay. Figuring that it’s false, she brings her infant and wife to investigate, and the trio discovers a spaceship of intelligent insectoids instead. After first contact, everyone worldwide wants to speak with the aliens, but the matriarch refuses to speak to anyone but Judy because she’s a mother. Emrys presents a fascinating future full of possibilities in conversation with the more popularly imagined stark dystopian future of environmental collapse and corporate control. —Margaret Kingsbury

Tordotcom
young adult
Alexa Fishman

The Comedienne's Guide to Pride by Hayli Thomson

Taylor's greatest dream in life is to write for Saturday Night Live,and she gets an incredible chance to achieve it when she applies for adiversity internship there. But if she wins it, everyone will know whatmade her eligible, and given that she's white and not disabled, she alsoknows it means coming out to the entire world as a lesbian. As thedeadline nears, and Taylor also gets closer to the girl she's crushingon, she'll have to learn to grow comfortable with her real self beforeshe reveals it to the entire world. Thomson's debut doesn't shy awayfrom growing pains and character flaws, contending with Taylor'sbiphobia, myopia regarding varied marginalizations, and self-esteem, andmaking her a protagonist readers will truly want to watch grow up andcome into her own. —Dahlia Adler

Taylor's greatest dream in life is to write for Saturday Night Live,and she gets an incredible chance to achieve it when she applies for adiversity internship there. But if she wins it, everyone will know whatmade her eligible, and given that she's white and not disabled, she alsoknows it means coming out to the entire world as a lesbian. As thedeadline nears, and Taylor also gets closer to the girl she's crushingon, she'll have to learn to grow comfortable with her real self beforeshe reveals it to the entire world. Thomson's debut doesn't shy awayfrom growing pains and character flaws, contending with Taylor'sbiphobia, myopia regarding varied marginalizations, and self-esteem, andmaking her a protagonist readers will truly want to watch grow up andcome into her own. —Dahlia Adler

Page Street Kids

What Souls are Made of by Tasha Suri

After being abandoned by his father, a Lascar (a sailor from India), Heathcliff has spent most of his time being treated as an outsider. Now living in the Yorkshire moors, and treated poorly, he finds solace with Catherine, the younger child of the estate's owner. The pair spend more time together, connecting over his missing father and her mother that no one speaks of, until the death of Catherine's father, which brings the household treatment of Heathcliff to a disastrous peak. This remix of Wuthering Heights is an epic piece of historical fiction, and a testament to Suri's incredible storytelling skills. —Rachel Strolle

After being abandoned by his father, a Lascar (a sailor from India), Heathcliff has spent most of his time being treated as an outsider. Now living in the Yorkshire moors, and treated poorly, he finds solace with Catherine, the younger child of the estate's owner. The pair spend more time together, connecting over his missing father and her mother that no one speaks of, until the death of Catherine's father, which brings the household treatment of Heathcliff to a disastrous peak. This remix of Wuthering Heights is an epic piece of historical fiction, and a testament to Suri's incredible storytelling skills. —Rachel Strolle

Feiwel & Friends

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

You love having your heart simultaneously inflated to gargantuan proportions and then also shredded into the tiniest bits, don't you? Of course, you do, and Min's debut is the best kind of devastating. It stars new-kid-in-school Santi, who's just moved to LA with his guardian and is still coping with losing his closest friend before they could ever meet IRL. When Santi joins the marching band on his guardian's recommendation, he makes a whole new crowd of friends, including the talented, mysterious, and ornery Suwa. Their initial clash gives way to unexpected closeness, but when their painful pasts crack wide open, it sends their relationship and lives on a trajectory neither could have seen coming. —Dahlia Adler

You love having your heart simultaneously inflated to gargantuan proportions and then also shredded into the tiniest bits, don't you? Of course, you do, and Min's debut is the best kind of devastating. It stars new-kid-in-school Santi, who's just moved to LA with his guardian and is still coping with losing his closest friend before they could ever meet IRL. When Santi joins the marching band on his guardian's recommendation, he makes a whole new crowd of friends, including the talented, mysterious, and ornery Suwa. Their initial clash gives way to unexpected closeness, but when their painful pasts crack wide open, it sends their relationship and lives on a trajectory neither could have seen coming. —Dahlia Adler

Flatiron Books

Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne

In this eerie Southern YA horror novel, four characters in their late teens face off against a devil made of bone and earth. Laurel Early was the one who made it out of her small town and into college. However, after only a year, she’s dropped out of college and is back on her tobacco farm, living with her uncle, collecting bones for taxidermy projects, and brooding over her magic and her mother’s death when she was only an infant. Then her bones disappear, and a monster begins chasing her and her three friends, who help out on the farm. When the ghost of Laurel’s mother appears, Laurel realizes there’s a curse on the land that only she can break. However, breaking the curse and killing the devil will require blood, sacrifice, and facing Laurel’s past. I enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Bailey Carr, who, speaking as a Southerner, did a solid job on the Southern accents. —Margaret Kingsbury

In this eerie Southern YA horror novel, four characters in their late teens face off against a devil made of bone and earth. Laurel Early was the one who made it out of her small town and into college. However, after only a year, she’s dropped out of college and is back on her tobacco farm, living with her uncle, collecting bones for taxidermy projects, and brooding over her magic and her mother’s death when she was only an infant. Then her bones disappear, and a monster begins chasing her and her three friends, who help out on the farm. When the ghost of Laurel’s mother appears, Laurel realizes there’s a curse on the land that only she can break. However, breaking the curse and killing the devil will require blood, sacrifice, and facing Laurel’s past. I enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Bailey Carr, who, speaking as a Southerner, did a solid job on the Southern accents. —Margaret Kingsbury

Wednesday Books

A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy by Jeff Bishop

Cam's summer plans have come to a crashing halt after tearing his ACL in a basketball incident. So instead of partying and winning back Allison Tandy, the girlfriend who dumped him the year prior, he's lying on the couch recovering. But after taking his medication, he begins to see apparitions of Ally (who didn't expect to spend her summer talking to her ex as a vision after a car crash left her in a coma). Speculative John Green vibes live in these pages! —Rachel Strolle

Cam's summer plans have come to a crashing halt after tearing his ACL in a basketball incident. So instead of partying and winning back Allison Tandy, the girlfriend who dumped him the year prior, he's lying on the couch recovering. But after taking his medication, he begins to see apparitions of Ally (who didn't expect to spend her summer talking to her ex as a vision after a car crash left her in a coma). Speculative John Green vibes live in these pages! —Rachel Strolle

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Twice as Perfect by Louisa Onomé

Seventeen-year-old Ada Nkwachi feels the pressure to live up to her Nigerian parents' expectations. It's why she works so hard, why she's joined the debate team and strives for good grades. It's also why she's agreed to assist her cousin Genny in preparation for her wedding day. She's marrying Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy, after all. Ada's brother Sam disappeared from the family years ago, and she feels responsible for being the perfect daughter in his absence. But when Sam reappears in Ada's life, Ada wants answers. Sam was on track to becoming an engineer, and now he's following his passion for crafting poetry. And the more Ada is around Sam, the more she begins to realize she might not have to follow everyone else's rules for what's expected of her and her future. I adored Onomé's sophomore novel. It's a tender, introspective, and heartfelt story about what it means to be a child of immigrants and pave your own path in the world. —Farrah Penn

Seventeen-year-old Ada Nkwachi feels the pressure to live up to her Nigerian parents' expectations. It's why she works so hard, why she's joined the debate team and strives for good grades. It's also why she's agreed to assist her cousin Genny in preparation for her wedding day. She's marrying Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy, after all. Ada's brother Sam disappeared from the family years ago, and she feels responsible for being the perfect daughter in his absence. But when Sam reappears in Ada's life, Ada wants answers. Sam was on track to becoming an engineer, and now he's following his passion for crafting poetry. And the more Ada is around Sam, the more she begins to realize she might not have to follow everyone else's rules for what's expected of her and her future. I adored Onomé's sophomore novel. It's a tender, introspective, and heartfelt story about what it means to be a child of immigrants and pave your own path in the world. —Farrah Penn

Feiwel & Friends

A Furry Faux Paw by Jessica Kara

Maeve is living two lives. In one, she's MauveCat, her cool, artistic fursona with tons of friends made online, and a plan to finally meet them in person at a furry convention. But as Maeve, her life isn't nearly as fun, glamorous, or enjoyable. Her parents are divorced, her mother (who's also her guardian) is a hoarder, and she finds it impossible to get close to anyone because she doesn't want them to know her life. Then her father offers to send her to Furlympia, where she finally meets all the other furries who've comprised the joyful part of her world. It's an amazing experience, and she even finds mentorship for her art. But what nobody knows is that her mother has forbidden her to go, and the more Maeve lies, the worse she feels, especially when she finds she can't keep it up forever. While the book has its tinges of hardship and sadness, you'll cheer for Maeve following her passions and coming into her own. —Dahlia Adler

Maeve is living two lives. In one, she's MauveCat, her cool, artistic fursona with tons of friends made online, and a plan to finally meet them in person at a furry convention. But as Maeve, her life isn't nearly as fun, glamorous, or enjoyable. Her parents are divorced, her mother (who's also her guardian) is a hoarder, and she finds it impossible to get close to anyone because she doesn't want them to know her life. Then her father offers to send her to Furlympia, where she finally meets all the other furries who've comprised the joyful part of her world. It's an amazing experience, and she even finds mentorship for her art. But what nobody knows is that her mother has forbidden her to go, and the more Maeve lies, the worse she feels, especially when she finds she can't keep it up forever. While the book has its tinges of hardship and sadness, you'll cheer for Maeve following her passions and coming into her own. —Dahlia Adler

Page Street Kids

The Witchery by S. Isabelle

Logan has just arrived to Haelsford, Florida, the witch town she thinks is a Hellmouth. The newest attendee of Mesmortes Coven Academy, Logan is quickly taken under the wing of Iris, Jailah, and Thalia, known as the Red Three. Iris is a deathwitch hoping to break the town's curse, Jailah has great power but also ambition with potential to turn dark, and Thalia is on the run from a family and a past that haunts her. As the Haunting Season begins, the uneasy truce between humans and witches is put to the test, two boys become involved with the witches' plan to end the reign of the Wolves who rise from the swamp to feed, and old dangers await in the shadows. —Rachel Strolle

Logan has just arrived to Haelsford, Florida, the witch town she thinks is a Hellmouth. The newest attendee of Mesmortes Coven Academy, Logan is quickly taken under the wing of Iris, Jailah, and Thalia, known as the Red Three. Iris is a deathwitch hoping to break the town's curse, Jailah has great power but also ambition with potential to turn dark, and Thalia is on the run from a family and a past that haunts her. As the Haunting Season begins, the uneasy truce between humans and witches is put to the test, two boys become involved with the witches' plan to end the reign of the Wolves who rise from the swamp to feed, and old dangers await in the shadows. —Rachel Strolle

Scholastic Press

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

Violet is positioned within the royal court as a prophet, one who provides divinations that are cleverly phrased and not quite true. And once Prince Cyrus takes the crown at the end of summer, he plans to remove her from her role. When the king asks her to falsely prophecy Cyrus's love story, it spirals when Violet awakens a curse...the outcome of which depends on who the prince chooses as a bride. And of course, there's that ill-fated attraction she has to Cyrus. Everything you want from an enemies-to-lovers fantasy starring morally gray characters. —Rachel Strolle

Violet is positioned within the royal court as a prophet, one who provides divinations that are cleverly phrased and not quite true. And once Prince Cyrus takes the crown at the end of summer, he plans to remove her from her role. When the king asks her to falsely prophecy Cyrus's love story, it spirals when Violet awakens a curse...the outcome of which depends on who the prince chooses as a bride. And of course, there's that ill-fated attraction she has to Cyrus. Everything you want from an enemies-to-lovers fantasy starring morally gray characters. —Rachel Strolle

Delacorte Press
children's fiction
Alexa Fishman

Spider-Man's Social Dilemma by Preeti Chibber

There might be a bunch of Spider-Man’s in the collective consciousness, especially now after Spider-Man No Way Home, but Preeti Chibber’s take on Peter Parker is one of the most tonally perfect renditions to exist outside the core comics. This Peter has only been Spidey for a few months, and he’s still getting in the swing of that whole balancing act. It’s especially hard to keep it together in front of his crush, MJ, whose social media seems to be taking a toll on. And it’s hard to keep it together in front of his boss, J. Jonah Jameson. Then there’s the whole issue with Sandman, who is acting stranger than usual. But if Peter can figure out how to pretend to be normal during the daytime, he can keep being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man at night. That is, if he can keep everything under control. —Rachel Strolle

There might be a bunch of Spider-Man’s in the collective consciousness, especially now after Spider-Man No Way Home, but Preeti Chibber’s take on Peter Parker is one of the most tonally perfect renditions to exist outside the core comics. This Peter has only been Spidey for a few months, and he’s still getting in the swing of that whole balancing act. It’s especially hard to keep it together in front of his crush, MJ, whose social media seems to be taking a toll on. And it’s hard to keep it together in front of his boss, J. Jonah Jameson. Then there’s the whole issue with Sandman, who is acting stranger than usual. But if Peter can figure out how to pretend to be normal during the daytime, he can keep being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man at night. That is, if he can keep everything under control. —Rachel Strolle

Marvel Press