For many, the upcoming summer will be quite different than the last. But whether you’re staying in or venturing out, a good book can always keep you grounded. The 10 best new books arriving in June are sure to offer something new for readers to explore.
With Teeth, Kristen Arnett (June 1)
Like her breakout debut, Mostly Dead Things, Kristen Arnett’s latest novel looks at a fractured family unit, this time focusing on two women as they struggle to raise their son. Samson has been difficult ever since he was a young child, but now his juvenile misbehavior gives way to a startling level of hostility in his teenage years. When that aggression hits a breaking point, his parents grapple with the challenges of queer motherhood and marriage as he tests the boundaries of their love.
Somebody’s Daughter, Ashley C. Ford (June 1)
Best known as a writer and podcast host with sharp pop-culture takes, Ashley C. Ford offers a debut memoir that pulls no punches. Tracking her impoverished youth and adolescence in Indiana, Ford shares her struggles growing up with a single mother as she grapples with her changing body, painful relationships and the truth of her identity, embarking on a poignant quest to find and understand her incarcerated father.
The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris (June 1)
Both a blistering satire and sharp social commentary, Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel follows Nella Rogers, the only Black editorial assistant at the fictional Wagner Books. But that changes the day Hazel-May McCall is hired—setting in motion a strange series of events that leaves Harris’ protagonist unexpectedly isolated. Though the two women initially bond, Hazel begins to rise in the ranks as Nella is shut out, all while Nella receives anonymous hostile messages. As the mysteries mount, Harris, who worked as an assistant editor at Knopf before leaving to write this book, guides us through a thrilling narrative set against the backdrop of the starkly white publishing industry.
One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston (June 1)
Twenty-three year-old August has just arrived in New York City with a cynical attitude and barely any luggage—her whole life fit into five boxes. She’s a perpetual loner, until one fateful ride on the Q train changes everything. August meets a mysterious girl in a leather jacket named Jane, and is instantly smitten. But there’s a catch: Jane has been stuck on the subway since the 1970s. Like her debut novel, Red, White & Royal Blue, McQuiston’s latest rom-com bursts with charm, humor and this time a bit of magic.
How the Word Is Passed, Clint Smith (June 1)
Writer and poet Clint Smith thoroughly excavates the pervasive (yet not always visible) legacy of slavery in America in his nonfiction debut, How the Word Is Passed. To delve into this history, Smith uses his hometown of New Orleans as the launching point for an evocative and frank exploration of the American slave trade, mapping the wide-reaching effects of our nation’s greatest shame from Angola—a Louisiana plantation-turned-prison—to lower Manhattan’s dark past as a slave market hub. Through Smith’s clear-eyed storytelling, he illustrates just how deeply the consequences of this intergenerational history manifest in the present day, both politically and personally.
We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto, Alice Waters (June 1)
Chef Alice Waters is often considered the mother of the farm-to-table food movement, thanks to her legendary Berkeley, Calif., restaurant, Chez Panisse, which she opened in 1971. Waters remains one of the loudest advocates for sustainability in the restaurant business, and has long championed conscientious consumption. Her new book, We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto, is an explanation of that ethos, detailing the problems with fast food and how constant availability has negatively impacted our habits. Waters makes a convincing case that the act of eating is political, with powerful effects on the future of the planet.
The Chosen and the Beautiful, Nghi Vo (June 1)
The Great Gatsby’s recent copyright expiration means everyone can take their shot at reinventing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary story of East Coast glitz and glamour. Nghi Vo’s debut novel does so with ample amounts of magic and mystery, and is centered on Jordan Baker, who in Vo’s telling is a queer Vietnamese woman navigating her way through the 1920s New York social scene. The Chosen and the Beautiful finds Jordan fighting for her place in this Gatsby-adjacent world as an outsider, a plight that Vo illuminates in heartbreaking specificity.
The President’s Daughter, Bill Clinton and James Patterson (June 7)
Former President Bill Clinton teams up with best-selling author James Patterson once more for this summer’s standalone sequel to their 2018 thriller, The President Is Missing. This time, ex-president and one-time Navy SEAL Matthew Keating’s daughter has been kidnapped by a terrorist. Through its 500-plus pages, Clinton and Patterson’s novel puts their respective expertise to good use in a twisting plot.
Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, Akwaeke Emezi (June 8)
Structured as a series of letters to friends, lovers and family, Akwaeke Emezi’s searing nonfiction debut is an intimate exploration of the novelist’s relationship to their gender, body, family and freedom. Raw and piercing, these short pieces trace Emezi’s rise as a literary powerhouse, and outline their intense work ethic amid difficult life events. Together, the letters serve as a self-portrait of a storyteller sharing their fight to survive.
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch, Rivka Galchen (June 8)
Rivka Galchen’s smart, wry novel Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is a thought-provoking take on the proverbial witch hunt. Drawing inspiration from real historical documents about Katharina Kepler, an illiterate German woman in the 1600s (and the mother of astronomer Johannes Kepler) who was accused of being a witch, Galchen spins a tale that blurs the line between truth and heresy. Punctuated with sparkling wit and irreverent humor, it taps into the depths of who we choose to fear and why.
Source: Time Magazine by Raisa Bruner, Annabel Gutterman and Cady Lang, May 25, 2021.
The holiday season is upon us, and this is good news for folks who have all of the holiday spirit and can’t watch those Hallmark movies fast enough. We too especially love this time of the year. Our holiday playlist has been on repeat for weeks and we've already put up our Christmas trees. We love this time of year! That being said, here's a list of holiday themed YA books for readers of all ages to enjoy. And no, you don't have to be a young adult/teen to read them! So get in the holiday spirit with us and read one of these holiday themed YA books. They're sure to bring the romance and remind readers of their favorite Hallmark movies.
#ALLIWANTFORCHRISTMAS: A SWEET YA CHRISTMAS ROMANCE BY YESENIA VARGAS
Christmas Eve is right around the corner, but enjoying the perfect Christmas is looking more impossible than ever for these five friends. Ella’s Prince Charming is caught in a snowstorm. Lena is just over the holidays in general. Harper needs another $100 for a family in need. Tori is more concerned with balloon colors than her boyfriend, and Rey just feels forever alone. Will their first Christmas together as friends be a flop?
CAROLS AND CHAOS BY CINDY ANSTEY
For fans of Jane Austen, Downton Abbey, and of course, Hallmark movies comes this companion novel to Suitors and Sabotage set during the Yuletide season of 1817. Lady’s maid Kate Darby has her hands full between performing her household duties at the Shackleford Park country estate and caring for her ailing mother. Matt Harlow is also busy acting as valet for the Steeple brothers, two of the estate’s holiday guests. Falling in love would be a disaster for both of them, but resisting their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when Kate and Matt unwittingly become swept up in a devious counterfeiting scheme.
DECKED WITH HOLLY BY MARNI BATES
A Christmas cruise with her two cousins is not Holly’s idea of a good time. The trip doesn’t get better when she gets seasick and then pepper-sprayed by a cute guy named Nick who is actually Dominic Wyatt, a drummer from one of the hottest boy bands. Soon, Holly’s face is plastered all over the internet, and rumors are flying. The band can’t risk destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend for the next two weeks.
EX-MAS: A LOVE/HATE STORY BY KATE BRIAN
Lila Beckwith is ready to throw an epic holiday party while her parents are out of town. Lila’s big plans are soon spoiled when her Christmas-obsessed little brother Cooper takes off with his best friend Tyler to save Santa. Lila has to bring Cooper back home safely before her parents return on Christmas Eve, but the only person who can help is Tyler’s older brother Beau, who also happens to be Lila’s ex-boyfriend. It may take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their brothers.
FRENCH KISSMAS BY CATHY HAPKA
Christmas in Paris is like a homecoming for Nicole Larson. A year ago, Nic studied abroad in Paris and is now back with her friend Annike to spend the holiday season in the City of Light. Almost instantly, Nic is once again rekindling her romance with Parisian hottie Luc, but what is the point of reigniting something that will only last for a few weeks? Instead, Nic prefers spending her time with new friend Mike…until it becomes clear Mike is also interested in being more than just friends.
LET IT SNOW: THREE HOLIDAY ROMANCES BY JOHN GREEN, MAUREEN JOHNSON, AND LAUREN MYRACLE
Comprised of three separate but intertwined stories, Let It Snow follows three Gracetown teenagers during a huge snow storm on Christmas Eve. The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson follows Jubilee Dougal who is forced to spend Christmas Eve with her grandparents instead of her boyfriend Noah. A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green begins with Tobin and his friends, the Duke and JP, being lured to the local Waffle House by their friend Keun. In The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle, Addie deals with a recent breakup.
After reading Let It Snow, stream the Netflix adaptation!
MY NEW CRUSH GAVE TO ME BY SHANI PETROFF
The only thing Charlie Donovan wants for Christmas is Teo Ortiz. He barely knows she exists, but Charlie is determined to be Teo’s date to the Christmas Ball. All Charlie has to do is rig the school paper’s Secret Santa and win Teo’s heart with the perfect gift. To succeed, Charlie needs the help of J.D. Ortiz, Teo’s cousin. He is the most annoying person Charlie’s ever met, but J.D. is willing to give Charlie insight into what Teo wants. Yet, as Charlie spends more time with J.D., she begins to wonder if she knows what (or who) she really wants for Christmas after all.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU BY LAURA SILVERMAN
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets You’ve Got Mail in this YA holiday romcom about rival teen booksellers. Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at her favorite local bookstore Once Upon. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the employee who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to make enough money to fix her car. The only person standing in her way is the store’s new hire Jake Kaplan. Jake doesn’t even read, but his sales soon begin to rival Shoshanna’s. Jake may be handsome, single, and Jewish, which is hard to find in Atlanta, but to Shoshanna, Jake is the enemy. She is ready to take him down, but the competition seems to bring them closer.
SECRET SANTA BY SABRINA JAMES
Hopeless romantic Noelle just knows her Secret Santa gift is from her crush Charlie. Froggy the super geek likes the super popular Celia and plans to use being her Secret Santa to reveal his feelings, but Celia has a crush on resident bad boy Jake. Celia thinks her presents are from him. Lily just wants to give Connor a great gift because she loves Christmas, but her gifts are making Connor’s girlfriend jealous. All will be revealed at the Winter Dance, and there’s more than one surprise waiting under the mistletoe.
SNOW IN LOVE BY MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, NIC STONE, AIMEE FRIEDMAN, AND KASIE WEST
What’s better than one cozy holiday story? Four stories written by some of the bestselling YA authors. Kasie West shares a snowy road trip taking an unexpected detour when secrets (and crushes) are revealed. From Aimee Friedman comes a story about a young Jewish woman who finds love while working as a department store elf. Melissa de la Cruz gives Christmas Eve a plot twist when a high school couple exchanges presents. Nic Stone’s story is about a scavenger hunt amid holiday crowds at the airport.
SNOWED IN BY RACHEL HAWTHORNE
If you’re looking for Christmas YA books that provide cozy winter vibes without all the Christmas, then Snowed In is the must-read book for you.
At 17 years old, Ashleigh is about to experience a lot of things for the first time. The first thing is snow, because she and her mom are moving from sunny Texas to icy Michigan. Living on the completely snowbound and tiny Mackinac Island means experiencing small-town life for the first time. The scariest new experience of them all is boys. Of course, there were boys in Texas, but Ashleigh has never met a boy as cute or irresistible as Josh Wynter.
TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT BY JENNIFER CASTLE
Kendall, who just returned home from a life-altering semester abroad in Europe, and Max, who is going through a gap year, witness a tragic accident during the holiday season. Racked with guilt from the incident, the two decide to perform random acts of kindness for strangers around New York City. Max and Kendall can’t deny their growing bond as the challenge brings them closer together. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will their other romantic entanglements keep them apart or will Kendall and Max be together at midnight?
Source: Katisha Smith for Book Riot. Originally posted Oct 23, 2020.