June is upon us, which means that summer is finally here! For those of you still in school, summer means freedom and long days to do nothing but lie by the pool and read. For those of us who have to work, summer still promises a lot of fun. We’ll have trips to the beach, barbeques (now that we’re vaccinated), and lazy days to devour new reads. This month, it sounds like we’ll be treated to a whole host of awesome summer reads. This list offers fun, summery contemporaries and high-stakes fantasy novels that promise to transport us to another world.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (June 1)
Since this debut was announced, readers have been eagerly awaiting this twisty, electrifying thriller. When anonymous texter, Aces, shakes up the elite private high school, Niveus Academy, head girl and talented musician find their darkest secrets brought to light. Chiamaka and Devon, unlikely allies, are forced to work together while Aces’ destruction reigns and threatens the security of the whole school and their classmates.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (June 1)
Sometimes you hear about a book months in advance because the buzz has been building and it seems like the book is everywhere before it even comes out. The Other Black Girl, a thriller set in the overwhelmingly white world of publishing and the racism that people of color, especially women of color encounter. Compulsively readable and timely, this book from a fresh new voice will be a hit this Summer!
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (June 1)
How could you not be entranced by a book that is described as Practical Magic meets Twister? Clara, like all witches, has the power to control the weather. But Clara’s power is volatile and using it means risking the ones she loves. A novel that is as deeply about magic as it is about our changing climate, The Nature of Witches is an “atmospheric” book that contemporary readers and fantasy readers will enjoy.
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by K. O’Neill (June 1)
After this past year, we need all the cozy comfort reads we can get and Katie O’Neill’s books are the most cozy and comforting out there. If you don’t know the Tea Dragon series, you need to stop what you’re doing and get ready to embark on the most charming and whimsical of reads. The world of the Tea Dragons is inclusive, sweet and adorable. Tea Dragon Tapestry is the latest graphic novel in the series and reintroduces readers to the best, most loving world of tea dragons and their caretakers.
One Great Lie by Deb Caletti (June 1)
Deb Caletti is a well-deserved Printz Honor award winner and author of some of the most beautiful and inspiring YA books. Each of her books have fantastic premises with richly drawn and unforgettable characters. A bit of romance, mystery and contemporary fiction, Deb’s latest introduces readers to Charlotte, a passionate writer who wins a scholarship with the enigmatic Luca Bruni. But is Bruni all that he seems? Charlotte will spend the summer uncovering the secrets of his work and her own stories.
The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo (June 1)
As soon as this book was announced, readers were practically falling over themselves at the idea of a queer Great Gatsby retelling, and early reviews confirm that the hype is well earned. Add in magic and an enticing main character in Jordan Baker, and this book deserves to be one of the most highly anticipated of the season.
Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz (June 1)
When Maddie’s brother Strum disappears, her once musical family falls apart. Her sister turns rebellious, and Maggie begins compulsively counting and dealing with nervous thoughts she might need to seek help for. While her parents go to his college campus to look for him, Maddie tries to comb through her own clues about Strum’s whereabouts. This novel-in-verse starts a lovely conversation about our changing climate and nature.
We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman (June 1)
From the utterly incredible YA author Gayle Forman comes a gorgeous novel about addiction, grief, and family. Forman writes family relationships, first love, and loss like no one else, and this book is another testament to her talent. Readers will love the larger-than-life characters, small bookstore setting and general relatable feeling of Forman’s writing.
For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten (June 1)
Twisted retelling fans rejoice, For the Wolf will give you major Red Riding Hood vibes. Dark and haunting, the Red of this novel is meant to be sacrificed to the Wolf so that her family will be safe. But the legends that tell of a powerful force keeping the Gods away are lies, and if Red cannot control her power, she’ll lose everything to the monsters the Gods have become.
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon (June 8)
I’m a sucker for any rom-com starring a heroine who’s cynical about love. If she works in the wedding business, even better. Quinn confessed her love to Tarek in an email last summer, but he went off to college without ever responding. As someone who has experienced this exact thing, I instantly sympathized. Now he’s back for the summer, and since their parents both work in the business, they have no choice but to work together for every wedding. This book promises to be the sweet, fun parts of the best classic rom-coms, while also dealing with serious issues.
The Wolf & the Woodsman by Ava Reid (June 8)
Based on Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, this debut promises compelling storytelling and thoughtful characters. When a powerless outcast girl is given up to be sacrificed to a dangerous king, a disgraced prince disguised as a Woodsman is tasked with bringing her in, and their journey forges a bond that neither of them intended on but both need to survive.
Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura (June 8)
This novel is a perfect summer romance… fake dating edition. Nozomi thinks Willow is perfect in every way, and when Willow enlists Nozomi’s help to make her ex jealous, she says yes. Over the course of the summer, she hopes to show Willow that their relationship could be real. But of course, like every rom-com, the lies pile up a little too high. This is a unique, queer twist on the beloved fake dating trope.
Phoebe Unfired by Amalie Jahn (June 15)
This contemporary tackles germophobia in a post-COVID world. Phoebe Bensen has dedicated herself to avoiding all pathogens in hopes of protecting her brother, who has underdeveloped lungs. By refusing to touch contaminated surfaces and staying away from people, she’s unintentionally isolated herself. Phoebe Unfired follows its title character as her best friend helps her overcome her fears. This book promises to be a sweet and heartwarming read that discusses anxiety honestly and powerfully.
The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt (June 8)
Small towns, deep friendships, and mental health representation are the heart of this beautiful and heartbreaking novel. A difficult read (content warnings include suicide and depression), Cassandra Hartt’s prose is on display. This is a deeply emotional read and one for fans of The Astonishing Color of After and Darius The Great Is Not Okay.
Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson (June 8)
An impending world-destroying flood, a sapphic romance and a revenge plot make up the premise to this epic, gritty novel. When Natasha discovers that her and her Flyer (Aerial silk performers) troupe haven’t made it on the ship’s manifest, she decides to compete for a chance to win the Prince’s hand in order to save herself and her fellow aerialists. Her growing relationship with Ella, a new Flyer and one on a deadly revenge plot against the same Prince who may be the key to saving them, raises the already high stakes. You’ll white knuckle-grip this compelling read until the very last page.
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambry (June 15)
In this enthralling, dark urban fantasy (set in a futuristic Toronto!), a young witch must find and let her first love go before she can use her gifts. If she fails, her entire family’s magic is at risk. Torn between her duty to her family and bloodline and her love match–the future love of her life, Voya fights to find a way to save him and her family’s magic at the same time.
The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae (June 15)
The Kinder Poison was one of my favorite fantasy reads of last summer, and I eagerly await the sequel. The last book left on a cliffhanger where the main character, Zahru, was dealt a crushing blow. Now the kingdom is on the brink of war when Prince Kasta claims he is the winner of the Crossing and the rightful ruler, which a mark from the gods proves. Zahru, though, has the same mark. She has no desire to rule, but she cannot let Kasta take the throne. The first book balanced high stakes and action with deep moral questions, and I’m excited to see what this one explores!
Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey (June 22)
For fans of the Lucy Parker’s delightful London Celebrities series, this enemies-to-lovers co-star romance is a fun read for the start of the summer season! When out-of-work actress Sloane Ford lands a part playing the love interest to her nightmare co-star Joseph Donovan, she has to contend with the chaos of a production put on by her Hollywood royalty family and the downward slope of her career, all while trying not to blur the lines between real life and acting as she realizes tries to fight her and Joseph’s electric chemistry on and off the screen.
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta (June 29)
What if Transformers or Pacific Rim was told from the point of a view of angry girls on opposite sides of a war? Unexpected, queer, and propulsive with amazing found family vibes, Gearbreakers is set in a post-apocalyptic world where two girls who find something worth fighting for in each other.