Hello July! Hello Summer! This is a month for thrilling releases and dark fantasies, books with delectable romance, high stakes, and breathtaking twists. Whether you’re reading by the pool or inside where it’s nice and cool, you’ll be able to pass these days with plenty of good books by an incredible list of authors. Happy reading!
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (July 6)
Forbidden magic, cursed brothers, an arranged betrothal and a dragon make up this captivating fantasy—the first in a new duology from Elizabeth Lim. To save her brothers from the dark curse her stepmother has placed on them, the only daughter in the royal family, Shiori, must work with the boy she was supposed to marry to save them and save the throne. Fast paced, stunning worldbuilding, and great family dynamics make this book a must-read this summer!
What We Devour by Linsey Miller (July 6)
Anyone who reads Linsey Miller knows that her worldbuilding, characters, and tense plot lines make for some of the best dark fantasy novels in the YA genre. What We Devour is a prime example. In it, she strikes the balance between bleak and hopeful—as she says in an author note, the magic system is built on sacrifice and the world is pretty apocalyptic, so you can imagine that the book gets pretty dark. However, the light that shines through comes from the strength of the characters. Lorena, our protagonist, is cunning, kind, and fascinating. Definitely read the content warnings before checking this one out, but know that you can’t go wrong with Miller.
It Ends In Fire by Andrew Shvarts (July 6)
A magic school and a thirst for revenge. Bi representation and a high stakes undercover mission. Alka is angry, determined, and definitely a character you’ll want to follow. Alka’s sole focus is to destroy the wizard school responsible for her parents death. She must lie, cheat, and spy to ensure she can make a place at the academy all in order to take it down from within. If you read Linsey Miller’s What We Devour, get ready to binge read this next—the two make excellent companions.
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (July 13)
A horror novel about privilege and race—think a YA Get Out—this book is both terrifying and compelling. Jake is the only Black student at his private school where he faces microaggressions and outright racism from students and teachers. On top of that, Jake can see ghosts, ghosts that are often stuck in a death loop (horrifyingly) acting out their last moments. The ghosts rarely interact with him but everything changes when Sawyer, a dead student who shot and murdered six of his classmates, begins to not only haunt but hunt Jake.
Flash Fire by TJ Klune (July 13)
TJ Klune’s The House In The Cerulean Sea was one of The Young Folks Top 10 Books of 2020. That made Flash Fire, the sequel to TJ’s YA novel, The Extraordinaries, a highly anticipated release. With his trademark charm and wit, Klune continues the story of the superheroes and villains of Nova City and Nick Bell’s fanfiction. If you haven’t read this series yet, you have all summer to catch up!
The Freedom Race by Lucinda Roy (July 13)
Described as a speculative fiction call to justice in the face of the unsettling future, this book takes place during the Second Civil War “the sequel” where a new and horrific kind of slave trade has begun. A novel of resistance, courage and strength, if you haven’t read Lucinda Roy, this novel is surely the place to start.
Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma (July 13)
Are you planning on spending time by the pool or beach this July? If so, you MUST bring a book to read and that book definitely needs to be Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance. The intersection of Indian culture, dancing and anxiety representation, along with the sweet romance was fun and relatable. You’ll love Jai’s focus, Radha’s skill and everything in between. This light, inspiring and fun novel is the perfect poolside read.
A Psalm for the Wild Built World by Becky Chambers (July 13)
Hugo award winning science fiction novelist Becky Chambers is known for her hopepunk. This stunning Tor.com novella follows a tea monk and a robot in Panga, a world that is sustainable and free of robots (technology awoke prior to the book and left). This is the first contact between a newly awakened robot and human since the awakening. Its sweet and warm and an antidote to any blahs we might have felt as stay at home restrictions start to relax.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (July 13)
Grady Hendrix is known for his horror and exciting premises. This book takes a look at the popular final girl trope from horror movies—the one woman, usually young, left bloody and traumatized but alive and undefeated by the killer. Lynnette Tarkington survived a massacre twenty-two years before and has been meeting up with other final girls and a therapist in a support group. Together, they try to work through their trauma and not let their past define them—until one of the girls goes missing and Lynnette and the others are faced to confront the fear that someone might be hunting them again.
She Who Became The Sun Shelley Parker-Chan (July 20)
One of the most highly anticipated novels of the summer, Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut is a brilliant retelling of the founding of the Ming dynasty. Part Mulan and The Song of Achilles, this epic is dark and brutal, engrossing and tragic. This will be a novel everyone will be talking about for the rest of the year.
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity, Illustrated by Christopher Baldwin (July 20)
Pitched as The Haunting of Bly Manor meets Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, Shaenon K. Garrity’s graphic novel introduces readers to gothic romance lover, Haley. When she finds herself transported into a gothic castle, with three broody brothers and a ghost for company, Haley finds herself cast as the heroine against an evil force. With the gothic and romance tropes readers will love and great artwork by Christopher Baldwin, get excited for this gothic adventure!
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman (July 27)
If you like your beach reads more on the thriller side, you should definitely pick up Jessica Goodman’s They’ll Never Catch Us. This fast-paced thriller follows two sisters who will do anything to get the athletic scholarships they need to escape their small town. Praised by acclaimed thriller authors such as Tiffany D. Jackson and Diana Urban, They’ll Never Catch Us will keep you company until the next season of Elite and the Gossip Girl reboot air!
Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin (July 27)
If you haven’t read the first books in Shelby Mahurin’s series—Serpent & Dove and Blood & Honey, you need to stop reading this and go get them immediately. The books are romantic, riveting and amazing. I love the found family camaraderie and the urgency of the series—as the threat of rogue witches and witch hunters grows. Reid and Lou have stunning chemistry and I cannot wait (though I don’t want the series to end!) to find out what happens next in God & Monsters, the third book in the series!
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison (July 13)
This edgy own voices novel centers around two teens who are polar opposites. Reagan London is tired of being the good girl and pleasing her parents all the time. Guillermo Lozano was just released from juvie with a strict “no girls” rule. He’s never been one to follow the rules, but he hopes to earn back his family’s respect. Still, he’s struggling to stay away from Reagan, and she struggles to stay away from him… This novel is equal parts cute fairytale and gritty reality.