It’s the height of summer! Temperatures are ramping up, hats are coming out, and books are making a splash. In case you need some more ideas for fun in the sun, our June Most Anticipated is sure to keep you entertained. From long-awaited books by popular authors to fantastic whodunnits, there’s a shimmering pool of enticing books to dive into.
Emily’s Pick #1: Of all the books coming out this summer, this one has my favorite cover: the vivid colors, the detailed tree roots and starry sky, the figure staring off into the horizon. Yeah, this one calls to me. And from the plot description, it sounds like a great match for the book as well! In 1886, young Eliza Brightwell arrives in Western Australia with her family—her father has ambitions of captaining a pearl-diving boat in the opulent ocean waters. Ten years pass and he achieves his dreams, until one day his boat returns, empty. Eliza must plumb the depths of the ocean and the pearling industry to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance before it’s too late. Publication Date: June 14, 2022
For readers of The Light Between Oceans and The Island of Sea Women, a feminist adventure story set against the backdrop of the dangerous pearl diving industry in 19th-century Western Australia, about a young English woman who sets off to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her eccentric father.
Western Australia, 1886. After months at sea, a slow boat makes its passage from London to the shores of Bannin Bay. From the deck, young Eliza Brightwell and her family eye their strange, new home. Here is an unforgiving land where fortune sits patiently at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to be claimed by those brave enough to venture into its depths. An ocean where pearl shells bloom to the size of soup plates, where men are coaxed into unthinkable places and unspeakable acts by the promise of unimaginable riches.
Ten years later, the pearl-diving boat captained by Eliza’s eccentric father returns after months at sea—without Eliza’s father on it. Whispers from townsfolk point to mutiny or murder. Headstrong Eliza knows it’s up to her to discover who, or what, is really responsible.
As she searches for the truth, Eliza discovers that beneath the glamorous veneer of the pearling industry, lies a dark underbelly of sweltering, stinking decay. The sun-scorched streets of Bannin Bay, a place she once thought she knew so well, are teeming with corruption, prejudice, and blackmail. Just how far is Eliza willing to push herself in order to solve the mystery of her missing father? And what family secrets will come to haunt her along the way?
A transporting feminist adventure story based on Lizzie Pook’s deep research into the pearling industry and the era of British colonial rule in Australia, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is ultimately about the lengths one woman will travel to save her family.
Sara’s Pick #1: Libraries are places of peace and quiet, but not so for the reading room at the Boston Public Library. When a woman's terrified shriek rips through the peace and quiet of the room, security instructs everyone to stay where they are until they figure out what's going on. In the meantime, four strangers sitting at the same table enter into polite conversation. Well, it would be polite if one of them wasn't secretly a murderer. THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY tells the tale of friendship, betrayal, and how we hurt those we care about most. Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Brianna’s Pick: If you haven’t read any of Tom Perrotta’s books, TRACY FLICK CAN’T WIN is a great place to start—even for those unfamiliar with the iconic character of Tracy Flick (featured in Perrotta’s earlier book, ELECTION, and made famous in the cult movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon). All the trademark qualities that you would expect from a Perrotta novel are here: dark humor, characters that leap off the page, a plot that skips along at a fast pace, and issues so timely that your book club will have fodder for days. I enjoyed the book so much that I read it twice, once just to see how the plot would unfold and a second time to ponder the larger themes—e.g., toxic masculinity; female ambition and sexuality; atonement. . . . It’s a breezy summer read with substance, one that you can truly savor. Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Tracy Flick is back and, once again, the iconic protagonist of Tom Perrotta’s Election—and Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation—is determined to take high school politics by storm.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.
Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.
As she broods on the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the Principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time.
Emily’s Pick #2: I’ve been obsessed with speakeasies and always thought it’d be the perfect blend of glamour and conflict in which to set a novel. So, I’m very intrigued by LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTINGALE, a prohibition-era murder mystery that revolves around a New York speakeasy. A young Irish woman, Vivian, goes to a jazz speakeasy with her sister to dance and flirt and forget about her responsibilities as a seamstress. When the club gets raided, Vivian gets carted off to jail, and the club’s owner, Honor Huxley, comes to her rescue—and holds her in debt. Now, in order to pay Honor back, Vivian must solve a murder mystery—a crime that only she has the ability to solve. Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Heather’s Pick: We hopeless romantics may like the idea of anticipating the exact day we’ll meet our soulmate, but would the reality match our daydreams? In Hannah Orenstein’s new novel, heroine Edie Meyer has always been secure in the knowledge that she’ll encounter her soulmate when she’s twenty-nine—on June 24, 2022, to be precise. The only problem with looking forward to something for years is that you have a lot of time (maybe too much time?!) to build up expectations about a meet-cute that no mere mortal could ever live up to. Sure enough, Edie’s disappointed to find that the musician she meets that day and immediately recognizes as The One is not so perfect after all. Now Edie must face the possibility that true love is more complicated (and requires more work) than she could have imagined. Personally, I have no doubt that MEANT TO BE MINE is, well, meant to be mine! Publication Date: June 7, 2022
From the author of the “funny, sexy, and absurdly entertaining” (Marie Claire) Playing with Matches, a sweeping love story in the vein of Rebecca Serle and Chloe Benjamin about a woman who knows the date she’ll meet her true love—only he isn’t quite as perfect as she always imagined.
What if you knew exactly when you’d meet the love of your life? Edie Meyer knows. When her Grandma Gloria was a young woman, she had a vision of the exact day she would meet her soul mate—and then Grandpa Ray showed up.
Since then, Gloria has accurately predicted the day every single member of the family has met their match. Edie’s day arrives on June 24, 2022, when she’s twenty-nine years old. She has been waiting for it half her life. That morning, she boards an airplane to her twin sister’s surprise engagement, and when a handsome musician sits beside her, she knows it’s meant to be.
But fate comes with more complications than Edie expected and she can’t fight the nagging suspicion that her perfect guy doesn’t have perfect timing. After a tragedy and a shocking revelation rock Edie’s carefully constructed world, she’s forced to consider whether love chooses us, as simple as destiny, or if we choose it ourselves.
Jordyn’s Pick #1: I know that summer is in the air with this cover; it’s so bright and colorful and just begging to be brought to the beach! Speaking of the beach, ISLAND TIME is set on a tropical island where two families are stranded after a nearby volcano eruption changes their plans. Georgia Clark’s books remind me of watching Love Actually, with so many story lines and relationships that come together at the climax of the book in a perfect way. Featuring so many lovable characters, ISLAND TIME should be at the top of your summer reading list. Publication Date: June 14, 2022
Love is in the salty sea air in this smart and steamy ensemble romantic comedy set in a tropical paradise, from the author of the “sparkly and entertaining” (Oprah Daily) It Had to Be You. This is one island you won’t want to be rescued from.
The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.
With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.
Elizabeth’s Pick: Carli has drive, and she refuses to apologize for it. She spends her days building a career at a New York City media agency, but her true passion is music, and she spends every free moment with her song notebook or guitar. Then she meets hip-hop’s latest obsession, Tau Anderson, who happens to be devastatingly gorgeous . . . and her agency’s new client. Tau has eyes for Carli, but is the star worth putting everything she’s worked so hard for on the line? With modern romance, a glittering look at the New York City music scene, and a heroine you’ll root for, GOOD MORNING, LOVE is a celebration of Black love and the power of believing in yourself. Fans of Jasmine Guillory and Emily Henry—this one’s for you! Publication Date: June 21, 2022
For fans of My (Not So) Perfect Life and Jasmine Guillory’s While We Were Dating, a disarmingly fun debut novel follows Carlisa Henton as her life comes undone after a chance meeting with a rising pop star.
Carlisa “Carli” Henton is a musician and songwriter hoping to follow in her father’s musical footsteps. But, biding her time until she makes it big in the music industry, she works as a junior account manager at a big-name media company to cover her New York City rent. Carli meticulously balances her work with her musical endeavors as a songwriter—until a chance meeting with rising star Tau Anderson sends her calculated world into a frenzy. Their worlds collide and quickly blur the strict lines Carli has drawn between her business and her personal life, throwing Carli’s reputation—and her burgeoning songwriting career—into question.
A smart, timely, energizing romance, Good Morning, Love shows us what the glamorous New York’s music scene is really like and takes us into the lives of a rising but somewhat troubled R&B star and a promising protégé who knows her job better than she knows herself.
With fresh and honest prose, Good Morning, Love examines the uncertainty of being a new professional looking to chase a dream while also trying to survive in a world that’s not always kind to ambitious women.
Sara’s Pick #2: Who doesn't love a good murder mystery with a side of plant intrigue? The year is 1923, and Saffron Everleigh is the only female botanist at the University College London. She's all set to head off on an Amazonian research trip with her mentor, which gets derailed when said mentor is the prime suspect in the peculiar poisoning of Mrs. Henry, the wife of the expedition's leader. To clear his name and get her research trip back on track, Saffron must use her wits and botanical know-how to figure out who the real killer is. Sweet as a rose yet sharp as thorns, A BOTANIST'S GUIDE TO PARTIES AND POISONS is sure to delight everyone from the aspiring horticulturist to the die-hard whodunnit fanatic. Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Sara’s Pick #3: Growing up is already hard, but Benji has it a lot worse than most. On top of the constant misgendering and emotional abuse he suffers at the hands of his caretakers, he's been experimented on and transformed into the host for a world-ending virus by an ecofascist cult. But there's hope when he is saved by a ragtag group of queer kids hiding out in the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center. Will Benji be able to contain the virus and save what's left of humanity, or is he doomed to become the bioweapon they want him to be? HELL FOLLOWED WITH US is a queer, dystopian novel that is unapologetic in its message of hope and acceptance in the struggle against who others want us to be in order to find our truest selves. Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Jordyn’s Pick #2: I can’t lie, mushroom houses on the cover of a book will always make me buy it! THE DAWNHOUNDS is a debut fantasy about a police officer who is brought back to life and embarks on a mission to protect her city. After reading other culturally inspired books like BLACK SUN and THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS and loving them, I found that this Māori-inspired book also meshes mythology into the story in a gorgeous way. If you’re looking for fantasy with pirate vibes, queer characters, fungal and biotech worldbuilding, and a race against time, THE DAWNHOUDS will check all your boxes. Publication Date: June 14, 2022
Gideon the Ninth meets Black Sun in this queer, Māori-inspired debut fantasy about a police officer who is murdered, brought back to life with a mysterious new power, and tasked with protecting her city from an insidious evil threatening to destroy it.
The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.
Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.
Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.
Sabrina’s Pick: Tiago Forte has designed the most promising system I’ve found for harnessing the vast amounts of information we consume in our connected society and turning it into useful, actionable nuggets of wisdom. BUILDING A SECOND BRAIN provides a structure for determining what’s important and worth saving, how to organize it, and how to transform it into finished products. His method includes everything we might encounter in life, from major work projects to grocery shopping. One of my biggest frustrations is that as a nonfiction reader, I consume tons of useful information, but I generally fail to use it or forget it after I close the book. I’ve tried many organizational techniques, from digital notes to bullet journaling and handwritten notes, but I’ve never been able to master any of them and usually ditch them after a few weeks. Forte’s method left me inspired and invigorated, ready to tackle the world. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I recommend BUILDING A SECOND BRAIN so you can show the world what a superstar you really are. Publication Date: June 14, 2022
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Photo credit: iStock / Wavebreakmedia