As summer vacations start to kick off in earnest, thoughts of lounging by the pool, lake or ocean with a new juicy romance novel, candid memoir or page-turning mystery have us counting down the hours until our PTO begins.
From coming-of-age memoirs, to nonfiction examining topics including same-sex marriage and the assassination of JKF killer Jack Ruby, to a fresh new twist on “The Great Gatsby,” June’s new book releases are sure to have you glued to your hammock, patio chair or beach towel all summer long.
‘Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby’ by Dan Abrams and David Fisher (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Millions watched on live TV as nightclub owner Jack Ruby killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald at close range, just two days after the president’s 1963 murder. Now, Dan Abrams, ABC News chief legal analyst, and journalist David Fisher take a deep look at why Ruby shot Oswald, the trial that followed and the conspiracy theories the events brought forward. A must-read for JFK buffs.
‘The Other Black Girl’ by Zakiya Dalila Harris (starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
A top 2021 pick on pretty much everyone’s most anticipated book lists, Harris’ debut novel centers on two young Black women working for a very white New York book publisher. At first, editorial assistants Nella and Hazel-May bond, but as Hazel is embraced by the higher-ups and Nella begins to receive hostile messages, a conspiracy, along with plenty of twists and turns, begins to unfold.
‘Golden Girl’ by Elin Hilderbrand (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Beach read alert! Hilderbrand is back with this breezy read that follows a Nantucket novelist known for her beach novels who is killed in a hit-and-run. Now in “the Beyond,” she is allowed to watch what happens for one final summer and is permitted three “nudges” to help change the outcome of those still living.
‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
If you loved Reid’s “Daisy Jones & The Six,” get ready to devour her latest novel set in 1983 Malibu, California, during a summer party hosted by the four famous Riva siblings, the sons and daughters of a legendary singer. So what happened between the bash’s onset and the family’s house going up in flames after midnight? We can’t wait to find out.
‘How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America’ by Clint Smith (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In this important work of nonfiction, poet and Atlantic writer Smith takes a deep look at how slavery is taught and commemorated in America. Smith travels to eight US sites (including Monticello, New York City and Galveston Island), plus one in Senegal, searching for understanding about “a crime that is still unfolding.”
‘We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto’ by Alice Waters (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The famed Chez Panisse chef and food activist known for using organic, local ingredients and eating in a “slow food way” explores threats that come with a fast-food culture and how food distribution and farming can have social, economic and environmental impacts.
‘Somebody’s Daughter’ by Ashley C. Ford (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In a memoir from the popular podcaster that’s candid, heart-wrenching and simply beautifully written, Ford’s coming-of-age debut examines her relationship with her incarcerated father and growing up poor and Black in Indiana, with themes of family, race, abuse, survival and forgiveness.
‘One Last Stop’ by Casey McQuiston (starting at $10.99; amazon.com)
Need a good rom-com for those lazy afternoons spent poolside this summer? Reach for the latest from McQuiston (“Red, White & Royal Blue“). In a story of girl meets girl, August develops a crush on her fellow subway commuter Jane. The twist? The punk rocker Jane is actually a time traveler from the ’70s.
‘Seven Days in June’ by Tia Williams (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
As teens, award-winning literary novelist Shane Hall and erotica author Eva Mercy, part of the New York Black literati, shared one passion-filled week together. Fifteen years later, they meet again during a panel event in Brooklyn and spend the next seven days reconnecting in this smart and funny love story.
‘The Maidens’ by Alex Michaelides (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Bestselling author Michaelides (“The Silent Patient“) returns with this anticipated dark thriller in which psychotherapist Mariana begins investigating the murder of her niece’s friend Tara. Her prime suspect? Classics professor Edward Fosca, who is adored by a group of women called the Maidens, of which Tara was a part. As another body is found, Mariana’s drive to prove Fosca guilty grows to an obsession.
‘The Chosen and the Beautiful’ by Nghi Vo (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
If “The Great Gatsby” is one of your faves, you may appreciate this take on 1920s American high society — with Jordan Baker as its star, only in Vo’s story the golf pro is a gay Vietnamese adoptee. Adding in some magic and mystery, Jordan’s spin on her friend Daisy, Daisy’s cousin Nick and, of course, Nick’s neighbor, Jay Gatsby, has some critics raving that Vo’s version rivals the original classic.
‘The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage’ by Sasha Issenberg (starting at $17.99; amazon.com)
An Amazon No. 1 new release, journalist Issenberg’s exploration of the history of the conflict and controversy over same-sex marriage covers the debate that eventually led to two landmark US Supreme Court decisions that legalized the right for gay couples to wed. Part political history, civil rights struggle and legal drama, it’s a comprehensive narrative on the LGBTQ rights battle.
‘The President’s Daughter’ by Bill Clinton and James Patterson (available June 7, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In the second collaboration from Clinton, the former US president, and Patterson, the mega-selling author, “The President’s Daughter” (a stand-alone sequel to “The President Is Missing“) is the story of Matthew Keating, a one-term president and former Navy SEAL whose daughter is kidnapped. Looking for a summer thrill ride? This is it.
‘The Disappearing Act’ by Catherine Steadman (available June 8, starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
Eager to settle in with a new thriller? Steadman (“Mr. Nobody,” “Something in the Water“) returns with a new mystery set during pilot season in Los Angeles and centered on Mia, a British actress looking to make it big in America. During auditions, Mia meets Emily, but when Emily disappears and another woman seems to take her place, truth, sanity and the cutthroat world of acting all converge for a page-turner we dare you to put down.
‘The Ugly Cry’ by Danielle Henderson (available June 8, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
TV writer Henderson shares her story of growing up Black in a mostly white neighborhood in upstate New York where she was raised by her grandparents after being abandoned by her mother. Filled with uproarious humor but also heartbreaking sadness, it explores racial identity, mental illness, abuse and family and is called “the funniest memoir I have ever read” by Augusten Burroughs.
‘Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch’ by Rivka Galchen (available June 8, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
In 1618 Germany, Katharina, the illiterate widow and mother to successful children who uses herbal remedies, is accused of being a witch. Using historical documents to bolster the tale, author Galchen (“Atmospheric Disturbances“) relays Katharina’s struggle with page-turning dark humor.
‘Dream Girl’ by Laura Lippman (available June 22, starting at $15.99; amazon.com)
Fans of the bestselling “Lady in the Lake” will be drawn to Lippman’s latest that’s being compared to “Misery” set in the #MeToo era. Stuck in his high-rise apartment following a fall, novelist Gerry Andersen begins to receive calls from a mystery woman claiming to be the “real” woman behind one of his most famous characters. What’s in fact real, what’s a medicated dream and what threats loom make for a psychological thriller.
‘Filthy Animals’ by Brandon Taylor (available June 22, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Ranking high on a slew of highly anticipated book lists, Taylor’s (“Real Life“) latest is a collection of linked short stories featuring Midwest creatives with themes of sexuality, violence, cancer, intimacy, relationships and more.
‘The Secret Keeper of Jaipur’ by Alka Joshi (available June 22, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In Joshi’s sequel to the bestselling “The Henna Artist,” protagonist Lakshmi Kumar is now married and running the Healing Garden in rural Shimla after leaving Jaipur in shame with her orphaned ward, Malik. Set in 1969, Lakshmi scores Malik an apprenticeship at the Jaipur Royal Palace where a cinema project is bungled and secrets and lies unfold.
‘Survive the Night’ by Riley Sager (available June 29, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
If a scary, creepy, don’t-turn-out-the-lights thriller is on your summer reading agenda, who better to turn to than Sager (“Final Girls,” “Home Before Dark“)? Set in 1991 with a serial killer on the loose, a college student finds herself riding home with a guy she met via a campus ride-share board. Is she imagining it, or might this guy actually be the Campus Killer? Oh, we seriously cannot wait to find out.