Summer is in full swing, and while plenty of things are looking different these days, one that hasn’t is the joy of a good book. You may not be reading it on the subway or a beach like normal, but the pleasure of drifting somewhere else still holds strong appeal, even if your big adventure is just going from your bed to your couch.
The nine new novels below are all escapes in some way — to Kensington Palace, a remote island, a fictional town, or even just a different high school. Each of these transporting tales is a joy, and I suspect there’s something for everyone on this list.
… adore the royals: The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Our new book, THE HEIR AFFAIR, is out today. We hope you like it! https://www.gofugyourself.com/the-heir-affair-is-out-today-07-2020 …THE HEIR AFFAIR Is Out Today! – Go Fug YourselfPity everyone used up all the fireworks on the 4th.gofugyourself.com
Cards on the table: This is a sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, the fun and surprisingly deep The Royal We, about an American woman who winds up involved with the heir to the British throne. The sharp and frothy sequel is worth the wait, and it’s particularly impressive authors Cocks and Morgan come up with another delightful, elaborate plot — not easy for a romantic tale after a wedding and a happily ever after.
For those looking for real-life nods to Wills, Kate, and Harry, there’s plenty. But happily, there’s also tons of new intrigue as well: romantic rivals, long-buried family secrets, a Sex Den! It’s all enough to make you giggle with glee — and wish for a trilogy.
… want a book that makes you think: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This is the one that you won’t be able to stop thinking about. Honest, chilling, and provocative, this novel follows twin Black women who as teens run away from their small town. Years later, one sister has returned home with her daughter and on the run from a bad ex. The other has disappeared, it seems, stepping into a new life when she realized she was able to pass for white.
The novel jumps around in time and perspectives, with some genuinely thrilling plot twists. The story explores race, yes, but it’s also a beautiful tale about the ties that bind, and the choices that make up a life.
… love a good romance: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
My sixth book, THE VOTING BOOTH, is out TODAY! I’m so excited for you all to meet Marva and Duke during their whirlwind journey on Election Day. Please order a copy from your fave Black-owned bookstore, local indie, or! The Voting BoothFrom Stonewall Award-winning author Brandy Colbert comes an all-in-one-day love story perfect for fans of The Sun is Also A Star. Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven…bookshop.org
This YA crowdpleaser takes place over just one day — election day, to be exact. When two teens, both voting for the first time, run into each other at their polling place, intrigue, if not quite sparks, fly. Over the course of eventful several hours, complete with a mini road trip, family problems, and more, the duo get to know each other and realize these opposites actually have quite a bit in common.
While it doesn’t hit you over the head with it, I deeply appreciated this book’s consistent underlying message about how important voting is, the horrors of voter suppression, and how the personal is political, etc. You’ll be cheering for Marva and Duke to both share their feelings AND get more people out to vote. Netflix, this is the one to option — a new kind of teen dream, full of optimism, action, and hope.
… are obsessed with Big Little Lies: The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Long-buried secrets are brought to light at a breakneck pace in this mystery that takes place during a wedding weekend on a remote island.
Here’s what we know: By the time the reception rolls around, someone will be dead (!) and someone else will be a murderer (!!). There are clues on nearly every page, but no spoilers here. Needless to say, you’ll be up late flipping through your Kindle until all is revealed.
… want to contemplate the fate of humanity: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green
In the world of A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, all of humanity is recovering from the sudden appearance of 64 mysterious sculptures — not just what they are, but why and how they came to be. (For more on that, we recommend starting with 2018’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.) The book was never going to match the extraordinary journey of its predecessor, but the sequel dives further into the mysteries that clearly interest Green more regarding the nature of humanity.
Through multiple points of view, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor explores corruption, capitalism, and media. The characters grapple with power, both duly anointed and woefully misplaced, and passages pertaining to this prescient phenomenon are more chilling than an army of creepy statues. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
… know the teen coming of age books make you cry happy tears: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
FELIX EVER AFTER is coming out on 5/5/20!
full of self-love & queer pride
chaotic bi MC set on revenge
art summer camp in NYC
rivals/enemies to lovers
slow burn, mutual pining
protective cin. roll LI
trans & enby MC
buy here: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062820259/felix-ever-after/ …
Meet Felix, an excellent art student, and a great friend. He’s struggling with more than his fair share of teen problems, but oh, how the teen stuff also rears its ugly head. Felix is one of those characters that you just instantly root for, and the novel does a beautiful job depicting his challenges as an outsider who, as a Black trans man, fears he’s “one marginalization too many” from getting his own great romance. Happily, he’s wrong.
Callender does a particularly great job with current-day teen-speak and shows commendable insight into the minutiae of high school friendships. A hopeful coming of age tale that beautifully shows how worthy we all are of love. You bet I cried!
… enjoy woman-centric thrillers like Gone Girl: The Last Flight by Julie Clark
If you needed to escape from your life, how would you do it? Claire and Eva are two women under very different circumstances who find an answer in each other after a seemingly random airport meeting, agreeing to switch identities, board the other’s flight, and give each other a fresh start. When one plane goes down, that plan changes and their lives become hopelessly intertwined.
As you might expect, there is far more than meets the eye going on with both of these women, and as the novel traces back and forth leading up to that fateful day, you’ll question what you know and how much you still have to learn. Can you outrun your past? What does relief look like? Are things ever as random as they appear? This bittersweet journey is well worth taking.
… prefer to look to the past to consider the present: The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (out July 21)
The Room author’s latest may be too much for you right now — it follows a nurse in Dublin during the 1918 flu pandemic, so there are quite a lot of inadvertent references to Current Times: the fear of a cough, death, creeping dread. But there’s also a lot of hope here. Julia works as a maternity nurse, and Donoghue zooms in on the minute-by-minute workings of the long, scary days in the middle of an unknown horror, always unsure of what surprise is just around the corner.
The novel traces the camaraderie that develops between Julie and two other women at the hospital during desperate times. And — not that you need a reminder these days — it will leave you even more in awe of healthcare workers, and the draining, challenging circumstances they find themselves in.
A reworking of A Room With a View, Sex & Vanity will make fans of Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy feel right at home in a novel full of fabulously wealthy people being fantastically ridiculous.
Much like CRA, it’s got a fun romance centering everything, but this time around it’s a wild vacation tryst, not a wedding, that sets our plot into motion. The fancy, exotic locations play a huge role, and if a big trip isn’t in the cards this year, sprawling out on a towel in your living room and devouring this novel — full of five-star hotels, glamorous Capri beaches, and fancy yachts — is almost as good. Bring on the Champagne.