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The Best New Books of June

By June 2, 2023No Comments12 min read
June Books

Every month of the year carries its own weight. June is celebratory because of pride but solemn because we honor Juneteenth. So, happy June! Happy Pride! And especially, happy Summer reading! Stuck on what to read poolside or beachside or maybe, just inside? Any book is a summer reading book if you want it to be and this month, we have recommendations across various genres so whatever mood you’re in, I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy!

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison

It may be June but if you’re wishing for colder weather, you might be in the mood for a holiday romance. I saw this fake-dating small town romance all over social media and it has been recommended by some of my favorite bookish people. If you put it on your TBR for the winter or if you read it now, I think you’ll love it.

Synopsis: A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams. In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, Stella enters a contest with Instagram-famous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, Stella might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on her application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only…there is no boyfriend. Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just stopped by for some hot chocolate and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process. But fake dating his best friend might be the best Christmas present he’s ever received.

Release Date: June 6, 2023, via Sourcebooks. Order Here.

Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler is one of my favorite people in publishing. She writes the best books and gives the best recommendations. Start your summer reading off right with this queer romcom is the perfect read for the season and for pride month!

Synopsis: In Dahlia Adler’s Going Bicoastal, there’s more than one path to happily ever after. Natalya Fox has twenty-four hours to make the biggest choice of her life: stay home in NYC for the summer with her dad (and finally screw up the courage to talk to the girl she’s been crushing on), or spend it with her basically estranged mom in LA (knowing this is the best chance she has to fix their relationship, if she even wants to.) (Does she want to?)How’s a girl supposed to choose?She can’t, and so both summers play out in alternating timelines – one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the girl she’s always wanted. And one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the guy she never saw coming.

Release Date: June 13, 2023, via Macmillan/Wednesday Books. Order Here.

The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar

Rom-coms that feature baking are my absolute favorite types of novels so I was delighted to read about The DOS and Donuts of Love, a charming sapphic YA romance set on a baking reality show.

Synopsis: “Welcome to the first ever Junior Irish Baking Show!” Shireen Malik is still reeling from the breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris, when she receives news that she’s been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. This is Shireen’s dream come true! Because winning will not only mean prize money, but it will also bring some much-needed attention to You Drive Me Glazy, her parents’ beloved donut shop. Things get complicated, though, because Chris is also a contestant on the show. Then there’s the very outgoing Niamh, a fellow contestant who is becoming fast friends with Shireen. Things are heating up between them, and not just in the kitchen. As the competition intensifies, Shireen will have to ignore all these factors and more– including potential sabotage–if she wants a sweet victory!

Release Date: June 6, 2023, via Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends. Order Here.

The Talk by Darrin Bell

A necessary and unflinching read about being a young Black person in America, Darrin Bell’s funny and brilliant debut graphic novel is a must-read.

Synopsis: Darrin Bell was six years old when his mother told him he couldn’t have a realistic water gun. She said she feared for his safety, that police tend to think of little Black boys as older and less innocent than they really are.

Through evocative illustrations and sharp humor, Bell examines how The Talk shaped intimate and public moments from childhood to adulthood. While coming of age in Los Angeles—and finding a voice through cartooning—Bell becomes painfully aware of being regarded as dangerous by white teachers, neighbors, and police officers and thus of his mortality. Drawing attention to the brutal murders of African Americans and showcasing revealing insights and cartoons along the way, he brings us up to the moment of reckoning when people took to the streets protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. And now Bell must decide whether he and his own six-year-old son are ready to have The Talk.

Release Date: June 6, 2023, via Macmillan/Henry Holt & Company. Order Here.

Slow AF Running Club by Martinus Evans

I saw this on audio and was immediately intrigued. I love books that take something I generally don’t like (running) and make them seem less hate-worthy. And I’ve always wanted to like running. I even ran a 5K. But I just can’t motivate myself once I stop. But then I came across this book. Described as a practical guide and celebration of running, I knew I had to try it, especially since its not promising to make me a marathon runner in two weeks but is for more non-traditional runners.

Synopsis: Ten years ago, Martinus Evans got some stern advice from his doctor: “Lose weight or die.” First defensive, but then defiant, Evans vowed that day to run a marathon, though his doctor thought he was crazy. Since then, Evans has run eight marathons and hundreds of other distances in his 300-something pound body, created his own devoted running community, and has been featured on the cover of Runner’s World.

This book is a blueprint for those who may not fit the image of a “traditional” runner–that is, someone who is larger in size, less athletic, out of shape, or dealing with any kind of health issue that slows them down–to feel empowered to lace up their shoes and embrace the body they have right now.
As Evans says, the incredible benefits of running–better sleep, strong muscles and bones, better cardiovascular and mental health, and a sense of community–can and should be available to all of us. This practical handbook contains specialized advice to make getting started less intimidating, covering everything from gear and nutrition to training schedules, recovery tips, races (it’s okay to come in DFL! [i.e., dead f*cking last]), and finding a running group. Full of essential advice and humor from a former newbie who fell off a treadmill on his first run (literally), The Slow AF Run Club is for anyone who wants to pick up running for the sheer joy of it.

Release Date: June 6, 2023, via Penguin Random House/Avery. Order Here.

The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson

A magical circus? Set after WWI? With a queer found family? I know what book is at the top of my reading list this June! This magical book is sure to dazzle all readers this June.

Synopsis: Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barreling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

Release Date: June 13, 2023, via Macmillan/Tor. Order Here.

The Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles

Harvard Historian and National Book Award winning author, Tiya Miles’ debut novel is a page-turner. This well-researched novel is part ghost story, historical novel and mystery about a little known bit of history brought to light.

Synopsis: Conducting research for her weekly history column, Jinx, a free-spirited Muscogee (Creek) historian, travels to Hold House, a Georgia plantation originally owned by Cherokee chief James Hold, to uncover the mystery of what happened to a tribal member who stayed behind after Indian removal, when Native Americans were forcibly displaced from their ancestral homelands in the nineteenth century.At Hold House, she meets Ruth, a magazine writer visiting on assignment, and Cheyenne, a Southern Black debutante seeking to purchase the estate. Hovering above them all is the spirit of Mary Ann Battis, the young Indigenous woman who remained in Georgia more than a century earlier. When they discover a diary left on the property that reveals even more about the house’s dark history, the three women’s connections to the place grow deeper. Over a long holiday weekend, Cheyenne is forced to reconsider the property’s rightful ownership, Jinx reexamines assumptions about her tribe’s racial history, and Ruth confronts her own family’s past traumas before surprising herself by falling into a new romance.Imbued with a nuanced understanding of history, The Cherokee Rose brings the past to life as Jinx, Ruth, and Cheyenne unravel mysteries with powerful consequences for them all.

Release Date: June 13, 2023, via Random House. Order Here.

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

A decadent and engrossing graphic novel memoir about a young boy and his family fleeing from Vietnam.

Synopsis: Thien’s first memory isn’t a sight or a sound. It’s the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It’s the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam.After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don’t get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. Strawberries come to signify struggle as Thien’s mom and dad look for work. Potato chips are an indulgence that bring Thien so much joy that they become a necessity. Behind every cut of steak and inside every croissant lies a story. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search– for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream.

Release Date: June 20, 2023, via Random House. Order Here.

The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

Written in the aftermath of a serious illness, The Archive Undying is the first book in the Downworld Sequence, a new high octane series about robots, AI and police states. 

WHEN THAT CORPSE RUNS OFF, ONLY DEVOTION CAN BRING IT BACKWhen the robotic god of Khuon Mo went mad, it destroyed everything it touched. It killed its priests, its city, and all its wondrous works. But in its final death throes, the god brought one thing back to life: its favorite child, Sunai. For the seventeen years since, Sunai has walked the land like a ghost, unable to die, unable to age, and unable to forget the horrors he’s seen. He’s run as far as he can from the wreckage of his faith, drowning himself in drink, drugs, and men. But when Sunai wakes up in the bed of the one man he never should have slept with, he finds himself on a path straight back into the world of gods and machines.

Release Date: June 27, 2023, via Macmillan/Tor. Order Here.

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston is one of my favorite authors and I was absolutely charmed by The Dead Romantics. Her romance books are contemporary with a hint of the speculative and characters that are irresistibly charming. Her latest, The Seven Year Slip, introduces characters to a love match, separated by time. If you loved her ghostly rom-com you’ll adore this time travel one!

Synopsis: An overworked book publicist with a perfectly planned future hits a snag when she falls in love with her temporary roommate…only to discover he lives seven years in the past, in this witty and wise new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dead Romantics. Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it. So Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart safe: work hard, find someone decent to love, and try to remember to chase the moon. The last one is silly and obviously metaphorical, but her aunt always told her that you needed at least one big dream to keep going. And for the last year, that plan has gone off without a hitch. Mostly.

The love part is hard because she doesn’t want to get too close to anyone–she isn’t sure her heart can take it. And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again. Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future. Her aunt always said the apartment was a pinch in time, a place where moments blended together like watercolors. And Clementine knows that if she lets her heart fall, she’ll be doomed. After all, love is never a matter of time–but a matter of timing.

Release Date: June 27, 2023, via Penguin Random House/Berkley. Order Here.

Picture Day by Sarah Sax

A relatable graphic novel that captures being a young adult so well, Picture Day is a great buddy read for all the members of your family this summer. Share this with the young adults in your life and be on the lookout for more in Sarah Sax’s Brinkley Yearbook series.

Synopsis: Seventh-grader Viv never looks forward to picture day. It’s just another day where she wears a boring braid and no one notices her. (Her two best friends, Milo and Al, don’t count, of course.)But enough is enough. This year, she’s taking matters into her own hands. Literally. Viv grabs a pair of scissors, her phone for live-streaming, and, well, bye-bye braid. Suddenly Viv is an over-night influencer at Brinkley Middle School. Everyone wants her help planning their next big moment–from haircuts, to dance proposals, activist rallies and mathlete championships. She hardly even has time

Release Date: June 27, 2023, via Penguin Random House/Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers. Order Here.

Featured Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House/Berkley, Random House, Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends

Brianna Robinson

Brianna Robinson is a book publicist and Sarah Lawrence College alum. She lives in New York with too many books and two enthusiastic dachshunds. You can find her on twitter @blrobins2.

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