8 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in June
Hey, you. Yes, you, on your seventh Netflix show in a row. Might we suggest taking a break from the TV screen and picking up one of June’s most highly anticipated books? Here are eight to consider, from the story of man seeking enlightenment through an L.A. shaman to a This American Life editor with a dark secret.
Thin Girls by Diana Clarke
Twins Rose and Lily Winters have both struggled with their bodies and food since childhood. As they enter high school, Rose stops eating, while Lily starts consuming everything Rose won’t. A few years later, Rose is one year into an anorexic rehab program. Lily is struggling too. She dates abusive men—including the married father of one of her kindergarten students. When Lily joins a cult diet group, Rose senses that Lily needs her help. With her sister’s life in jeopardy, Rose must find a way to rescue her—and perhaps, save herself. Clarke explores body image, queerness, toxic diet culture, the power of sisterhood and more in her debut novel.
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
Ruby King lives with her parents on the south side of Chicago. When her mother is found murdered in their home, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. Left alone with her violent father, Ruby leans on her best friend, Layla, for support. But when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away from Ruby, Layla uncovers the dangerous secrets that have bound the two families together for generations.
Broken People by Sam Lansky
Lansky’s debut follows a young man—also named Sam—on the verge of emotional collapse. A writer and recovering addict in his late 20s in Los Angeles, Sam is struggling to find meaning and purpose when he is drawn to a shaman who administers plant medicine over the course of a weekend. Through flashbacks, the novel explores intimacy and sobriety, materialism and mysticism, and how the body absorbs heartache and trauma.
The Taste of Sugar by Marisel Vera
When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval to Puerto Rico, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez, a young couple is lured, along with thousands of other Puerto Ricans, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii. There they find that the promise of the American dream is often a hollow one. Vera’s debut is about love, endurance and the reasons we leave home.
A Burning by Megha Majumdar
Majumdar’s debut novel tackles class, fate, corruption and justice through the story of Jivan, a Muslim girl from the slums who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. The story is told from her perspective as well as PT Sir, a right-wing fanatic hellbent on sending Jivan to jail and Lovely, a hijira (a third gender in India) who Jivan tutors and who could be her ticket out of trouble.
The Dragons, The Giant, The Women: A Memoir by Wayetu Moore
When Liberian writer Wayétu Moore (She Would Be King) was 5 years old, all she could think about was how much she missed her mother, who was working and studying in New York. Before they could be reunited, war broke out in Liberia, forcing the family to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks before eventually settling in the United States. Moore’s memoir covers her early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia.
Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton
For almost 30 years, Susan Burton, an editor on This American Life, lived with both anorexia and binge-eating disorder. While her life seemed charmed and effortless—she went to Yale, landed a dream job at a magazine right out of college and married her college boyfriend—her struggles with food remained her secret shame. In this candid memoir, Burton pulls back the curtain on binge eating, which she finds is more prevalent than anorexia or bulimia, but less talked about.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
In a small, predominantly black community in the South, the identical twin Vignes sisters were inseparable. But later, one decides to run away to California and pass as white. Her white husband and friends know nothing of her history, and her twin sister longs to find her. Weaving together generations of family history, from the Deep South to California and spanning the 1950s to the 1990s, this new novel by the author of The Mothers is an emotional family story that also explores the American history of passing.