From K.T. Medina’s thriller set in the killing fields of Cambodia to Aziz Ansari’s musings on romance in the 21st Century, this month’s new releases will have you cowering under the covers one minute and belly laughing the next. We’ve rounded up the 18 books we were the most excited to read, including 14 novels and four nonfiction titles from a diverse group of genres.
Check out our picks below, then leave a comment describing the books you’re dying to read!
1. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Release Date: June 2nd from Scribner
Why You’ll Love It:Stephen King’s shown what a crazed fan can do to a writer in Misery, but what happens when the story extends past the writer’s demise? For his second book in the Detective Bill Hodges series, King’s getting meta, investigating the murder of John Rothstein—a reclusive Roth/Updike/Salinger mash-up. And appropriately, segments of the investigation delve deep into King’s own meditations on modern writing. So sit down, write your damn pages, turn off the TV and then flip open King’s latest thriller. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: “Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after 35 years.
2. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Release Date: June 2nd from Knopf
Why You’ll Love It: Adult readers probably remember Judy Blume as the voice of their early years, but the writer behind Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret has returned with a novel for adults, In the Unlikely Event. The piece may be steeped in reflection; Miri Ammerman, the book’s protagonist, returns to Elizabeth, New Jersey, to remember a town-wide tragedy that occurred 35 years prior. But more than a mediation on the tragic, the book revels in the culture of the early ‘50s as only Blume can remember it. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was 15, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.
3. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Release Date: June 2nd from Soho Teen
Why You’ll Love It: With SCOTUS’ landmark decision to legalize gay marriage across the nation, it feels like everyone is vocalizing their opinions on the topic. What’s refreshing about More Happy Than Not is that Adam Silvera sets out to tell a good story, one where protagonist Aaron Soto is conflicted about his own sexual identity. Silvera brings heart to a divisive topic, and you’ll find yourself crying with Aaron as he desires to be loved for who he is. —Frannie Jackson
Description: The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto—miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
4. The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
Release Date: June 2nd from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Why You’ll Love It: Sophie McManus’ debut novel is as ambitious as it is intoxicating. Dive into The Unfortunates to witness the engrossing decline of an aging heiress, a woman who delves into exceedingly dark places to protect her pride. —Frannie Jackson
Description: Cecilia Somner’s fate hangs in the balance. A larger-than-life heiress to a robber baron’s fortune, once known for her cruel wit as much as for her tremendous generosity, CeCe is now in opulent decline. Afflicted with a rare disease and touched by mortality for the first time, her gilded, bygone values collide with an unforgiving present. Along with her troubled son, George, and his outsider wife, Iris, CeCe must face the Somners’ dark legacy and the corrupting nature of wealth. As the Somner family struggles to find a solution to its troubles, the secrets and lies between CeCe, George and Iris grow entangled. CeCe’s world topples, culminating in a crime as unforgettable as it is unexpected.
5. Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen
Release Date: June 9th from Random House
Why You’ll Love It: Dave Eggers might’ve scared us silly with the looming implications of the Internet in The Circle, but Joshua Cohen dazzles the imagination with his take on the technological leap in Book of Numbers. It’s a novel that follows a fictional Cohen, who’s hired to ghostwrite the memoirs of the billionaire founder of Tetration—think Jobs, Gates, Musk. Cohen transports readers from dial tones to smartphones, and the results have stamped Book of Numbers with Pynchon- and Wallace-level comparisons. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.
6. The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in the Last Days of Castro’s Cuba By Brin-Jonathan Butler
Release Date: June 9th from Picador
Why You’ll Love It: Immersive journalism can be a pain, but that sentiment takes a literal turn in Brin-Jonathan Butler’s exploration of Cuba in The Domino Diaries. Butler, who is known for his work on the page (ESPN Magazine, Vice, Deadspin) and the screen (documentary Split Decision), explores Cuba through the lens of boxing. With The Domino Diaries, Butler paints a portrait of a locale that’s earned a complicated relationship with most Americans. But for the journalist, the complication turns personal when he questions where he truly belongs. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: This book is the culmination of Butler’s decade spent in the trenches of Havana, trying to understand a culture perplexing to Westerners: one whose elite athletes regularly forgo multimillion-dollar opportunities to stay in Cuba and box for their country, while living in penury. Butler’s fascination with this distinctly Cuban idealism sets him off on a remarkable journey, training with, befriending and interviewing the champion boxers that Cuba seems to produce more than any other country. In the process, though, Butler gets to know the landscape of the exhilaratingly warm Cuban culture—and starts to question where he feels most at home.
7. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Release Date: June 9th from Harper
Why You’ll Love It: Erika Johansen dazzled readers last year with her debut novel, The Queen of the Tearling. Set in a distant future where technology is extinct and sword fighting is commonplace, Tearling introduced us to Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, the 19-year-old heir to the Tearling throne. After growing up in hiding, Kelsea fought to claim her role as Queen and to end the brutal slave trade to a rival kingdom. Now Johansen has released a sequel even more stunning than her debut with The Invasion of the Tearling. —Frannie Jackson
Description: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling—and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
8. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
Release Date: June 9th from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Why You’ll Love It: Some of the best TV series in recent years have divided teachers’ classroom conduct from their complicated home lives. Breaking Bad comes to mind, but the conflicted teacher award goes to Rita, a Danish series that showed the gritty other side of the coin for a well-meaning single mother and teacher. Stephanie Kallos embarks on a similar journey with Language Arts, a story that shows Charles Marlow, a high school English teacher, trying to salvage his own life. With the help of a student, the teacher attempts to weave connections between his failed marriage, his troubled relationship with his autistic son and his own career in—well, Language Arts. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: Charles Marlow teaches his high school English students that language will expand their worlds. But linguistic precision cannot help him connect with his autistic son, or with his ex-wife, who abandoned their shared life years before, or even with his college-bound daughter who has just flown the nest. He’s at the end of a road he’s traveled on autopilot for years when a series of events forces him to think back on the lifetime of decisions and indecisions that have brought him to this point. With the help of an ambitious art student, an Italian-speaking nun and the memory of a boy in a white suit who inscribed his childhood with both solace and sorrow, Charles may finally be able to rewrite the script of his life.
9. The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
Release Date: June 9th from The Dial Press
Why You’ll Love It: After coauthoring The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows returns with yet another absolutely charming tale. You’ll develop a kinship with the characters, believing you’ve made new friends by the end of the book. —Frannie Jackson
Description: In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.
At the Romeyn house, 12-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten.