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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Release Date: June 9th from Harper
Why You’ll Love It: The ancient and the modern collide in The Wolf Border when a zoologist plans to reintroduce the grey wolf to Great Britian. Sarah Hall’s lyrical prose proves that conservation and romanticism are not mutually exclusive, making this an intriguing read for fans of diverse genres. —Frannie Jackson
Description: For almost a decade, zoologist Rachel Caine has lived a solitary existence far from her estranged family in England, monitoring wolves in a remote section of Idaho as part of a wildlife recovery program. But a surprising phone call takes her back to the peat and wet light of the Lake District where she grew up. The eccentric Earl of Annerdale has a controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, and he wants Rachel to spearhead the project. Though she’s skeptical, the earl’s lands are close to the village where she grew up, and where her aging mother now lives.
While the earl’s plan harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness, Rachel must contend with modern-day realities—health and safety issues, public anger and fear, cynical political interests. But the return of the Grey unexpectedly sparks her own regeneration.
Release Date: June 16th from Doubleday
Why You’ll Love It: Picking up where the hilarious Crazy Rich Asians left off, China Rich Girlfriend serves up even more antics and drama. Kevin Kwan is a master of creating larger-than-life characters without resorting to stereotypes. —Frannie Jackson
Description: On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father.
Release Date: June 16th from Penguin
Why You’ll Love It: Anyone who saw Aziz Ansari’s latest Netflix special got an insightful peek into his fascination with, to quote Bowie, “Modern Love.” The Parks and Rec star has been scrolling through audience members’ phones for years—sharing pizza emojis, risqué photos and hilarious bits in the process. But as hysterical as Ansari’s approach is, the romance portion of his standup hit home for a very specific reason—as he details in the opening pages of Modern Romance, he was right on the money. Love—in the realm of social media, iMessage and Tinder—is confusing as hell, and Modern Romance gives readers an extended look at Ansari’s insightful, hilarious take on the very American quest of finding that perfect “person.” But it’s not all pithy jokes. Ansari gets help from NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, as well as huge banks of data from dating sites and recent research studies. After sitting down with Modern Romance, you’ll never swipe right the same way again. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
Release Date: June 16th from Bloomsbury USA
Why You’ll Love It: I played my first concert with my high school garage band when I was 14. The whole experience was terrifying, right down to setting up my guitar amp and tuning up in front of the crowd—which, in high school, was a dedicated group of friends. My hands shook, my opening notes felt clumsy. Reflexes kicked in, and the gig went fine. But some others aren’t as lucky—and my own terror is dwarfed within the pages of Sara Solovitch’s new book. Most of us, in some shape or form, suffer from stage fright, and Solovitch takes a broad look at the affliction, with examples ranging from The Beatles’ George Harrison to Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass, whose career ended from struggling with anxiety at the mound. It’s a solid exploration of the all-too-common nerves, whether they strike during public speaking, piano recitals or even a conversation between co-workers. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: Sara Solovitch studied piano as a young child and fell in love with music. At 10, she played Bach and Mozart in her hometown’s annual music festival, but was overwhelmed by fear. As a teen, she attended Eastman School of Music, where stage fright led her to give up aspirations of becoming a professional pianist. In her late fifties, Sara gave herself a one-year deadline to tame performance anxiety and play before an audience. She resumed music lessons, while exploring meditation, exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, biofeedback, beta blockers and other remedies. She performed in airports, hospitals and retirement homes before renting a public hall and performing for 50 guests on her 60th birthday. Using her own journey as inspiration, Solovitch has written a thoughtful and insightful examination of the myriad causes of stage fright and the equally diverse ways to overcome it—a tribute to pursuing personal growth at any age.
Release Date: June 16th from Riverhead Books
Why You’ll Love It: Sometimes it takes tragedy to reflect on the best periods of life, and Israeli writer Etgar Keret is taking stock in his first non-fiction book published in the U.S., The Seven Good Years. The book documents the seven years between the birth of his son and his own father’s death, providing hilarious, touching reflections on life, personal growth, religion and—well, Angry Birds. American listeners of This American Life are probably familiar with his stories, and he’s the writer behind the novel that inspired the other-worldly 2006 film Wristcutters: A Love Story. Expect sharp, wry humor and some unexpected revelations. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: The seven years between the birth of Etgar Keret’s son and the death of his father were good years, though still full of reasons to worry. Lev is born in the midst of a terrorist attack. Etgar’s father gets cancer. The threat of constant war looms over their home and permeates daily life. What emerges from this dark reality is a series of sublimely absurd ruminations on everything from Etgar’s three-year-old son’s impending military service to the terrorist mind-set behind Angry Birds. There’s Lev’s insistence that he is a cat, releasing him from any human responsibilities or rules. Etgar’s siblings, all very different people who have chosen radically divergent paths in life, come together after his father’s shivah to experience the grief and love that tie a family together forever.
Release Date: June 23rd from Harper Perennial
Why You’ll Love It: Sex, drugs and insider trading abound in Ioannis Pappos’ tale of one immigrant’s rise in the world of corporate finance. The lifestyles described tow the line between fascinating and sickening, allowing you to determine how harshly the characters deserve to be judged. —Frannie Jackson
Description: Stathis Rakis abandoned his small Greek village for a more worldly life, first in San Francisco, where the Dot Com Bubble had already burst, and then in Paris, France, where he is pursuing an MBA at an elite business school. After falling helplessly in love with a liberal New England journalist with a good conscience, who comes to campus with some scores to settle, Stathis moves to the United States to begin as a consultant for a company called Command. He spends the very few hours of the day that aren’t consumed by work draining the minibar, battling insomnia and binging on more than room service. Luxury is a given, happiness is not.
As the economy recovers and a new bubble expands in a post-9/11 world, Stathis drifts upward, baring witness to the criminal decadence that will become the 2008 financial crisis. In a world of insiders—from corporate suits to Hollywood celebutantes—Stathis remains the outsider: too foreign to be one of them, too cynical to turn back.
Release Date: June 23rd from Ballantine Books
Why You’ll Love It: Christopher Golden’s futuristic war quickly feels real in Tin Men. You’ll sweat as a new breed of soldier find their lives at stake, and you’ll appreciate Golden’s ability to write a gripping story without glorifying warfare. —Frannie Jackson
Description: A conflict unlike any before demands an equally unprecedented fighting force on its front lines. Enter the Remote Infantry Corps: robot soldiers deployed in war zones around the world, controlled by human operators thousands of miles from the action. PFC Danny Kelso is one of these “Tin Men,” stationed with his fellow platoon members at a subterranean base in Germany, steering their cybernetic avatars through combat in the civil-war-ravaged streets of Syria. Immune to injury and death, this brave new breed of American warrior has a battlefield edge that’s all but unstoppable—until a flesh-and-blood enemy targets the Tin Men’s high-tech advantage in a dangerously game-changing counter strike.
When anarchists unleash a massive electromagnetic pulse, short-circuiting the world’s technology, Kelso and his comrades-in-arms find themselves trapped—their minds tethered within their robot bodies and, for the first time, their lives at risk.
Release Date: June 30th from Penguin Press
Why You’ll Love It: Summer is ripe for coming-of-age tales, and Naomi Jackson promises just that with her debut, The Star Side of Bird Hill. The novel tells the tale of two young women—age 10 and 16—who spend a summer in Barbados with their maternal grandmother. Like most 16-year-olds, Dionne spends the summer searching for love, while Phaedra acquaints herself with Barbados’ Bird Hill. It’s a novel that explores family, roots and, when the sisters’ father offers a home back in New York, the meaning of home. —Tyler R. Kane
Description: The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.
Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife and investigates their mother’s mysterious life. This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.
Release Date: June 30th from Mulholland Books
Why You’ll Love It: Looking for a read to give you chills? Then pick up a copy of K.T. Medina’s new book, which hits shelves today. White Crocodile promises suspense and intrigue in the killing fields of Cambodia; just don’t expect to sleep until you’ve reached the book’s conclusion. —Frannie Jackson
Description: Tess Hardy thought she had put Luke, her violent ex-husband, firmly in her past. Then he calls from Cambodia, where he is working as a mine-clearer, and there’s something in his voice she hasn’t heard before: Fear. Two weeks later, he’s dead.
Against her better judgment, Tess is drawn to Cambodia and to the killing fields. Keeping her relationship to Luke a closely guarded secret, Tess joins his team of mine clearers, who are shaken to the core by Luke’s sudden death. At the same time, the circle of death begins to expand. Teenage mothers are disappearing from villages around the minefields, while others are being found mutilated and murdered, their babies abandoned. Everywhere there are whispers about the White Crocodile, a mythical beast that brings death to all who meet it. Caught in a web of secrets and lies, Tess must unravel the truth, and quickly. The crocodile is watching, and Tess may be its next victim.