Major June Bookmail Roundup

I haven’t been great during the month of June at sharing my book mail over on @bookmarkedbya on Instagram, so here comes a major roundup – complete with synopses – to make up for that! Check out the titles I’ve received from publishers lately + let me know if any are on your TBR.

Meadowlark, Melanie Abrams

Out now – “A haunting novel about the lasting effects of childhood trauma and the resulting choices we make for our children. After growing up in an austere spiritual compound, two teenagers, Simrin and Arjun, escape and go their separate ways. Years later, Simrin receives an email from Arjun. As they reconnect, Simrin learns that he has become the charismatic leader of Meadowlark, a commune in the Nevada desert that allows children to discover their ‘gifts.’”

Anxious People, Fredrik Backman

Out September 8 – ”A poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.”

Craigslist Confessional, Helena Dea Bala

Out July 7 – “For fans of Humans of New York and PostSecret, a collection of raw, urgent, and heartfelt stories, shared anonymously. What would you confess if you knew it would never get back to your spouse, your colleagues, or your family? What story would you tell about your life if a stranger was willing to listen with no judgement, no stigma, and no consequences—just an unburdening and the relief of confession?”

Memoirs and Misinformation, Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon

Out July 7 – “A fearless semi-autobiographical novel, a deconstruction of persona. In it, Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon have fashioned a story about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, our ‘one big soul,’ Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world–apocalypses within and without.”

Trust Exercise, Susan Choi

Paperback out now – “In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving ‘Brotherhood of the Arts,’ two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher… will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.”

Very Nice, Marcy Dermansky

*New cover* paperback out now – “Rachel Klein never meant to kiss her creative writing professor, but with his long eyelashes, his silky hair, and the sad, beautiful life he laid bare on Twitter, she does, and the kiss is very nice. Zahid Azzam never planned to become a houseguest in his student’s sprawling Connecticut home, but with the sparkling swimming pool, the endless supply of Whole Foods strawberries, and Rachel’s beautiful mother, he does, and the home is very nice. Becca Klein never thought she’d have a love affair so soon after her divorce, but when her daughter’s professor walks into her home, bringing with him an apricot standard poodle named Princess, she does, and the affair is . . . a very bad idea.”

Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier

Out now – “Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father (whom she has more in common with than she’d like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future. Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.”

Filthy Beasts, Kirkland Hamill

Out July 14 – “A gripping, true riches-to-rags tale of a wealthy family who lost it all and the unforgettable journey of a man coming to terms with his family’s deep flaws and his own long-buried truths… Following a rancorous split from New York’s upper-class society, newly divorced Wendy and her three sons are exiled from the East Coast elite circle. Wendy’s middle son, Kirk, is eight when she moves the family to her native Bermuda, leaving the three young boys to fend for themselves as she chases after the highs of her old life: alcohol, a wealthy new suitor, and other indulgences.”

A Princess for Christmas, Jenny Holiday

Out October 13 – “A modern fairy tale just in time for Christmas about a tough New Yorker from the other side of the tracks who falls for a princess from the other side of the world.”

Wow, No Thank You., Samantha Irby

Out now – “A rip-roaring, edgy and unabashedly raunchy new collection of hilarious essays. Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “tv executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life.”

The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell

Paperback out now – “Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk. When they arrived,… downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.”

Invisible Girl, Lisa Jewell

Out October 13 – “A taut and white-knuckled thriller following a group of people whose lives shockingly intersect when a young woman disappears… With evocative, vivid, and unputdownable prose and plenty of disturbing twists and turns.”

The Golden Cage, Camilla Lackberg

Out July 7 – “An exhilarating new novel from a global superstar–a sexy, over-the-top psychological thriller that tells the story of the scorned wife of a billionaire and her delicious plot to get her revenge and bring him to his knees.”

Luster, Raven Leilani

Out August 4 – “Edie is stumbling her way through her twentiessharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She is also haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to the art that simmers inside her. And then she meets Eric with a family in New Jersey, including a wife who has agreed to an open marriagewith rules. Edie finds herself unemployed and invited into Eric’s home—though not by Eric. She becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie may be the only Black woman young Akila knows.”

Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh

Out June 30 – “Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you marriage and children. A blue ticket grants you a career and freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?”

The Unstoppable Wasp, Sam Maggs

Out July 14 – “Nadia Van Dyne is new to this. New to being a Super Hero, new to being a real friend and stepdaughter (to one of the founding Avengers, no less), new to running her own lab, and new to being her own person, far, far away from the clutches of the Red Room–the infamous brainwashing/assassin-training facility. She’s adjusting well to all of this newness, channeling her energy into being a good friend, a good scientist, and a good Super Hero. It’s taking a toll, though, and Nadia’s finding that there are never quite enough hours in a day. So, when she’s gifted a virtual assistant powered by the most cutting-edge A.I. technology that the world has to offer, Nadia jumps at the opportunity to “do less, experience more”-just like the advertisements say.”

A Burning, Megha Majumdar

Out now – “An electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise–to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies–and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India. Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.”

Weird But Normal, Mia Mercado

Out now – “Birth control. Body hair removal cream. Boobs. It’s all weird, but also pretty normal. Navigating racial identity, gender roles, workplace dynamics, and beauty standards, Mia Mercado’s hilarious essay collection explores the contradictions of being a millennial woman, which usually means being kind of a weirdo.”

The Shadows, Alex North

Out July 7 – “You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat… It wasn’t just the murder. It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…”

The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott

Paperback out June 30 – “At the height of the Cold War, Irina, a young Russian-American secretary, is plucked from the CIA typing pool and given the assignment of a lifetime. Her mission: to help smuggle Doctor Zhivago into the USSR, where it is banned, and enable Boris Pasternak’s magnum opus to make its way into print around the world. Mentoring Irina is the glamorous Sally Forrester: a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit, using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Under Sally’s tutelage, Irina learns how to invisibly ferry classified documents—and discovers deeply buried truths about herself.”

What’s Left of Me Is Yours, Stephanie Scott

Out now – In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the “wakaresaseya” (literally “breaker-upper”), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings. When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō’s job is to do exactly that–until he does it too well. While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter’s life.”

Running, Natalia Sylvester

Out July 14 – “When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.”

The Lightness, Emily Temple

Out now – “A stylish, stunningly precise, and suspenseful meditation on adolescent desire, female friendship, and the female body that shimmers with rage, wit, and fierce longing… One year ago, the person Olivia adores most in the world, her father, left home for a meditation retreat in the mountains and never returned. Yearning to make sense of his shocking departure and to escape her overbearing mother—a woman as grounded as her father is mercurial—Olivia runs away from home and retraces his path.”

Mother Daughter Widow Wife, Robin Wasserman

Out July 7 – “Who is Wendy Doe? The woman, found on a Peter Pan Bus to Philadelphia, has no money, no ID, and no memory of who she is, where she was going, or what she might have done. She’s assigned a name and diagnosis by the state: Dissociative fugue, a temporary amnesia that could lift at any moment—or never at all. When Dr. Benjamin Strauss invites her to submit herself for experimental observation at his Meadowlark Institute for Memory Research, she feels like she has no other choice… To Alice, the daughter she left behind, Wendy Doe is an absence so present it threatens to tear Alice’s world apart. Through their attempts to untangle the mystery of Wendy’s identity—as well as Wendy’s own struggle to construct a new self—Wasserman has crafted a jaw-dropping, multi-voiced journey of discovery, reckoning, and reclamation.”

The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead

Paperback out June 30 – When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.”

The End of October, Lawrence Wright

Out now – In this riveting medical thriller–from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author–Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.”

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