Last year, we put together a list of some of our most anticipated summer releases to enjoy whether you’re vacationing in the Caribbean or in your own living room. This year, we have even more unconventional beach reads that will transport you to exotic locales and will introduce you to interesting new characters. All you’ll need is a library card, and your adventure awaits.
Made for Love by Alissa Nutting
Hazel has recently left her husband, the famous CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, because she strongly suspects he may have implanted a chip in her brain to always keep track of her. To get away, she moves in with her father whose roommate is a lifelike doll named Diane. With an absurd premise that combines fabulism and science fiction, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you like strange situations, clever writing, humor, and a unique plot, this might just be a perfect book to pick up on a warm afternoon.
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
The Grip of It is an eerie psychological horror novel that follows a young married couple who are looking to get a fresh start. After James loses most of his money from gambling, the two decide to repair their relationship and take on the challenge of purchasing a new home together. Immediately after moving in, strange things begin to occur: there’s an older neighbor who obsessively watches them through the windows, bruises appear all over Julie’s body, and childlike drawings manifest in random spots throughout the house. Spooky and suspenseful, this is for those who like a good thrill.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
This companion novella to Every Heart a Doorway follows the characters Jack and Jill before their stay at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Born to two uncaring parents, Jacqueline and Jillian couldn’t be more different. Jacqueline is encouraged to be quiet and unassuming even though she would much rather learn new information. Jillian is the rough and tumble child her father always wanted, but she would prefer pretty dresses to mud pies. When the girls stumble through a magic portal into a dark and dreary world, the two are finally able to be themselves, sometimes with detrimental consequences.
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
To protect her peaceful kingdom from the ruthless Emperor Sikander, Princess Amrita offers herself as his bride, but it’s not enough, and her palace is still attacked by his forces. Amrita becomes a fugitive with her only companion being an oracle named Thala who was enslaved by the Emperor. The two join forces to find the mystical Library of All Things, where they may be able to reverse their fates and prevent the horrible events in their lives from occurring. A thought-provoking fantasy novel that brings to life Indian folklore, this is for anyone wanting a summer adventure.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
This 18th century romance follows the arrogant but charming Henry “Monty” Montague as he embarks on a stag year across Europe with his best friend Percy, a boy he harbors an extreme crush for (even more so than the ladies he typically romances). When Monty makes a reckless decision at a party, he throws the lives of everyone he loves in danger all while embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Mackenzi Lee moves beyond conventionality to craft a book that brings a unique perspective to a genre typically riddled with tropes. Who would have guessed that a book set in the past would be as woke and culturally relevant as this one? It deserves all of the praise it has received.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
Mary Jekyll, daughter of the infamous Dr. Jekyll, finds herself in a troublesome spot after the death of her parents leaves her alone and penniless. Mary discovers her father’s ominous lab notebooks and that her mother set up a secret account to send money to a wanted murderer named Edward Hyde, and it is up to her to track down the missing Hyde and collect the bounty on his head to solve her precarious financial situation. This fresh take on classic Penny Dreadful fare will hook you from the start with its gaslit and atmospheric scenery, compelling mysteries, and motley, Scooby-Doo esque cast of characters.
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
Equal parts Charmed and Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Witches of New York tells the intersecting stories of three witches whose lives are forever changed when evil begins to surface. There’s Eleanor St. Clair, a wisewoman who owns a tea shop with Adelaide Thom, a powerful seer, and 17-year-old Beatrice Dunn, who goes to New York in search of a supernatural calling. McKay expertly crafts a witchy, feminist world in which you will relish spending as much time as humanly possible. It is perfect if you need a dose of magical realism to spice up an otherwise mundane summer – no plane ticket required.
The Backstagers by James Tynion IV
The Backstagers chronicles the life of young Jory, who is not thrilled about his transfer to an all boys high school. He decides to join the theater club and ends up hanging out with a group of social outcasts who are all thrust together into an adventure after discovering a door that leads to magical dimensions. The Backstagers is a love letter written for theater nerds that captures the diversity of the queer experience in America. Reading it will turn you into a comic book lover with its realistic characters, breathtaking artwork from transgender artist Rian Sygh, and engrossing story.
-Fisher Adwell and Kimberly Lopez are Public Services Assistants at Lawrence Public Library