Anticipated Reads: May–June 2021
By Bayley Cornfield, Sarah Ernestine, Meg Jones, Genevieve Bernard and Laura Riordan.
Assembly by Natasha Brown
June 3, Hamish Hamilton
"Do not insert yourself into the main narrative. Go unnoticed. Become the air."
Set over 24 hours, during which its narrator, a Black British woman, prepares to attend the anniversary party of her boyfriend’s wealthy parents, Natasha Brown’s Assembly is a blistering indictment of Britain’s colonial past and present, and the ways in which it sinisterly exposes and disguises itself. Described by Olivia Sudjic as “Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway meets Claudia Rankine’s Citizen,” this bold debut asks, in little over one hundred pages, about the predestined narratives that Black women are forced to live within, and what it might take to burn them to the ground.
Threadneedle by Cari Thomas
May 27, HarperCollins
This May, Cari Thomas breaks into the literary scene with her debut novel, Threadneedle. This bewitching new story is set in an alternate London, one riddled with magic and the supernatural. Throughout Anna’s childhood, she has been warned about the dangers of magic – the power that left her as an orphan. As she is preparing to become a Binder and lose her magic forever, she meets Effie and Attis. Her new friends open her eyes to a world of new possibilities, causing her to question everything she was told. Is magic truly a sin? Threadneedle is a stunning new young adult fantasy novel that questions the power of truth and stories. It is the first instalment Cari Thomas’ The Language of Magic series, so readers will be able to see their new favourite characters again soon.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
June 1, Macmillan
New York Times bestselling author Casey McQuiston, author of Red, White, and Royal Blue, is back this summer with a new LGBTQIA+ romance novel, One Last Stop. August, a twenty-three-year-old, has taken the big leap and moved to New York City. She works at a pancake diner and lives in a house with peculiar roommates. However, on her routine subway commute to work, she meets someone that just might change the way she sees the world. But Jane isn’t just a mysterious stranger with a preference for vintage clothes, she is a time-traveller from the 1970s, lost in time. In this heart-warming romance, August must question the world she knows in order to help Jane find her way home before it’s too late. Casey McQuiston’s new novel will be flying off the shelves this Summer, so make sure to grab a copy for your commute.
Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan
May 24, Penguin Putnam Inc
When Morgan violates her Catholic school’s code of conduct by being gay, she is forced to move schools. Morgan is a senior, a track athlete and unapologetically unafraid to be who she really is. She couldn’t be further from Ruby, who is too afraid to come out as bisexual under the scrutiny of her homophobic and strict mother. Forced to compete in beauty pageants, the only thing Ruby truly enjoys is fixing her 1970 Ford Torino. In spite of their differences, Morgan and Ruby can’t help but grow close. But, as Ruby isn’t ready to come out yet and Morgan isn’t willing to keep living in secret, their new relationship might end just as quickly as it began.
The Puma Years: A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle by Laura Coleman
June 1, Amazon Publishing
In this unforgettable memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her journey through the Amazon jungle in which she meets and forms a magical bond with the majestic cat who changed her life. Laura, feeling lost and directionless as many twenty-somethings so often do, decided to quit her job and travel in Bolivia in the hope of gaining some clarity and perspective on life. Backpacking through the Amazon jungle, she finds herself working in a wildlife sanctuary, and it’s here that she’s tasked with caring for Wayra, a beautiful but complex puma. Follow this enchanting story as Laura and Wayra form a friendship that will last a lifetime. Through laughter, tears, heartbreak and self-discovery, Laura learns so much from the puma. Wayra teaches her to love not only the world around her, but most importantly herself. Coleman’s memoir is a moving story of how two creatures, each in need of rescue and care, find one another and create hope and light in the most unexpected of friendships.
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
27 May, Bloomsbury
From bestselling author Natasha Pulley comes an original and wild time-twisting novel that will definitely appeal to fantasy and alternative history fans this summer. Her story follows Joe Tournier, an amnesiac whose first memory is leaving a train in 19th century French-colonised England. He has no memory of his former life and his only clue is an English postcard sent from a mysterious writer, “M,” which arrives in London around the same time he does. Joe has no idea who “M” is, but he is certain they can tell him who he really is. So, he sets about looking for “M,” a treacherous search that will take him through 19th century Britain’s unpredictable and unstable landscape, and will risk the lives of everyone he loves.