Book List

Hottest Summer Reads of 2021

  • FICTION

    THE OTHER BLACK GIRL

    JUNE 1, 2021

THRILLER & SUSPENSE

THE OTHER BLACK GIRL

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

A biting social satire–cum-thriller; dark, playful, and brimming with life. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    GOLDEN GIRL

    JUNE 1, 2021

FICTION

GOLDEN GIRL

by Elin Hilderbrand

If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE GREAT MISTAKE

    JUNE 15, 2021

FICTION

THE GREAT MISTAKE

by Jonathan Lee

A highly satisfying mix of mystery and character portrait, revealing the constrained heart beneath the public carapace. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    SUBURBAN DICKS

    JUNE 22, 2021

  • FICTION

    LORNA MOTT COMES HOME

    JUNE 29, 2021

FICTION

LORNA MOTT COMES HOME

by Diane Johnson

Doing what she does best, Johnson shows us why she's been compared to writers like Henry James, Jane Austen, and Voltaire. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BUILD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY

    JULY 6, 2021

FICTION

BUILD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY

by Violet Kupersmith

Drawing from genres as diverse as horror, humor, and historical fiction, Kupersmith creates a rich and dazzling spectacle. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DU BOIS

    JULY 27, 2021

FICTION

THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DU BOIS

by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

If this isn’t the Great American Novel, it's a mighty attempt at achieving one. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    DAMNATION SPRING

    AUG. 3, 2021

FICTION

DAMNATION SPRING

by Ash Davidson

An impressively well-turned story about how environmental damage creeps into our bodies, psyches, and economies. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE SECOND

    JUNE 1, 2021

NONFICTION

THE SECOND

by Carol Anderson

An urgent, novel interpretation of a foundational freedom that, the author makes clear, is a freedom only for some. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    WAKE

    JUNE 1, 2021

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS

WAKE

by Rebecca Hall ; illustrated by Hugo Martínez

An urgent, brilliant work of historical excavation. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    HOW THE WORD IS PASSED

    JUNE 1, 2021

HISTORY

HOW THE WORD IS PASSED

by Clint Smith III

A brilliant, vital work about “a crime that is still unfolding.” Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE PLAGUE YEAR

    JUNE 8, 2021

NONFICTION

THE PLAGUE YEAR

by Lawrence Wright

Maddening and sobering—as comprehensive an account of the first year of the pandemic as we’ve yet seen. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO NEXT

    JUNE 22, 2021

NONFICTION

WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO NEXT

by Emma Dabiri

A must-read for anyone seeking to be an agent of much-needed societal change. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE SOUND OF THE SEA

    JULY 6, 2021

  • NONFICTION

    SEEK YOU

    JULY 6, 2021

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS

SEEK YOU

by Kristen Radtke ; illustrated by Kristen Radtke

Superb. A rigorous, vulnerable book on a subject that is too often neglected. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    PASTORAL SONG

    AUG. 3, 2021

NONFICTION

PASTORAL SONG

by James Rebanks

A lovely cautionary tale filled with pride, hope, and respect for the land and its history. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    ONE GREAT LIE

    JUNE 1, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

ONE GREAT LIE

by Deb Caletti

A potent story of how one young woman finds the power to write her own story. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING

    JUNE 1, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING

by Nicola Yoon

A remarkable, irresistible love story that will linger long after readers turn the final page. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

    JUNE 8, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

by Caroline O'Donoghue

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    XOXO

    JULY 13, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

XOXO

by Axie Oh

K-pop helps a cellist develop musically and emotionally in this novel filled with humor and theatrics. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    IN THE WILD LIGHT

    AUG. 10, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

IN THE WILD LIGHT

by Jeff Zentner

A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • TEEN

    REDEMPTOR

    AUG. 17, 2021

TEENS & YOUNG ADULT

REDEMPTOR

by Jordan Ifueko

A strong and worthy successor that showcases the skill of a master worldbuilder. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    REZ DOGS

    JUNE 8, 2021

CHILDREN'S

REZ DOGS

by Joseph Bruchac

Hidden throughout this moving novel in verse, old stories are discovered like buried treasures. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    CAN YOU HEAR A PENGUIN FART ON MARS?

    JUNE 29, 2021

  • CHILDREN'S

    BAD SISTER

    JULY 13, 2021

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS

BAD SISTER

by Charise Mericle Harper ; illustrated by Rory Lucey

Cathartic proof that childhood provides lessons for a lifetime and that change is possible. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    OCEAN'S REVENGE

    JULY 20, 2021

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS

OCEAN'S REVENGE

by Gavin Aung Than ; illustrated by Gavin Aung Than

Fun with a socially conscious message—these heroes charm with humor, talent, and, above all, friendship. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    FANGS FOR HAVING US!

    JULY 20, 2021

CHILDREN'S

FANGS FOR HAVING US!

by Nancy Krulik ; illustrated by Harry Briggs

A fun choice for chapter-book readers who like legendary creatures. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    BLACK BOY JOY

    AUG. 3, 2021

  • CHILDREN'S

    PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE FOREST OF NIGHTMARES

    AUG. 3, 2021

  • CHILDREN'S

    SHARICE'S BIG VOICE

    JUNE 1, 2021

CHILDREN'S

SHARICE'S BIG VOICE

by Sharice Davids & Nancy K. Mays ; illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

Demonstrates that everyone’s voice matters and needs to be heard. Powerful stuff! Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    DEAR LIBRARIAN

    JUNE 1, 2021

CHILDREN'S

DEAR LIBRARIAN

by Lydia M. Sigwarth ; illustrated by Romina Galotta

A cogent, warming reminder that public libraries have always been more than just repositories for books. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    ARELI IS A DREAMER

    JUNE 8, 2021

  • CHILDREN'S

    DR. FAUCI

    JUNE 29, 2021

CHILDREN'S

DR. FAUCI

by Kate Messner ; illustrated by Alexandra Bye

A satisfying and informative biography of Dr. Fauci that is sure to inspire. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    BEST DAY EVER!

    JUNE 29, 2021

CHILDREN'S

BEST DAY EVER!

by Marilyn Singer ; illustrated by Leah Nixon

An exuberant dog’s-eye view of friendship and forgiveness. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • CHILDREN'S

    BRAYDEN SPEAKS UP

    AUG. 10, 2021

CHILDREN'S

BRAYDEN SPEAKS UP

by Brayden Harrington ; illustrated by Betty C. Tang

A sunny, affirmative testimonial to the power of positive thinking. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

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