After months of anticipation, summer is just around the corner. Whether you’ll be relaxing on a beach, hanging out in your local park or getting on a 10-hour flight for that island vacation you’ve been planning all winter, you’re going to want to bring a book.
Lucky for you, a bevy of buzzy new releases will be hitting the shelves in the next few months. We’ve done our homework and compiled a list of some of the most highly-anticipated titles, all written by women authors. From Ann Patchett to Thao Thai, these ladies tell compelling stories that you’re sure to discuss while sipping lemonade at your next book club meeting.
The Whispers by Ashley Audrain (June 6)
The Whispers begins with a young boy falling from his window in the middle of the night. His family watches him from his hospital room, where he lies in a coma. While his mother waits by his side, refusing to speak to anyone, the family’s friends and neighbors wait back home, each confronting their own role in the events that led up to the tragedy. Over the course of one week, the mothers in each of these four families are forced to face their own secrets and the uncomfortable truths that connect them to one another – all while anxiously awaiting the fate of the young boy. This novel faces uncomfortable truths of its own: intuitions we ignore, the sacrifices of motherhood and what happens when we put our needs ahead of our children’s.
All the Gold Stars by Rainesford Stauffer (June 6)
The newest book from journalist and author Rainesford Stauffer focuses on the psychology around ambition. From getting gold stars on our homework in grade school, to attending the “right” college, to putting in extra hours at work, Stauffer evaluates how the cultural, personal and societal pressures around ambition have led to a nationwide burnout epidemic. She combines her personal narrative with interviews with students, parents, workers, psychologists and labor organizers to show the common pressures everyone is facing and the consequences that follow. By asking hard questions, she encourages readers to evaluate our own relationships with ambition so that we can reach our goals in a healthier way.
Banyan Moon by Thao Thai (June 13)
When Ann Tran gets a call that her beloved grandmother Minh has passed away, she returns home to Florida to face her estranged mother, Huong. There, the two women learn that Minh has left them both Banyan House, the crumbling Gothic manor where Ann grew up. Under the same roof for the first time in years, the mother and daughter attempt to rebuild their relationship without Minh, the one person who’s always held them together.
Running parallel to this is Minh’s story – we watch her grow up in the shadow of the Vietnam war and eventually immigrate to America. Years later, when Ann makes a discovery in Banyan House’s attic, all of Minh’s long-buried secrets come to light. Spanning decades and continents, Banyan Moon tells a story of the things we inherit from our mothers, whether we like it or not.
The Sunset Crowd by Karin Tanabe (July 4)
In this novel, Evra Scott, the daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a Brazilian bombshell actress, is L.A.’s reigning style queen. Currently, she’s romantically linked to famous screenwriter Kai de la Faire.
Meanwhile, Theodora Leigh is fighting to become a movie producer in a town where sex and sexism sell. Luckily, getting ahead by any means necessary is L.A.’s mantra.
And then there’s Bea Dupont, a photographer for Rolling Stone and Vogue who attends every party. She’s also in love with her oldest friend, Kai de la Faire – yes, Evra’s Kai de la Faire.
From Rodeo Drive to the French Riviera, this story follows each woman in her pursuit of glory and stardom in a highly competitive setting where some people achieve the American dream and some don’t. And they all learn one truth: it’s about faking it till you make it.
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo (Aug. 1)
Flor has a gift: she can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants to host a living wake – a party to bring her family and community together to celebrate the long life she’s led – her three sisters are worried. Has Flor foreseen her own death, or someone else’s? Does she have other motives? She refuses to tell her sisters, Matilde, Pastora, and Camila. Set in the three days leading up to the wake, Family Lore recounts the lives of Flor and her sisters, weaving together past and present, from Santo Domingo to New York City – and concludes in a gathering that will forever change their lives. This is bestselling young adult author Elizabeth Acevedo’s first adult novel.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Aug. 1)
On a family orchard in Northern Michigan, spring has arrived and it’s time to harvest the cherries. But due to the pandemic, Lara Nelson; her husband Joe; and their daughters, Emily, Maisie and Nell, must pick all the fruit themselves. To pass the time while working, and prompted by the recent death of famous actor Peter Duke, Lara’s daughters beg their mother to tell them the story of her own romance with Duke years ago, when they were acting together in a theater company called Tom Lake. She recalls the story of her love affair with the late actor during this formative period in her life, but she only shares some of it with her daughters – who, upon hearing the tale, are moved to examine their own lives and their relationship with their mother.
Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini (Aug. 8)
In her new historically-based fiction novel, Jennifer Chiaverini tells the story of the “munitionettes” who built bombs in Britain’s arsenals during World War I. They work grueling shifts often seven days a week, handling TNT and other explosives with little protective gear. The women often suffer from serious, unexplained illnesses – one common symptom, the lurid yellow hue of their skin, earns them the nickname “canary girls.” This worries the boss’ wife, Helen Purcell, and she advocates for them to have better working conditions. Despite these dangers, the women find one place where fear falls away: the football field. They form a football club called the Thornshire Canaries, which keeps them in good spirits while the war continues and tragedy takes its toll.
The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman (Aug. 15)
Mia Jacob lives in the Community – an oppressive cult in western Massachusetts where contact with the outside world is forbidden and books are considered evil. Despite strict rules, Mia finds one book: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Although it was written almost two hundred years earlier, Mia can’t believe how much she relates to Hawthorne’s writing, as her own mother Ivy had her when she was a teenager and had no other options except to be sent away. Mia feels like the book was written just for her. As she abandons the rules she was raised with, she further discovers the power of books…but just how powerful are they? Can she actually learn to travel back in time and meet Nathaniel Hawthorne? New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman’s latest novel weaves the past and present together through themes of heartbreak, self-discovery and even magic.