7 Anticipated Summer Book Releases

Before joining “Booktube” and engaging in an online community of readers, I never paid much attention to new releases. Now, I find myself incredibly excited for a number of upcoming book releases from authors I’ve enjoyed in the past and new-to-me authors!

Check out these seven upcoming summer book releases that I can’t wait to crack open while lounging in the sun this year! Everything you need to know to get geeked for summer reading!

Note: If you are much like me, then you probably have a peculiar disdain for spoilers. While I have merely copied and pasted these books’ summaries from Goodreads, I believe many of them are far too revealing of the plots’ details and I have refrained from reading them too closely myself as to not find out any extraneous information which will be revealed during my reading experience. But read them if you like! For each book, I’ve included everything you need to know, from release date, genre, and why I’m excited about it!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Expected release date: June 1, 2021
  • Genre: Historical fiction

Summary from Goodreads:

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

If you read my review of it, then you know I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (my review here). It had drama, mystery, and queer representation, all which hooked me via a cast of complex characters. I’m excited about Reid’s upcoming release because I have high expectations for its characters, drama, and setting. Evelyn Hugo takes place during the golden age of Hollywood and throughout decades of Hugo’s career, and while Reid did a decent job describing the atmosphere, I have higher hopes for the nostalgic 80’s quality of Malibu Rising. With more writing experience and a more recent timeline, I hope that the writing takes a step up and really sets the scene.

I’m hoping there is also queer representation in this book as well, and somebody actually asked that question on its Goodreads page but I did not read the answer because it said “Contains spoiler.” If you really want to know, you can check that out!! I also didn’t realize this at first, but Mick Riva is Evelyn Hugo’s third husband, so it’s incredibly exciting that this will be set in the same universe as Evelyn Hugo! Maybe we’ll get to see some bonus Evelyn interactions, or at least an Easter egg of her fame!

Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir by Akwaeke Emezi

Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Expected release date: June 8, 2021
  • Genre: Memoir

Summary from Goodreads:

In letters addressed to their friends, to members of their family – both biological and chosen – and to fellow storytellers, Akwaeke describes the shape of a life lived in overlapping realities. Through heartbreak, chronic pain, intimacy with death, becoming a beast, this is embodiment as a nonhuman: outside the boundaries imposed by expectations and legibility. This book is an account of the grueling work of realignment and remaking necessary to carve out a future for oneself. The result is a Black spirit memoir: a powerful, raw unfolding of identity.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

This year, I have become a huge admirer of Akwaeke Emezi. Having read The Death of Vivek Oji (my review here) and Freshwater (my mini-review here), I am now an automatic reader of anything Emezi ever writes. And moreover, I love a good memoir.

I’ve already pre-ordered this book, so I’m just patiently waiting until June 8 when I can gain more insight to Emezi’s mind and soul, and enjoy their powerful voice through their writing.

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor
  • Expected release date: June 22, 2021
  • Genre: Short stories

Summary from Goodreads:

In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young creatives in the American Midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.

One of the breakout literary stars of 2020, Brandon Taylor has been hailed by Roxane Gay as “a writer who wields his craft in absolutely unforgettable ways.” With Filthy Animals he renews and expands on the promise made in Real Life, training his precise and unsentimental gaze on the tensions among friends and family, lovers and others. Psychologically taut and quietly devastating, Filthy Animals is a tender portrait of the fierce longing for intimacy, the lingering presence of pain, and the desire for love in a world that seems, more often than not, to withhold it.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

I really enjoyed reading Real Life last year (my mini-review here), and judging from that I can see how Taylor’s short fiction will likely be quite strong, and perhaps stronger than his longer fiction. I imagine that these stories will contain many similar themes as Real Life did, including Black queer identity in the Midwest as a student, struggling to connect to others who so fundamentally misunderstand us, and living with trauma–and in addition to these themes, new terrain that this skilled writer explores. I’m really looking forward to this collection and to reading more from Taylor!

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi (The Henna Artist #2)

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi
  • Expected release date: June 22, 2021
  • Genre: Historical fiction

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema.

Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

I loved The Henna Artist (my review here)! I read it last summer, so it’ll be absolutely lovely to read the second one this summer. I really enjoyed the characters and the vivid setting in The Henna Artist, and I expect more of that same descriptive writing and genuine characters in its follow-up. I had no idea Joshi was gearing up to write a sequel, and I was delightfully excited when I heard of this. Joshi conducted a lot of research in writing her previous book, and I always appreciate when an author takes care to understand their novel’s context in order to enrich its accuracy and the reading experience.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
  • Expected release date: July 20, 2021
  • Genre: Historical fiction/fantasy

Summary from Goodreads:

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Also Worth Noting

Author Parker-Chan elaborates on the LGBTQ+ representation in her book in this Goodreads note:

There are two storylines, and each storyline has a genderqueer protagonist: one is assigned female at birth (but doesn’t identify as female), and the other is assigned male at birth and identifies as male (but is a eunuch with a gender nonconforming appearance). The AFAB character has a relationship with a woman, and the AMAB character has a relationship with a man.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

First, I was drawn in by the lovely title. Then, I was hooked by the “Mulan meets The Song of Achilles” tagline. And when I found out it contained queer representation, I was committed. I am so excited to read this book.

Moreover, I adore the yellow and orange colors of the cover, and I think I simply must pre-order this. On Goodreads, The Radiant Emperor #1 is beside its title, so it appears to be the first in a series, which means we’ll get more of this! I’m very excited to read this, because it sounds like it’ll have it all.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Expected release date: August 17, 2021
  • Genre: Historical noir

Summary from Goodreads:

1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman–and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ‘n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance–and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets–at gunpoint.

Also Worth Noting

On Velvet Was the Night‘s Goodreads page, author Moreno-Garcia included these notes:

This is a noir, not a thriller. Both genres get confused. The stakes in noirs are smaller. Nino Frank says noirs are “essentially psychological narratives with the action—however violent or fast-paced—less significant than faces, gestures, words—than the truth of the characters.”

Noir is also confused with its younger cousin, domestic noir. Domestic noirs tend to focus on upper class, white, women and often deal with the home as a space of danger/conflict. VELVET WAS THE NIGHT is historical, simmering noir and its theatre is not the domestic but a vast city in turmoil.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

While Moreno-Garcia has six other books published, admittedly I have not read her work yet. I have been interested in Gods of Jade and Shadow for a while now, and this upcoming book really caught my eye. I love that this is a noir novel because while I’ve studied Raymond Chandler in the past, I haven’t read much noir and I think this will be a very refreshing and immersive work of fiction. I love that it’s set in the 70’s, and having read over the author’s comments on its Goodreads page, I can tell a lot of care went into writing this and I respect that and am intrigued by that. Can’t wait! Plus–the title is excellent.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient #3)

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
  • Expected release date: August 31, 2021
  • Genre: Adult romance

Summary from Goodreads:

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

Read more about this book on Goodreads here.

Why I’m Excited About This Book

Last year, I enjoyed the audiobooks for The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, which are the prequels to this upcoming release! I hope to obtain a copy of The Heart Principle‘s audiobook as well. In this third book, we finally get to follow Quan, who was the cousin and brother to the love interests of the previous two books. Hoang’s romances are usually romantic and steamy, along with amazing descriptions of food, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one as well!

Watch me discuss these books on my YouTube channel!


Thanks for reading! To read more of my book reviews and bookish newsletters, check out this page!

2 thoughts on “7 Anticipated Summer Book Releases

  1. There are some incredible upcoming releases! I’m also really excited for Dear Senthuran, She Who Became the Sun, Velvet Was the Night, and The Heart Principle. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

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