Our roundup of new book releases in 2021—July edition—is here! See what we’ve read in the past month, including titles from Lish McBride, Grady Hendrix, and more.
Our new book releases for June 2021 provided you with a great array of titles across all genres, so we’re back again with our next installment. This time, we’re tackling our favorite releases for July.
There are no restrictions here—it’s whatever the Hypable staff has been reading and wants to tell you about. As a whole, we tend to lean into YA fantasy and sci-fi genres, but you may also come across some horror, romance, thriller, historical, and contemporary tales. We may even throw in a non-fiction book once in a while if it strikes our fancy.
Some of our books get the V.I.P treatment, which means they’ll also have full reviews on the Hypable website. Check out Hypable’s book section for all our literary coverage!
New book releases July 2021
Table of Contents
Click on any of the titles to jump to that review!
- Curses by Lish McBride (YA fantasy, Beauty and the Beast retelling)
- Final Girl Support Group, The by Grady Hendrix (Adult, Horror, Suspense)
- Radar Girls: A novel of WWII by Sara Ackerman (WWII historical fiction)
- The Silver Blonde by Elizabeth Ross (Historical fiction, mystery, Old Hollywood)
- When All the Girls Are Sleeping by Emily Arsenault (Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense)
- You and Me at the End of the World by Brianna Bourne (Contemporary YA, science fiction, YA romance)
Better late than never titles
- When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson (Adult, Political Thriller, Suspense, Dystopian)
- Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms by Mackenzi Lee (Young Adult, Marvel Tie-In, Space Opera)
‘Curses’ by Lish McBride — July 20, 2021
You’ll honestly be hard-pressed to find a more charming Beauty and the Beast retelling than Curses by Lish McBride. Dripping with friendship, humor, and enough swoon-worthy moments to keep you from ever wanting to put the book down, this novel is as much a retelling of a tale as old as time as it is a fairy tale in its own right. It takes just enough inspiration from the classic story to make some of the rules and some of the character beats instantly recognizable but also perfects foundations for new narrative twists and character quirks. Not only that, but the aspects it does change are really turned on their heads, with gender-swapped roles being the most prominent and delightful. (I mean, having a young woman as a beast introduces so many new and exciting possibilities for the story!)
The cast of characters is a colorful and inclusive one, a ragtag group of friends that you won’t be able to help but want to spend time with. But the true gems of this story are the main couple. Merit is an incredibly intelligent and compassionate young woman, and Tevin is a charming young man with a conscience that betrays his upbringing and forced career. They make for a fascinating pair, and I wish we had more time with them together in the same scene, both as friends as well as complicated friends and lovers.
Sweet and imaginative, humorous and full of adventure, Curses is the perfect read for BatB fans and fairy tale fanatics everywhere. It’s perfect to lead us into our new book releases in July 2021 roundup. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Final Girl Support Group’ by Grady Hendrix — July 13, 2021
We’ve all heard of the so-called final girl, right? This is the woman—usually a virgin—who, through the virtue of her character, becomes the sole survivor of a horrific massacre. If you’ve watched Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer or any of those other trope-tastic films, then you’ve undoubtedly seen a final girl on your screen.
But what happens after the credits roll? That’s what Grady Hendrix explores in The Final Girl Support Group. A handful of final girls have come together, under the direction of a famed psychologist, to talk to each other about their experiences. They’ve been doing this for years to varying success. And now that they’re about to hang up their mantles for good, one of them is murdered.
From there, it’s a whirlwind of conspiracy theories, close calls, and paranoia. Lynette isn’t a final girl according to the technical definition, but she lives every day like she’s one step away from death. This pays off when someone starts going after her and her friends. It’s an interesting concept, and better yet, the book is already on its way to become a TV series produced by Charlize Theron for HBO Max. — Karen Rought
‘Radar Girls: A novel of WWII’ by Sara Ackerman — July 27, 2021
Every time I feel like I may have learned about the last type of role women filled during World War II, another story comes along that completely astounds me once again. Sara Ackerman’s Radar Girls is one such story.
This historical fiction novel introduces WARD—the Women’s Air Raid Defense—to the world after decades of it being overlooked and boxed away in the archives of history. This program, set up by the military in Hawaii in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, trained women from all walks of life to monitor and track aircrafts in Hawaiian airspace using a newfangled technology called “radar.” Not only that, but it was rigorous work that mandated an immediate knowledge of military lingo, quick calculations, and much, much more. These fiercely intelligent and driven women stepped out of their lives and into bunkers where their job was to guide pilots home safely.
Focusing on a young woman named Daisy Wilder and her friends, this novel explores just what it took to be a WARD girl, the sacrifices women made during wartime, and also the friendships and support systems they constructed and cultivated to survive the war and give their lives meaning. With a pinch of romance thrown in for good measure (as well as a horse-centric sub-sub-plot that the horse girl in me loved), Radar Girls is a fascinating exploration of yet another group of amazing women that history elected to ignore and then forget. Fans of World War II historical fiction will definitely want to pick this one up. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Silver Blonde’ by Elizabeth Ross — July 27, 2021
Hoooooo boy did I love Elizabeth Ross’ The Silver Blonde. This alluring piece of post-World War II historical fiction is catnip for fans of Old Hollywood and film noir. The atmosphere and general vibe is an intriguing cross between Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil and Citizen Kane with a healthy dose of Agent Carter season 2 thrown in for warmth and levity. So basically, it was the perfect read for me.
As someone who minored in Cinema Studies and has always had a fascination with classic Hollywood films and filmmaking, I couldn’t get enough of the nitty gritty day-to-day life at the studio and all of the important roles the different characters played in the larger film studio machine. I also really enjoyed the interplay between all of the characters, although no one but the main heroine received all that much character development. (In fact, someone who I thought was set up to be a big deal essentially disappears from the book about halfway through, and is only referenced here and there in the second half.)
Though it takes place in the mid-1940s, one of the main driving forces of the story is World War II. In addition to driving the mystery, the war also informs many of the characters’ personalities, relationships, and motives for why they act the way they do. But that all pales in comparison to the larger role it takes in the mystery itself. Some of it feels a bit ham-fisted a times and perhaps a bit over the top, but its overall presence is pretty effective.
The Silver Blonde is such an enjoyable ride from start to finish that will have you jonesing to watch an Old Hollywood film as soon as you turn the final page. (And also, if you’re like me, demand a sequel from Elizabeth Ross because you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to this particular world or the main character.) — Danielle Zimmerman
‘When All the Girls Are Sleeping’ by Emily Arsenault — July 13, 2021
Windham-Farnswood Academy is a prep school with a long and storied past. That past also contains a legend—the Winter Girl, a ghost who returns each year in January or February. Everyone knows the signs when the Winter Girl has returned to haunt the senior student dormitory, but no one knows the exact origins of the spirit.
As it approaches the one year anniversary of Haley’s ex-best friend’s death, the Winter Girl resurfaces and a video emerges that shows Taylor’s apparent suicide might’ve been murder. As Haley digs into the mystery, she uncovers more than she bargained for—like the fact that ghosts may be very real.
This book kept me hooked from the first page. It’s a sprawling mystery with a million moving parts, but it’s not difficult to keep hold of the plot as you move throughout the book. It’s sometimes creepy, sometimes heart-wrenching, but it’s also captivating as you race Haley to be the first to figure what exactly is happening at Windham-Farnswood Academy. This was undoubtedly my favorite of the new book releases in July 2021. — Karen Rought
‘You and Me at the End of the World’ by Brianna Bourne — July 20, 2021
A slow-moving introspective character piece that also happens to be a swoon-worthy YA romance? There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to love Brianna Bourne’s You and Me at the End of the World. And it really delivered.
In an interesting way, this book is perfectly suited to the times we’re living in/may have just come out of: Struggling to make sense of the sudden intense isolation and complete upending of our world, and grappling with who we are vs. who we want to be and really sitting with our emotions. Hannah and Leo are just two normal teenagers buckling under the stresses of coming of age, with each of them coping or deluding themselves in different ways. But when it appears that they’re the last people in the entire world, they finally have the space to sit with themselves and get to know someone else intimately and in the ways in which they always yearned for someone else to see them.
While I don’t think it’s incredibly obvious, it’s not all that hard to parse out what’s going on after a little while but I think that’s a strength of the book rather than a weakness. Instead of going through this novel focused on what’s happening to them and why, having a vague awareness of their situation (when they don’t) allows us as the reader to really get to know these characters and understand why they are the way they are. The dual narration allows us to get under their skin and see each character from different perspectives. I absolutely loved it.
I also just loved the characters together in general. They complement each other so wonderfully and have such great chemistry from the very start. The push and pull/”will they won’t they” of the slow burn here is so frustratingly fantastic and well-written. And the last portion of the novel where everything is upended? It’s so sweet but heart-wrenching, and really brings all of the themes and throughlines in the novel together in such a satisfying way.
I can’t say enough good things about this refreshing new YA novel. Fans of slow-moving character pieces will eat this one up. — Danielle Zimmerman
Better late than never books
Sometimes we get a little behind on our giant to-be-read piles. This section is for books we couldn’t leave off our list just because they’re not new book releases in July 2021!
‘When the Sparrow Falls’ by Neil Sharpson — June 29, 2021
Agent Nikolai South lives in a country where Artificial Intelligence is banned, and uploading yourself into the machine world is the worst offense you can commit. When the Party’s foremost propagandist is murdered and found out to be a machine himself, his wife—an AI—is granted special clearance to collect his belongings. The plot thickens when South is assigned to protect her and sees that she looks like his late wife.
All of this sets up a book that explores the definition of humanity, and whether or not Artificial Intelligence possess any sort of personhood. The Party feels like something out of 1984, closely monitoring its members’ loyalty to the cause. As South questions the Party’s true intentions, he also begins to wonder where he belongs in the world.
One of the positive aspects of the book is that it doesn’t lean too heavily on either the science fiction or the dystopian elements, instead focusing more on character development and exploring the major themes of both genres. — Karen Rought
‘Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms’ by Mackenzi Lee — June 1, 2021
If you’ve ever wanted to explore more of Gamora and Nebula’s relationship, then this is undoubtedly the book for you. Mackenzi Lee balances an action-packed narrative with a character-driven story that gives us a close insight into both women. I’m sad I didn’t get to this last month, but I’m glad I could include it here, amongst the new book releases in July 2021.
Each of these warriors stands in the shadow of their father, Thanos, and while both of them struggle to trust each other, they also find they have something in common—a desire to get out from under his rather large thumb. But can they stand working together long enough to pull it off?
As they fight to steal the heart of a planet, Gamora and Nebula learn what consequences they can live with and which ones they can’t. By the end of the book, it’s obvious when exactly this novel takes place in the timeline and what kind of mental space the sisters are in by the time we meet them in the MCU. — Karen Rought