Our new book releases in 2021 roundup—June edition—is here! See what we’ve read in the past month, including titles from Casey McQuiston, Maureen Johnson, and more.
Our new book releases for May 2021 provided you with twice as many titles as April, so we’re back again with our next installment. This time, we’re tackling our favorite releases for June.
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 June 2021
Table of Contents
Click on any of the titles to jump to that review!
- All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue (Young Adult, Dark Fantasy, LGBTQIA+)
- Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler (New Adult, Romance, Coming of Age)
- Better Together by Christine Riccio (Young Adult, Romance, Rom-Com)
- Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury (Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, #OwnVoices)
- Box in the Woods, The by Maureen Johnson (Young Adult, Murder Mystery)
- Fortunate Son by Jay Crownover (New Adult, Romance, Contemporary)
- Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson (Young Adult, Apocalyptic, LGBTQIA+, Romance)
- Library of the Dead, The by T.L. Huchu (Adult, Psychic Thriller, Ghost Thriller)
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (New Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Sci-Fi)
- Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin (Young Adult, Graphic Novel, DC Comics)
- Stranger Things: Rebel Robin by A.R. Capetta (Young Adult, Tie-in, LGBTQIA+)
- We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Young Adult, Contemporary Romance)
Better late than never titles
- Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (Young Adult, High Fantasy)
‘All Our Hidden Gifts’ by Caroline O’Donoghue — June 8, 2021
Maeve finds a tarot deck while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension. Soon, her entire grade hounds her for readings about their school work, their home life, and even their love interests. When Maeve’s ex-best friend Lily pulls a card she’s never seen before—The Housekeeper—the two argue, and Maeve wishes Lily would just disappear. And then she does.
The best part about Maeve is that she is both flawed and likeable. Sure, there is a lot of angst within these pages, but it feels realistic. She and her friends deal with the kinds of issues teenagers are typically up against—friendship, love, identity, family, betrayal, popularity, etc.—but there’s also something more sinister out there, waiting for them.
The magic in this book unfolds slowly and deliciously. Not only does the world transform from ordinary to extraordinary, but so does the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance. The Housekeeper Card feels like it’s directly out of a horror movie, but there’s uniqueness about the way O’Donoghue drops her into the middle of this story. There’s something for everyone here, and I couldn’t recommend this book enough as one of our new book releases in June 2021. Read my full All Our Hidden Gifts book review. — Karen Rought
‘Anne of Manhattan’ by Brina Starler — June 1, 2021
May I offer you a delightful and sexy enemies-to-lovers tale in these trying times? Set in the modern era—minus the global pandemic—Anne of Manhattan offers an exceptional take on L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Though it’s been roughly over a decade since I last visited with Anne Shirley on the pages of Montgomery’s novels (I haven’t seen Anne with an E—I know, I know), the glimmer of recognition that comes with meeting the new versions of Anne and Gilbert were hard to miss. Though not overtly reliant on the original text, the inspired story spins Anne Shirley into someone who may not know what she wants and takes her time figuring it out.
Anne and Gilbert are grad students who have not spoken since Anne left Gilbert with nothing more than the memory of a kiss over five years prior. The two are reunited on campus in a grad school program and forced circumstances place them under the guidance of the same thesis advisor. Once the ball gets rolling, Anne and Gilbert slip into the awkward, frustrating, and tantalizing experience of rediscovering each other.
One cautionary warning to offer is that Anne of Manhattan is not for readers for whom miscommunication and stubborn grudges are a turn-off. Even though I enjoyed the novel, there were times where stubbornness got the better of the characters and forced the story to spiral into waxing passages that lacked any emotional depth beyond “I’m mad because I say I am.” That left the ending a bit unfulfilling, as I thought their entire relationship would be over in a sequel if the dishes were not put away properly.
But, just like the big city lawyer who gives up his six-figure salary to run his grandfather’s rundown Christmas tree farm in every Hallmark movie, it’s best not to speculate about the future and enjoy what is set down before you. In this case, it is a tale full of history and missed opportunities to figure out that the person you love most in the world can be the one you can’t stand and can’t stop thinking of. It’s a great read if you’re looking for new book releases in June 2021. — Brittany Lovely
‘Better Together’ by Christine Riccio — June 1, 2021
Described as Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap, this body-swapping, lost-at-divorce sibling reunion novel fits into the comparison quite well. However, Better Together surpasses its predecessors, overcoming the tropey type of fumbling you might go in expecting and instead offering a unique coming-of-age story for two characters who may have believed they were beyond the possibility of having one.
Jamie and Siri (seriously) are sisters who have lived their respective existences pursuing performance careers, hitting unexpected roadblocks along the way. The opening of the novel makes quick work of setting up the basics to create some striking polar opposite character traits, mixed with some similarities, and a healthy smattering of eccentricities to keep the mood light. Before you know it, the duo of an injured dancer thrown off of her perfectly laid out map of life and the stand-up comic whose meddling grandmother would like to see her on some kind of path that doesn’t make her have a breakdown on stage every time she tries stand-up, are on their way to the meet-cute you’d expect and the magic body swap that somehow works.
This all takes place at the inciting setting of the novel—a Rediscover Yourself retreat. Arriving at a crossroads in life, the siblings do what any millennial might do and try on the rose (gold)-tinted glasses and pray that their lives might forever be changed by some yoga and daily affirmations such as “drink more water” and “invest in yourself.” The body-swapping still ranked quite high on the scale of dishonesty and creepiness for those involved, but at least readers are spared a mother making romantic decisions on behalf of their child and vice versa.
The ensuing months offer a refreshing perspective on two women looking at the lives they think were set before them and realizing the opportunities that await them if they could just take a step away from the four walls they were raised in. Arguably, one sister had more to gain than the other, and I often found myself put-off by some of the privilege in both of their imagined “woe-is-me” circumstances. It did not escape notice, however, that it was a fun way to spin a new story out of the confines of two well-known story parameters. And in trying to find something new, a wholly original story of sisterhood emerged after taking a walk in someone else’s shoes. — Brittany Lovely
‘Blood Like Magic’ by Liselle Sambury — June 15, 2021
Set in the distant but not *too* distant future, one of my picks for new book releases in June 2021, Blood Like Magic, follows Voya, a young woman destined to become a witch, just like the rest of her family. But before she receives her gift, she must complete a task set forth by an ancestor. That task? “To destroy her first love.” The thing is, she doesn’t even have one of those yet, and the clock is ticking on her 30 day timeline.
I found this story fascinating, moreso for the familial and community elements than the actual magic and witch elements. Voya’s family plays an enormous part in her life, and so this book deals a lot with their family dynamics as well as their history. I especially enjoyed learning about their Trini roots and traditional recipes (which sounded absolutely delicious), as well as the way in which they preserve their traditions while also constantly redefining what family looks like.
As a result of the emphasis on family ties and dynamics (as well as their struggles), the magical element of the book exists more to weave together a commentary on the Black experience than to thrill and excite. The author executes this element extremely well, giving just enough information to advance the magical mystery but a lot of context for why Voya and her family are the way they are.
And, of course, the strictly magical elements are fascinating too, making for a story unlike any I’ve come across before. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy and witches, check this book out. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘The Box in the Woods’ by Maureen Johnson — June 15, 2021
After concluding a trilogy focused on one very nuanced and intricate crime, it was difficult to imagine where Maureen Johnson would go next with this lovable cast of characters. But the answer to the question is to camp! And the late 1970s!
A surprisingly standalone mystery novel (no, really, until the last 30 pages of this book, I was thinking it was the first in another trilogy), The Box in the Woods adds both levity and accessibility to the Truly Devious series. It’s almost like a “here’s what happened in the months between school semesters”-kind of novella where the characters get a bit of personal development, but not enough to majorly affect their character arcs. The story feels pretty detached from that of the first three books, thanks in large part to the drastic change in setting and lack of returning characters. The core four are very much involved in the story, but nobody outside their pod really is, except for a few mentions here and there.
This book also feels like it’s trying to be a bit more realistic, in that the puzzle-like nature of the initial trilogy made it seem like a heightened reality (akin to Knives Out) whereas The Box in the Woods is more like Salute Your Shorts meets Wet Hot American Summer meets Scream: The TV Series (for the true crime podcast and murder aspects). I realize that those things don’t feel realistic at all, but they’re surprisingly moreso than the fantastical puzzle mystery that preceded it.
Though it’s about a grisly murder and has some intentionally cringeworthy podcast elements, The Box in the Woods is an easy and endlessly entertaining summer read. Whether you were a fan of (or even READ) the first three books in Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series, this is a solid mystery novel to pick up for yourself or the true crime fan in your life and a must-read for new book releases in June 2021. — Danielle Zimmerman
‘Fortunate Son’ by Jay Crownover — June 22, 2021
I really couldn’t have dreamed a better gift to give us in 2021. Jay Crownover always swore she was done with the Marked Men and the world they all inhabit, so I never dreamed of being able to read new stories, and especially not to experience the characters I already love as adults and parents.
All that greatness AND we get a terrific new heartwrenching love story from a couple of characters we’ve never really met before. It just makes it even better that they’re the second generation of the found family we all fell in love with so many years ago.
Ry and Bowe are an electric pair, challenging and frustrating each other in all the best ways. Forcing each to look at the hand life has dealt them and embrace the twists and turns together. I also loved seeing how each of these new characters are individuals, taking qualities from each parent and adding their own flair to the mix. No child is a carbon copy of one parent or another, especially when they’re coming from a healthy, happy home.
The best part about Fortunate Son is that it can 100% be enjoyed by people who haven’t read the Marked Men or Saints of Denver series. But, if you have read the stories that came before, this world and these characters are that much more fully realized, that much bigger than life.
I hope this is not the last we see of these characters, but I already count myself lucky to have gotten all the stories we already have. — Kristen Kranz
‘Girls at the Edge of the World’ by Laura Brooke Robson — June 8, 2021
I’m always down for a good apocalyptic book, and one of my picks for new book releases in June 2021, Girls at the Edge of the World, scratched that itch perfectly. The story takes place on the eve of a global flood that threatens the future of humanity. If you’re thinking Noah’s Arc, then you’ve got the right idea. But instead of just one boat, there’s a royal fleet. The only problem is they can only save so many.
Natasha, a Royal Flyer (think aerial silks), is determined to get on one of those ships, even if it means pretending to be who everyone thinks she should be instead of who she actually is. Ella, on the other hand, has something else in mind entirely. She’s the new recruit, and she’s hellbent on revenge against the kingdom that took everything from her. But when these two cross paths, something interesting happens.
The alternating chapters put us in the shoes of both heroines, and it’s nice to see different sides of the same story. After reading so many fantasy books where homophobia either doesn’t exist or is merely a footnote, it was jarring to see it front and center in Girls at the Edge of the World. Then again, that kind of prejudice is very real even today, and exploring those themes and watching the protagonists overcome those issues can be extremely cathartic. Just make sure you’re prepared for that when you pick it up. — Karen Rought
‘The Library of the Dead’ by T.L. Huchu — June 1, 2021
This book has a way of grabbing you by the eyeballs and not letting go until the deed is done. Even though it’s about 600 pages long, I didn’t have any trouble flying through it. The narrator, Ropa, has such a strong voice that it’ll pull you right into her world so you can experience every wonderful and terrible detail firsthand.
The narrator is just shy of 15 years old, but the book is certainly not middle grade and doesn’t even feel like young adult. Ropa has to take care of her little sister and grandmother by talking to ghosts and delivering their messages to the living. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, and she might as well be the one earning the dough.
The story takes a sinister turn when Ropa stumbles upon a mystery involving missing children and a form of magic she’s never seen before. The titular library of the dead plays a small part in this novel, but subsequent installations should open that world up even further. I’m a huge fan, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next. — Karen Rought
‘One Last Stop’ by Casey McQuiston — June 1, 2021
If you’re going to pick up one of the new book releases in June 2021, then it should be this one. One Last Stop is a joyous adventure filled with memorable characters, a fascinating mystery, and mouth-watering depictions of breakfast foods. Basically, everything you could ever want in a rom-com.
But it’s so much more than that. It’s also an exploration of identity and just how much fear and hope are at odds with each other in our lives. It’s magical in all of the best ways. The ways that make your hopes soar and your heart race. The ways that make you suspend your belief while also lean into believing in the impossible.
I know that’s a lot to put on a single book, but it’s not just any book. It’s a Casey McQuiston book.
Like Red, White & Royal Blue, One Last Stop centers on the blossoming relationship between two twenty-somethings who each have their own struggles but find a much-needed escape, as well as a much-needed confidante and ally, in one another.
‘Poison Ivy: Thorns’ by Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin — June 1, 2021
Ever since I was introduced to her properly (and NOT through Uma Thurman’s performance in Batman & Robin, no thank you), Poison Ivy has always been my absolute favorite DC character, hands down. But it wasn’t until much later that I actually did some research and learned about her dark and horrific origins. Poison Ivy: Thorns takes that backstory and revamps it just a bit, giving it an even more sinister and timely feel.
This novel is perfectly low-key creepy and ominous but is not without its bright spots and moments of hope and validation. It’s an interesting cross between the story of Bluebeard and Jane Eyre with (more) domestic violence, manipulation, and violations of female autonomy. Yes, the subject matter is still YA appropriate, but it’s not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination.
Teenage Pamela Isley herself is excellently drawn, in every sense of the word, and really comes into her own here after suffering quite a lot of trauma. With the help of her friend Alice, she recognizes and eventually fights against the claims made on her body, making some really great mantra-worthy statements about that toward the end. Alice is an unwavering force through all this, and is also a character who forced me to recognize how easily I let other characters off the hook for their awful actions.
This is a fantastic origin story that sets the stage for Pamela fully becoming the canonical character by the end of the book, unlike some of the other most recent DC YA graphic novels. As someone who’s always craving more Poison Ivy in my life, I truly can’t recommend Poison Ivy: Thorns enough. (And yes, I will be eagerly anticipating any news of a sequel or continuation.) — Danielle Zimmerman
‘Stranger Things: Rebel Robin’ by A.R. Capetta — June 29, 2021
If you can’t get enough of Stranger things, then I’d highly recommend picking up Rebel Robin for one of your new book releases in June 2021. While it takes place outside the main plot, given that Robin doesn’t come into the fold until season 3, there’s still plenty to love here. The only monsters are the metaphorical ones that come with any high school experience, but Robin’s sardonic narration is more than enough to keep you entertained.
Rebel Robin really dives into what makes this character tick. Between participating in the school’s band and learning as many languages as she can, Robin isn’t exactly a popular student. She’s a loner, a little strange, and definitely filled with too much wanderlust to be stuck in Hawkins for the rest of her life. Her goal is to someday travel across Europe, and every choice she makes drives her to this end.
But Robin has something else to contend with, too. This novel is a coming-of-age story about someone struggling with their sexuality. It begins with confusion, which soon meets awareness, and eventually settles for some semblance of acceptance. Her realization is a slow dawning across every single page, but one that doesn’t overtake the rest of the story. Robin is a three-dimensional character, and her complexities are enough to fill a novel with rich and interesting content.
You’ll get a peek at some of your favorite characters, from Mike and Will to Jonathan and Steve to Joyce and Bob. Plus, all the ’80s references bring this story alive, and it’s nice to revisit Stranger Things and Hawkins, Indiana through the eyes of Robin Buckley. (P.S. I listened to the audiobook for this title, and while the actress doesn’t narrate it, Dani Martineck does a fantastic job of capturing Robin’s personality.)– Karen Rought
‘We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This’ by Rachel Lynn Solomon — June 8, 2021
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This is a true delight. Full stop. It perfectly balances the sappy sweetness of a romantic comedy (and one that references OTHER romantic comedies and tropes, which can be difficult to do right) with the gritty reality of… well… reality. And mental health.
As someone who grew up through some pretty traumatizing family events, I deeply related to the way Quinn saw the world and her place in her family, with every move she made or didn’t make as being of the utmost important in upholding the fragility of her family. That throughline really struck a nerve with me because it’s such a hard position to be in. Especially when you’re still trying to figure out just who YOU actually are at the same time but aren’t allowed to be yourself in fear of breaking everything.
But of course, the main draw of this wonderful story is the relationship between Quinn and Tarek (not mental health topics). It is incredibly sweet and lovely, but not in a way that makes it feel too saccharine or fake. These two characters have such great chemistry and have such a solid friendship base that shines through every interaction. Their give and take, although one sided at times (largely due to this being Quinn’s story from Quinn’s perspective), feels grounded and real. It’s hard not to root for these two and swoon when they’re together.
If you’re a fan of swoony YA rom coms that thrive on quality substance and not just saccharine sweetness, put We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This on your to-read list. — 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 June 2021!
‘Realm Breaker’ by Victoria Aveyard — May 4, 2021
Victoria Aveyard needs no introduction after her Red Queen series. She creates gorgeous fantasy worlds full of magic and mystery, and Realm Breaker is no exception. It follows a cast of characters that range from too-good-for-this-world to reluctant-to-do-the-right-thing to pure-evil-incarnate-who-wants-universal-domination. But even the bad guys have range, and you’ll find yourself intrigued by their story as much as the heroes’.
If high fantasy is your genre of choice, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t fall in love with this book. It’s as epic as it comes, spanning several kingdoms and countries. There are a handful of main players, and plenty of other characters to pique your interest. If you like assassins, warriors, pirates, queens, monsters, or wizards, then you’ll definitely find something here. It may not be one of the new book releases in June 2021, but it promises to be a timeless classic.
Realm Breaker sets up a larger world and a bigger overall arc that we’ll explore in future books. By the end of this first one, you’ll undoubtedly be ready to pick up the next to see what happens to Corayne, Dom, Sorasa, and the others. — Karen Rought