Books

The Best Book Club Books Out in June

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack.

Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

How are we in June already? With the year half over, I’m looking forward to all the best-of-books-of-the-year-so far lists that I’m sure will start cropping up. I’m planning to do one myself, centered around book clubs, of course.

Now for the rest of today’s book club things, there are queer coming-of-age novels that take place (at least partially) in countries other than the U.S., cursed women, and hitting historical novels.

Nibbles and Sips: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cold Foam

glass of iced coffee with a layer of foam
Image via @madremiacoffee on Instagram

If you and your book club members, like me, need several pick-me-ups throughout the day, this recipe for brown sugar cinnamon cold foam for coffee is delightful. You’ll need heavy whipping creams, milk, brown, sugar, and, of course, cinnamon. madremiacoffee has the tea (ha) on their Instagram.

cover of FIRE EXIT BY MORGAN TALTY

Fire Exit by Morgan Talty

From the award-winning author of Night of the Living Rez comes a story of secrets. Since she was born more than 20 years ago, Charles Lamosway has watched Eizabeth’s life unfold across the river on Maine’s Penobscot Reservation. The truth is, he’s her father, but he’s never been able to act as such and laments the life he could have had on the reservation. Now that he hasn’t seen Elizabeth in weeks, he’s worried. What’s more, everything seems to be falling apart. His alcoholic friend is a mess in general, his mother is slipping deeper into dementia, and he’s wondering if it’s finally time to share the truth with Elizabeth or if it is fair to share at all.

cover of Malas by Marcela Fuentes

Malas by Marcela Fuentes

This historical fiction starts with a curse cast in 1951. In La Cienega, Texas, an older woman confronts Pilar Aguierre and curses her, thinking she stole her husband. Fast forward 40+ years, and Lulu Muñoz’s life is a mess: her father is moody, she’s a secret punk band singer, and her grandmother has passed away. Then, at her grandmother’s funeral, a mysterious and glamorous stranger shows up. As the narrative shifts between two bold female voices — and things like rodeos, Selena concerts, and Tejano family gatherings — Lulu and this stranger grow closer, and their friendship threatens to unravel family secrets.

cover of Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh

This glittering queer coming-of-age novel is set in Nigeria, just before the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014 would make queerness officially illegal. The sensitive and creative Obiefuna develops a sweet connection with a boy from a neighboring village, but when his father catches the two of them together, he sends him away to boarding school. There, his fight for survival entails hiding who he really is and trying to navigate random violence. Meanwhile, his mother, Uzoamaka, wonders why her son was sent away since his father won’t say and is left to reckon with long-avoided truths.

cover of Swift River

Swift River by Essie Chambers

In 1980, Diamond Newberry and her Pop are the only Black people in Swift River. That is, until he disappears. Seven years later, Diamond is trying to learn to drive since she and her mother have to hitchhike everywhere. And, since it’s been so long, Ma is now trying to declare Pop legally dead so she can get his life insurance money and the two can get their house back. Then a letter comes. It’s for Diamond, and it uncovers things about Pop that she never knew. She meets two generations of the Black women in her family and learns about all the joys and ills of the Newberry women, which helps her cement her own place in the world.

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