The Library at Mount Char
By Scott Hawkins (Crown), available June 16
This freakishly compelling debut, a fantasy-thriller mashup, is utterly original, if complicated. An oversimplified synopsis: Twelve orphans are taken in by a shadowy, all-powerful Father, who trains each one to master some of his ancient powers—then mysteriously vanishes, leaving them to figure out who inherits his dominion. Through heart-thumping acts of violence and laugh-out-loud moments, this book practically dares you to keep reading.
By Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s Press), available now
Novel number 23—full of crisp dialogue, wicked wit, and brisk plotting—may be Andrews’s best yet. In Cypress Key, Florida, down-and-almost-out movie location scout Greer Hennessy finds the perfect blend of pre-Disney Florida and pre-Jaws Nantucket for her demanding director. Andrews’s fans won’t be shocked to learn that this sleepy little town harbors a multitude of secrets and lies, all of which threaten to sink not only the movie project but Greer’s precarious career.
The Idea of Love
By Patti Callahan Henry (St. Martin’s Press), available June 23
While we’re on the subject of secrets and lies . . . Henry’s latest is set in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where Blake, a divorced screenwriter, is desperate to uncover a great love story that he can spin into box office gold. He thinks he’s found the perfect subject in Ella, who tells of losing her husband in a tragic accident. Trouble is, she’s making the whole thing up. Will her lies bring the two closer or tear them apart? Come on, you know the answer. But it’s still a fun read.
Red Dirt: A Tennis Novel
By Joe Samuel Starnes (Breakaway Books), available now
In his third novel, Starnes serves up his lifelong passion for tennis through the character of Jaxie Skinner, who learned the game on a homemade red clay court behind his family’s farmhouse in rural Georgia. After a rapid rise through the professional tennis ranks, Jaxie suffers an even faster inglorious fall and then, 10 years later, a comeback worth cheering.
Written in the Stars
By Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulsen Books), available now
In her captivating YA debut, Saeed tells the story of Naila, a Pakistani American teenager being forced into an arranged marriage, a union that the author agreed to at the age of 21. Today Saeed, a former attorney in Atlanta and one of the founders of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, is happily wed, but the novel explores the darker side of this complex cultural issue.
We Will Be Crashing Shortly
By Hollis Gillespie (Merit Press), available June 15
This YA thriller revisits the irrepressible April Mae Manning from Gillespie’s first novel, Unaccompanied Minor. Now 15 and a student pilot, “Crash” Manning has survived four dramatic wrecks and is headed for a fifth, steering a crippled plane that’s loaded with a cast of dangerous characters. The madcap plot sometimes threatens to spin out of control, but the imaginative Gillespie always manages to regain the helm at the last second.
This article originally appeared in our June 2015 issue.