The Best New Book Releases Out June 18, 2024

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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_.

Now for the newness. There are thrillers by bestselling authors — one explores the 30-year-old disappearance of a childhood friend (Middle of the Night by Riley Sager), and the other is a “deliciously twisty new locked room murder mystery”(The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley). There’s also a trans memoir by an Olympic runner (Make It Count by CeCé Telfer), and Parade by Rachel Cusk is literary fiction that sees an artist who paints his wife ugly (the nerve).

The new books below have creepy families, book banning, a curse, a miracle-filled train mystery, and a city with a rotting core.

cover of Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

I also included this in the list of the best new queer books out today for Our Queerest Shelves newsletter, saying: “Award-winning Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi is giving scandal, seedy underbelly, sex, lies, and corruption — and it all starts with a breakup. Aima, unwilling to wait any longer for Kalu to marry her, breaks it off with him. Kalu then goes to his friend Ahmed’s sex party, and from that point on, the narrative is full of chaos. The main characters — who are eventually joined by two Nigerian sex workers — are thrown into the darkest parts of Lagos, and must navigate all the rot.”

cover image for What You Leave Behindcover image for What You Leave Behind

What You Leave Behind by Wanda M. Morris

The conspiracy Morris’ character, Deena, unearths sounds way too realistic. Let’s back up just a smidge, though. Deena Woods has lost essentially everything — including her mother and a stellar job at an Atlanta law firm — when she decides to go back to where she grew up in Brunswick, Georgia. One day, she accidentally stumbles upon the property of a widower, who, desperate to keep his land, warns her off it with threats. Then he disappears. Curiosity leads her to investigate what happened to him, but her research eventually leads to her uncovering something that seems systematic and dangerous, even for her.

cover of Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardocover of Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo

Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo

Bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had has more family mess for us to devour. Here, after spending most of her life reeling from the results of an emotionally chaotic upbringing, Julia Ames is 57 and can finally manage things. Kind of. But then things get turbulent: her son announces something big, her daughter gears up to leave the house, and the past brings itself into the present. Now, things aren’t as certain.

cover of We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewercover of We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer

We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer

I’m a big fan of mysteries, I have to say that this book’s blurbs has one of the best mystery grabs I’ve seen in a minute. Essentially, a queer couple — Charlie and Eve — is in the middle of renovating a house to flip it, when a man and his family show up, saying he used to live there and asking if he could show his kids around. Then, weird stuff starts happening: his youngest kid goes missing (as does Charlie), something spooky shows up in the basement, the family won’t leave, and the good sis Eve starts to feel like she’s losing her grip.

cover of Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Millercover of Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Lula Dean’s Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Unsurprisingly, more and more books about book banning are being released, and Miller’s latest promises to bring a bit of levity to the serious issue. In a small Georgia town, Beverly Underwood and Lula Dean exist simultaneously as natural enemies when Lula Dean takes it upon herself to get rid of all the “inappropriate” books in the public libraries — books she, of course, hasn’t read. She takes it a step further by starting her own library in front of her house, which has titles she approves of. But then Beverly’s daughter sneaks into the makeshift library one night and swaps out books Lula has helped to get banned, and disguises them with “approved” books — now Beloved bears the cover of Our Confederate Heroes, while The Girl’s Guide to the Revolution has the cover of The Southern Belle’s Guide to Etiquette. When the people who’ve been borrowing books from Lulu’s library reveal themselves, they also reveal how the books they’ve read have made them see the light.

Judging by the reviews for this book, more people are beginning to realize how ridiculous book bans are, which is, of course, the point. To learn more about them and to keep up on the latest censorship news, check out our Literary Activism articles.

cover of The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brookscover of The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

In the 19th century, there’s a swath of land between Beijing and Moscow where inexplicably wonderful and terrible things happen. It’s known as the Wastelands, and the only way to cross it is on the Great Trans-Siberian Express. But the journey isn’t guaranteed, and the price you pay for riding the train could run you more than just money. Which makes you wonder what exactly is making a certain group of people — a woman grieving with a fake name, a religious naturalist, an orphan with ties to the train — willing to risk it all. Especially after what happened to the last group of people who made the same journey.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!

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