Earlier this month, we released an article about the most anticipated debut books of June 2021. Now, as we’re reaching the end of the month, it’s time to review which of those books delivered on their promises. We also have a couple of new additions to the list – books that we loved unexpectedly. But we’re most happy about the fact that this list spans a lot of genres – we have book recommendations for all types of readers in this list. Here are 8 Debut Novels of June 2021 You Should Read (Work of debut authors in June).
List of 8 Debut Novels of June 2021 You Should Read:
Bewilderness by Karen Tucker
This story weaves the stories of Irene and Luce into a multicoloured tapestry of drug abuse and intimate friendships. Our protagonists are Irene and Luce who live in rural North Carolina following the maxim – YOLO. As their shenanigans continue, the girls develop an inseverable bond of friendship. However, their friendship deteriorates when Luce falls in love and gets a boyfriend who helps her get over her drug addiction. Together, Luce and her boyfriend start a new life together in Florida, leaving Irene behind. As the story of their relationships unfolds, the wild and bewildered girls of yesteryear become mature and responsible. A story of friendship that transcends geographic boundaries and temporal limits, this one is a must read.
Assembly by Natasha Brown
This condensed, crisp but biting novel is the story of a young Black American woman who is making preparations for a party. This party is going to be hosted by her rich white boyfriend and his family. From career problems and promotions in her finance job to racial prejudices, Brown writes prose that is succinct but impactful. With the power of Orwell’s matter-of-fact but highly pointed, hard hitting language, Natasha has used her economy with language to her advantage.
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley Ford
This memoir brings to life the story of Ashley Ford and her relationship with her father. She has always revered her father, loved him the most and has even put him on a pedestal. But when he goes to prison for a crime Ashley doesn’t know about, her world crumbles down. Delving intimately into a broad array of topics from poverty and misguided relationships to rape and abuse, this one is a disturbing but essential read.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
This is a unique thriller about Nella Rogers who works at a New York publishing company called Wagner. She is fed up of being its only Black employee. So when a new black woman named Hazel enters the firm, Nella is ecstatic. However, all things aren’t what they seem to be. Nella starts getting threats and the like on her desk, and it seems that it’s more than just her career that’s in danger. With strong ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ vibes with respect to the office setting, this one deals with way more than horrible bosses. It’s about microagressions at the work place, racism, toxic productivity culture and more.
Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks Ramage
This is a novel the world didn’t know it needed. It delves into heavy but important topics such as power in queer relationships and abuse. It’s an impactful story of an aspiring playwright Jonah Keller and his toxic yet intense affair with the famous Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Shriver. At a party held in Shriver’s huge and grandiose home, Jonah notices that all the waiters are attractive gay men. And even more astonishingly, they have marks of violence on their body. This reveals Shriver’s true violent nature and now Jonah must fight for justice.
Shoko’s Smile by Choi Eun Young
This is a short story anthology which follows the life of young women in South Korea. All their unique, personal stories are deftly woven into a larger political narrative making the effect simultaneously intimate and lager-than-life. The titular story dives deep into the relationship between an exchange student and her host’s sister as they grow up. Another story, “A Sing from Afar” follows a new widow who travels to Russia to find out about more about her husband. In a third story, “Secret,” the parents of a dead teacher keep the news of her death a secret from her grandmother. With strong female characters, a wonderful take on relationships and deep cultural roots, this one had to be on this list.
Ace of Spades by Fardah Abike Iyimide
It’s hard to typecast this novel into a single genre – it’s simultaneously new adult, queer, thriller and mystery fiction. Plus, it also gives off strong dark academia vibes. To top it off, it really delves into heavy themes like institutionalized racism and LGBTQA+ rights. The story follows an elite academy where everything is apparently perfect. However, these masks melt as an anonymous texter, Ace begins publicizing the deepest secrets of a bunch of characters.
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
As you might have guessed from the title, this book explores queer struggles and is the perfect read for Pride Month. It is also a coming-of-age story, full of tenderness and poignance. It follows nineteen year old Jesse McCarthy, who is just on the cusp of adulthood and trying to assemble is racial and gender identity. Jamaican British Jesse has lots to deal with on his plate – a fractured family, a regressive religious community and an identity crisis. So he seeks solace in art, sex and music. The result is a story full of aching beauty and lovely destruction – a must read at all costs.