The June 2019 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the June 2019 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.
Indie Next List logoBeginning June 1, these titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The May flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams (William Morrow, 9780062834751, hardcover, $26.99) and Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow, 9780062855312, hardcover, $26.99) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

#1 Pick: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong
(Penguin Press, 9780525562023, $26)
“Alright 2019, this is the novel to beat. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is the rare novel that makes you experience reading in a slightly different way and shows you that, no matter how many books you’ve read, something new and uniquely beautiful can still be found. The novel takes the form of a letter written by the main character, Little Dog, to his mother — an immigrant from Vietnam who cannot read. The power of Vuong’s poetic writing shimmers with every paragraph, and each phrase is a carefully considered, emotional journey. Grappling with themes of identity, sexuality, addiction, violence, and finding your place in a world where you feel you don’t belong, this book already feels like a modern classic, destined to be read and talked about for years to come.” —Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane
(Scribner, 9781982106980, $27)
Ask Again, Yes is a compelling, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful novel. Mary Beth Keane is incredibly talented; she does not sugar coat, instead giving readers a compulsively readable family drama. I did not expect to become so completely engrossed in these characters’ stories — two families whose lives become inextricably linked by young love and personal tragedy. Their myriad mistakes and attempts to atone beautifully demonstrate the power and grace found in forgiveness.” —Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250316776, trade paper, $16.99)
“Fresh, irreverent, and funny, Red, White & Royal Blue is a delight and a treasure. With subtle jabs, Casey McQuiston pokes fun at both the public face of the British monarchy as well as the back-door politicking that dominates the U.S. political scene. The story follows the self-centered Alex Claremont-Diaz (America’s First Son) and his interactions with British Prince Henry of Wales. As hostility increases between two political scions forced into a sham friendship, we see the framework of political destiny and duty begin to fray. Little by little, hostility turns to something else entirely. This is a story about happiness — and, more importantly, honesty — for those who live their lives in the public eye.” —Todd Ketcham, The Book Cellar, Lake Worth, FL
The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel by Sara Collins
(Harper, 9780062851895, $26.99)
“Drawing on her experiences of growing up in the Cayman Islands, attending university in London, and practicing law, outstanding debut author Sara Collins has drawn a character one will not soon forget. Told with evocative language, Frannie Langton’s confession is a life story not to be missed. Raised on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, then transported to a life of servitude in London, Frannie lives a life of twists and turns of love and betrayal that will both shock and intrigue you. I was as tense as she was waiting for the verdict to be handed down. Thank you, Sara Collins!” —Mary Mollman, Booked, Evanston, IL
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393242140, $27.95)
“I don’t think there is a square mile of ground on this planet where Robert Macfarlane couldn’t dig up a new, wondrous story. Underland continues the tradition of profound storytelling, reflection, and, quite simply, gorgeous writing we have come to expect from him. Macfarlane’s ventures into the underworlds of our planet, both mythical and literal, may amount to his finest work yet, and not just because these are the places that have captivated me most throughout my life. I feel fortunate to be living at the same time as him, knowing that as long as he is writing, there is something to look forward to.” —Chris La Tray, Fact & Fiction Downtown, Missoula, MT
Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch
(Crown, 9781524759780, $27)
“As soon as I saw Blake Crouch’s name, I scooped this book up. As a huge fan of Dark Matter, I knew I was in for a treat. In his newest, Crouch quickly reveals the cause of the ‘fake memories’ that are plaguing the population, but the twists and thrills just keep coming. I haven’t been this satisfied with a book in a long time. Hitting and exceeding all of my expectations, this one will be hard to beat as my favorite book of the year.”
—Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
Magic for Liars: A Novel by Sarah Gailey
(Tor Books, 9781250174611, $25.99)
“When Ivy was a child, her sister went off to a school for mages, leaving her feeling abandoned in the non-magical world. So when her sister’s boss turns up at Ivy’s detective practice a couple of decades later and asks her to solve a murder, she’s less than enthused. Mixing noir tropes with the classic setting of a school for practitioners of magic, Magic for Liars is by turns intriguing and unsettling. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way as Ivy attempted to comb through the lies and resist her own temptation to get too deeply embroiled in the mystery.” —Shelby Daniel-Wayman, Fair Isle Books, Washington Island, WI
Bunny: A Novel by Mona Awad
(Viking, 9780525559733, $26)
“Mona Awad tells a harrowing story of a writer trying to overcome her writer’s block while simultaneously refusing to look deeper into herself or acknowledge her own needs or desires. This lack of self-knowledge leads her to a friendship with a group of young MFA students who are always ‘workshopping’…with disastrous consequences. The writing feels cinematic at times, moody and illustrative. Home, identity, love (both romantic and platonic), inner (and outer) demons, and academic elitism all play a part in this spectacle of creation and destruction. Awad creates a kind of magic that changes with the wind, a contemporary Prometheus tale.” —Katrina Feraco, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark (Indies Introduce)
(Forge Books, 9781250178954, $24.99)
“Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark bring the breeziness of their popular podcast My Favorite Murder to print in this collection of life hacks and true confessions. Alternately hilarious and wise, the two play off each other with the abandon of old college buddies. Fans of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck will find much to enjoy here. While the book will leave you in stitches, the advice the pair doles out is solid and bankable. The book should be in every college freshman’s backpack as they leave for school.” —Grace Harper, Mac’s Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH
City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Riverhead Books, 9781594634734, $28)
“City of Girls is a champagne cocktail, a tonic for anything that ails you, and the summer read you can’t miss! Vivian Morris, an upper-class, 19-year-old college dropout, finds herself in the chaotic New York City theater world of the 1940s. What ensues is a story full of sex, glamour, and witty one-liners that spans decades. All those who led a heedless youth or wish they had will fall for this book about growing into the person you’ve always wanted to be. Gilbert has written a glittering piece of fiction that subtly delivers wisdom about the nature of human connection and leaves the reader braver, freer, and, at least for the moment, happier.” —Caroline McGregor, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
How Not to Die Alone: A Novel by Richard Roper
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780525539889, $26)
“Richard Roper’s debut is utterly delightful. I was spellbound from the very first page. Andrew’s job is a sensitive one: when someone dies at home alone, he is called to literally dig through personal effects — scraps of paper or old holiday cards — and determine if there are any next of kin. Andrew’s daily experience with the dearly departed, combined with his model train obsession, dysfunctional office mates, and an estranged sister, result in a compelling read. Funny, smart, and sad, Roper’s How Not to Die Alone is just wonderful.”
—Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
In West Mills: A Novel by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635573404, $26)
“In West Mills is a beautiful and cohesive debut. Reminiscent of Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Winslow has written the character of Knot Centre, a woman who speaks her mind — for better or for worse — and who is passionate, intelligent, and stubborn to a fault. The events of the novel take place from the 1940s to the 1980s, allowing readers to watch as fateful decisions and their consequences play out for the city’s citizens. In such a small town, secrets weigh heavy and threaten to tear people apart, but Winslow’s writing is exuberant and full of life. His characters are never fully taken under by their sorrows — a rarity in literature today.” —Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books, Eau Claire, WI
Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
(Atria Books, 9781501133480, $28)
“Mrs. Everything is a magnificent look at the myriad societal changes for women that occurred in a short span of decades, wrapped up in a compelling novel of two sisters. While I’ve loved reading all of Jennifer Weiner’s work over the years, I believe THIS is her legacy novel — the book that will be read generations from now! It filled my heart.” —Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
The Unhoneymooners: A Novel by Christina Lauren
(Gallery Books, 9781501128035, trade paper, $16)
“This is a delightful rom-com story with an enemies-to-lovers plotline and the requisite off-the-wall situation that forces the bickering lead characters into close quarters. With its Maui resort setting, charismatic characters, swoon-worthy romance, and sense of humor, this story pulled me in and took me along for a thoroughly enjoyable escape.” —Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Mostly Dead Things: A Novel by Kristen Arnett
(Tin House Books, 9781947793309, $24.95)
“After her father commits suicide, Jessa is tasked with saving her family’s taxidermy business from going bankrupt. She also has to take care of her family’s strange problems — including her mother’s affinity for turning their taxidermy into risqué works of art. Mostly Dead Things is a fun, eccentric book with a steamy lesbian romance, ongoing sibling rivalry, and dark confessions of a family that is willing to go the mile in order to make ends meet. Stuffed with humor, heartfelt moments, and some gritty bits, Arnett’s writing will make you laugh, cry, and wonder how an author’s first novel can be so engaging and well-written!” —Sage Cristal, UC San Diego Bookstore, La Jolla, CA
The Night Before: A Novel by Wendy Walker
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250198679, $26.99)
“Laura has gone missing after going out on a first date with someone she met on a dating site…at least her older sister, Rosie, thinks she is missing. The Night Before is told from Laura’s point of view from the night before and from Rosie’s the morning after. Wendy Walker’s latest is filled with psychological trauma and even a series of sessions with a psychologist, which adds believability and gives insight into who Laura is. As usual, I couldn’t stop reading and was surprised more than once. With a heavy dose of psychology, The Night Before is a true thriller you won’t want to miss.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
The Scent Keeper: A Novel by Erica Bauermeister
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250200136, $26.99)
“When you pick up Erica Bauermeister’s latest novel, you must take a deep breath, and then another. The Scent Keeper is a unique coming-of-age story told with prose that is vivid, fragrant, and alive. Everything Emmeline knows from her idyllic childhood spent on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest is challenged when she discovers that her father’s fantastical explanations and stories aren’t true — at least not in a literal sense. Her journey is at times devastating but always evocative. A sensational read.” —Anika Miller, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA
The Sentence Is Death: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
(Harper, 9780062676832, $27.99)
“I really love this series by Anthony Horowitz. The mystery behind the murders is so expertly plotted and layered that you could make a case for any suspect. In this book, a divorce lawyer is found dead in his home after being beaten over the head with a VERY expensive bottle of wine, and the number 182 is painted on his wall. When Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne drives onto the set of Horowitz’s TV show shoot, Horowitz has no choice but to follow his lead and write about the case. As always, I’m anxiously awaiting the next in this series.” —Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH
The History of Living Forever: A Novel by Jake Wolff
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374170660, $27)
“Jake Wolff takes as many risks within the narrative of The History of Living Forever as his characters. The author’s daring success can be measured in the feverish beat of his readers’ pulse as they are captivated, challenged, surprised, and moved. This tale of the alchemy of immortality, of the quest for an elixir of life, is powerfully driven by a tension between the desire to transmute the nature of life versus a reductive drive to prolong it. The mutability of time and character suffuse the story, making 16-year-old Conrad’s coming of age unexpectedly multi-layered and complex. If ever a book invited looking into the future, it is The History of Living Forever. I predict that it will have a long and glorious life.” —Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME
Resistance Women: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
(William Morrow, 9780062841100, $26.99)
“Mildred Harnack, an American woman, moves with her husband to Germany, but while they’re building their life together, the Nazi party is rising to power. Mildred and her friends can’t stand by and watch their communities be torn apart, so they conspire to resist. The women work together to provide information about the Germans to the American forces, but when their resistance cell is exposed, everyone is at risk. Beautifully written and heavily researched, Chiaverini brings Mildred and her compatriots to life on the page with a vividness that kept me up all night reading.” —Mary Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC
Now in Paperback
The Female Persuasion: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer
(Riverhead Books, 9780399573231, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA
Florida: Stories by Lauren Groff
(Riverhead Books, 9781594634529, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Uriel Perez, BookPeople, Austin, TX
Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
(Anchor, 9780525434313, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Lillian Li, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
The Great Believers: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai
(Penguin Books, 9780735223530, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT
His Favorites: A Novel by Kate Walbert
(Scribner, 9781476799407, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA
Invitation to a Bonfire: A Novel by Adrienne Celt
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635571530, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
Lake Success: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812987201, $18)
Recommended in hardcover by David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN
The Lost Family: A Novel by Jenna Blum
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062742179, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL
Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel by Lillian Li
(Picador, 9781250229328, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Carla Bayha, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
Ohio: A Novel by Stephen Markley
(Simon & Schuster, 9781501174483, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Beth Albrecht, The Magic Tree Bookstore, Oak Park, IL
Providence: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780399591457, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Guy Lopez, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
The Summer Wives: A Novel by Beatriz William
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062660350, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY