The June 2020 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Indie Next List logo

Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the June 2020 Indie Next List flier. The June title list is also viewable as an Excel file on BookWeb and as a collection in Edelweiss. Beginning June 1, these titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The June flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780358216773, Hardcover, $24, on sale July 7) and His & Hers by Alice Feeney (Flatiron, 9781250266071, Hardcover, $27.99, on sale July 28) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

Additionally, the May Indie Next Great Reads are now available for download on a flier and shelf-talkers, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on The May Indie Next List’s 12 Now in Paperback titles are also featured with bookseller quotes on a downloadable flier and shelf-talkers

Note: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, some publishers have elected to postpone the publishing dates for upcoming titles. Confirmed postponements are detailed below; additional updates may occur.

#1 Pick: A Burning: A Novel by Megha Majumdar
(Knopf, 9780525658696, $25.95)
“Majumdar’s suspenseful narrative holds a mirror up to society at large, reflecting the lies people tell themselves to rationalize sacrificing morality for personal gain. Unintended consequences from an impulsive social media post explode against a backdrop of deep economic insecurities and centuries-old prejudices. A searing debut, this novel is timely and timeless. It packs a punch way above its weight. Brilliant.” —Lisa Johnson, Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, PA

The Jane Austen Society: A Novel by Natalie Jenner
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250248732, $26.99)
“Utterly and wonderfully charming! The residents of Chawton, England, who seem to have nothing in common, come together by their love for the writings of Jane Austen. They quickly come to realize that true friendship depends on nothing but a caring heart and the willingness and courage to be open to others. This is a book to read again and again whenever your faith in humanity is threatened.” —Sandi Madore, Magnolia’s Bookstore, Seattle, WA

The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett
(Riverhead Books, 9780525536291, $27)
“Brit Bennett’s second novel broke my heart. She doesn’t shy away from the sadness inherent in each character’s life, yet she left me feeling better for having met all of them. I read The Vanishing Half with a sense of hope, despite my dread that terrible things might befall the characters. Desiree and Stella’s story unfolds with a deft delicateness in a book that is astonishingly accomplished and sweeping, and yet so very intimate.” —Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Beach Read: A Novel by Emily Henry
(Berkley, 9781984806734, trade paper, $16)
“What do you get when you cross a disillusioned romance author with a Hemingway wannabe? A compulsively readable book where you kind of hope for your train to be delayed so you can spend a few more minutes with January and Gus. These two, saddled with writer’s block, make a pact to write the other’s genre. Literary snobbery is (rightfully) called out, and the two begin to navigate a friendship outside of writing as they explore the other’s process. Reader, I loved it.” —Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

The Second Home: A Novel by Christina Clancy
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250239341, $26.99)
“While reading The Second Home, you can taste the saltwater of both the ocean and the tears of familial pain. Christina Clancy has written a beautiful story of family and the bonds that can be broken and somehow repaired again. The characters and location are so well-written, you’ll feel like you’ve vacationed on the Cape for years with the Gordon family. Fans of Jane Hamilton and We Were the Mulvaneys will love The Second Home.” —Nancy Baenen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Broken People: A Novel by Sam Lansky
(Hanover Square Press, 9781335013934, $27.99)
Broken People tells one man’s deeply personal story of confronting insecurities, obsessions, and frustrations while challenging many current cultural constructs. The pain and self-doubt will be recognized by many a reader, who will in equal measure cheer and thank Lansky for sharing a hopeful journey to forgiveness.” —Linda McLoughlin Figel, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA

Catherine House: A Novel by Elisabeth Thomas
(Custom House, 9780062905659, $27.99)
“Getting into Catherine House is the key to success. Spend three years here completely removed from the outside world, separate yourself from your life before Catherine House, and when the three years are over, you’ll be unstoppable. That’s the premise for this evocative and gripping gothic novel. Elisabeth Thomas’ ability to create at once an elusive yet highly practical world makes her a stunning new literary voice. Inspired by secret societies, scientific experimentation, and the mysteriousness of finding ourselves, Catherine House is sure to haunt readers.” —Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Super Host: A Novel by Kate Russo  (now publishing February 9, 2021)
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593187708, $27)
“What a delightful surprise! Instead of the usual woe-is-me, angsty, life’s-got-me-down book, we have a fusty, recently divorced, middle-aged British artist who’s forced to rent his house out on an Airbnb equivalent to make ends meet. But instead of feeling sorry for himself, he takes time to reassess things and slowly turns his life around. Told with great empathy and nice, droll humor, this is one we need for these crazy times.” —Pete Mock, McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC

Pizza Girl: A Novel by Jean Kyoung Frazier
(Doubleday, 9780385545723, $24.95)
“Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl breathes honesty into narratives surrounding pregnancy and motherhood, and faces the desperate ambivalence that often accompanies these experiences but is left unspoken. We explore this through characters who cling to one another in an attempt to escape the disappointment and stresses of their own personal lives. Pizza Girl presents us with an important sentiment: You cannot outrun the fact that the people who created you will always be a part of you to some degree or another. But you can work to grasp the ways in which you manifest that into who you are as an individual.” —Jack Hawthorn, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

Something to Talk About: A Novel by Meryl Wilsner
(Berkley, 9780593102527, trade paper, $16)
Something to Talk About is an incredible debut about a Hollywood showrunner, Jo, and her assistant, Emma, who realize the tabloids may be correct in thinking there is something romantic between the two of them. The slowest of slow-burn romances in the best possible way, Something to Talk About touches on the #MeToo movement, the meaning of consent, and what it means to be a powerful woman in Hollywood.” —Isabella Ogbolumani, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

Reproduction: A Novel by Ian Williams
(Europa Editions, 9781609455750, trade paper, $18)
“I hardly know where to start with my need to talk about this book! Reproduction is a love story spanning three decades, from the early ’80s to the 2000s, starting in Toronto, a city of vast differences in wealth and cultures. The unlikely couple (Edgar, a rich, idle German, and Felicia, a poor 19-year-old immigrant from the West Indies) meet and start an unconventional relationship, with lifelong consequences for them both. Don’t let the 550-page count fool you: The writing style is the opposite of weighty and dense — it is mischievous, funny, moving, and full of stunning revelations about how strangers become family. Simply breathtaking!” —Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

You Exist Too Much: A Novel by Zaina Arafat
(Catapult, 9781948226509, $26)
“Zaina Arafat’s You Exist Too Much is one of my favorite books of the year. This debut novel blew me away. Arafat’s narrator is confident in her vulnerability; her desire to be seen and understood is visceral and uncomfortably familiar. The intoxication of unrequited love and the disconcerting feeling that can accompany settling down are recognizable, yet in Arafat’s capable hands, I was transported. This book is for anyone who has struggled to fit into society’s neat boxes, who has been frustrated when emotions don’t follow a logical path, or who has been disappointed to find that sometimes the love of others isn’t enough.” —Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books, Eau Claire, WI

Red Dress in Black and White: A Novel by Elliot Ackerman
(Knopf, 9780525521815, $26.95)
“Over the latter half of the past decade, Elliot Ackerman has established himself as one of the great forces in modern literature. His novels and essays have provided uncommon depth of understanding of a world in constant violent conflict, all written with a superb command of language. His newest novel once again delves into a world of corruption and deception, but this is done at a much more personal level as the crisis of a marriage in Istanbul reflects the underlying rot of society. Set in the course of one day and developed through flashbacks, the reader learns the toll on individuals and society in a world of deceit.” —Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Falling Woman: A Novel by Richard Farrell (Indies Introduce)
(Algonquin Books, 9781616208578, $26.95)
“Imagine finding out that you have terminal cancer and are faced with the decision of whether or not to seek treatment. The next thing you know, you are the only survivor of a plane crash and no one knows who you are or how you survived. Well-written and plausible, The Falling Woman is a story about a woman who decides to take control of the rest of her life in an unconventional way for the benefit of herself and her family.” —Lauren Zimmerman, The Writer’s Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL

I’d Give Anything: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos
(William Morrow, 9780062844484, $27.99)
“A beautifully written story of identity lost and found, friendship, the love of a mother for her child, and what happens when decades-old secrets are brought to light. Ginny is married with a teenage daughter when her husband’s scandal threatens to bring her world crashing down around her. Strong female relationships take the lead as Ginny strives to protect her daughter and reckons with her past. Highly recommend.” —Jessica Nock, Main Street Books, Davidson, NC

A Taste of Sage: A Novel by Yaffa S. Santos
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062974846, trade paper, $15.99)
“This book is a tasty, delicious treat! When you mix delicious food and hate-to-love romance in a book, you instantly have me hooked. Lumi Santana is a chef with the gift of synesthesia: She can feel a person’s emotions just by tasting their cooking. When she opens a restaurant and it fails, she takes a sous chef position at a French restaurant with Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his good looks but bad attitude. Lumi can’t stand Julien but tastes his cooking because it looks so irresistible, and when she’s overcome with intense emotions she wonders if she wants more. If you are looking for something that’s fun and tasty and will test your senses, you will enjoy this book.” —Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA

Shakespeare for Squirrels: A Novel by Christopher Moore
(William Morrow, 9780062434029, $28.99)
“This is a crazy funny new take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that will have you laughing out loud and getting goofy looks from the other people in the coffee shop. Christopher Moore is always entertaining, and this book is no exception — you will enjoy it from the first sentence to the very last. And, yes, there are squirrels in the story!” —Julie Cameron, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

The Lost Diary of Venice: A Novel by Margaux DeRoux
(Ballantine Books, 9781984819482, $27)
“This narrative contains two different love stories, centuries apart, that are connected by both art and ancestry. It’s hard to say which I preferred: the modern tale of an almost-reclusive book restorer and an artist client unhappy in his marriage, or the story from Renaissance Venice of the client’s ancestor, a respected artist and a beautiful courtesan to one of the city’s leading luminaries. Woven together, they form an intriguing tapestry of love, family, history, and art.” —Tanya Parker Mills, The Book Bungalow, St. George, UT

Weird but Normal: Essays by Mia Mercado
(HarperOne, 9780062942807, trade paper, $17.99)
“I adored this book! I laughed until I cried, I cringed in shared embarrassment, and I read entire essays out loud to anyone who would listen. Although almost any reader will find something to relate to in Mia Mercado’s writing, she will speak directly to the hearts of millennials who still remember their hilariously terrible first AIM screennames. For all the laughs, Weird but Normal also delivers heartfelt truths about issues ranging from racism in America to depression. Can’t wait to see what Mercado does next!” —Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450314, $26)
“At the age of five, Wayetu Moore and her family were forced to flee Liberia on foot in the midst of a brutal civil war. As Wayetu’s father and elders attempt to get her and her sisters to safety by traversing a deadly and unforgiving landscape, Wayetu’s mother, who is attending college in New York, waits to hear from her family — until she can wait no longer. Moore makes brilliant creative choices with structure, voice, and point of view in this deeply moving, lovingly crafted, and unique memoir. Her story is both a thoughtful examination of the emigrant experience and an inspiring testament to the incredible power of familial love.” —Brian Wraight, Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore, Middletown, CT

The June 2020 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

Bunny: A Novel by Mona Awad
(Penguin Books, 9780525559757, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Katrina Feraco, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH

Evvie Drake Starts Over: A Novel by Linda Holmes
(Ballantine Books, 9780525619260, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Family of Origin: A Novel by CJ Hauser
(Anchor, 9780525565390, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Family Upstairs: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
(Atria Books, 9781501190117, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

In West Mills: A Novel by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635575286, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books, Eau Claire, WI

Inland: A Novel by Téa Obreht
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812982756, $18)
Recommended in hardcover by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Leading Men: A Novel by Christopher Castellani
(Penguin Books, 9780525559078, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir of Life and Love After Unimaginable Loss by Jayson Greene
(Vintage, 9780525435341, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA

The Sentence Is Death: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
(Harper Perennial, 9780062676849, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nichole Cousins, Still North Books & Bar, Hanover, NH

This Tender Land: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
(Atria Books, 9781476749303, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Renee Barker, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL

The Whisper Man: A Novel by Alex North
(Celadon Books, 9781250318008, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Helen Gregory, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

Whisper Network: A Novel by Chandler Baker
(Flatiron Books, 9781250205360, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI