The June 2021 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and six Now in Paperback picks on the June 2021 Indie Next List flier.

The June title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talkers. Learn more about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the May Indie Next List picks are available as a flier and shelf-talkers, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on

The 25 Indie Next Great Reads for June

#1 Pick: Morningside Heights: A Novel by Joshua Henkin
(Pantheon, 9781524748357, $26.95, June 15, 2021, Fiction)

“I loved this book! The writing is beautiful, and the character development is phenomenal. I was moved by all of the characters in the story, but quirky Arlo stands out as a favorite. I also shed a few tears, so this book has it all. It’s a winner with so much heart! I highly recommend it.”

—Sarah Fox, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Malibu Rising: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(Ballantine Books, 9781524798659, $28, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“This ode to Malibu in the 1980s is the perfect beach read. Four famous siblings throw a star-studded party and over the course of 24 hours find their lives changed forever. It’s enthralling and layered and so vivid it could be a memory. Perfectly paced and suspenseful from page one!”

—Meagan Dallner, Books Are Awesome, Parker, CO

The Other Black Girl: A Novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris
(Atria Books, 9781982160135, $27, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“This is the tale of two Black women coworkers in the cutthroat publishing industry trying to determine if they are friends or enemies. A literary fiction tale with a side of suspense, this expertly woven critique on society is bound to keep readers on the edge of their seats.”

—Kirsten Wilson, The Snail on the Wall, Huntsville, AL

One Last Stop: A Novel by Casey McQuiston
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250244499, trade paper, $16.99, June 1, 2021, Fiction/Romance)

“What a magical and creative tale; an addictive read that I did not want to put down. A fun and diverse cast of characters took this story to the next level. With such wide appeal, I know I will be able to put One Last Stop into the hands of almost any customer this summer.”

—Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

Animal: A Novel by Lisa Taddeo
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982122126, $27.99, June 8, 2021, Fiction)

“Much like Taddeo’s Three Women, this novel is not for the prudish or for people who like their women to be silent or demure. If you are looking for originality, sexiness, or fearlessness in your next read, this is the book for you. Grab the reins and be prepared for a ride!”

—Shane Mullen, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Legends of the North Cascades: A Novel by Jonathan Evison
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750101, $26.95, June 8, 2021, Fiction)

“A sad, sweet, and ultimately hopeful novel of loss, family, and wilderness. Even while maneuvering through two very different story lines, Legends of the North Cascades is imaginative, endearing, and poignant. This is my new favorite of Evison’s novels.”

—Stephen Sharpe, A Book for All Seasons, Leavenworth, WA

The Maidens: A Novel by Alex Michaelides
(Celadon Books, 9781250304452, $27.99, June 15, 2021, Fiction/Thriller)

“Alex Michaelides approaches The Maidens with a skillful hand and an eye for the mystery/thriller novel while expertly intertwining dark academia and psychological influences. This is one that will keep you invested until the very end.”

—Maxwell Leaning, Paragraphs Bookstore, Mount Vernon, OH

Unsettled Ground: A Novel by Claire Fuller
(Tin House Books, 9781951142483, $26.95, May 18, 2021, Fiction)

“Another fantastic story from Claire Fuller, whose novels are full of depth and insight. Unsettled Ground reveals a complex relationship between a mother and her twin adult children, and the secrets that push them to the very edge of existence. I can’t recommend her enough!”

—Julie Slavinsky, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

The Soulmate Equation: A Novel by Christina Lauren
(Gallery Books, 9781982123963, $26, May 18, 2021, Fiction)

“I finished this in one sitting and my neck is killing me. I loved this new story from Christina Lauren, from the third-person point-of-view to the mix of science and romance! It was perfect, from every last side character to the sexual tension between the mains.”

—Blair Boles, Beausoleil Books, Lafayette, LA

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu: A Novel by Tom Lin
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316542159, $28, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“A raucous romp through a nearly lawless post-Civil War American West. Ming Tsu’s story is captivating and impossible to put down; the cast of characters is just too unique to forget or dismiss. A blood-crusted gem of a tale.”

—Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

House of Sticks: A Memoir by Ly Tran
(Scribner, 9781501118814, $27, June 1, 2021, Memoir)

“This timely book follows the life of a young woman whose family immigrates to New York from Vietnam. It is a heartbreaking look at the challenges in overcoming PTSD, poverty, and mental illness. Ultimately, Ly Tran’s story is one of hope, one that is much-needed today.”

—Alecia Diane Castro, Sweet Home Books, Wetumpka, AL

The Chosen and the Beautiful: A Novel by Nghi Vo
(Tordotcom, 9781250784780, $26.99, June 1, 2021, Fiction/Fantasy)

“What would you give up to have it all? Magical and queer as hell, Jordan Baker takes readers through Jazz Age New York as her snark, rage, and feelings for Daisy keep us turning pages until early morning. Like one of Gatsby’s cursed parties, this book was one I wanted to never end.”

—Abby Rice, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Heaven: A Novel by Mieko Kawakami
(Europa Editions, 9781609456214, $23, May 25, 2021, Fiction)

“I loved this book. Its portrayal of bullying is moving and intelligent. Kawakami gives us characters who speak to the heart and illustrate in one form or another the dilemma facing everyone in adolescence. Hopeful but chilling in equal measures.”

—Don Luckham, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH

The Kingdoms: A Novel by Natasha Pulley
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635576085, $28, May 25, 2021, Fiction/Fantasy)

“What a strange, unputdownable book. The Kingdoms weaves characters freed from time and space and memory, rebuilding our world as we know it and inviting us into a delicious story of love and loss.”

—Hannah Oxley, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI

One Two Three: A Novel by Laurie Frankel
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250236777, $26.99, June 8, 2021, Fiction)

“I absolutely loved this heartwarming story of three courageous sisters fighting for justice in their town. It’s a modern David and Goliath tale of small-town America told with wit and heart. Frankel is a superb storyteller, and I did not want my time with this wise and endearing family to end.”

—Shannon Burgess, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL

Our Woman in Moscow: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
(William Morrow, 9780063020788, $27.99, June 1, 2021, Fiction/Historical)

“Ruth Macallister runs a New York modeling agency, while twin Iris Digby chooses marriage and motherhood, but her diplomat husband turns out to be a spy. Can Ruth extricate Iris from exile in Moscow? A wonderful plot weaves around Red Scare events of the early 1950s.”

—Clay Belcher, Signs of Life, Lawrence, KS

Palace of the Drowned: A Novel by Christine Mangan
(Flatiron Books, 9781250788429, $27.99, June 1, 2021, Fiction/Thriller)

“Bridging the gap between genre and literary fiction with enormous skill and agility, Mangan has again given us an electrifying yarn full of menace and atmosphere. With a mesmeric sense of place, Palace of the Drowned is a fully transportive experience.”

—Wesley Minter, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Photographer: A Novel by Mary Dixie Carter
(Minotaur Books, 9781250790330, $27.99, May 25, 2021, Fiction/Thriller)

“Mary Dixie Carter’s debut is standout psychological suspense! With excellent pacing and a completely addictive style, The Photographer is exactly the kind of book you want to read in one sitting. This is a sneaky and unsettling read that’ll leave you guessing from start to finish.”

—Becky LeJeune, BookBar, Denver, CO

Rabbits: A Novel by Terry Miles
(Del Rey, 9781984819659, $28, June 8, 2021, Science Fiction)

“Oh the joyride that is Rabbits! A game? A conspiracy? Quantum physics? A clever puzzle of a novel that is a compulsive read. Stranger Things meets Ready Player One. It’s fun!”

—Melissa DeMotte, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Local Woman Missing: A Novel by Mary Kubica
(Park Row, 9780778389446, $27.99, May 18, 2021, Fiction/Thriller)

“Mary Kubica’s best one yet! The first chapter of this book had my heart pounding. I enjoyed trying to solve the multiple mysteries throughout all of the twists and turns, without being able to put it all together until the very end. A thrilling and satisfying read.”

—Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
(Biblioasis, 9781771964111, $16.95, trade paper, June 1, 2021, Memoir)

“This is a literary mystery explored with white-hot intensity. The author’s journey, both physical and emotional, to discover more about the central poem and its author is obsessive and candid. It’s not just genre-blending, it’s genre-obliterating. A Ghost in the Throat cannot be contained.”

—Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

Future Feeling: A Novel by Joss Lake
(Soft Skull, 9781593766887, $16.95, trade paper, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“I loved this novel about trans queer belonging, found families, and our need to be connected and understood no matter how advanced we become. Also — succulents and witchcraft!”

—Nikki Siclare, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA

Bewilderness: A Novel by Karen Tucker
(Catapult, 9781646220243, $26, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“A vivid, visceral story of best friendship and opioid addiction, so authentic and riveting that I couldn’t read it quickly enough. Karen Tucker’s western North Carolina feels exactly right, and Irene and Luce’s friendship is as moving as it is doomed. An impressive debut.”

—Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Secret World of Weather: How to Read Signs in Every Cloud, Breeze, Hill, Street, Plant, Animal, and Dewdrop by Tristan Gooley
(The Experiment, 9781615197545, $21.95, May 25, 2021, Nonfiction)

“I first learned of microclimates when I had to drive from home to work and the weather changed multiple times in those 60 minutes. Gooley writes about weather in an engaging, simple, and eloquent style. Readers will be entertained in a way that makes learning painless and interesting!”

—Camille Kovach, Completely Booked, Murrysville, PA

Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories by Nana Nkweti
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450543, $16, trade paper, June 1, 2021, Short Stories)

“From comic book conventions to zombie outbreaks to a nightclub bathroom, Nkweti has crafted characters that shine in their unique predicaments. I’m obsessed with these stories, and grateful to Nkweti for sharing a part of the Cameroonian-American experience with us.”

—Halee Kirkwood, Birchbark Books and Gifts, Grand Marais, MN

June 2021 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

Catherine House: A Novel by Elisabeth Thomas
(Custom House, 9780062905673, $16.99, May 18, 2021, Fiction)

“Spend three years completely removed from the outside world at Catherine House, and you’ll be unstoppable. 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

The End of the Day: A Novel by Bill Clegg
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781476798219, $16.99, May 18, 2021, Fiction)

“Bill Clegg gracefully weaves together character-driven vignettes to reveal years of secrets and regrets over the course of a single day. Clegg brings uncomfortable situations and characters to life without judgment, allowing them their humanity while not absolving them of guilt.”

—Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982154622, $17, June 1, 2021, Memoir)

“I cannot recommend this book enough! Group reads like a novel while also being incredibly insightful. This book will help people realize that there are things they haven’t let themselves face yet, but it will also show them that their feelings are normal and natural.”

—Sterling Miller, Ferguson Books & More, Grand Forks, ND

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
(Ecco, 9780062248589, $16.99, June 1, 2021, Memoir)

“Natasha Trethewey was 19 when her mother was murdered by her stepfather. For decades, she hid the event in the recesses of her mind while she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and become Poet Laureate of the U.S. Now, she opens up to her past to produce a harrowing yet beautiful memorial.”

—Mike Hare, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong
(Penguin Books, 9780525562047, $17, June 1, 2021, Fiction)

“Grappling with themes of identity, sexuality, addiction, violence, and finding your place in a world where you feel you don’t belong, this book — taking the form of a letter written by Little Dog to his mother, an immigrant from Vietnam who cannot read — this feels like a modern classic.”

—Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Saint X: A Novel by Alexis Schaitkin
(Celadon Books, 9781250219572, $16.99, May 25, 2021, Fiction)

“When a family vacation goes terribly wrong, the tragedy casts a pall over the life of seven-year-old Claire, whom we follow into adulthood and along her pursuit of truth and resolution, as her life becomes increasingly affected by her search for answers to the mystery that occurred on Saint X.”

—Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI