“The Mutual Friend,” by Carter Bays (Dutton, June 7)
Alice is trying to fill out her application to take the MCAT exam, but distractions are constant. There is her job as a nanny, her search for a new roommate and her tech millionaire brother’s newfound Buddhist enlightenment. Plus all those diverting links to be clicked, like the picture quiz “Blueberry Muffins or Chihuahuas?” Everyone is searching for something — love, success, entertainment, spirituality — but nobody looks up from their screen long enough to find anything. Bays, the co-creator of “How I Met Your Mother,” delivers a whip-smart comedy of manners for the era of buzzing gadgets.
“The Midcoast,” by Adam White (Hogarth, June 7)
Edward Thatch’s future working in his family’s lobster fishery once seemed certain, but now he owns multiple properties in tourist haven Damariscotta, where his wife, Stephanie, is basically the mayor. While former classmate Andrew attends a party at Ed and Steph’s showpiece house on Maine’s shoreline, his curiosity about the Thatches’ ascent turns to concern when he happens across police photos of charred human remains in a burned-out car. As he delves deeper into the mystery surrounding their sudden wealth, he uncovers secrets that someone may kill to keep hidden. Reminiscent of Netflix’s “Ozark” but with more lobsters, White’s intriguing debut novel considers how far parents will go to protect their families.
“So Happy for You,” by Celia Laskey (Hanover Square Press, June 7)
Part dystopia, part satire, Laskey’s sophomore novel imagines a world where marriage rates have plummeted and the government’s National Organization for Marriage holds blind date events. Robin reluctantly agrees to be maid of honor for her childhood best friend, Ellie, even though they haven’t spoken since falling out in college. As the wedding draws closer, Ellie engages the bridal party in increasingly bizarre rituals encouraged by the wedding-industrial complex, escalating into a wedding weekend that tests the boundaries of friendship and obsession.
“Ordinary Monsters,” by J.M. Miro (Flatiron, June 7)
Children with extraordinary abilities — to heal, to become invisible — are tracked by a man made of smoke, and also sought by a Victorian-era Scottish institute guarding a portal between the living and the dead. Charles Dickens meets Joss Whedon in Miro’s otherworldly Netflix-binge-like novel, the first in a planned trilogy.
“By Her Own Design,” by Piper Huguley (William Morrow, June 7)
The dress Jacqueline Bouvier wore for her wedding to then-Sen. John F. Kennedy was sewn from 50 yards of silk taffeta, twice. Although the designer, Ann Lowe, created, then re-created the gown with extraordinary speed after a pipe burst over the original confection 10 days before the wedding, she was never credited as anything other than “a colored dressmaker.” Huguley’s fictional account, peppered with careful historical detail, draws attention to this unjustly forgotten designer. Lowe’s life story emerges, showing a tenacious and talented artist who overcame countless obstacles on the way to achieving her dreams.
“Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original,” by Howard Bryant (Mariner, June 7)
Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson’s record speaks for itself, but that didn’t stop him from having a lot to say. He was known for his competitiveness as much as his colorful “Rickey style,” but there is more to his story than his superlative talent. His outsize personality, backed up by indisputable athleticism, enabled him to climb to the top of the record books during an era of both player salary expansion and persistent racial discrimination. Bryant’s vivid and extensive account, written with access to Henderson and his wife, Pamela, shines a light on this unique and charismatic legend.
“Elsewhere” by Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon, June 28)
The author of “Saint X,” a novel about a teen’s disappearance from a Caribbean resort, returns with another fictional meditation on disappearance — in this case, a succession of mothers who vanish from an isolated town. Young girls fear one day they could develop “the affliction,” as they call the “going” of the mothers. Nobody knows why it happens, but with hindsight, everyone finds missed signs that the women were “unsuccessful” mothers. Schaitkin skillfully calls into question the meaning of motherhood with all its attendant judgment, self-doubt and profound love.
“American Royalty,” by Tracey Livesay (Avon, June 28)
Livesay’s new series may call to mind a real-life romance, but steamier. Danielle “Duchess” Nelson, famous American rapper, is on her way to the top of her profession when she meets Prince Jameson, an heir to the British throne, who prefers solitude and philosophy to the limelight. His grandmother, the Queen, has charged him with overseeing a royal tribute concert where Duchess will perform. Their attraction is immediate and all-consuming, but as their relationship intensifies, so does pressure from outside forces, and they face difficult choices between dreams and duty.
“Dele Weds Destiny,” by Tomi Obaro (Knopf, June 28)
Three Nigerian women are inseparable while at university, calling themselves the “Trio,” helping each other figure out adulthood, sexuality, love and loss. Although different choices and thousands of miles have kept them apart, they reunite 30 years later in Lagos at the wedding of one of their daughters. Over the course of three days, they reclaim their closeness as they share intimacies about their lives and long-held dreams. Obaro’s writing gives richness and depth to female friendship, depicting the beauty of bonds that last a lifetime.
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