Series: 15 Backlist Titles by 2020 Summer Reading Guide Authors

Add one salty infertile heroine with one firefighter hero who dreams of having a big family someday and you have a debut friends-to-lovers contemporary romance you might stay up reading until the wee hours of the night. Ahem. Josh and Kristen have some big things to overcome but there’s no denying their chemistry from the moment they meet. In a fender bender, no less. This story will make you laugh out loud one minute and cry the next. It doesn’t shy away from the hard topics and it makes the happy ending that much more satisfying.
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I read this entire novel in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon; it's a romantic comedy that manages to tackle serious issues while maintaining a light and breezy feel. Don't miss the backstory on how the author's personal life inspired the premise, and how she managed to write nearly every word of the 320-page novel on her own commute in and out of London. There are a few spicy scenes but this romance is mostly closed-door.
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Acevedo's first novel-in-verse won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Xiomara finds her voice as she pours her soul into her notebook. Every frustration, every harassment, every triumph and every secret is turned into a poem. When she gets invited to share her work in slam poetry club, Xiomara isn't sure if she can keep her passion secret from her strict family. But she soon learns that speaking up and living her truth is the only way to be fully herself.
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I loved this book, an MMD Book Club flight pick and a book recommended on today's episode of WSIRN. Not an easy read, but so good, and one that I still think about even though I read it many moons ago. In this coming-of-age story, debut author Bennett shows us how grief predictably consumes a 17-year old girl growing up in a tight-knit community in Southern California, and how two friends get pulled into the tangled aftermath. Bennett tells the story through the eyes of the community's mothers—the community pillars who show up with casseroles when somebody's sick—but in this story, the mothers' vicious gossip causes nothing but trouble.
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Henry spins a magical tale that echoes Romeo and Juliet or the Hatfields and McCoys. June has been warned about the hatred between her family and the Angerts, and the mythical tales surrounding their feud. When Saul Angert returns to their small town, he and June are drawn together. As their connection grows, so do the magic forces around them. A generational curse, a Shakespearean love story, and an atmospheric Midwestern setting make for a wholly unique YA reading experience.
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These days writers with great taste are reading N.K. Jemisin. She's one of the best world-builders out there. SFF World calls this a powerful, epic novel of discovery, pain, and heartbreak.... It is a novel that demands much of its readers; it rewards them aplenty and is one of those novels that becomes more powerful after deep consideration and subsequent readings."
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Inspired by the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, this stunning novel follows Nell Stone and her husband, who are working in the jungle of New Guinea. When Andrew Bankson crosses their path, the three of them quickly become a dynamic trio, doing some of their best anthropological work ever. But eventually, jealousy and human drama gets in the way, putting their relationships and lives in danger.
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From the publisher: "In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust."
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Wright is a Pulitzer-winning journalist, and his investigative skills combined with compelling storytelling make for page-turning nonfiction reads. In this insider look at the Church of Scientology, Wright illuminates the church's esoteric beginnings, explains the illusive induction process, and shares how famous Hollywood stars end up joining. He asks interesting questions and makes fascinating connections across religion, pop culture, and the law in this thoroughly detailed exposé.
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I love a good fairytale retelling. This spin on the classic Snow White story features two young women, destined to be rivals. Mina's magician father cut her heart out and replaced it with glass when she was little; though her heart literally beats for no one, she sets her sights on marrying the king and falling in love the storybook way. She becomes a stepmother in the bargain, to a young girl named Lynet who was crafted out of snow in her mother's image. When the king pits Mina and Lynet against one another, they must decide whether their rivalry, their territory, or their complex relationship is most important of all.
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After her beloved grandmother dies, a Cuban-American woman travels from Miami back to Havana and unearths a treasure trove of family secrets. If you love stories that go back and forth in time, this is for you. In 1958, 19-year-old Elisa falls in love for the first time—with a dangerous revolutionary. In 2017, Elisa's granddaughter Marisol travels to newly-open Cuba, ostensibly to write an article on tourism, but really to learn more about her grandmother and the complicated country she loved. I didn't know much about Cuba, then or now, before reading this, and really enjoyed the experience.
Guillory’s debut was inspired by frustration: she wanted to read more books about people like her and her friends: single, with jobs, and living in cities (instead of quirky small towns like you often see in romance). Oh, and she wanted to see black women in the pages. Enter The Wedding Date. Drew and Alexa meet cute in a broken-down elevator; sparks are flying within seconds. Drew’s in town to watch his ex marry his best friend (ouch). He doesn’t have a date, so he asks Alexa to come along—and pretend to be his girlfriend. But soon the fake relationship starts to feel surprisingly real. But they both have big jobs they love, in different cities. Drew’s track record with women isn’t great. Alexa is black, and Drew is white. In short: it gets complicated. But it’s a rom-com, so they’re going to see it through. Heads up, readers: this is seriously racy in parts.
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This is laugh out loud funny, tender, and written in a fresh voice, which you might not expect given the premise. Lilian's husband died in a car accident in front of their house four years ago and she hasn’t been quite ready to move on. Lili is not stuck in her grief but she's in a rut and generally okay with it: life with her daughters is enough. But when she's given a special project at work to illustrate a book about vegetables, she's signed up for their six-week garden class, introducing Lili (and the readers!) to a delightful cast of fellow gardeners. An unlikely community forms, and no one is quite the same by the time the class ends.
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