Curious what the NetGalley team is reading? Wish you could steal a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the books we’re recommending this month, and share your favorite recent reads in the comments!
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, narrated by Frankie Corzo
Mexican Gothic has been on my must-read list ever since I saw the stunning cover. Set in 1950s Mexico, it follows Noemí Taboada as she travels to a strange house in the countryside to discover the truth behind an odd letter from her cousin asking for help. Moreno-Garcia weaves together Mexican history with gothic horror to create an unsettling tale that reads like a classic. I was unnerved and suspicious from the very first page, as uncertain as Noemí about who to trust and what was going on. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Frankie Corzo, who I think did a great job of creating an uneasy atmosphere throughout the tale. Before listening, I saw lots of readers discussing how creepy the book was, but few talk about how gross some of the horror gets! Let’s just say, I’d suggest not making this something you read while eating. I certainly recommend this to gothic literature fans, but want to caution readers to check the content warnings before diving in. I’m already looking forward to reading more from Moreno-Garcia!
Drowned Country by Emily Tesh
Emily Tesh has been on my TBR for a while, often recommended to me by readers who know that I love fantasy, romance, and queer stories. I finally sat down with both books in the Greenhollow duology over the weekend. There’s a gentleness and a tenderness to these tales (a warmth to the language) that encourages readers to comfortably settle in, and I quickly found myself enchanted by the world Tesh created. Drowned Country takes place two years after the events in the first novella. Tobias and Henry’s folklorist mother Adela requires Henry’s help with a vampire who has taken a local girl. Once they all arrive in Rothport, it’s to find that the missing girl they’re meant to rescue is hiding a few secrets of her own. Drowned Country hit shelves earlier this month and is a beautiful conclusion to the story that begins with Silver in the Wood. Readers who enjoy folklore will love this fantasy duology and the romantic thread that runs through it.
Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
Adriana Herrera is launching a new series this summer starting with Here to Stay. New Yorker Julia del Mar Ortiz starts the Gotham Exiles Club as a way to make friends after her recent move to Dallas, Texas and isn’t happy to learn Rocco Quinn wants to join. Rocco is a new consultant for the high fashion department store she works for, and has the power to shut down the charity foundation she runs. Family is a major theme in this book, and Herrera expertly explores its various forms—from Julia’s tight-knit one, to the found family created by friends, to Rocco’s desire to give his sister the kind of familial support he never had. It’s all beautifully tied into the concept of home and the idea that it doesn’t need to be a singular place; it can be where you grew up and also where you grew into the person you wanted to be. I adored Julia, Rocco, and the entire Gotham Exiles Club. I cannot wait to see where Herrera takes the series next.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power, narrated by Lauren Ezzo
Rory Power’s debut Wilder Girls was one of my favorite books that I read last year, and I’ve been eagerly looking forward to reading her next book, Burn Our Bodies Down. This one takes readers to a strange small town where Margot is searching for answers about her family’s history. Along the way, she uncovers a horrifying secret that links herself, her mother, and her grandmother to the family farm. It’s eerie, unsettling, and really gross (seriously, Power has a gift for the gross). I can be a little squeamish, but it’s Power’s writing that keeps me coming back for more. Her heroines are always that perfect blend of sharp edges and a vulnerable core, and her mysteries always unfurl in ways you don’t expect. In particular, I loved the line she explores here between wanting to belong to someone and wanting to stand on your own. Margot longs for the kind of relationship with her mother that she’ll never have, but also prides herself on her independence. She spends the book reconciling the two, a matter made all the more complicated as she learns the truth about their relationship. If you’re looking for a YA novel that blends horror and mystery, and if you loved Wilder Girls, you won’t want to miss Burn Our Bodies Down.
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
I loved the concept for this novel—multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive—and was thrilled when it became about much more than the logistics of inter-universe traversing. Cara finds herself between the worlds of Ashtown and Wiley, between the worlds of “Rurals” and “Runners,” and between the worlds of love and indifference. Twists abound throughout, creating complex scenarios beyond the complications of multiverse travel.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria, narrated by Seraphine Valentine
I connected with You Had Me at Hola on a deeply personal level in a way that I haven’t with a book in a long time. Jasmine has gotten her first leading lady role on a streaming show that’s an adaptation of a telenovela, and her co-star is Ashton, a telenovela star trying to break into mainstream Hollywood. The two fall in love despite Jasmine having a recent bad breakup and Ashton hiding his son in Puerto Rico. I was obsessed with this story from the beginning and really connected with Jasmine. As a half Puerto Rican reader, I felt very seen reading a heroine who wasn’t fluent in Spanish and feels insecure because of it. I also really loved seeing all of these Puerto Rican and Latinx characters on the page. I highly recommend the audiobook for this one as the characters speak Spanish quite frequently and the narrator performs the hero Ashton’s accent. It helps set the tone and also aids with the switches between the book’s narrative and the TV scenes that depict the characters playing their on-screen roles.
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Riot Baby is one of those books that I just couldn’t put down; I needed to keep reading. This novella follows Ella and Kev, siblings whose entire lives have been impacted by systemic racism. Onyebuchi weaves together the past and present through Ella, who possesses powers (including time-traveling) she calls her Thing. Her trips to the past reveal the history of injustices faced by Black communities. Through Kev’s timeline, Onyebuchi explores the cruelty of the justice system. This book does so much in 180 pages, and I know I didn’t pick up on all of the different nuances on my first read. A reader could truly sit and unpack it for days.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, narrated by Mark Sanderlin
I just finished the audiobook of Only Mostly Devastated and it was fantastic. This contemporary YA is a loose queer Grease retelling and I was here for it. Ollie has a summer fling with Will while on vacation visiting his aunt’s family. When Ollie ends up staying in town for the academic year, he finds out that Will isn’t out at his school. While being a fun story, Gonzales still writes about a lot of really important themes that teens can relate to like coming out on your own terms and grief. I really loved the romance between Ollie and Will, which clearly has a Sandy/Danny vibe, but Ollie isn’t a pushover like Sandy. He isn’t perfect and I enjoyed him because of it. Grease’s theme of changing yourself for a relationship comes up and Gonzales expertly handles it in a modern way. For me the real star of this book was Ollie and Laura’s relationship. Laura is the Rizzo, a mean girl with a chip on her shoulder, but her journey of coming to terms with being bisexual and coming out was really beautifully handled. I loved how her and Ollie became friends and defended each other. I also adored the Latinx Thanksgiving dinner here as well. If you’re in the mood another queer YA book after reading You Should See Me in a Crown, I highly recommend this one!
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
My goodness, I loved this book so much! This follows Dani and Zaf, who go viral and end up faking a relationship while also becoming friends with benefits. Hibbert has an incredible ability to write hysterical banter and characters that feel real. Zaf is the perfect cinnamon roll hero with a heart of gold. Dani’s bisexual and it was so great to see that representation here. This is a m/f romance, but her bisexuality is never negated or forgotten. I didn’t think Hibbert could top Get a Life, Chloe Brown but she definitely did and I can’t wait to read the next Brown Sisters book.
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It took approximately half a second after reading the synopsis to know this book was going to be a favorite, and I’m so happy it didn’t disappoint. Two hundred years after the death of Cinderella, 16-year-old Sophia is ready to take down the patriarchy. The society she grew up in forces women and girls to be married off at the yearly ball, and if they’re not chosen, they’re forced into a life of servitude or worse. But Sophia doesn’t want to marry a man—she wants to marry her childhood best friend, Erin. And not even a murderous king and a corrupt society can stop her. This book has all the drama and romance you’d expect from a Cinderella retelling, but without the sparkle and talking animals. It’s a little dark, a little dystopian, and a little more grown up than your average Cinderella story.