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2023 Summer Reading List from Wellesley Books

May 15th, 2023
Summer Reading List

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2023 Summer Reading List from Wellesley Books


It’s summer time at last, so grab a book from this summer reading list suggested from our friends over at Wellesley Books and settle in for an adventure.

Young Adult 


Little Thieves/Painted Devils by Margaret Owen

Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl… A scrappy maid must outsmart both palace nobles and Low Gods; along the way she accidentally starts a cult. LGBTQIA+, specifically Ace, rep, and diverse cast. These are 5-star reads!


Grimoire of Grave Fates, edited by Margaret Owen and Hanna Alkaf

A compilation of diverse authors and perspectives rewrite the traditional magical school, and rules, to solve the murder of a professor. Incredible LGBTQIA+ rep, as well as myriad authors of color and religious backgrounds.


Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Return to Sugar Island as Perry Firekeeper-Birch, niece of Daunis Fontaine (from Firekeeper’s Daughter), takes on repatriation of ancestral remains, missing Indigenous women, and family secrets. A thriller with heart.


Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker

This contemporary fantasy debut is “a conjuring of magnificence” (Nic Stone) with powerful magical families, intergenerational curses, and deadly drama in New Orleans.


Funeral Songs for Dying Girls by Cherie Dimaline

After inadvertently starting rumors of a haunted cemetery, a teen befriends a ghost in this brand-new young adult novel exploring grief and belonging by the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of The Marrow Thieves series.


Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

Enemies-to-lovers, contemporary witches, atmospheric Pacific Northwest camping, a curse, anxiety/mental health rep; and a lost owl that must be found. Absolutely magical.


Scatter of Light – Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club author Malinda Lo returns to the Bay Area with another masterful queer coming-of-age story, this time set against the backdrop of the first major Supreme Court decisions legalizing gay marriage.


Forestborn/Wildbound by Elayne Audrey Becker

This is a stellar fantasy duology with powerful character arcs forged on desperate quests; wholly original magic; enthralling world building; and abundant plot twists. Becker does many things very well, but two stand out to me: 1. Create a vivid and impressive character of the land and nature in which her human and magical beings exist. 2. Tackle serious social justice issues, confronting bigotry, man-made borders, violence, and environmental destruction within high fantasy. Queer rep, mental health, diverse casting, and exquisite, thoughtful writing.


 She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

A house with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror novel, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.



Gilded Mountain by Kate Manning

Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story imbued with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure. Told by teenager Sylvie Pelletier, a burgeoning journalist whose family lives and struggles in a marble-mining camp on the cusp of unionizing, this is a splendid tale.


Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of the legendary Medusa myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman—injured by a powerful man—is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.


Language of Love and Loss by Bart Yates

When his difficult mother is diagnosed with ALS, a sharp-witted yet sensitive artist named Noah York reluctantly returns to his New Hampshire hometown – and all the ghosts he left behind. Fans of Andrew Sean Greer, Jonathan Tropper, and Armistead Maupin will adore this outrageously funny, deeply touching, buoyant new novel from the award-winning author of Leave Myself Behind.


Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

What a conundrum this book created for me! On the one hand, it is a brutally frank call-out of domestic abuse, sexual assault, the Indian caste system, and the role of women in society. On the other hand, it is laugh-out-loud funny, full of twists, brimming with sisterhood and girl power, and a thoroughly murderous romp. It is a thoughtful, darkly hilarious, compelling read.


Guncle by Steven Rowley

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.


VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

For fans of The Once and Future Witches and Practical Magic, comes an incredibly imaginative, highly anticipated new novel featuring witches, magic, and a road trip across America—from Cherie Dimaline, the critically acclaimed author of Empire of Wild.


Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern by Rita Zoey Chin

This is one of the most introspective, emotional, uncanny, stop-and-read-that-again books I’ve read in a long time. It is ultimately a redemptive, bittersweet, and vivid story of discovering who you are and how you got there. While some books feel like a hug, journeying with Leah feels like holding hands as you stumble through the dark, and then sharing the radiant, revitalizing triumph of surviving together as you come into the light. I recommend it to everyone I know.


Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of  the coven.


Thank you to Wellesley Books and Ashleigh, the Event Coordinator at Wellesley, for the great book descriptions. For more bookish content click here

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