Yes, finally: It's June. This means it's summer. This means it's Gemini season. And Geminis, as we all know, are super verbally adept and intellectual (well, with one notable exception), so that means they're big readers. (We repeat, with one notable exception.) So it's in honor of the Gemini that we recommend 11 incredible books to read this month. Many of them were on our big summer book preview, but a couple are new selections. You know the drill: Read one, read them all. Just read something other than the news this month, because the news... is really depressing.
The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro (available June 6)
Julia Fierro’s eagerly awaited sophomore novel follows a prodigal-son-returns story line—that is, if the son were a white, wealthy, liberally progressive daughter who brings her African-American husband and their two kids to live in the all-white community of her youth on the fictional island of Avalon, New York, where livelihoods depend on a decaying war plane factory. The plot’s tension arises through interweaving layers of class, race, nationalism, and sexism, all set against a plague of multiplying gypsy moths in the summer of ’92. Fierro’s storytelling masterfully unravels the complexities of generational gaps by presenting perspectives from an array of characters, ranging from sex-, alcohol-, and drug-fueled teenagers to a middle-aged husband with a lonely home life to an affluent matriarch on the tail end of her ostensibly perfect existence. The text references an equally diverse list of sources that includes William Shakespeare, James Baldwin, and Oprah. And while this novel's stereotyping and surface-level racial enlightenment can be off-putting, it’s a gripping narrative that touches on important issues, chief among them domestic violence and the quiet strength and calculated vengefulness that rains down when a woman’s body is attacked. —Irina Grechko
This review appears in NYLON's June/July 2017 issue