Amazon's best books of June: This week's releases

Erin Kodicek on June 16, 2020

Amazon's best books of June: This week's releases

A harrowing page-turner, the queen of the summer read pays homage to the film Same Time Next Year, and a perverse and gritty novel set against the backdrop of a meditation retreat.

Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.

Devolution by Max Brooks

Mount Rainier erupts, and a small high-tech community nestled deep in the mountains is cut off from civilization and their weekly delivery of groceries. And now winter is coming. Some writers might think that’s enough conflict for a high-stakes adventure novel. Max Brooks, author of the groundbreaking zombie novel World War Z, stretches his imagination even further and gleefully lobs a troop of displaced and hungry Sasquatches into the mix. The big, foul-smelling predators are no surprise—the subtitle makes their existence in the story clear—but that doesn’t mean the tension isn’t page-twisting sharp. And the Sasquatches’ presence gives Brooks an entertaining scenario through which he poses the hard but timely question about when one should be optimistic and when one should prepare for the worst. Readers of Andy Weir’s The Martian or Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series will want to clear their schedules so they can savor every chilling scene of Devolution. Just don’t take this book with you while camping in the woods. —Adrian Liang

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand, one of the reigning queens of the beach read, has done it again in this tale of an affair that takes place over 28 summers. Mallory Blessing meets her brother’s fraternity brother, Jake McCloud, over Labor Day Weekend 1993. The two immediately fall in lust, and inspired by the movie Same Time Next Year, decide that every Labor Day they will meet and reenact this perfect weekend of innocent love. And they succeed, for 28 summers, despite the twists their lives take. Mallory stays in the beach cottage on Nantucket she inherited from a beloved aunt, and becomes a talented English teacher at the high school. Jake marries his high school sweetheart, an exacting and cold lawyer who eventually runs for President. Hilderbrand doesn’t just focus on the three days each year Jake and Mallory spend together, so the set-up never gets stale, and you’ll find yourself rooting for this star-crossed adulterous couple. Nantucket isn’t as much of a character in the novel as in Hilderbrand’s other works, but she weaves in some recurring characters, restaurants, and locations to satisfy her devoted readers. 28 Summers is a total page-turner, and a perfect “beach read,” whatever that means in the Summer of 2020. —Sarah Gelman

The Lightness by Emily Temple

Not sure what kind of teenager you were, but I was definitely the brooding, rebellious type, not unlike the unreliable narrator in debut author Emily Temple’s The Lightness—a haunting, suspenseful, coming of age novel that explores the power dynamics and defiance of teenage girls teetering on the edge of self-destruction. When 15-year-old Olivia arrives at the Levitation Center—a self-described “Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls” high in the Colorado mountains—she’s utterly alone and displaced after her father walked out of her life never to be seen again. She’s soon drawn into a dangerous circle of troubled teens and their ringleader, Serena, who longs for spiritual enlightenment at any cost. Together they fast on nettle tea, meditate at midnight, and choke each other into unconsciousness. But when their escalating dangerous practices fail to yield their intended results, they set their sights on a new obsession—Luke, the retreat center’s gardener—convinced that this is the summer he’s finally going to teach them how to levitate…or die trying. —Marlene Kelly

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