On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in June

by vkovenmatasy

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new June releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


Saints and Misfits cover

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Janna Yusuf, a Flannery O’Connor-obsessed book nerd and the daughter of the only divorced mother at their mosque, tries to make sense of the events that follow when her best friend’s cousin–a holy star in the Muslim community–attempts to assault her at the end of sophomore year.

Why We’re Excited: It’s distressingly difficult to find a book about a Muslim girl, written by a Muslim girl. (Ms. Marvel and the admittedly excellent Does My Head Look Big In This can’t hold down the fort by themselves forever.) So it’s doubly exciting that Saints and Misfits not only comes as its own book but is part of the launch of a whole new publishing imprint! Salaam Reads is a subdivision of Simon & Schuster that “aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works.” (Other books out now from Salaam Reads include Amina’s Voice and The Gauntlet, both intended for middle-grade audiences.) I’m pumped to get Saints and Misfits on my shelf, and I can’t wait to see what other YA titles are coming from Salaam Reads next.


Soldier Boy Cover

Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton

Summary: Follows Ricky from 1987-1991, and Samuel in 2006, as they are abducted to serve as child-soldiers in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Includes historical notes and information about Friends of Orphans, an organization founded by Ricky Richard Anywar, on whose life the story is partly based.

Why We’re Excited: It’s been ten years since Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone came out, and it remains perennially popular with teens and adults interested in the lives of child soldiers. Soldier Boy, which is a fictional story but based on real life experiences, looks like a good option to put into the hands of readers who have finished Beah’s book and want more.


Tash Hearts Tolstoy cover

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Katie Ormsbee

Summary: Fame and success come at a cost for Natasha “Tash” Zelenka when she creates the web series “Unhappy Families,” a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina–written by Tash’s eternal love Leo Tolstoy.

Why We’re Excited: Is there anything better than that title? Tash Hearts Tolstoy is part of the growing body of literature starring the creative talents of fangirls (Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, Eliza and Her Monsters, All the Feels), and also one of a few recent books with asexual representation (Radio Silence, This Song Is (Not) For You, Every Heart a Doorway). May their numbers continue to increase!


Want Cover

Want by Cindy Pon

Summary: Jason Zhou is trying to survive in Taipei, a city plagued by pollution and viruses, but when he discovers the elite are using their wealth to evade the deadly effects, he knows he must do whatever is necessary to fight the corruption and save his city.

Why We’re Excited: Cindy Pon is severely underrated and more people should read her books! Years later, I’m still furious that Silver Phoenix didn’t get the popularity and beautiful hardcover sequel it deserved. #ownvoices Asian rep, especially in speculative fiction, is always welcome — try Karen Bao’s Dove Arising, Ellen Oh’s Prophecy, or Laurence Yep’s (older, but truly classic!) Dragon of the Lost Sea while you wait.


Once and For All Cover

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Summary: Cynical about happy endings, Louna, the daughter of a wedding planner, initally holds Ambrose at arm’s length, but Ambrose has finally found someone to save him from his serial dating ways, and he’s not about be discouraged.

Why We’re Excited: New Sarah Dessen book, ’nuff said. There’s a reason she won the Edwards Award in 2017.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.