It’s officially summer, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling it! All these hot days are the perfect time to sit back and catch up on some spring 2021 book releases! I’m here to tell you about six great books that you may have missed over the last few months. Read on!

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House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland March 30

Everyone knows Iris Hollow and her older sisters are strange. They disappeared as children, only to return a month later with white hair, dark eyes and insatiable appetites. People are both drawn to and hate them. While Iris tries her best to fit into society, her sisters Grey and Vivi travel the globe as celebrities. When Grey goes missing, Iris follows the footsteps of her last days in search of answers. The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to realize she may not know her sister after all.

I’ll admit, I picked up House of Hollow based fully on the cover and the publisher’s Instagram campaign encouraging readers to recreate it. I stuck around for the dark twists on fairytale tropes and the way Krystal Sutherland pulls out all the stops in this creepy and unsettling world. This was one of my first reads of spring 2021; it’s full of eerie language and liminal spaces, and it’s perfect for fans of Nova Ren Suma, Melissa Albert and Holly Black.

The cover of Krystal Sutherland's House of Hollow

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins April 6

The Melancons are well known in Harlem. This old and powerful black family has a gift; they’re born with a caul, an extra layer of skin that protects them – and others – from harm. They make their money and maintain their status by selling pieces of their cauls. After numerous miscarriages, Laila attempts to purchase a caul, but when the deal falls through, her child is stillborn. Laila is heartbroken, and her niece vows to take down the Melancons once and for all.

Caul Baby follows two families over several years as they deal with loss, betrayal, racism and family history. It’s definitely a book you’ll want to read and reread to make sure you take in every detail.

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The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter April 13

A daring and deadly heist has been committed, and the perpetrator stole an artifact of terrible power: the death mask of Louis Charbon. Charbon was a terrifying serial killer, and this mask allows its wearer to channel his abilities. It’s up to Krona, De-Lia and their fellow Regulators to track down the thieves to discover their motives and stop the killings once again.

The Helm of Midnight has a serial killer murder mystery and an intricate magic system with a dash of steampunk mixed in. The human territory feels like 1800s France, but the outside world is populated by Lovecraftian eldritch horrors. Marina Lostetter has written a promising start to a new trilogy that I’m excited to keep an eye out for long after spring 2021.

The cover of The Helm of Midnight: A gray suit of armor on a solid black background with the cover written in red letters

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes April 20

A handful of soldiers stand between humanity and complete annihilation. Banished to the Divide, the far reaches of the universe are the Sentinels. They are the military’s dregs, the exiles and court-martialed soldiers who can’t serve anywhere else. Now, as the Divide collapses, they’re the only ones who may have a chance at stopping the destruction of the universe.

The Last Watch is a fast-paced, far-flung adventure that publisher Macmillan describes as The Expanse meets Game of ThronesJ.S. Dewes has created a fantastic cast of unforgettable characters and gripping action. This is one of those books where you tell yourself you’ll stop reading after the next chapter, but then you can’t just stop there and so you find yourself up hours past when you should have gone to sleep.

Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur April 27

Science and Korean mythology intertwine in Angela Mi Young Hur’s debut novel. It features particle physicist Elsa Park, who grew up with a family curse hanging above her head. The family is doomed to repeat stories from Korean myths and folktales. Elsa sees ghosts everywhere, from her work in the Antarctic and Sweden to her family home in California. When her mother dies, she discovers the secrets she kept hidden in the pages of her handwritten stories.

Folklorn is an introspective novel addressing generational trauma and grief, mental illness and the feeling of disconnect from one’s culture. It’s an alluringly told story about familial past and how we make our own futures.

The cover of Folklorn: a silhouette of a woman with a long braid and a black and white bird flying. The book's cover and author are written in white letters

Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal May 11

Cyclopedia Exotica captures the experiences and interior lives of the cyclops community living among “two-eyes.” It takes place in dog parks, dating apps, doctor’s offices and more and features everyone from yoga students to parents. All at different points in their lives, the cyclops are determined to find love and community while navigating life side by side with the two-eyed majority.

I had read pieces of Aminder Dhaliwal’s newest graphic novel on Instagram but loved the way the new material fleshed out this parallel world. Dhaliwal uses the cyclops to investigate internalized hate, community, pressure to assimilate, belonging and more. The frustrations they deal with while navigating a world that doesn’t take their bodies into consideration will ring true for many people. Overall, Cyclopedia Exotica is an insightful and entertaining read that everyone should check out!

How many of these spring 2021 book releases have you read already? And which are you planning to check out? Let us know!

This article was originally published 7/6/21

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Alex Faccibene
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