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FIRST Book Club Recommends Christina Lauren, Leigh Bardugo and More Must-Reads for June 28 to July 4

This week's title recommendations include retellings, mysteries, self-help and more!


We’re getting into the peak of summer, meaning the reading recommendations are in full swing! As you gear up for the 4th of July and quality time spent with friends and family, FIRST Book Club is here to suggest titles old and new for that much-needed downtime.

Christina Lauren’s new release Tangled Up in You is a retelling of a classic, and captured FIRST Assistant Digital Editor Carissa Mosness’ literary heart. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo is for the fantasy lovers among us for the week of June 28 to July 4. It’s guaranteed to leave the reader begging for more!

Over on the self-help book shelf this week is Nothing Can Stop You by Erin Rachel Doppelt, a spiritual psychology and meditation teacher whose book will guide you towards inner peace.

For the full list of book recommendations from FIRST Book Club for the week of June 28 to July 4, keep scrolling!

Retelling: Tangled Up in You 

by Christina Lauren

Tangled Up in You by Christina Lauren
Hyperion Avenue

“Books that take a classic story and turn it into a modern tale are some of my favorites,” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “And this is a fresh retelling of Rapunzel’s fairy tale.” Ren has always been sheltered from the outside world, but she hopes that will all change when she heads off to Corona College. Fitz, on the other hand, is a playboy who plans to graduate from Corona at the top of his class…and get his criminal record wiped. Soon, the two get paired up for an assignment, which leads them to take a road trip and bond in ways they never saw coming. Says Carissa, “Filled with Christina Lauren’s iconic chemistry and sweet banter, this novel stole my heart!” (Hyperion Avenue, 2024)

Fantasy: The Familiar

by Leigh Bardugo

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo
Flatiron Books

“I have a few must-read authors, and Leigh Bardugo is at the top of my list,” says Courtney Shapiro, FIRST Digital Associate Editor. “I couldn’t wait to devour her newest novel, which melded her classic macabre style with a touch of romance, magical realism and a dive into history!” The Familiar is set in Spain during the Inquisition, and it’s there that readers meet Luzia, a kitchen servant who not only relies on magic to survive but is also a Jew in hiding. When she gets noticed by the king’s secretary, it’s the perfect opportunity for her to leave her servant’s life behind. Ensconced in a world of struggles, Luzia vows to make it out alive. Says Courtney, “I was captivated by this novel and its lyrical writing.” (Flatiron, 2024)

Historical Romance: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

by India Holton

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

“My book club’s new pick took me to an alternative version of Victorian England, where I was pleasantly greeted with an adventure full of comedy and intrigue,” says Erin McCarthy, FIRST Graphic Designer. This novel follows Cecilia Bassingwaite, a noblewoman eager to join the Wisteria Society — a whimsical, adventurous sorority of lady pirates chock-full of assassinations, blackmail and teatimes. However, when the upper echelons of the Wisteria Society are kidnapped by Patrick Morvath, a villain who wants to eliminate the Wisteria Society and take over all of England, Cecilia must team up with her rival-turned-love-interest, Ned Lightbourne, to save the day. “One of my favorite aspects of this novel is how Holton’s comical and detailed prose carries the reader and the cast of characters through this wondrous, magical world,” says Erin. “Holton also balanced humor, adventure and swoon-worthy moments well — I didn’t want this tale to end!” (Berkley, 2021)

Romance: The Rule Book

by Sarah Adams

The Rule Book by Sarah Adams

“I couldn’t wait for this book to come out ever since I read the first in the series, The Cheat Sheet,” says Julianne MacNeill, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. The novel follows sports agent Nora Mackenzie, whose career lies in the hands of NFL star Derek Pender. Unfortunately for Nora, he’s her ex-boyfriend…and he hates her. Derek goes through with the contract, but has plans of revenge in mind. Soon, the duo make a rule book to ensure they don’t cross any lines. Says Julianne, “This story confirmed my status as a Sarah Adams fan!” (Dell, 2024)

Self-Help: Nothing Can Stop You

by Erin Rachel Doppelt

Nothing Can Stop You by Erin Rachel Doppelt
Hampton Roads Publishing

“I was motivated by my friend, who works as a yoga instructor, to cultivate the inner peace and joy she always has,” shares Maggie Dillard, FIRST Senior Associate Editor. “Then I saw this inspiring book and grabbed it.” Spiritual psychology and meditation teacher Erin Rachel Doppelt offers a rich guide to stop negative thoughts and become the most authentic version of yourself. Says Maggie, “The ‘happiness practices’ in this how-to guide gave me the dose of calm and confidence I needed,” raves Maggie. (Hampton Roads, 2024

Mystery: The Stars Turned Inside Out 

by Nova Jacobs

The Stars Turned Inside Out by Nova Jacobs
Atria Books

“After hearing this book described as a ‘whodunit meets science’ novel, I grabbed it,” says Sienna Sullivan, FIRST Editorial Assistant. The story begins with the discovery of a physicist’s body at CERN — which is the lab where he died. Sabine Leroux, a PI, is hired to investigate and unravels secrets of CERN’s staff of researchers. “I enjoyed how even minor characters had a tremendous influence on the pace of the book’s plot,” says Sienna. “This is the perfect read for those itching for enticing drama and gasp-inducing revelations.” (Atria, 2024

Literary Fiction: The Alternatives

by Caoilinn Hughes 

The Alternatives by Caoilinn Hughes 
Riverhead Books

“One of my good friends told me the writing in this book left her in awe,” says Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “When I heard that — and saw it was set in the lush Irish countryside — I dove in.” The plot follows four brilliant sisters who descend upon rural Ireland after one sister abruptly vanishes. Together, they attempt to heal age-old emotional wounds. “Not only is this story full of strong women, it’s also rich with heartfelt sisterhood and devotion,” says Melissa. “Each page had me laughing, crying and thinking deeply.” (Riverhead, 2024

For more FIRST Book Club picks:

FIRST Book Club Recommends Lauren Roberts, Susanna Hoffs and More Thrilling Titles for June 21 to 27

FIRST Book Club Recommends the New Kerri Maniscalco and Lucy Foley Books and More for June 14 to June 20

FIRST Book Club: ‘Funny Story’, ‘Swift River’, ‘The Ministry of Time’ and More Thrilling New Titles

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