We’re halfway through the year, and that means it’s time for my roundup of the most anticipated summer book releases of 2023! From cutesy fluffy romances, heart-wrenching literary fiction, to dark Gothic fantasies, there are TONS of incredible books coming out in Summer 2023 by Muslim, BIPOC and queer authors.
For this particular post though, I have carefully handpicked the books that I have been eagerly waiting for. So without further ado, here are my top 10 most anticipated summer book releases of 2023.
Top 10 Most Anticipated Summer Books Releases Of 2023
1. The Dos And Donuts Of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar
Release Date: June 06, 2023 Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Queer, Lesbian Other Tags: Muslim Representation, Bangladeshi Representation, Own Voices, South Asian Representation, Plus Size Main Character
An absolutely delicious treat of a YA contemporary romance, in which a Muslim, bisexual, and plus-sized Bangladeshi-Irish teenager steals the limelight; The Dos And Donuts of Love tells the story of Shireen Malik who has just been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. Just one problem? Her ex-girlfriend Chris is also a contestant, and Shireen is not quite over her just yet.
To make things even more complicated, things are heating up between Shireen and another contestant, Niamh, but if Shireen wants to win the competition and help bring media attention to her parent’s beloved donut shop, she will need to roll up her sleeve and ignore all her old and new distractions.
The Dos And Donuts Of Love has everything I could ask for—Bangladeshi, bisexual, Muslim rep, and as someone who identifies with all 3, this book is at the top of my list of most anticipated books of summer 2023.
Thanks to the Colored Pages Book Tour, Netgalley and the publisher and the author, I have been given a free copy of the book to review. I am only a few chapters in, but I am already in love with Shireen’s sweet and bubbly personality and the adorable pun-filled chapter titles. Come back on June 10th to check out my full review of The Dos And Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar.
2. Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalaluddin
Release Date: June 13, 2023 Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary Other Tags: Muslim Representation, Own Voices, South Asian Representation
A second-chance romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Much Ado About Nada follows the story of a twenty-eight year old Nada Syed, whose life is not going according to plan–she has a great job as an engineer, but her dreams of launching a start-up for her app, Ask Apa, seems far away after being double-crossed by her business partner. To make matters worse, Nada’s mother is constantly pressuring her to get married, seeing as how her daughter is nearly thirty.
Determined to help Nada start fresh and come out of her shell, Nada’s best friend Haleema invites her to the annual Muslim conference downtown to meet with Haleema’s fiance Zayn and his brother Baz. Little did Haleema know that Nada and Baz already share a history with each other….
I am a big fan of Uzma Jalaluddin’s work, ever since I read Hana Khan Carries On, so it is no surprise that Much Ado About Nada is one of my top most anticipated summer book releases of 2023. Her characters always have such an authentic and clear voice, she is amazing at weaving subtle social commentary in-between sizzling, slow-burn romance. I have no doubt Much Ado About Nada will be just as incredible as her previous book, and cannot wait to dive into it this summer.
3. Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo
Release Date: June 06, 2023 Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Young Adult, LGBT, Queer, Mystery & Thriller, Gothic
Pitched as Cemetery Boys meets The Haunting of Bly Manor, this debut novel from Alex Crespo follows the story of three teenagers in the small town of Saint Juniper: Jaime, Theo, and Taylor—a boy trapped in a haunted house in the woods, another who yearns for a future beyond the reaches of the small town of Saint Juniper, and a witch who tries and fails to practice the magic her father has banned.
As a fan of both Cemetery Boys and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Alex Crespo’s Saint Juniper’s Folly sounds like a very unique and interesting premise. I love horror stories that go beyond the terrors of the supernatural sort and tap into the fears and trauma of real life as well–one of the many reasons why I am such a big fan of all of Mike Flanangan’s works. Seeing as how this horror novel also explores the paranormal and the trauma of its main characters, Saint Juniper’s Folly is on my list of summer book releases of 2023.
4. And Then He Sang A Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu
Release Date: June 06, 2023 Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction, LGBT, Queer Other Tags: African Representation, Own Voices
A queer romance story about a god-fearing athlete from Nigeria, who is secretly in love with an openly gay student who works at a local cybercafe, And Then He Sang A Lullaby is a hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking story from debut Nigerian author Ani Kayode Somtochukwu about love in the face of anti-gay laws and violence against the LGBTQ community.
5. Fatima Tate Takes The Cake by Khadijah VanBrakle
Release Date: June 13, 2023 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming Of Age Other Tags: Muslim Representation, BIPOC representaion, Own Voices
Now here is a Muslim Own Voices story that will no doubt make waves, spark a lot of debates and get the Haram Police swarming in. Fatima Tate Takes The Cake follows the story of aspiring baker Fatima, who, despite growing up in a conservative Muslim family, yearns for a romance with her crush Raheem. When their families decide to arrange their marriage, she thinks her dreams have come true!
Except….as soon as they get engaged, Raheem turns into a manipulative and controlling man, going as far as to threaten to reveal their premarital sexual relationship and destroy Fatima’s reputation when she tries to break off their toxic relationship.
The book isn’t even out, and already there are negative reviews from readers who are disappointed by a Muslim character supporting LGBTQ community and not being “practicing enough” or “halal enough”. It’s a bit strange, considering the blurb clearly states that this is not a “halal Muslim rep” story.
And as someone who grew up in a country where more than 90% of the population are Muslims, I can guarantee you that in real life, I count on my fingers the number of truly “Halal and practicing” Muslims I know.
Islam is a way of life, yes, but Muslims are not a monolith. Authenticity matters, and while I understand why readers want halal Muslim stories, I do not understand the hate they harbor for stories about Misfit Muslims when such people do, in fact, exist within the community. And there are many, many, women like Fatima who have been threatened with their own sexuality into staying in abusive relationships.
So for all of these reasons, Fatima Tate Takes The Cake is on my most anticipated summer book releases of 2023. This is a story that deserves to be told, and the Haram Police can take a seat with all their shaming, thank you very much.
6. Boundless: Twenty Voices Celebrating Multicultural and Multiracial Identities
Release Date: June 13, 2023 Genre: Short Stories, Anthologies, Young Adult
Speaking of real experiences that are diverse as they come, I have started to try out a few anthologies now and then, and the next up on my reading list for summer 2023 is Boundless, a collection of twenty short stories that cover multicultural and multiracial identities and celebrates human experiences that cross borders and languages.
This would be the second anthology I would pick up in 2023; the first being the absolutely mesmerizing, Song Of The Mango And Other New Myths, which I still cannot stop gushing over (it needs more love!). While that one belonged in the genre of fantasy and folklore, I think I want more real-world stories this year, which is why Boundless is on my list of most anticipated book releases of summer 2023.
7. Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler
Release Date: June 13, 2023 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGTBTQ, Queer, Bisexual
It’s not a summer reading list without too many cute, bright, and fluffy romance novels, and so it should come as no surprise to anyone that Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler is on my most anticipated summer book releases of 2023.
The story follows Natalya Fox, who is deciding whether to spend her summer with her father in NYC and finally ask out the girl she has been crushing on…move to LA to try to mend things with her estranged mother and meet the guy she never saw coming.
Natalya Fox cannot decide what to do, but we the readers get to see both summers play out in alternating timelines in Dahlia Adler’s Going Bicoastal. The premise and the concept reminds me a lot of Netflix’s Look Both Ways, and as someone who loves stories inspired by “what ifs?”, I am very much excited for this!
Also…have you seen how gorgeous the cover is??? 💙💜💕
8. Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue
Release Date: August 1, 2023 Genre: Adult, Modern Poetry, Contemporary, Own Voices, BIPOC
A hauntingly beautiful collection of modern poetry, Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue goes deep into the pain and hurt of abuse, trauma, and assault. It’s not the kind of poetry book that will make you feel good–instead, the poems in this book are so raw with the force of their emotions that they make you feel seen and heard.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and Netgalley, and I finished the whole book in one sitting. It’s not an easy book to read, but Sumaya Enyegue has such a clear and emotionally evocative voice when she turns her pain into poetry that I was absolutely mesmerized. I look forward to this book hitting the shelves this summer, and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
9. Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad
Release Date: June 06, 2023 Genre: Literary Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary, Own Voices, Muslim Rep, BIPOC, Arab Rep
We are nearly at the end of my list and if you have been reading this far, then you probably noticed that there are tons of incredible Own Voices Muslim books coming out in Summer 2023. And Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad is one that I know will absolutely break my heart but I will still love it anyway.
One of the most anticipated summer book releases of 2023, Between Two Moons follows the story of three Muslim siblings and how their lives change over the course of the month of Ramadan in the face of police raids on the Arab-American community, Islamophobia, and dysfunctional family dynamics.
10. Foxglove (Belladonna #2) by Adalyn Grace
Release Date: August 22, 2023 Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Gothic
And last but certainly not the least, Foxglove, the sequel to Adalyn Grace’s Belladonna, is one of the most anticipated summer book releases of 2023 for me, especially considering how I have been waiting for this sequel since LAST YEAR!
Since this one is a sequel, I’ll avoid sharing the synopsis here as it contains spoilers for the first book in the series. But if you are fan of Gothic fantasies, enemies to lover romance and murder mysteries, then check out my review of Belladonna here!
And that brings me to the end of my list of the most anticipated summer book releases of 2023. It makes my heart so happy to see that there are so many incredible, promising stories from BIPOC, Muslim and queer authors coming out this summer, and I definitely hope we will see this diversity in the coming years as well.
Which of these books are on your list of summer book releases of 2023? Let me know in the comments below!