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Featured Books for July 2021

Book covers of Jacqueline Woodson's Red at the Bone and Laekan Zea Kemp's Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

July Books

On July 7, we'll release our Book Club episode focusing on Jacqueline Woodson's Red at the Bone (Amazon |, and we'll have an IG chat mid-month. We'll also have two IG chats about our Buddy Read pick, Laekan Zea Kemp's YA novel Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet (Amazon | Stay tuned @unabridgedpod for announcements and updates.

Here are the synopses from the publisher:

Red at the Bone

"Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

"As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony—a celebration that ultimately never took place.

"Unfurling the history of Melody's family—reaching back to the Tulsa race massacre in 1921—to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be."

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

"Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between not disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she's been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho's who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she's been too afraid to ask herself.

"Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.

"This stunning and poignant novel from debut author Laekan Zea Kemp explores identity, found families and the power of food, all nestled within a courageous and intensely loyal Chicanx community."

Book covers of Balli Kaur Jaswal's Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera's What If It's Us

August Books

In August, we'll be making a change to our release schedule: we're moving Book Club episodes to the end of the month. So, on August 25, we'll release our Book Club episode focusing on Balli Kaur Jaswal's Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Amazon |, and we'll have an IG chat right before that release date. We'll also have two IG chats about our Buddy Read pick, Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera's YA novel What If It's Us (Amazon | Stay tuned @unabridgedpod for announcements and updates.

Here are the synopses from the publisher:

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

"A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls."

"Every woman has a secret life . . .

"Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

"Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

"As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s "moral police." But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all."

What If It's Us

"Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart."

"ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

"BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

"But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ?

"Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

"Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

"But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?

"What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

"What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

"But what if it is?

"What if it’s us?"

Text "Double Feature" and two copies of the book cover of Laura Taylor Namey's A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

June Book

If you missed our June pick, be sure to check out episode 180, in which we discuss Laura Taylor Namey's A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow (Amazon | We had some amazing chats about the book, as well!

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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