21 magical science fiction and fantasy books to read in summer 2021

The Godstone by Violette Malan. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
The Godstone by Violette Malan. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /
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The Chosen and the Beautiful book cover
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. Image courtesy Tor Book /

Summer 2021 release: The Chosen and the Beautiful  – Nghi Vo.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel is a fantastical retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, only this time centered on a girl who’s queer, Asian, adopted, and an immigrant – often treated as an exotic attraction even by those who claim to care about her.

In this world, magic is real and prohibition cut off access to more drinks than alcohol (read: demon’s blood). Star golfer Jordan Baker can enchant paper, but can’t find a way to be accepted in New York City’s social scene. Other than, of course, by her childhood friend Daisy Fay. As Jordan is drawn further into Daisy’s world – set up with her cousin Nick Carraway, introduced to the infamous Jay Gatsby – things get more and more complicated.

The Chosen and the Beautiful smashes everything we know about The Great Gatsby into pieces and rebuilds it into a glittering, powerful story about the American immigrant experience. A lush, romantic novel full of dark magic and Art Deco luxury – its story is as heady as a gin cocktail and just as likely to knock you off your feet.

The official synopsis describes the story as follows.

"Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how."

The Chosen and the Beautiful is available on June 1.