Summer holds a special place in the heart of book readers: yes, fall and winter are both excellent for cozying up with the latest thriller, novel, or romance, but summer brings with it the heat that just makes you want to lie down on a beach somewhere with your sunglasses and the latest bestseller that just hit the bookshelves. The only problem? Finding the perfect book.
We’ve compiled together a list of 30 books that we think are perfect summer reads. With publication dates ranging from April through July, your reading shelf is covered all summer long. Take a look at the books down below, and with a mix of everything from literary fiction and romance to thrillers and memoirs, there’s something for everybody to find.
It’s one thing to have your own relationship problems, but it’s quite another to take on someone else’s. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Meredith Goldstein does practically every day, as the advice columnist at the Boston Globe. But, while it may seem like she has all the answers you’re looking for, she’s got some questions of her own. Witty and engaging, her memoir takes readers through her own heartbreaks and setbacks, trends, online dating, love and family.
This one is actually a debut novel, though you’d never know it from reading it. Emily Glass knows that she’s neurotic, but she swears she’s got it all under control. She’s got her own coping mechanisms – everything from compression socks to spin classes – and she’s also got David, her soon-to-be husband… assuming, of course, that they can make it through the wedding week with her family. Emily’s therapist mother has been diagnosing her kids since they were infants, and for her, this reunion is the perfect time for some good old family therapy. While Emily wants nothing more than to get married and leave, her mother’s meddling may reveal so old, buried family secrets…
In the years of the tech book, Sophia got lucky – real lucky. A chance meeting puts her in the path of Scott Craft, the CEO of Treehouse, the studio that’s changing the future of animated films forever. Whether because of dumb luck, intelligent insight or assertiveness, Sophia soon becomes Craft’s right-hand woman, putting her right in the middle of things. Overworked and maybe in over her head, Sophia has to learn to take charge of her own future in the way that the men surrounding her do. But it turns out, that big paycheck and high status might not be worth the toxic environment of the Silicon Valley boy’s club.
An introspective and beautiful novel, A Theory of Love focuses on Helen Gibbs, a British journalist on assignment on the Mexican west coast. There, she meets Christopher, a French-American financier, in Mexico for the surf. Their first meeting in Mexico takes them all over the world, from marriage in London, to travels everywhere from Santa Clara to Saint Tropez. But in his efforts to build his firm, Christopher has little time for Helen; an observer to his ever-growing world of power and status, Helen must discover how much she’s existing for herself, and the work that will fulfill her soul.
Fun fact: this book is a collaboration between husband and wife Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Each year, thousands of people walk the Camino de Santiago – a route going from the beautiful and picturesque Cluny, France to northwestern Spain. Life-changing and transformative, this journey marks a turning point in the lives of Zoe, an artist from California who’s mourning the death of her husband, and Martin, an English engineer struggling through a messy divorce. The walk challenges them both, testing their endurance, and forcing them to confront their beliefs and their willingness to trust others again.
This thriller is not only guaranteed to shock you, but it also takes a pretty hard look at sexism and gender in the workplace. For Cheyenne, things are pretty good: she’s just gotten her dream job as the new correspondent on the recently-launched Independent News Network. While the men seem all too happy to have her there, some of the women resent her rise in the system. But everything changes with the appearance of a diary written in 1991 by a broadcaster named Elyse Rohrbach. The diary, left for Cheyenne anonymously, has a note attached, encouraging her to learn from the past. As parallels begin to emerge between Elyse’s life and Cheyenne’s, it becomes apparent that someone is manipulating events to make sure that Cheyenne is a pawn in a very twisted game. Determined to play her own game and live her own life, the lengths of how far she’ll go is thrilling.
Lasting friendships, sandy beaches, and hot sun make this novel a perfect summer read. When Abby decides to renew her wedding vows for her 20th anniversary on a cruise to Bermuda, she invites her two best friends and old college roommates along with her. Caroline, a magazine editor, is wondering when and even if her longtime boyfriend Javier is going to propose – and maybe, the best thing would be to leave him. Lee is a single mom, desperate to repair her relationship with her daughter, who has returned home from her first year at college as something of a monster. Tensions rise, and the fairy-tale ceremony might just be unraveling, but the bonds of friendship aren’t so easily broken.
Reality television meets highs-stakes drama when five über-successful women agree to appear on the reality show called Goal Diggers, but no one expects it to end in murder. Brett is the fan favorite, only 27 but she owns her own spin studio and just got engaged to her girlfriend – yet her success is exactly what makes her a target for her castmates. Kelly is Brett’s business partner – and her older sister. The golden child growing up, Kelly is now considered someone just hanging on, deferring to Brett for everything. Stephanie, the first black member on the show has made a fortune writing erotic novels. While the rumors of her out-of-work actor husband and his wandering eye might make good drama to focus on this season, the heat is actually on the fact that she’s Brett’s former best friend, with emphasis on former. Exploring the pressures on women in business, while giving us the thrills we love, The Favorite Sister is a must-read.
When it comes to happiness, Dr. Maggie Maguire is the go-to expert. She’s practically got it down to a science. But science just can’t account for all the anomalies that life throws at us, and Maggie discovers that lesson for herself when her fiance leaves her for an acrobat. Drowning in ice cream and chick-flicks, her friends become worried that she’ll never get out of her slump. So, in order to force her out of it, they book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise. Still depressed, Maggie becomes determined to find happiness for herself this time, when a stranger on the cruise insists that smart women can’t be happy.
Cady Davenport is living in a new city, with a new job, and a new fiance. She should be happier than ever, but when her fiance leaves to go join the campaign trail, Cady finds herself completely on her own. But, she soon meets the other “campaign widows” – the ones left behind when their partners leave to go join campaigns. Exploring the political lifestyle, female friendships, and more, there’s a reason why this book was called “The West Wing meets Sex and the City”. Be sure to read our interview with the author!
Comedian, actress and writer, Patricia Williams wears a lot of hats. Her memoir is absolutely spellbinding and unflinching in its recounting of her life, from her beginnings as the daughter of a single mother of five, living on welfare in Atlanta during the height of the crack epidemic. Suffering under the abuse of her mother’s boyfriend, being taught to roll drunks for money, Pat found herself a mother of two, and completely alone by the age of 16. With an eight grade education and almost no job skills, Pat was determined to make a better life for her kids, and at the suggestion of a caseworker who told her she has a talent for humor, Pat went to an open mic night in Atlanta – and as soon as she stepped on stage, she knew she found her place. She now has a longstanding, hilarious and successful career in comedy. Unusual, smart, and brutal in places, this memoir is impossible to put down.
Everybody deals with loss differently, and that comes out clearer than ever in this debut novel. Dealing with the loss of her mother, 22-year-old Olivia finds herself thrown into adulthood seemingly all on her own. She feels like everyone else has been able to move on just fine around her, while she’s still trying to understand both the hole that’s been left in her life, and how she’s grieving. Her brothers have careers and partners, and her father has just suddenly announced that his new girlfriend will be joining the family trip. Part literary fiction, part mystery, this debut novel is a stunning read.
This is another debut, but one that’s absolutely unique. A dark, feminist fairy tale, What Should Be Wild focuses on Maisie. Born from a dead mother, her lineage is one filled with cursed women, and she has the power to kill and resurrect those around her with just one touch. Treated more as a science experiment than a child, Maisie has grown up in the family manor, one at the edge of the woods she’s been forbidden from ever entering. But when her father goes missing, Maisie is forced to leave the life she’s know to find him, venturing out into the world. But the farther from the woods she gets, the more they call her back. Be sure to check out our interview with the author.
While sororities may seem to be filled with glamour, a little luxury, and the everlasting bonds of sister, trust Genevieve Sly Crane to rip off the facade and take a look at what exactly is lying underneath. At the eye of the storm is Margot, a sister who died in the house. With issues ranging from those that are self-inflicted, sorority-inflicted to family-inflicted, the girls must deal with their own problems, and how to recover from Margot’s death without losing face. Perfection comes at a cost, and nobody knows that better than the girls in the sorority.
Louise and Lavinia are polar opposites: Louise has nothing, while Lavinia has everything, from friends and family, to money and luxury. When the two have a chance encounter, they end up spiraling into a friendships that is intimate, cloyingly intense, seductive and toxic. Against the background of Manhattan’s glamour and high-society living, Social Creature is an unforgettable debut psychological thriller, diving down into the depths of human behavior and obsession, ending in murder and lies.
Under the pen name for journalist and award-winning writer Naben Ruthnum comes a thriller that is frightening and captivating, a combination of Dexter, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Martin Reese may be a family man, but he’s obsessed with murder. Digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killers’ victims, he reports his finds to the police – anonymously. But detective Sandra Whittal thinks that this anonymous person is putting himself on the path to being someone who buries the bodies. Reese’s white whale is the first kill of Jason Shurn, the 1990s murderer who might be responsible for the disappearance of his sister-in-law. When he arrives at what he thinks might be the site, he discovers a freshly killed body; turns out, someone else knew where Shurn buried his victims, and they’re not too happy that Martin knows, too…
It’s fall, the season that brings together the first bite of winter, with the last heat of summer – and in Provence, the famous British rock band the Bebonkers is holding a concert for charity, and to celebrate the third marriage of lead singer Nick, preparations for which are under the close supervision of his fiancee, Aileen. The town gelateria is run by Milena, who produces wonderfully unique ice cream. Having sworn off men, Milena now lives with Viviane, their relationship solid and strong. Though about to undergo fertility treatments, Milena is having some doubts. At the same time, Nick is having some second thoughts of his own… Over the course of three days, a story unfolds that is full of love and tension, leading to a shocking finale.
Hannah and Emory have a complicated relationship as next-door neighbors and ex-best friends. In a fight where they both said things that can never be taken back, they haven’t spoken in the months since. Emory is now trying to make the best of the months she has left with her boyfriend before leaving for college; Hannah’s faith is deeply shaken when the financial struggles of her family come to light and she finds herself turning to places and people she never would have expected. No matter how much the two want their friendship back, it seems impossible – until one night, Hannah finds Emory’s boyfriend doubled over in his car. In the aftermath, each of them has to try and understand exactly what happened, while a devastating secret is revealed.
Alfonse was a literary giant who spent his life in excess – alcohol, sex, parties, and enemies. Now, he’s arrived at the Bar Harbor Retirement Home – the place where the literary greats go to spend the remainder of their time. It’s only at the end of his life that he fully understands the consequences of the life he’s led, which includes abandoning love for greatness, and the writer’s block he now suffers. Drawn into the orbit of the writers are the staff, which includes Cecibel, a young woman who has suffered through a horrific tragedy. Never did she imagine that she would get to meet her favorite author, and never did Alfonse imagine that she would become his muse.
Wrenn has lived her entire life on Cape Cod, with her mother and two sisters. Life was dictated by the Massachusetts seasons: the cold and gray winters with only the locals, to the vibrant summers flooded with vacationers. But it’s their father, a brilliant but troubled photographer, whose infrequent returns and habit of drifting through their lives that is more disruptive than any tourist. Then, one summer, he left and never came back, forcing the sisters to cope with the loss in their own way. Almost two decades later, he returns, but with a shocking announcement that forces some hard endings to occur, but maybe also some new beginnings.
In this increasing digital age, Chelsea Hodson is exploring our physicality, intimacy and privacy is this collection of essays, topics of which range everywhere, from Russian Roulette and graffiti, to sugar daddies and Grand Theft Auto. The essays start off with Hodson’s work experiences – which include regular, mundane jobs, and her job working on a NASA Mars mission – and moves forward to look at the will of human kind, the value of self, and how we see ourselves as technology progresses. Beautiful and poetic at moments, jarring and like an out-of-body experience at others, this collection is a must-have.
From the co-author of knockout novel The Wife Between Us, this book is engaging, and hits you where it hurts. Josie and Frank are happily married, and the parents of two beautiful young girls. No longer the career-driven people they were, they’re settled into domesticity in the Chicago suburbs. But when Josie borrows Frank’s phone to refill an epi-pen prescription for their daughter, she ends up discovering the affair he’s been having for months. No longer able to trust him, her world falls apart, and the whole family must deal with the consequences. Poignant and raw, Pekkanen has created a vibrant portrait of marriage, domesticity, and betrayal.
Lucy is more than happy when she finally arrives at her small, California college, miles away from her self-absorbed mother. She takes to college like a duck to water: finding friends, going to parties, and and finding fulfillment in her classes. Then, she meets Stephen DeMarco, who’s charming, attractive, and above all, complicated. Quickly seduced by the version of herself that he sees, Lucy falls head over heels, even though she knows he’s hiding something from her – something that he’s desperate to ensure she never finds out. But their relationship will have consequences that neither of them could ever have imagined.
Blanche was known as the “Love Doctor” in college, because she was so good at putting people together – so good, she made an entire business out of it, now running the online dating profiles of Washington D.C.’s most eligible women, helping them get the dates with the men they want, and ensuring that the men fall just as in love with her clients. Her only rule for herself: no relationship. But when a new client’s profile matches with Blanche’s ex-boyfriend, Blanche decides to set them up anyway. Because Blanche knows for a fact she’s over him, and what better way to prove it than by setting him up with someone else? But Blanche might just end up breaking her one rule, and landing herself into a whole bunch of trouble. Romantic and funny, with a different take on online dating, Schultz’s second book is a great summer read.
Francine is a young divorce attorney, who has built her entire career methodically, taking all the right steps at all the right times, and now, she’s just one case away from securing her place among the legal elite of London. But when she meets her new client Martin, all the caution that’s protected Francine and her career flies out the window in the face of the magnetism and attraction between them. Though he insists that his marriage is over, she’s not quite sure she believes him, and soon, she finds herself obsessed with his relationship with his wife Donna. Following her one night, Francine discovers Donna having dinner… with her soon-to-be ex-husband. The next morning, Francine wakes up with blood on her clothes, and no idea what happened. Then, she finds out that Donna’s disappeared, that dinner the last time she was ever seen. In a dangerous web of lies, deceit and secrets, one false move could bring everything she’s worked so hard for tumbling down around her.
The much awaited for book in The Devil Wears Prada universe, this novel is focusing on Emily, Miranda Priestly’s much put-upon ex-assistant. Now working as an image consultant in Hollywood, Emily finds herself in something of a bind after losing a few clients. After searching, Emily finds herself, the client of a lifetime in the spectacularly rich suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut. Karolina is an international supermodel, wife of a newly elected New York senator, who’s just been arrested for a DUI, while driving a car full of other people’s kids. She’s in trouble and she needs help. The two connect through Miriam, who was a high-powered partner at a law firm in Manhattan, now in Greenwich to spend more time with her children. Used to the cut-throat politics in the courtroom, Miriam had no idea that it would be in Greenwich that she’d be tripping over every gilded social landmine there is. Funny, witty and meticulously plotted, this is the perfect to-be summer bestseller.
Rosemary, 86 years old, has lived in Brixton, London, her entire life. But now, everything is changing around her: the library is closed; the family grocery is now a trendy bar; the lido, the outdoor pool where she swum daily since it opened, is being threatened with closure from a housing developer. But it was at the lido where Rosemary escaped the devastation from World War II, where she met her husband, and where she found community. Kate, a twentysomething, just moved to Brixton, and feels completely unmoored. While she was a promising writer, she now writes forgettable fluff pieces for the local paper – until she’s assigned to cover the lido closing. But soon her story opens up and focuses on the life of Rosemary. As the story progresses, so does the relationship between the two, providing stability in friendship at a time when the two most desperately need it most.
The narrator of this story should be completely happy. She’s young, then, a recent Columbia graduate, who has a job working at the chicest art gallery in New York, and living in an apartment on the Upper East Side. Instead, there’s a large, gaping part of her life that’s just missing – and it isn’t because of the death of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriends treats her, or her toxic friendship with her best friend. It’s 2000, and the city is full of money and glamour. On medication designed to repair her feelings of alienation for her life and the world around her, Moshfegh shows us the devastation of trying to be in the present moment and completely happy all the time. A truly beautiful novel.
An homage not only to stand-up comedians everywhere but to Agatha Christie’s original mystery, Van Lente’s novel is hilarious and suspenseful – all at once. Nine comedians are invited to the private island of once-iconic stand-up comedian and actor Dustin Walker, to work on a career-changing project together. But once they arrive, they find the island without cell service, Wi-Fi, pretty much any way to communicate with the outside world, and even other people, barring Walker’s over-eager assistant: aspiring comic Meredith Ladipo. Following a greeting in the writers’ room that consists of a bizarre video message from Walker that’s followed with a video feed of his own suicide. But as they explore he hidden room and secret passageways, someone begins killing the comedians, one by one…
It’s the summer of 1951, and Miranda Schuyler arrives on the elite Winthrop Island, reeling from the death of her father in World War II. When her mother marries Hugh Fisher, Miranda is pushed into a new world, one of cocktails, elite status, and a new step-sister, Isobel Fisher. Already engaged to a wealthy island scion, Isobal is eager to bring Miranda into the customs of Winthrop society. On the island, there are two communities: the summer families, and the working class Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers. Uncomfortable among Isobel’s high-class friends, Miranda meets Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his wife. Joseph has a vivid and intense friendship with Isobel, and by the time the end of summer comes, Miranda will be banned from the island for almost two decades. Now, in 1969, Miranda is a renowned actress, returned to the island. Everything seems the same, but the Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph has recently escaped from prison, where he was incarcerated for killing Miranda’s stepfather 18 years earlier. But what really happened that summer?