Evvie Drake Starts Over
Readers routinely cite the warmth of Evvie Drake Starts Over as the thing that made them love it—that is, the romantic plot of two people grieving their past lives together will make you feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy. Evvie’s still adjusting to widowhood when she rents her backyard apartment to Dean Tenney, a former Major League pitcher whose game has been majorly lacking. Quirky and charming, it’s a pitch-perfect summer rom-com.
Lara Williams’s Supper Club is the ravenous read we all need. Roberta—like so many women—grew up internalizing the message that the less space she takes up, the better. But when she hits it off with new friend Stevie, the two create the Supper Club, where women come together to joyfully feast their hearts out, figuratively man-spread, and map the contours of their growing bodies. It’s a darkly funny coming-of-age story like no other.
The Bride Test
Another must-read rom-com, this one features the unlikely pairing of Khai Diep, a talented accountant who’s so hopeless at love that his mother travels to Vietnam to find him a bride, and Esme Tran, a mixed-race girl who grew up in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City and has a family to support—and who also falls desperately in love with Khai, despite his many hang-ups. A knockout combination of sexy and insightful.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong’s poetry background shines through in this lyrical and profound novel, written as a letter from an adult son to his mother, who cannot read. The son, called Little Dog, reckons with his mother’s traumatic history in Vietnam and how that violence has carried over into his own life and the pair’s fraught relationship. Tender, introspective, and achingly beautiful, Vuong’s story enacts the powers of storytelling and compassion.
You’ve heard the hype, and we’re here to tell you that Sally Rooney’s sophomore novel deserves all the praise that’s been heaped on it. The story of Connell and Marianne continuously circling and coming back to each other as they come of age at Dublin’s Trinity College—both of them questioning and self-destructing in turn—is one you’ll find yourself completely absorbed in, and fully moved by.
There’s nothing like a multigenerational family saga to sweep you away, and Regina Porter’s debut delivers in the best way. Two families are brought together through marriage when Irish American Rufus marries African American Claudia Christie. The story reaches as far back as the 1950s and ahead into 2009—Obama’s first year as president—revealing an unforgettable cast of resilient and vibrant characters.
The Chelsea Girls
Combine the Chelsea Hotel, the McCarthy era, and a 20-year female friendship, and you’ve got one thrillingly good historical novel. Playwright Hazel and actress Maxine are vying for Broadway, but they’re learning the hard way that making connections at the Chelsea Hotel—iconic haven for creatives—is really a game of politics. Meanwhile, Senator McCarthy is an entertainment-industry wrecking ball, putting Hazel and Maxine’s careers—and friendship—to the test.
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
In 1960s Australia, local lonely-heart Tom Hope and Hungarian immigrant Hannah Babel are brought together when Hannah hires Tom to build shelving for her new bookshop, the first to exist in their quiet rural town. Tom is grieving his abruptly ended marriage, and Hannah is grappling with her traumatic past as an Auschwitz survivor. Tender and redemptive, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is an ode to love and literature.
The Body in Question
Written in brisk and deliberate prose, The Body in Question not only unfolds the theatrical murder trial of a 16-year-old girl accused of murdering her toddler brother, but also the blooming relationship between jurors C-2 and F-17, also known as Hannah and Graham. Throughout the trial, the two realize they’re in disagreement about the crime—and the shocks continue even after the verdict’s delivered.
We Went to the Woods
This bold and haunting novel follows four twenty-something friends who decide to go off the grid and create a self-sustaining compound in upstate New York. Their mission is chronicled by grad-school dropout Mack, who can’t quite crack the friends’ secretive surface—and who’s also harboring secrets of her own. As the group’s relationships start to buckle under stress, their idyllic experiment turns deadly.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Nuri and his wife, Afra, live a quiet and peaceful life in Aleppo—until war breaks out in Syria and they’re forced to abandon their lifelong home. But leaving isn’t easy: they must travel through Turkey and Greece, Afra now without her sight, with only the vague hope of making a home again in Britain. A propulsive novel with palpable implications, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is necessary reading for all.
This summer is quite literally overflowing with incredible new books. Okay, okay, maybe not literally overflowing—though how great would that be?—but you get the idea. The romances! The thrills! The sagas! Where to start? Fear not, friends: we’ve got you covered with the absolute best summer reads. There’s something here for everyone—and by everyone, we mean you.
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