How Could She
Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle have already raved about this summer read and they’re not wrong. This funny novel is about three friends navigating work, babies, spouses, exes—and, of course, each other. After a break-up, Geraldine moves to New York where her other friends, Sunny and Rachel, are living the high life—or so she thinks. But the cutthroat world of Manhattan media is thick with influencers, old friendships have perhaps dulled with age, and nothing is as rosy as it seems on the surface.
City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Vivian Morris goes to live with her Aunt Peg after being asked to leave Vassar, and becomes intertwined in the world of the Lily Playhouse and the flamboyant and unconventional characters that occupy it. Told from 89-year-old Vivian’s perspective as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.
The Most Fun We Ever Had
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Claire Lombardo’s debut novel centers on long-married couple Marilyn and David and their four adult daughters—Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace—each battling her own anxieties, demons, and vices. When a person from their past shows up unannounced, it sends shockwaves through the Sorenson family. The story plumbs the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection and abhorrence we feel for those closest to us.
The Nickel Boys
Growing up in Jim Crow-era Florida, Elwood Curtis is kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother and eager to enroll in the local black college. But one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future and he is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission is to mold the delinquent boys in their charge into “honorable and honest men.” In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff abuses the students, and Elwood struggles to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s words of nonviolent resistance in his head, especially in the face of a vitriolic friend.
Lock Every Door
Broke and broken-hearted Jules takes a job apartment sitting at the infamous Manhattan building, The Bartholomew. She’s not allowed to spend a night away, or have visitors, but it’s a small price to pay for the serious cash she’s earning. But when another apartment sitter disappears after warning Jules about some shady goings-on in the building, Jules begins to dig—and she might not like what she uncovers. She’s working against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
The Gifted School
Called “Big Little Lies with standardized testing,” this addictive novel zeroes in on a previously happy group of friends and parents that is nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in the community. The story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.
Fans of true crime and To Kill a Mockingbird will flock to this true story about Reverend Willie Maxwell, accused of murdering five family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead. Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted—thanks to the same wily attorney. And sitting in the audience of the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, eager to write her own version of In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped Truman Capote research. Though she spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case, it was never published. Casey Cep reveals all the twists and turns of this odd mystery.
Rogue police officer Harry Hole is back and once again hunting the murderer who has haunted his entire career. Svein Finne, the serial rapist and murderer who Harry helped put behind bars, is free after a decade-plus in prison. Harry is quite sure the unrepentant Svein will pick back up where he left off. But when Harry wakes up the morning after a blackout, drunken night with blood that’s clearly not his own on his hands, it’s only the very beginning of what will be a waking nightmare the likes of which even he could never have imagined.
The Other Mrs. Miller
In this domestic thriller, Phoebe Miller isn’t sure when the car started showing up in her cul-de-sac, or why its driver would be spying on her. What could be interesting about an unhappy housewife who barely leaves her house? When a new family moves in across the street, Phoebe gets a new bestie in Vickie and finds her dull routine infused with the excitement she’s been missing (Did we mention Vickie has a hot college-aged son?). But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And she really should be…
In the lawless lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life—her husband, who has gone in search of water, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home. Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. The way in which Nora’s and Lurie’s stories intertwine is the surprise of this brilliant novel that reinvents the myths of the American West.
That's What Frenemies Are For
In this razor-sharp novel for fans of When Life Gives You Lululemons, Julia, a Manhattan socialite, turns her spin instructor, Tatum, into a fitness superstar to impress her friends. But can she keep her little project under control? Or has she created a monster? When Julia’s husband is arrested for fraud and bribery, and her so-called friends turn their backs on her, and Tatum pursues her own agenda, she is forced to rethink everything she knew about her world to reclaim her perfect life.
What’s worse than FOMO? Fear of missing out on the book of the summer. You know the one—the novel or nonfiction work that seems to be on everyone’s lips. These books are sure to be the talked-about reads at the pool, the barbecue, and the beach. Read them now to join the conversation, and then make all your friends read them, too—you know, so you can have someone to talk to about them!
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