Little Fires Everywhere
This bestselling novel traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. When Mia and Pearl Warren become tenants of the Richardsons, slowly they pull all four Richardson kids into their orbit. But Mia is trying desperately to shield her hidden past. When another couple in town attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby, it divides the Warrens and the Richardsons irreparably.
NYC cop Barry Sutton is investigating the devastating phenomenon False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Neuroscientist Helena Smith has dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. As he searches for the truth, Barry comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
Picture a lush resort serving organic meals, daily exercise classes and spa services—all for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to producing the perfect baby. For someone else. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.
The Lager Queen of Minnesota
J. Ryan Stradal
Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make a living and can’t help but wonder what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money. Helen, on the other hand, builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country using the money. When Helen needs help, will Edith’s granddaughter, Diana, have a chance to rebuild her family—and the beer business—once and for all?
One Night at the Lake
A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of Leah and June, two best friends—and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is an emotional novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: Can love overcome what happened on that hot summer night?
The Birthday Girl
Melissa de la Cruz
Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget. Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted, except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside—she is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert—where everyone who matters in Ellie’s life shows up, invited or not.
The Learning Curve
Fiona and Liv are seniors at Buchanan College, a small liberal arts school in rural Pennsylvania. Fiona, who is still struggling emotionally after the death of her younger sister, is spending her final year sleeping with abrasive men she meets in bars. Liv is happily coupled and on the fast track to marriage with an all-American frat boy. Both of their journeys, and their friendship, will be derailed by the relationships they develop with Oliver Ash, a ruggedly good-looking visiting literature professor. But now Oliver is in his early forties, with thinning hair and a checkered past, including talk of a relationship with an underage woman—a former student—at a previous teaching job. Meanwhile, Oliver’s wife, Simone, is wondering if their marriage is beyond repair.
The Great Believers
In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is welcoming career success, just as the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with a photographer friend who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.
State of the Union
This heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it (now a SundanceTV series starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd) centers on Tom and Louise, who meet in a pub before their couple’s therapy appointment. Married for years, they thought they had a stable home life–until a recent incident pushed them to the brink. Unfolding in the minutes before their weekly therapy sessions, the ten-chapter conversation that ensues is witty and moving, forcing them to look at their marriage–and, for the first time in a long time, at each other.
The Book of Essie
Meghan MacLean Weir
Esther Ann Hicks—Essie—is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. So when Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she immediately arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers. Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage—and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is orchestrating a partnership of her own and taking the reins of control back over her own life.
Marilou Is Everywhere
Sarah Elaine Smith
Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family’s poverty and slips into the missing teen’s life. As Jude Vanderjohn, Cindy is suddenly surrounded by books and art, by new foods and traditions, and a startling new sense of possibility. In her borrowed life she also finds herself accepting the confused love of a mother who is constitutionally incapable of grasping what has happened to her real daughter. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits and, in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.
As Read it Forward editors, we know from great books. We’ve sifted and sorted through all the amazing fiction and nonfiction all winter long to bring you the finest summer reading list around. And like true psychics, we’ve looked into our crystal ball and found books we think would be perfect for you (yes, you!). We can’t reveal our methods, but we know something on this list will appeal to everyone.
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