What makes a great “summer read”? We think it is a book that you can take on vacation, read on the beach or snuggle up with at home that keeps you engaged, but it’s not so serious that it will wreck your week. We have put together a list of our top ten favorite summer reads; some are old, some or new, but they are all guaranteed to entertain.
Jessica’s Top 5 Picks
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time–she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media–so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. Drue was always the one who had everything–except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams – Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years. Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect—but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered…
Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho – At thirty-three, Andrea Tang is living the dream: She has a successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo, and a clutch of fun-loving friends who are always in the know about Singapore’s hottest clubs. All she has to do is make law partner, and her life will be perfect. And if she’s about to become the lone unmarried member of her generation in the Tang clan–a disappointment her meddling Chinese-Malaysian family won’t let her forget–well, she doesn’t need a man to complete her. Yet when a chance encounter with charming, wealthy entrepreneur Eric Deng offers her a glimpse of an exciting, limitless future, Andrea decides to give Mr. Right-for-her-family a chance. Too bad Suresh Aditparan, her office rival and the last man her family would approve of, keeps throwing a wrench in her plans. Now Andrea can’t help but wonder: In the endless tug-of-war between pleasing others and pleasing herself, is there room for everyone to win?
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume – In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changes forever when Caitlin Somers chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomes Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.” Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin begs Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—because she wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart
Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand – Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?
Kelly’s Top 5 Picks
Dust Child by Que Mai Phan Nguyen – From the bestselling author of The Mountains Sing, this is a suspenseful and moving saga about family secrets, hidden trauma, and the overriding power of forgiveness. I loved The Mountains Sing – it was so well written and enthralling I wanted to pick up this. I love reading historical fiction-inspired stories about other cultures and family sagas. It’s a story of the forgotten children from those relationships between American soldiers and Vietnamese women – often left behind, abandoned, and raised with a deep resentment for their mixed roots. The novel follows both the perspective of that generation – trying to find a better future – and that of the servicemembers being forced, decades later, to confront their past decisions.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor – I have a weakness for Indian fiction. Some of my favorite books are Shantaram and A Fine Balance. Not to mention, my favorite movie, Slum Dog Millionaire! This is a sweeping novel of India – an epic, unforgettable novel that is at once a family saga, gritty crime drama, and sharp exploration of power and desire.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub – On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?
King A Life by Jonathan Eig – The first full biography in decades, King mixes revelatory and exhaustive new research with brisk and accessible storytelling to forge the definitive life for our times.
Deep as the Sky Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig – For readers of Outlawed, Piranesi, and The Night Tiger, a riveting, roaring adventure novel about a legendary Chinese pirate queen, her fight to save her fleet from the forces allied against them, and the dangerous price of power. A book of salt and grit, blood and sweat, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea is an unmissable portrait of a woman who leads with the courage and ruthlessness of our darkest and most beloved heroes.