It’s summer reading time! If you’re like me, summer reading brings back so many good memories (I’m not talking about the assigned reading by teachers) of going to the library and loading up tote bags full of chapter books and marking off squares in order to get your own personal panned pizza!
As I grew older, summer reading meant a break from the assigned reading of school and a chance to dive into the books I REALLY enjoyed, reading by the pool or grabbing the newest Harry Potter installment from Costco and reading it by the beach. As an adult, I often grab light, fun reads for the summer as well as stories with plots that hook me and take hold of my attention, adventurous stories and overall, books I can’t put down.
Here are some books I’d recommend picking up this summer! Some of them are newer releases and some are not. I’ve included links to purchase each book that will support small bookstores, and if you’re in Tucson I recommend checking out Bookmans, Mostly Books or Antigone Books to purchase your books locally!
Okay, let’s get started! (also please excuse that some of these are iPhone pics – I either returned these books to the library or let someone borrow them before getting good pics) 😉
Let’s start out with one of my favorite books I’ve read this year! I’m sure you’ve heard of it or seen it advertised in your local book store or on Bookstagram. If you haven’t picked it up yet, let this be your sign to do so! The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This book is about a woman, who in a time of desperation, makes a “deal with the devil” to live forever. She is warned to never make deals with gods who only come out at night, but she does, and is sentenced to a life that never ends where she is forgotten by everyone she meets. This book spans across countries and continents and centuries, across history and art and culture. Addie learns to leave her mark on the world in a very special way. After 300 years of this life, something incredibly surprising happens in a hole-in-the-wall bookstore in California which changes her life. You’ll have to pick up the book to find out what!
2. Book number two is a historical fiction novel with a badass female lead! Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon follows Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who lives in Paris during the rise of the Nazi regime. The story is told in interweaving timelines, outlining the different code names Nancy takes on during the war. Nancy is bold, sassy and admirable. I loved the characters, especially the men Nancy befriended and worked alongside in the French resistance and I loved her relationship with her husband. I would definitely recommend this book if you are into WWII novels, especially for fans of The Alice Network or the Nightingale (two books from last summer’s reading guide). 5/5 stars from me!
3. A family comedy, Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel. This book was delightful with hilarious dialogue and situational comedic elements that had me laughing out loud while reading. The story follow two life long friends, Bridget and Will, and a cast of characters surrounding them for one summer where everything goes wrong. Bridget owns a historic, but dilapidated, home in the country and is committed to having the best summer ever with her novel writing boyfriend and WITHOUT her children. Her plans are upended when her boyfriend breaks up with her over email and her two grown kids show up with their very big dogs and very big crisis. This book reminded me a lot of the humor and wit in the writing of Maria Semple, so if you’re a fan of her work (Where’d You Go Bernadette?) I’d highly recommended picking this one up! It ended so perfectly and sweetly and was just so much fun to read!
4. I love, love, love to read romance in the summertime! This light and fluffy romance by Christina Lauren hit the spot! I finished it in one day by the pool. The Unhoneymooners is about two sworn enemies, Olive and Ethan, who are forced to put aside their hatred for one another and go on a free vacation after Olive’s sister’s ENTIRE wedding party gets food poisoning at her wedding. They head to paradise and try to avoid each other, but when Olive runs into her future boss and is committed to making a great first impression on him, Olive and Ethan band together, pretending to be newlyweds. This was sweet, easy to read and had really funny back and forth banter. There are some steamy scenes, so be aware of that if, but I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to my romance reading friends!
5. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary Because summer reading is the perfect time for summer romance, I’ve included quite a few romance books in this guide! I LOVED the unique concept of this book and can’t wait to read more by this author, now. This book is about Tiffy and Leon who share an apartment but have never actually met. Tiffy breaks up with her crazy boyfriend and needs and place to live…like now. She answers an ad for a flatshare hosted by Leon, a night shift worker. Leon has the apartment during the day and TIffy has it at night. They start writing each other notes to communicate and become friends, and DUH, maybe more. I LOVED the relationship between these two, the growth these two took apart from each other, and the ways they fight for each other in their friendship. HIghly recommend!
6. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This is my first time reading this author and I’m so glad I picked up this light, encouraging and uplifting novel (and look how gorgeous this cover is!)! The main character, Linus Baker, leads a quiet life where not much is different from day to day. He is a caseworker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He oversees the care of magical children in government sanctioned orphanages. He likes his job…or he’s good at his job, but he can’t forget about the image of the beach he keeps on his desk, beckoning him with the words “wish you were here.” Linus is summoned by Extremely Upper Management for a top secret assignment which sends him to Marsyas Island Orphanage, a place that looks strangely familiar to his desk postcard. There he meets a care taker and children who both astound him and change his life. This book is about what it looks like to accept ourselves, and the beauty of what makes us different. This is a really sweet and easy read!
7. The City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m so glad I FINALLY read this book after seeing such rave reviews for so long! Also quick shout out to the Tucson Friends of the Library which is where I found this book ($3-$5 books!!) This story is set in the 1940s New York theatre scene. This is told from the perspective of an older woman, describing her life. Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of college and sent to live with her unconventional aunt in Manhattan where she’s introduced to a cast of people living flamboyant lives filled with scandal and intrigue. When Vivian is involved in a scandal that threatens everything she’s grown to love and care for, she is forced to take a hard look at her life and the choices she’s made to get to this point. I loved the growth of this character, her unashamed qualities and the way this story wrapped up. Definitely recommend for fans of novels set in New York and the theatre scene.
8. If you enjoyed City of Girls, you will most likely enjoy this novel, and vice-versa. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid Intriguing and illusive Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, is finally ready to tell the truth of her life. She, what seems randomly, picks journalist Monique to tell her story. As Monique listens to Evelyn’s fascinating story, the novel is taken from Hollywood in the 1950s describing all of Evelyn’s 7 husbands to modern day. Evelyn tells Monique stories of ambition, ruthlessness and forbidden love. I LOVE stories set in Old Hollywood. TJR always tells compelling stories of complicated women…I will continue to pick up her novels! trigger warnings for domestic abuse, alcoholism and suicide. This book does not shy away from heavy topics. The scenes are not graphic, but be aware if these topics are not comfortable for you to read about
Let’s start with Beach Read! This book is about two authors. A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary fiction writer who is stuck in a rut. January and Augustus are polar opposites but they discover they’re neighbors for the summer in neighboring beach houses. One evening they make a deal: they will “switch places.” January will write the next great American novel and Augustus will take a crack at happy, sappy chick lit. I loved the story of growth for both of these characters and how they got to know each other, discovering what makes the other tick and why they write what they do. This was a 5/5 star read for me! (take note of steamy scenes)
People We Meet on Vacation is Emily Henry’s latest release and it’s the perfect summer novel to read after a year stuck in quarantine! Poppy is a wild, adventurous travel writer and Alex is a khaki pant wearing, homebody. This story, modeled after “When Harry Met Sally” follows these two best friends from college and the tradition they have of taking a trip together every summer. Two years ago, on one of their trips, something happens that ruins their friendship and they haven’t spoken since. Until now when Poppy is confronted with questioning when the last time was that she was truly happy and she thinks of her trips with her best friend, Alex. She is convinced they need one more trip together to try and make everything better. I really enjoyed “traveling” with these friends and reading about all the shenanigans they get into on their trips. I finished this is a couple days…definitely the perfect summer read!
That’s it! 10 books I think would make awesome summer reads! I hope at least one of them caught your eye and made you want to them them up! Which one sounds most interesting to you?! Let me know in the comments here or in the comments of my instagram or Facebook post. Hope you have an amazing summer reading!