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It’s here! 10 books for your book club to check out this summer.
I love summer reading! While growing up, I tried to read as many books as possible during summer break. We used to go on family road trips and I always brought books with me—even when we went to check out various MLB games back in my mom’s home state of Ohio.
As an adult, I carried on the tradition and like to bring books (or my Kindle) with me on trips. And of course, I spend plenty of time at home reading too.
You know I like my list posts on Book Club Chat but I have to say that my summer list is one of my favorites! I spend a lot of time checking out books releasing during the summer months to consider which ones sound promising for book clubs. And there are so many to choose from!
I try to include different genres and also both debut and returning authors. There’s everything from lighter, summery romance type novels to in-depth literary fiction. I got you covered here!
Here’s the 10 books listed in order of pub dates. Remember to check back to the site for my reviews and book club questions for each of these selections.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
I really enjoy Emma Straub’s novels! She typically presents engaging character studies while also providing plenty of heart and wit. Her latest novel, This Time Tomorrow, tackles a new avenue for her—the time travel genre. This promises to be a moving story about family and second chances. Here’s the synopsis:
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?
The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White
Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White are all writers of historical fiction. The three have come back together for their latest collaboration: The Lost Summers of Newport. This novel covers money and secrets set among the famous summer mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, spanning over a century from the Gilded Age to the present day. This sounds quite compelling with the different time periods, the mysteries and more. Here’s the synopsis:
2019: Andie Figuero has just landed her dream job as a producer of Mansion Makeover, a popular reality show about restoring America’s most lavish historic houses. Andie has high hopes for her latest project: the once glorious but gently crumbling Sprague Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, summer resort of America’s gilded class—famous for the lavish “summer cottages” of Vanderbilts and Belmonts. But Andie runs into trouble: the reclusive heiress who still lives in the mansion, Lucia “Lucky” Sprague, will only allow the show to go forward on two conditions: One, nobody speaks to her. Two, nobody touches the mansion’s ruined boathouse.
1899: Ellen Daniels has been hired to give singing lessons to Miss Maybelle Sprague, a naive young Colorado mining heiress whose stepbrother John has poured their new money into buying a place among Newport’s elite. John is determined to see Maybelle married off to a fortune-hunting Italian prince, and Ellen is supposed to polish up the girl for her launch into society. But the deceptively demure Ellen has her own checkered past, and she’s hiding in plain sight at Sprague Hall.
1958: Lucia “Lucky” Sprague has always felt like an outsider at Sprague Hall. When she and her grandmother—the American-born Princess di Conti—fled Mussolini’s Italy, it seemed natural to go back to the imposing Newport house Nana owned but hadn’t seen since her marriage in 1899. Over the years, Lucky’s lost her Italian accent and found a place for herself among the yachting set by marrying Stuyvesant Sprague, the alcoholic scion of her Sprague stepfamily. But one fateful night in the mansion’s old boathouse will uncover a devastating truth…and change everything she thought she knew about her past.
As the cameras roll on Mansion Makeover, the house begins to yield up the dark secrets the Spragues thought would stay hidden forever….
Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera
Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera is her debut novel and follows members of a Dominican family in New York City who take radically different paths when faced with encroaching gentrification. It sounds like such a compelling read and one that will lend itself to plenty of discussion at your book club meetings. Also, author praise includes Tayari Jones, Robert Jones, Jr. and Zakiya Dalila Harris—I love all their novels and it makes me even more excited for Neruda on the Park. Here’s the synopsis:
The Guerreros have lived in Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of New York City, for twenty years. When demolition begins on a neighboring tenement, Eusebia, an elder of the community, takes matters into her own hands by devising an increasingly dangerous series of schemes to stop construction of the luxury condos. Meanwhile, Eusebia’s daughter, Luz, a rising associate at a top Manhattan law firm who strives to live the bougie lifestyle her parents worked hard to give her, becomes distracted by a sweltering romance with the handsome white developer at the company her mother so vehemently opposes.
As Luz’s father, Vladimir, secretly designs their retirement home in the Dominican Republic, mother and daughter collide, ramping up tensions in Nothar Park, racing toward a near-fatal climax.
A beautifully layered portrait of family, friendship, and ambition, Neruda on the Park weaves a rich and vivid tapestry of community as well as the sacrifices we make to protect what we love most, announcing Cleyvis Natera as an electrifying new voice.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
There’s quite a bit of buzz about You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty as it was reported by Deadline that Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society will develop the novel into a series for Amazon. So exciting! The novel follows a young woman searching for joy as she heals from loss. Here’s the synopsis:
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.
It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits—his father. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
This is one of my most-anticipated reads of the year! I have been looking forward to More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez for months. First, that cover is amazing. And the story! This is a literary suspense about a woman caught leading a double life after one husband murders the other, and the true-crime writer who becomes obsessed with telling her story. Here’s the full synopsis:
In 1985, Lore Rivera marries Andres Russo in Mexico City, even though she is already married to Fabian Rivera in Laredo, Texas, and they share twin sons. Through her career as an international banker, Lore splits her time between two countries and two families—until the truth is revealed and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.
In 2017, while trawling the internet for the latest, most sensational news reports, struggling true-crime writer Cassie Bowman encounters an article detailing that tragic final act. Cassie is immediately enticed by what is not explored: Why would a woman—a mother—risk everything for a secret double marriage? Cassie sees an opportunity—she’ll track Lore down and capture the full picture, the choices, the deceptions that led to disaster. But the more time she spends with Lore, the more Cassie questions the facts surrounding the murder itself. Soon, her determination to uncover the truth could threaten to derail Lore’s now quiet life—and expose the many secrets both women are hiding.
Told through alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama. Presenting a window into the hearts of two very different women, it explores the many conflicting demands of marriage and motherhood, and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine is said to be one of those impactful stories that stay with you for a long time. The story is a dazzling epic of betrayal, love, and fate that spans five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West. Authors such as Celeste Ng, Emma Straub and Taylor Jenkins Reid are all singing its praises. Here’s the synopsis:
Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.
Written in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s singular voice, the wildly entertaining and complex lives of the Lopez family fill the pages of this multigenerational western saga. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets, and love—filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, all of whom are just as special, memorable, and complicated as our beloved heroine, Luz.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Sometimes your book club needs a selection that you’ll want to read by the pool or on the beach. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan will be that novel! The story follows a divorced romance channel screenwriter whose script about her marriage’s collapse just might help her reclaim her life and find love. I have a feeling that you’ll want to read this in one sitting and then will be sad when it’s done. Here’s the synopsis:
Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne’er do well husband Nora’s life will never be the same.
The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it’s the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it’s the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.
Filled with warmth, wit, and wisdom, Nora Goes Off Script is the best kind of love story—the real kind where love is complicated by work, kids, and the emotional baggage that comes with life. For Nora and Leo, this kind of love is bigger than the big screen.
The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
There’s just something about stories featuring sisters! The Beach Trap by Ali Brady, pen name of writing BFFs Alison Hammer and Bradeigh Godfrey, sounds like a modern day and more adult version of The Parent Trap—so fun! The story follows two best friends who learn that they are actually half-sisters. This promises to be an ideal summer read. Here’s the full synopsis:
When twelve-year-olds Kat Steiner and Blake O’Neill meet at Camp Chickawah, they have an instant connection. But everything falls apart when they learn they’re not just best friends—they’re also half sisters. Confused and betrayed, the girls break off all contact.
Fifteen years later, when their father dies suddenly, Kat and Blake discover he’s left them a joint inheritance: the family beach house in Destin, Florida. The two sisters are immediately at odds. Blake, who has recently been demoted from regular nanny to dog nanny, wants to sell the house, while social media influencer Kat is desperate to hold on to the place where she lived so many happy memories.
Kat and Blake reluctantly join forces to renovate the dilapidated house, with the understanding that Kat will try to buy Blake out at the end of the summer. The women clash as Blake’s renovation plans conflict with Kat’s creative vision; meanwhile, each sister finds herself drawn into a summer romance. As the weeks pass, the two women realize the most difficult project they face this summer will be coming to grips with their shared past—and learning how to become sisters.
The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark
One of my favorite thrillers of the past couple of years is The Last Flight by Julie Clark. It’s such a well done story and I had no clue how it would end—a very surprising story all around. Julie is back with a new novel this summer, The Lies I Tell. This one is a domestic thriller about the questionable motivations of two women. Here’s the synopsis:
Meg Williams. Maggie Littleton. Melody Wilde. Different names for the same person, depending on the town, depending on the job. She’s a con artist who erases herself to become whoever you need her to be—a college student. A life coach. A real estate agent. Nothing about her is real. She slides alongside you and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and by the time she’s done, you’ve likely lost everything.
Kat Roberts has been waiting ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. And now that she has, Kat is determined to be the one to expose her. But as the two women grow closer, Kat’s long-held assumptions begin to crumble, leaving Kat to wonder who Meg’s true target is.
Keya Das’s Second Act by Sopan Deb
Journalist Sopan Deb’s fiction novel, Keya Das’s Second Act, is about a Bengali American family’s journey toward forgiveness and understanding. It’s said to be full of heart and humor with a focus on belonging. Here’s the full synopsis:
Shantanu Das is living in the shadows of his past. In his fifties, he finds himself isolated from his traditional Bengali community after a devastating divorce from his wife, Chaitali; he hasn’t spoken to his eldest daughter Mitali in months; and most painfully, he lives each day with the regret that he didn’t accept his teenaged daughter Keya after she came out as gay. As the anniversary of Keya’s death approaches, Shantanu wakes up one morning utterly alone in his suburban New Jersey home and realizes it’s finally time to move on.
This is when Shantanu discovers a tucked-away box in the attic that could change everything. He calls Mitali and pleads with her to come home. She does so out of pity, not realizing that her life is about to shift.
Inside the box is an unfinished manuscript that Keya and her girlfriend were writing. It’s a surprising discovery that brings Keya to life briefly. But Neesh Desai, a new love interest for Mitali with regrets of his own, comes up with a wild idea, one that would give Keya more permanence: what if they are to stage the play? It could be an homage to Keya’s memory, and a way to make amends. But first, the Dases need to convince Pamela Moore, Keya’s girlfriend, to give her blessing. And they have to overcome ghosts from the past they haven’t met yet.
A story of redemption and righting the wrongs of the past, Keya Das’s Second Act is a warmly drawn homage to family, creativity, and second chances. Set in the vibrant world of Bengalis in the New Jersey suburbs, this debut novel is both poignant and, at times, a surprising hilarious testament to the unexpected ways we build family and find love, old and new.
Keya Das’s Second Act will publish on July 5. To support local bookstores, order on Bookshop here. To order on Amazon, click here.