Good news, book lovers: summer reading season is almost here (and the Summer Reading Guide is coming this week!)
Here’s a peek at the big summer books everyone will be talking about all summer long.
Does that mean they belong on your reading list? Well … maybe. Just because a book is a bestseller doesn’t mean it will be to your taste.
I’ve noted below which of these titles I’ve already read (I’m only 2 1/2 for 13 so far) and which I want to read this summer, and why. (The books listed below are NOT in the Summer Reading Guide, but I will share them in Quick Lit throughout the season as I finish them.)
This year’s guide has 30 new titles—that’s 6 categories with 5 books each—and I’ve read every word of every one. I’ll tell you what you need to know so you can decide if a book is right for YOU. (Update: get your free Summer Reading Guide here!)
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at this season’s certain bestsellers. I can’t wait to hear what’s on YOUR reading list for the summer!
Series: The books everyone will be talking about this summer
The Australian author has been on a hot streak: her last 3 novels have been top bestsellers, praised by everyone from Stephen King to Anne Lamott, and her fans are on pins and needles for the next. Her new summer release focuses on a friendly neighborhood barbecue gone awry, and the ramifications of the disaster (or near-disaster? the blurbs sure do make it hard to tell!) have everyone examining what's simmering beneath the surface of their seemingly ordinary lives. Publication date July 26 2016. More info →
I haven't read a Giffin book since 2005's Something Blue, but I plan on reading this one in the coming months. By the pool, of course. Her latest novels tells the story of two sisters whose lives couldn't be more different who find themselves at a crossroads, against the backdrop of the rapidly approaching anniversary of a family tragedy. It sounds rather grim, but early reviews use words like "witty" and "dazzling." Publication date June 28 2016. More info →
The Devil Wears Prada author returns with one of the summer's most-hyped novels. Weisberger fans know the drill: we start with a naive good girl out of her depth, this time in the world of professional tennis. After an on-court disaster at Wimbledon, nice girl Charlie (as in Charlotte) Silver hires a new coach, who believes that nice girls finish last, and rebrands Charlie as the "Warrior Princess." Soon she's wearing black and partying hard, but no big change comes without a cost. Early reviews call this fast and fun; I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Publication date July 12 2016. More info →
I unsuccessfully tried to get my hands on this one to vet it for the Summer Reading Guide, even though I wasn't wild about her 2014 novel The Vacationers. Her new novel is about what unfolds amongst a tight-knit group of friends from college, now nearing 50, over the course of one hot Brooklyn summer. Publication date May 31 2016. More info →
Hilderbrand has been called the queen of the summer read, thanks to her large catalog of novels set on Nantucket. Her last novel, The Rumor, was my favorite of hers to date so I have high hopes for this summer's release. This novel revolves around a pricey piece of Nantucket real estate, the death of its celebrity chef owner, and the drama that ensues when he leaves the residence to his three spouses, current and former. Hilderbrand literally writes her novels by the pool (longhand, on legal pads): maybe that's her secret for perfectly capturing the island setting down to the tiniest detail? Publication date June 14 2016. More info →
The first adult novel in twenty years from National Book Award-winner Woodson, who I only know from the wonderful Brown Girl Dreaming. A chance encounter with an old friend in her childhood neighborhood brings back a flood of memories for August, and in a series of vignettes, she remembers what it was like to grow up as an African American girl in 1970s Brooklyn. Early reviews call this piercing, gritty, beautiful. Publication date August 9 2016. More info →
From the author of 2014's surprise sensation The Miniaturist. It was well-written and dripping with atmosphere but not quite to my taste, but I admired her skills enough to see how she does with different subject matter. Her new novel is about two strong women--one in 1967 London working at a prestigious art institute, one in 1936 Spain during its civil war. The women are connected through a painting of murky provenance. In alternating viewpoints, Burton examines how these women's lives are intertwined, and what it means for them both. Publication date July 26 2016. More info →
A new nail-biter from Thriller Award winner Abbott is always news. She's best known for The Fever, a book I've been meaning to read for ages. I know her by reputation, though I haven't yet read her work, and was surprised to hear her forthcoming novel is focused on an elite teen gymnast, a tragedy that rocks her training facility, and the subsequent unraveling of everything the characters thought they knew about each other. Publication date July 26 2016. More info →
From the bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale. McMillan reliably writes relatable female narrators, saying "I write about what breaks my heart. What I don't understand. And what I wish I could change." In her new release, a 54-year-old woman is jolted into action when an old college crush dies. She begins to question what it is she really wants out of life, and hits the road to tell all the men she's loved just what they meant to her. Publication date June 7 2016. More info →
This book has generated crazy amounts of hype: I feel like I've been hearing about it all year. Cline's story about a young girl drawn into a cult in 1960s California was inspired by Charles Manson and his followers. I started to read this as a potential Summer Reading Guide pick (first impressions: highly stylized, ambitious prose) and immediately realized it was too gritty for the guide, but I might pick it back up again this summer. Publication date June 14 2016. More info →
The second novel from the author of the critically acclaimed debut The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. Kirkus calls it a "sophomore slump," but Kirkus is notoriously cranky. I read this and while I didn't love it, I did blitz through it in two days because I wanted to find out what happens next . If you DO want to read it talk a friend into joining in, because you're going to want to talk about it. Publication date May 17 2016. More info →
Mary Kay Andrews is a perennial staple in romance-lovers' beach bags. Her new summer release is set on the North Carolina coast on the idyllic Belle Isle. Riley is waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one afternoon when the sheriff shows up to serve her with papers, and her husband never shows at all. As Riley seeks support and tries to figure out what's going on, she realizes she has a mystery to uncover. A quirky small town is the backdrop for this summer read, and warm, humorous characters round it out. Publication date May 17 2016. More info →
Kubica has earned quite the reputation for edge-of-your-seat thrillers with her bestsellers The Good Girl and Pretty Baby, but this is the first of hers I've read. When her ever-reliable roommate goes missing, Quinn starts to investigate, and quickly discovers she may not have known her friend at all. Warning: the flap copy is deliberately misleading. I liked this well enough, even though it didn't make the cut for the Summer Reading Guide. Publication date May 17 2016. More info →
What’s on YOUR summer reading list? Is there a new release you’re especially looking forward to? Tell us in comments.