Enjoy previous picks from

Summer Reading Guides

Over ELEVEN years of Summer Reading Guides
have produced some great reads we think you’ll like.

History Comes Alive

Novels that mess with history in the best possible way.

The Huntress

The Huntress

The Alice Network author Quinn also takes on the aftermath of WWII in her latest historical release. Inspired by a true story she stumbled upon in the historical archives (which would totally spoil the big reveal—you’re going to have to read the Author’s Note to learn all!), Quinn weaves together three perspectives to tell a gripping story: Jordan is a Boston teenager who works in her father’s Boston antiques store, Ian is a British journalist determined to bring his brother’s killer—known as “the Huntress”—to justice, and Nina is a Russian fighter pilot and the only woman alive who can identify the Huntress. There’s no weak link in the story; each thread is fascinating—and when they began to come together I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. A mesmerizing tale of war crimes, coming of age, love and fidelity, and the pursuit of justice, with stirring implications for today.

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Wholly Unexpected Love Stories

Not at all what we were expecting

Field Notes on Love

Field Notes on Love

When Hugo Wilkinson’s girlfriend Margaret unexpectedly breaks up with him, he’s left with a broken heart and an extra ticket for the trip of a lifetime they’d planned to take together between high school and college. It would be a grand adventure and an opportunity for Hugo to get out of his siblings’ shadow for a bit. As one of the famed Surrey sextuplets, there’s very little he gets to do on his own. That’s why Hugo would be happy to travel alone, but there’s a catch—Margaret Campbell booked the nonrefundable, nontransferable tickets for their cross-country American rail adventure in her name, which means if the trip is going to happen, he needs to find another Margaret Campbell. What follows is a story of chance, friendship, coming out of  your shell, and into your own … while maybe finding love on the way. Part coming-of-age story, part romance, part travel adventure, and wholly absorbing.

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Families Are Complicated

Tension drives a good plot forward, and these families have plenty of it

To Night Owl From Dogfish

To Night Owl From Dogfish

This modern-day version of The Parent Trap is fun for the whole family. This collaboration between two highly successful authors—one who primarily writes for kids, the other for grown-ups—features two twelve-year old girls living on opposite coasts who strike up an unwanted correspondence after they discover their single fathers fell in love at a building conference and are now dating. This relationship is not good news to either of them, as they make clear in the ensuing emails that comprise the book. Their situation goes from bad to worse when their fathers force them to attend the same summer camp, hoping they’ll become friends. Things go horribly wrong in more ways than one, but there's not a single page here that doesn’t feel fresh, funny, charming, and real. A big-hearted story for readers of all ages. For fans of C.C. Payne’s The Thing About Leftovers and Rebecca Stead’s The List of Things That Will Not Change.

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Gripping Suspense
Only Ever Her

Only Ever Her

In small-town Ludlow, South Carolina, Annie Taft’s wedding is set to be the social event of the year, and maybe even the decade. Everyone knows and loves Annie; they’ve looked out for her ever since her mother was killed when she was three years old, and they’re eager to turn out for her big day.  But then the bride vanishes, three days before the wedding. Those close to her know Annie needs her space, and they don’t worry much—in the early hours. But as the wedding draws ever nearer they begin to fear that she’s not simply dealing with cold feet. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Annie went missing right after her mother’s alleged killer was released from prison due to problems with his trial—problems for which Annie herself shares responsibility. Rotating perspectives and a slew of uncovered secrets keep you on your toes, and you won’t find out what really happened until the final pages.

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Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

Jackson’s latest Southern story feels both exactly like the books her long-time readers know and love and like a total departure—and I am here for it. Her new domestic thriller (yes, really!) begins at a book club meeting in a quiet suburban neighborhood. These women live quiet lives revolving around family and sometimes work; they know each other well, and everything unfolds as usual … until a new guest arrives, one who has a score to settle based on long-buried secrets, and who won’t rest until she makes the woman pay for her crimes. But what happened back then, and why does it matter now? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my quest to discover the truth for myself. An absorbing, rewarding mystery that will delight her loyal readers and entice new fans. Publication date: July 30.

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The River

The River

I didn’t know a book could be both gorgeous and terrifying—but then I devoured this in a day. When two college friends plan a long canoeing trip in northern Canada, they anticipate a peaceful yet memorable summer escape filled with whitewater paddling, fly fishing, and campfire cooking. The first hint of danger is a whiff of smoke, from an encroaching forest fire. The next comes from a man, seemingly in shock, who reports his wife disappeared in the woods. If these boys didn’t feel compelled to do the right thing and go look for her, they’d be fine, but instead they step in to help—and are soon running for their lives, from disasters both natural and man-made. A tightly-written wilderness adventure, a lyrical mystery, and a heartrending story of friendship, rolled into one. For fans of Sebastian Junger’s Fire and Tim Johnston’s The Current.

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Twisty Mysteries

Engrossing novels that keep you guessing till the end

The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple

Well this is new: a murder mystery from Nantucket novelist Hilderbrand that brings back beloved past characters. Celeste and Benji’s wedding is supposed to the big event of the season … until Celeste finds her maid of honor’s body floating in the bay on her wedding day. She was up before dawn because she was sneaking away from the scene of the festivities with a packed bag. Everyone thought Celeste and Benji were the perfect couple, so what is going on? As the Nantucket police open their investigation, the timeline moves back and forth between the wedding weekend and the start of the couple’s relationship, allowing the reader to slowly put the pieces together. This easy-reading mystery features well-developed characters, a solid plot, plus the food and style readers expect from Hilderbrand.

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Hit the Road
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Happiness for Beginners

Happiness for Beginners

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter needs a do-over, so she signs up for a notoriously tough wilderness survival course to prove that she can make it on her own. But then she finds out her kid brother’s best friend is joining her on the trip, wrecking her plans before she even gets to the mountains. Once there, Helen confronts a summer blizzard, a group of sorority girls, rutting season for the elk, and spin-the-bottle—yet she also discovers what it really means to be brave. A fun and light read that still manages to tackle some serious topics. If you love this, go back and read The Lost Husband.

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Badass Women

Stories with gutsy leading ladies

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Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

This quirky little book is unlike anything I've ever read. Keiko was an uncommon child with worried parents until she takes on a job in a convenience store. They relax that she's found a pleasant and predictable routine while at university. But eighteen years later, she is still working her low-level job, and doesn't understand why society expects more from her than that. In fact, she doesn't seem to understand society's expectations—or how to conform to them—at all. Hot tip: critics are comparing Keiko to French heroine Amélie, although the two live different lives in different worlds.

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Beachy Novels

Easy-reading stories perfect for the backyard, beach, or pool

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi

Dimple and Rishi are destined to marry—their parents arranged it years ago. And when both teens decide they want to attend the same residential summer program, their parents think there's no harm in letting them get to know each other. Rishi can't wait to meet—and woo—his future wife over the summer. But, unbeknownst to Rishi, Dimple's parents haven't told her anything. Can you saw awkward? When they meet, sparks fly—and not the good kind. At least not at first. This is bubble-gum feel-good Bollywood YA, tons of fun and surprisingly insightful. Publication date: May 30.

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"The SRG is my official kick off to summer-can’t wait!"

Thoughtful and Funny Memoirs
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You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

Roosevelt penned this book--part memoir, part advice manual--in 1960, when she was 76 years old. It’s striking how fresh and wise her insight seems today, over fifty years later. Roosevelt offers an interesting perspective on history, unique insights into her life (which contained a surprising amount of personal tragedy), and a good bit of wisdom you might just apply to your own life.

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Flights of Fancy

Wildly imaginative novels

The Life Intended

The Life Intended

The publisher calls this Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You: the premise is far-fetched, but it's supposed to be. Early in their marriage, Kate’s husband dies in a tragic accident. Twelve years later, Kate promises to marry a man who’s good on paper—but the night of their engagement, Kate vividly dreams about the life she would have had if her first husband had lived. The dreams keep returning, night after night. Harmel uses her strange jumping-off point to explore how suffering shapes our lives in surprising and even hopeful ways. Don't worry: it's not at all depressing, and Harmel's a great storyteller. Warmhearted and richly told.

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Get Smart

Dad books for everyone

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Rubin’s much anticipated follow-up to her happiness books is all about habits: how we make them, why we break them, and how we can improve them. That may not strike you as poolside fare, but the chatty writing, illuminating insights, and story-driven narrative make this guidebook anything but dry and boring. Packed with relatable tales from Rubin’s life, which are easy to apply to your own. If you put them into practice, this book will change your life. Practical, engaging, entertaining.

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Intense emotionally resonant

Stories that keep your pages turning and your heart pounding

Beartown

Beartown

This was a hard read because of the content but so, so good. Backman's latest novel is set in a backwater Swedish town whose glory days are gone—except when it comes to hockey. In Beartown, hockey is everything, and the players on the boys' A-team have god-like status. But this isn't just a hockey story. One night after a huge win, the teens throw a raucous party to celebrate—and what happens there splinters the community. Part coming-of-age story, part community-in-crisis, completely fabulous. (And I don't care a bit about hockey, so that's saying something.) Heads up, readers: triggers abound. If you've read and enjoyed Backman in the past, you'll recognize his skillful prose, but not the tone: this novel bears none of the whimsy of his previous work.

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Southern Fiction

Tales with southern charms and wiles

The Lost Husband

The Lost Husband

Center's novels read as easy as the fluffiest chick lit, but they run surprisingly deep, and are emotionally wise. Libby is attempting to rebuild her life, and that of her two kids, after her husband died in a car crash two years ago. But she's finally had enough of living with her crazy mother, and moves out to the Texas hill country to try out a new life on her crazy Aunt Jean's goat farm. This short and easy read has a familiar arc: girl in a mess, girl sees the light, girl finds happiness, yet its themes of family, forgiveness, and redemption make it worth your while. Recommended reading for Brené Brown fans.

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The Invention Of Wings

The Invention Of Wings

Charleston, November 1803. Sarah Grimké turns 11. Her birthday gift? A slave named Hetty ("Handful"). This sweeping novel tells the story—in alternating voices—of real-life abolitionist Sarah Grimké and the wholly imagined slave Handful through several decades and up and down the East Coast during a tumultuous time in American history. A can’t miss for fans of The Help or Monk Kidd’s first hit, The Secret Life of Bees. An engaging mix of fact and fiction.

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Evensong

Evensong

What happens when we get the thing we desire most in life—only to find that it might destroy us? That's the question Margaret faces at the opening of Evensong. This tale, set in the mountains of North Carolina, faithfully examines marriage and vocation and calling through the eyes of Margaret, a thirtysomething Episcopal priest, who is forced to finally confront matters when three unexpected and—let's face it—unwelcome guests arrive in her sleepy North Carolina mountain town of High Balsam. This book, first published in 1999, has the fingerprints of the millennium all over it. If you love it, go back and read its predecessor, Father Melancholy's Daughter.

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Foodie Memoirs

Stories of life in and around food services will leave your mouth watering

The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

If you're the type that tends to over-romanticize the City of Lights, let David Lebovitz snap you back to reality. As an American expat who chose to move to France, he loves Paris—but he also has no qualms about exposing the ridiculous, baffling, and frustrating side of le France. (I still laugh when I think of his claim that he didn't REALLY feel like he belonged until the day he put on dress pants and a freshly ironed shirt to take out the trash). Lebovitz's niche is food writing, and while you'll hear plenty of stories of navigating the city, you'll also find food on nearly every page. Plan to be inspired to make (or at least eat) French favorites like warm goat cheese salad, chocolate mousse, and macarons. A perfect read for those who have lived in Paris, been to Paris, or just want a good laugh.

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Meet Anne

Anne Bogel is an author, podcast and book club host, and the creator of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy. Anne approaches old, familiar ideas from new and fresh angles and she is well known by readers, authors, and publishers as a tastemaker. Her podcast What Should I Read Next? Is a popular show devoted to literary matchmaking, bibliotherapy, and all things books and reading. She also helps people learn to read better, together in Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, four children, and a yellow lab named Daisy.