Want more free summer reading goodies?

Enter your email address here to receive immediate access to a pretty printable one-sheet summer reading poster, plus summer reading bookmarks bearing my top 5 picks for the summer plus space to create your personal summer reading list. You'll also get great bookish content from Modern Mrs Darcy for all four seasons.

Send me more of the good stuff!

NEW: Use the checkboxes to create your own custom summer reading list.

Series: Twisty Novels

     

I See You

I See You

While reading the paper on the Tube, Londoner Zoe Walker spies her own photo in a personal ad for a dodgy website called FindtheOne.com. It's grainy, but it's definitely her. Startled, she begins to investigate—and discovers that women whose photos have previously appeared in these ads have been victims in a series of increasingly violent crimes. Someone is watching her, but who, and why? I adored Mackintosh's debut I Let You Go and have been impatiently waiting for another. Publication date: February 21. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Dry

The Dry

Author:
"You lied. Luke lied. Be at the funeral." Federal Agent Aaron Falk is summoned home with these words after his best friend Luke dies in a heartbreaking murder-suicide, turning the gun on himself after killing his wife and 6-year-old son. Falk obeys—but he can't believe his best friend could have done such a thing, and so he starts digging, dragging long-buried secrets back to the surface. The setting is the drought-ravaged Australian Outback, and the brittleness and heat are almost palpable. Imagine an Australian Tana French, and you've got this stellar debut about right. (Psst—we're talking with the author in the MMD Book Club this summer.) Publication date: January 10. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger

Author:
After botching the biggest case of her career, journalist Leah Stevens needs a fresh start. After a chance encounter with an old roommate, both girls decide to make a new life for themselves in an unlikely place—rural Pennsylvania. Leah is desperate to avoid any attention that might resurrect the deadly mistakes of her past, and she succeeds—until a girl who looks unnervingly like her is found, bludgeoned, in a nearby ravine. And her friend has disappeared. The ensuing hunt to discover what really happened left me reeling—I had no idea who was at fault, and what would happen next, and I loved it for that. From the author of All the Missing Girls. Publication date: April 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
I Found You

I Found You

Author:
Jewell is a master at the kind of domestic suspense that has you reading "one more chapter" till 2 a.m. Her latest hooked me on page 3, when a man is found on the Yorkshire coast, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Miles away in Surrey, a new wife is worried that her ever-punctual husband has been missing for hours. These events are intimately connected, but nothing will make sense until we figure out what really happened on one fateful night back in 1993. Publication date: April 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said

Author:
Kit and Laura first came together because of a common obsession: they're eclipse chasers, who travel the world to experience solar eclipses firsthand. The story opens when the two are married, expecting their first children (twins!), and taking pains to keep any trace of their existence off the internet. We soon learn this is because of an event they witnessed at an eclipse festival in 1999, which, along with the subsequent trial, had devastating consequences for all involved, consequences that still endanger them today—and we're about to find out just how much. A fabulous psychological thriller. Publication date: June 27. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com

Series: History

The Lost Book of the Grail

The Lost Book of the Grail

Author:
A new literary mystery, scavenger-hunt style, from the author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions. Arthur is a staid and steady—perhaps a trifle boring?—old-school Brit; Bethany is a techie American who's come to his English library to digitize his beloved ancient manuscripts. Arthur's smitten, yet quite concerned—will she interfere with his personal quest for the Grail? Books, romance, and literary high jinx—what's not to love? Publication date: February 28. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning

Author:
This well-crafted YA release smoothly bridges the divide between present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma and the little-known race riots that occurred there during two terrifying days in 1921. During renovations of 17-year-old Rowan Chase's historic family home, a skeleton is unearthed in the backyard. The police don't care who the bones belong to, but Rowan sure does. Unbeknownst to her, this skeleton links Rowan with another teen, Will Tillman, who lived in Tulsa nearly a hundred years ago. Latham flips back and forth in time, between two teens facing their own kinds of crossroads, to give her readers a page-turning history/mystery mash-up, as her young protagonists wrestle through issues of family, friendship, identity, and belonging. I read this in an afternoon—I couldn't put it down. Publication date: February 21. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
A Bridge Across the Ocean

A Bridge Across the Ocean

Author:
Brette can see ghosts—she's had the sight since she was a child, same as her grandmother. When she's summoned by an uneasy ghost to put to rest unfinished business on the Queen Mary, she feels she has no choice but to comply. That summons plunges her into the fascinating and fraught history of the hundreds of war brides the ship carried across the ocean following the war—and one particular mystery that has never been solved. Reminiscent of Kate Morton, but with ghosts. A paperback original. Publication date: March 14. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Jane Austen Project

The Jane Austen Project

Surprise, surprise, what do we have here? A Jane Austen time travel novel that's actually good! At some unspecified point in the future, the earth's atmosphere has been destroyed, food can no longer be grown, and wormholes to the past are in constant use. So when Rachel is asked to go back in time and retrieve the finished (yes, really!) manuscript of The Watsons, she jumps at the chance. But things do not go as planned... Gentle readers, this does not read like an Austen novel, and Janeite purists will need their smelling salts. But if you love Jane Austen AND Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, give this one a try. A paperback original. Publication date: May 2. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Indie Bound
The Alice Network

The Alice Network

Author:
It's 1947, and society girl Charlie St. Clair is desperate to find her beloved cousin Rose, who mysteriously vanished during the war. Her inquiries lead her to Eve, a cranky old woman, who Charlie soon discovers has intimate ties to the first female spy network, and who may have personal and professional reasons for tracking down Rose—and getting revenge in the process. A little bit The Nightingale, a little bit Girl in Disguise. A paperback original. Publication date: June 6. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com

Series: Thought-provoking Stories

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Author:
This has been called "the Black Lives Matter novel," for good reason. At age 16, Starr Carter has lost two close friends to gun violence: one in a drive-by; one shot by a cop. The latter is the focus of this novel: Starr is in the passenger seat when her friend Khalil is fatally shot by a police officer. She is the sole witness. Thomas seamlessly blends current events with lower-stakes themes common to teens everywhere, with great success. Fun fact: the title comes from a Tupac lyric. Publication date: February 28. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe

Author:
As a homebody with a healthy dose of wanderlust, I've been fascinated by Tsh's around-the-world adventure since the moment I first heard about it. With her husband and three kids under ten, Tsh leaves the States behind to travel to China and Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, Croatia and Germany and England and everywhere in between, for nine solid months. I so enjoyed getting to tag along on her family's global adventures, which were nothing at all like I expected—both more strange and more familiar than I had imagined. Publication date: April 18. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

Author:
Hands-down, one of the best books I've read in a year (or five). This is a story about a family that, years ago, started keeping a little secret. And, as secrets tend to do, it became bigger over time, implicating all the family members in its keeping, until it felt like the secret was keeping them. I fell completely in love with Rosie and Penn, gained insight into a situation I thought had nothing to do with me, and had complicated feelings about the resolution. This is a terrific novel about an endearingly quirky family forced to make an impossible decisions. That title? It comes from the idea that parents frequently have to make terrifyingly important decisions about their kids with not enough information even though the stakes are enormous. If this sounds good to you, do NOT read the flap copy! Just pick it up and start reading—you'll be glad you did. Publication date: January 24. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words

Author:
In 1970s Johannesburg, race is everything, yet two people who are completely incompatible in apartheid-ruled South Africa are thrown together following the 1976 Soweto Uprising. After white police open fire on peacefully protesting black schoolchildren, 9-year-old Robin Conrad's life is shattered when her parents are killed in the backlash. Meanwhile, Beauty Mbali's daughter goes missing, and Beauty's search for her coincidentally lands her a job as Robin's caretaker. As time stretches on, Beauty grows to care deeply for this child she is being paid to "love," and Robin, while fiercely possessive of Beauty, is keenly aware her parents wouldn't approve of this relationship. Readers, take note: this didn’t grab me when I tried to read it on the Little League sidelines, but at home with a cup of tea it was engrossing. Publication date: July 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Author:
Easily one of the best books I've read this year, and I don't expect that to change. I wouldn't have "gotten" this at 22 but adored it in my 30s. Time, memory, marriage—things many of us relate to, or can at least imagine—but Shapiro writes about them with such freshness the concepts seem brand new. My favorite line of exploration: the nature of mistakes, near-misses, and time: "The stumbles and falls; the lapses in judgment; the near misses; the could-haves. I’ve become convinced that our lives are shaped less by the mistakes we make than when we make them." If I were to judge my books by how many passages require book darts, this one wins everything. Publication date: April 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com

Series: Intense Novels

Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed

Author:
Liv and Nora are cousins, close as sisters. After a rough year and lots of family drama, they're in desperate need of a low-key family getaway. The cruise was going to be perfect. And it is, for a while. But then on a normal—almost boring—Central American shore excursion, a series of misunderstandings and misjudgments ends with terrifying confusion—where are the children? Soon enough, the adults realize six children have vanished—and from alternating points of view, we discover where they went, and why, and who's to blame. (There's lots to go around.) Readers take note: this is messy, and a little racy. If you need characters you can root for, keep moving. Publication date: June 6. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages

Author:
The book begins with an accident. It was just a fender-bender, and it wasn't their fault, but after two years in Jordan as an Army wife, Cass has learned it doesn't matter—as Americans, they're always the guilty party. Newly arrived Margaret, whose husband is also stationed at the Embassy, chafes at these local "customs," and all the other cultural pressures she feels as an American living in a country that's becoming increasingly dangerous. But Margaret determines to go pay the "guilt tax" anyway, and asks Cass to babysit her child while she tends to her quick errand. When Margaret doesn't return, Cass becomes annoyed, then increasingly worried.... as it dawns on Cass that she never understood her friend at all. This close look at two women, two marriages, and two worlds is dark and broody in the best kind of way. Publication date: June 27. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Beartown

Beartown

Author:
Backman's new 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. Imagine Missoula meets You Will Know Me, and you've got it about right. 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. Publication date: April 25. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Almost Missed You

Almost Missed You

Violet and Finn were meant to be—anyone who knows their story knows that much. Yet three years into their marriage, Violet walks into the hotel room she's sharing with her husband and son and finds that Finn is gone—and he's taken their son with him. In a matter of days, her picture-perfect marriage is revealed to be something else, maybe even something sinister: Finn is wanted on a kidnapping charge, and Violet wonders if she ever knew him at all. I love that the plot hinges on a Craigslist "missed connections" posting, and the atypical Cincinnati setting is satisfying and believable. Publication date: March 28. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Stars Are Fire

The Stars Are Fire

Author:
After a scorching summer and months of no rain, the largest fires in Maine's history swept over its coast, from Bar Harbor to Kittery. In Shreve's claustrophobic domestic suspense we experience this real event through the eyes of Grace Holland, whose marriage is its own sort of natural disaster. Her husband came back from the war a little broken. So did her friend's husbands, yet they don't seem as cruel. When wildfires break out, her husband leaves to help dig a fire break, and Grace and her children flee to the ocean to escape the flames. When her husband doesn't return, Grace thinks she's lost him forever—and she's far from devastated. But then he returns, and the real trouble begins. Dark and a little melodramatic, but oh-so-discussable. Publication date: April 18. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com

Series: Families Are Complicated

Mr. Rochester

Mr. Rochester

Author:
In this work of historical fiction, Shoemaker imagines a backstory for Brontë's timeless hero, and it is not what I expected. She begins in his youth, with his education and increasingly complicated family history, then moves onto his troubled coming of age in Jamaica, his father's shady business dealings, and how he became entangled with Bertha Mason. This feels a little like Brontë, but even more like Dickens. Publication date: May 9. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters

I can't do better than my bookstore-owning friend Holland to sum this one up: Imagine The Help meets Comic Con, and you've got this story about right. Talented graphic novelist Leia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand at a comic book convention. She doesn't know the father's name, but he looked awfully cute in his Batman suit. As Leia absorbs the knowledge that she'll soon be a mother to a biracial baby, she is summoned home to Alabama to do what she can for her struggling family—her stepsister's unraveling marriage, her grandmother's worsening dementia, and a shocking secret hidden in the family attic. This is a fast-reading, big-hearted novel that tackles Serious Issues really, really well—while spinning a terrific story. Publication date: July 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Fall of Lisa Bellow

The Fall of Lisa Bellow

Author:
This YA crossover is absorbing and strange and hard to put down. Meredith and Lisa, both 8th graders, have the misfortune to be in The Deli Barn during an armed robbery. Lisa is kidnapped; Meredith is left behind, which makes her incredibly lucky—but also unraveled and guilt-ridden and, weirdly, jealous. Why did the kidnapper choose the popular Lisa over her? What follows is a believable and utterly readable portrait of a suburban family's attempt to work through the near-miss, which, in addition to the situation at hand, also brings long-buried emotions involving marriage, baseball, and junior high drama to the surface. The teens are especially well-written. This book is weird; be prepared. Publication date: March 14. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Identicals

The Identicals

When they were 17, Harper and Tabitha's parents divorced. Tabitha went with her mom to Nantucket; Harper went with her dad to Martha's Vineyard. Now 39, the twins haven't spoken in years, and each has heaps of her own troubles—love, family, work, you name it. For reasons that are easy to read but hard to explain, the twins end up trading islands to work through the latest crisis. Imagine a grown-up take on The Parent Trap, with a lot more twin troubles and a lot fewer tween giggles. They call Nantucket native Elin Hilderbrand queen of the summer novel for a reason; the islands themselves have so much personality in these pages that it feels like very realistic escapist fiction. Publication date: June 13. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Anything Is Possible

Anything Is Possible

Like many readers, I found My Name Is Lucy Barton a delightful surprise—I didn't expect to love it, but I absolutely did. Yet when I heard Elizabeth Strout's next novel was a short story collection set in Lucy Barton's world, involving characters from her family and hometown, I wasn't sure it was a good idea. I was wrong. If you enjoyed Lucy Barton, put this at the top of your summer list. (The books are wonderful companions but don't need to be read in order.) Publication date: April 25. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com

Series: Beach Novels

Every Wild Heart

Every Wild Heart

Author:
With novels like How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls, Meg Donohue is no stranger to the summer reading scene. This year she's back with a story inspired by Delilah Rene Luke, host of radio show Delilah After Dark, which Donohue fondly remembers as "part soap opera, part therapy session, and part corny music extravaganza." (That fact alone made me want to read it.) In this novel, Delilah becomes Gail Gideon, a local talk show host who's life becomes very complicated, very quickly, when her horse-loving teen daughter suffers a traumatic brain injury, at about the same time that a stalker forces her way into G.G.'s life, threatening G.G. and her family. If that sounds grim, take heart: with Donohue's light touch this becomes a warm, uplifting read. Publication date: March 14. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Windfall

Windfall

Alice doesn't believe in luck, at least not the good kind. But when she buys her friend Teddy a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday, she picks the good ones: 31 (Teddy's birthday). 9 (the number of years they've been friends). And for the Powerball number: 13 (the date both her parents died, 13 months apart, making her an orphan). That unlucky number wins him 140 million dollars. Teddy promises her the money won't change anything, but of course it does. A novel of love, family, fate, and Chicago, and one that you could read in the course of one happy afternoon. Publication date: May 2. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi

Author:
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 say 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. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
The Café by the Sea

The Café by the Sea

Author:
Flora was determined not to become trapped on the tiny Scottish island where she grew up, like her mother was. She fled years ago and made a life for herself in London, never looking back. Her job could be better, and she's such a cliché, hopelessly in love with her oblivious boss, but at least she got out. But then fate intervenes, and her firm's most important client needs her hometown knowledge for an important deal, so she reluctantly returns to face the family she left under terrible circumstances. A story of small town life, second chances, and family—the kind you get, and the kind you make. If you loved The Bookshop on the Corner or My Not So Perfect Life, you will LOVE this book. Publication date: June 27. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Audible.com
Hello, Sunshine

Hello, Sunshine

Author:
Sunshine Mackenzie has it all—a loving husband, a successful business, and a blockbuster YouTube cooking show. She's about to ink a deal making her the next Food Network star when a hacker takes over her twitter account and exposes her as a fraud, spilling secrets she's kept carefully hidden. She can't cook, she's no farmer's daughter, and her work relationships have become less-than-professional. After this spectacular and public fall from grace, Sunshine needs to put her life back together—but how? If you need likable characters, this is NOT the book for you, but if you want a breezy beach read with a beautiful juicy cover, drop this in your swim bag. From the bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes. Publication date: July 11. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Indie Bound
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble

Kick off YOUR summer with this curated guide to the best summer reads. Anyone can browse a best seller list, but those lists don't help you decide if those are the right books for YOU.

That's why this is the SIXTH year we're sharing our MMD Summer Reading Guide. These are my hand-picked top reads for the season. I've read every book in it, front to back, and can tell you why each title may or may not be the right book for YOU. Amazon has millions of books, your local bookstore has thousands, but this guide has just 30 handpicked titles—that's 5 books each over 6 categories--so you can bypass the duds and go straight to the good stuff.

I'm especially excited about our reading list feature, new for 2017. Click the checkboxes to highlight the titles you're most excited about (or check them all!) and click "print" or "email" to get your personalized summer reading list. Tuck it into your reading journal, take it to your local indie, or hand it to your local librarian—it's a piece of cake to use.

A quick note about the titles listed here: this guide is editorially driven. That's a fancy way of saying that here on MMD, we don't accept $$$ to recommend books or even talk about specific titles—not ever. I'm sharing these 30 titles because I loved them, and I think you will, too. That's not always the norm on the interwebs, but it's the way we roll on this site.

This guide is so much fun to put together and I'm so happy to share it with you. I hope you find some completely amazing titles to read this summer. Email us, tag us, tell us what you're reading and loving—we can't wait to hear!

Happy reading, everyone! - Anne

Love a good book list?

Share this guide on your favorite social media channel with the hashtag #summerstooshort, because summer's too short to read bad books. Thanks in advance!