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Reading Recommendations for Summer (by Genre)

Everyone likes a different kind of beach read: some want to figure out whodunit as they fly through pages, others like to dive into a juicy and full-of-drama plot. This list has it all! Here are eight novels recommended for summertime reading. These novels are just as diverse as your summer plans—from pool to beach, romance to thriller.

A hand holds an open book with sand and the open water behind it.

Juicy Stories


The Daydreams by Laura Hankin

Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why. But now the fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.


Sunshine Nails by May Nguyen (Out July 4)

Vietnamese refugees Debbie and Phil Tran have made a good life for themselves in Toronto, but their landlord has just jacked up the rent of their family-run nail salon, Sunshine Nails, and it’s way more than they can afford. When Take Ten, a glamorous chain offering a more luxurious salon experience, moves into the neighborhood, the Tran family is terrified of losing their business—and the community they’ve built around them. But daughter Jessica comes to their rescue. She’s just moved back home after a messy breakup and an even messier firing. Together with her workaholic brother, Dustin, and recently immigrated cousin, Thuy, they devise some good old-fashioned sabotage. But as the line between right and wrong gets blurred, relationships are put to the test, and Debbie and Phil must choose: Do they keep their family intact or fight for their salon?

 

Deadly Plots


Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

Jen Weinstein and Lauren Parker rule the town of Salcombe, Fire Island every summer. They hold sway on the beach and the tennis court, and are adept at manipulating people to get what they want. Their husbands, Sam and Jason, have summered together on the island since childhood, despite lifelong grudges and numerous secrets. Their one single friend, Rachel Woolf, is looking to meet her match, whether he's the tennis pro-or someone else's husband. But even with plenty to gossip about, this season starts out as quietly as any other.

Until a body is discovered, face down off the side of the boardwalk. Stylish, subversive and darkly comedic, this is a story of what's lurking under the surface of picture-perfect lives in a place where everyone has something to hide.


Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Ernie Cunningham, a teacher and crime fiction aficionado, is a reluctant guest at a family reunion held in a snowbound mountain retreat. Three years ago, Ern witnessed his brother, Michael, kill a man and immediately shopped him to the police. This was a betrayal no one in his well-known crime family could forgive and for the last few years Ernie has been shunned by his relatives. But now they are all gathered at the Sky Lodge Mountain Retreat to welcome Michael back into the fold after his release from prison.


However, on the eve of Michael's release, the body of a man is found frozen on the slopes. While most assume the man simply collapsed and died of hypothermia during the night, Ern and his step-sister Sofia spot a strange detail - the man's airways are clogged with ash. He appears to have died by fire . . . in a pristine snowfield . . . without a single burn mark on him.

 

Family Drama

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, old money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood but giving up far too much in the process; Sasha, a middle-class New England girl, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family, and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider; and Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t have and must decide what kind of person she wants to be. Shot through with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is an addictive, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognizable, lovable—if fallible—characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love—all wrapped in a deliciously funny, sharply observed debut of family, love, and class.


The Retreat by Zara Raheem

Nadia Abbasi's marriage is falling apart. It starts with a gifted Roomba, but when she stumbles upon some questionable photos in her husband Aman's office, everything makes sense—the late-night texting, the sudden interest in fitness, the new clothes. Aman--the kind, thoughtful man she married--is having an affair. Determined to find out what went wrong in her marriage, Nadia enlists the help of Zeba, the estranged sister she hasn't seen or spoken to since their mom's funeral over a year ago. As the two sisters fight to reconcile their past, Nadia realizes her relationship with Aman is not the only one that needs mending. Nevertheless, the plan itself is simple: confront the "other woman" and win back her husband. Her clumsy attempt at sleuthing leads her from yoga studio—Aman's latest hangout—to a three-day wellness retreat in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains. But somewhere in between falling out of tree pose and choking down plant-based meals, Nadia's plans unravel again when she discovers more than she expected about herself, her husband, and the nature of love.

 

Historical Fiction


Did You Hear About Kity Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul

When Kitty Karr Tate, a White icon of the silver screen, dies and bequeaths her multimillion-dollar estate to the St. John sisters, three young, wealthy Black women, it prompts questions. Lots of questions. A celebrity in her own right, Elise St. John would rather focus on sorting out Kitty’s affairs than deal with the press. But what she discovers in one of Kitty’s journals rocks her world harder than any other brewing scandal could—and between a cheating fiancé and the fallout from a controversial social media post, there are plenty. The truth behind Kitty's ascent to stardom from her beginnings in the segregated South threatens to expose a web of unexpected family ties, debts owed, and debatable crimes that could, with one pull, unravel the all-American fabric of the St. John sisters and those closest to them.


The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton

New York heiress Catherine Dohan seemingly has it all. There’s only one problem. It’s a lie. As soon as the Morro Castle leaves port, Catherine’s past returns with a vengeance and threatens her life. Joining forces with a charismatic jewel thief, Catherine must discover who wants her dead—and why. Elena Palacio is a dead woman. Or so everyone thinks. After a devastating betrayal left her penniless and, on the run, Elena’s journey on the Morro Castle is her last hope. Steeped in secrecy and a burning desire for revenge, her return to Havana is a chance to right the wrong that has been done to her—and her prey is on the ship. As danger swirls aboard the Morro Castle and their fates intertwine, Elena and Catherine must risk everything to see justice served once and for all.

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Book blurbs taken from Good Reads of Google Books and shortened.

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