Summer reads are like an exotic vacation, without the baggage. They allow you to escape to a glamorous locale, indulge in a devious love triangle and gasp at juicy plot twists without leaving your beach chair. We rounded up some of the most exciting titles of the season.
Emotional roller coaster:
“One True Loves” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Talk about intense. Emma Blair finds herself stuck between two choices: her husband, who was presumed dead, and her new fiance. The heart-wrenching, head-spinning love triangle is sure to keep the pages turning.
Dysfunctional family drama:
“Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty” by Ramona Ausubel
This is no “Home Alone.” Fern and Edger, a wealthy couple in 1976, find out they’re trust-fund bankroll has come to an end. To escape their new broke reality, both — thinking the other is home with their three young kids — go on trips with their lovers. What comes next is an insightful look on class, money and family values in America, lightened up with a sweet dose of magic.
Thrills and chills:
“The Girls” by Emma Cline
Emma Cline’s debut thriller had literary circles buzzing well before its publication, so expect to see it everywhere — from the subway to the beach and beyond — this summer. At the end of the ’60s, lonely 14-year-old Evie finds the connection she hungers for in a group of freewheeling older girls she meets in a Northern California park. But when she meets Russell, the girls’ charismatic, Charles Manson-like leader, Evie discovers there’s a dark side to this utopia.
When hipsters age:
“Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub
Emma Straub’s “Modern Lovers” uses gentrifying Brooklyn as the backdrop for a nostalgia-tinged tale that follows two couples on the cusp of 50 — Andrew and Elizabeth, Jane and Zoe — from their halcyon college days as almost-rockstars to their muddled middle-aged lives. Ennui and uncertainty push one toward a kombucha-swilling yoga studio/cult, and another hurtling toward a breakdown. When their teenage children start having sex, the longtime friends are forced to reckon with both the perils of aging and the follies of their youth.
“Here Comes the Sun” by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Nicole Dennis-Benn transports readers to tropical Jamaica in “Here Comes the Sun” — but it’s not all sunny paradise. Through the eyes of three women — a hustler, a dreamer and a ruthless mom — the author shines a light on her complex hometown where poverty, classism, sexual freedom and opportunity are just some of the struggles.
“Rich and Pretty” by Rumaan Alam
Female friendships are complicated. But somehow Rumaan Alam — a man — nails the tension, envy and intense love in this irresistible debut. Sarah and Lauren have been besties since middle school but now that the two are navigating their 20s in bustling NYC, something’s changed. Do they even like each other? Things come to a head during a bachelorette get-away. Will their friendship survive?
Welcome to the urban jungle:
“Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler
Stephanie Danler’s “Sweetbitter” chronicles 22-year-old NYC newbie Tess’ transition from provincial greenhorn to street-smart city denizen. In a year working at an “it” eatery, Tess learns about fine wine and exquisite cuisine — but she also gets a first-class education in the city’s social strata, drugs, relationships and heartbreak.
Gripping historical fiction:
“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
In her impressive debut novel, Yaa Gyasi (a mere 26 years old herself) deftly weaves the stories of Ghanaian half-sisters who have never met in alternating chapters: Effia, married off to a Brit to a life of comfort, and Esi, sold and sent to America as a slave. The shameful legacy of slavery on both Africa and America is examined in stories of the women’s descendants, from the 18th century through the present day.
For a shocking plot twist:
“Siracusa” by Delia Ephron
Spoiler alert! But not really. Even though you now know there’s a plot twist in “Siracusa” that will knock you out of your beach chair, you can’t even begin to guess what it will be. Two married couples who share a complicated, hidden past decide to go on vacation to the small island of Siracusa, where secrets are revealed and relationships are tested.
For a “Life’s gonna be OK” memoir:
“You’ll Grow Out of It” by Jessi Klein
“Inside Amy Schumer” head writer Jessi Klein chronicles her life in a series of raw, relatable and hilarious essays. Her stories include struggles with conforming to society’s standards of femininity and past relationships gone wrong. Get ready to laugh out loud and be pleasantly surprised at how much you have in common.