Beach reads are one of the best things about summer, whether you’re traveling to a distant shore or staycationing closer to home. From gripping memoirs that will have you mesmerized to light-hearted fiction that will make you laugh to informative non-fiction—we have the ultimate list of summer books for you to dig into, no matter where you are.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Southern California family drama—yes, please! Commonwealth explores the story of how one scandalous romance forever changes two families. This heart-wrenching yet brilliant tale captures the challenges of loyalty and the inescapable bond of family. If you believe in the power of love, this novel has your name on it.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Critics are raving about this breathtaking debut novel that spans generations and continents. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle while unbeknownst to her, her sister Esi is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons. Esi is sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America. Readers follow the story of this family from the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of 20th-century Harlem, right up through the present day. If you’re looking for a historical novel with beautiful writing and characters, snatch up this incredible debut.
Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer
Kick off your summer with this engrossing family drama that has authors like Emily Giffin and Elisabeth Egan singing its praises. Char Hawthorn’s spirited 15-year-old stepdaughter Allie is suddenly ripped away from her after Char’s husband dies in a car accident. As Allie is sent to live with her self-absorbed birth-mother by the state, Char’s relationship with Allie grows tense. The only thing that seems to keep Allie grounded in school is 10-year-old Morgan, a girl she tutors who was adopted out of foster care. But when Morgan suddenly disappears, Char must face a potential future without Allie while also trying to help Morgan who’s been caught up in the American foster care system. Untethered is an emotional family drama that will keep readers hunched over the pages as each word continues to hook them further and further into the story.
I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
Terry McMillan is a perennial favorite; we’re glad to see her newest novel the way we’re glad to see one of our oldest friends. The #1 New York Times bestselling author brings her trademark warmth, sizzle, and friendship to, I Almost Forgot About You, the story of Dr. Georgia Young. Georgia’s wonderful life—great friends, family, and successful career—aren’t enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to quit her job and uproot her life to a new city, you’ll find yourself cheering her on as she seeks out a better life, love and the possibility of a new direction. It’s everything you always love about Terry McMillan.
First Women by Kate Andersen Brower
More relevant than ever this election year, First Women explores the lives and untold stories of all the remarkable women who held the FLOTUS title since 1960. From rivalries and friendships to the struggles of maintaining a marriage under the nation’s scrutiny, this group biography illuminates the secret life of being First Lady of the world’s most powerful country.
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
Anna Quindlen has a way with rich, well-rounded characters that make her books compulsively readable. In this emotionally charged novel, Mimi Miller discovers decades of shocking truths and dark secrets in her family’s hometown, leading her to question everything she has ever known. Miller’s Valley is a gentle reminder to never forget your family and where you come from—even when you aren’t proud of it.
The House That Made Me by Grant Jarrett
This heartwarming book is a collection of essays reflecting on the significance of one incredibly important word: home. Each story stirs emotion as different award-winning authors dive deep into personal nostalgia and detail diverse stories of childhood, unique upbringings, and unforgettable experiences. For those of us who love to cry (raise hand), The House That Made Me is a winner.
The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda
Many parents dread the thought of their child growing up–saying goodbye to your baby is never easy. The novel, The Goodbye Year, explores the emotions of both parent and teenager from both sides as they face the challenges of children becoming adults, and the adjustments that are made as the nest empties.
Clear to Lift by Anne A. Wilson
How’s this for a romp? Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone is ready to get back to her life in San Diego with her fiancé, but for now, she has been assigned to a search and rescue team based in the boonies of Nevada, stuck with her mission commander who can barely follow military procedures. Excitement ensues when Alison meets mountain guide Will during a rescue mission and soon she is introduced to a world of adventure she didn’t expect. Clear to Lift is action-packed with rescue scenes that will keep your heart racing, paired with a thrilling adventure of self-discovery.