With the long weekend ahead of us, there's no better time to start a great book. In need of a recommendation? We've got you covered. Whether you're looking for a breezy beach read, a who-done-it crime mystery, or an epic World War II story, there's something for everyone here. Scroll down to browse the twelve books we think you'll devour. Happy summer reading!
Paper Towns by John Green ($14; amazon.com)
Last year, John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars became a summer blockbuster, causing teens and adults alike to weep at the movie theater. This year, his book Paper Towns is getting the same silver-screen treatment. Before it hits theaters in July, you’ll want to read this captivating story about Quentin Jacobsen and his enigmatic neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, who disappears the night after she enlists Quentin to join her on a revenge campaign against her cheating ex-boyfriend. Left with nothing but the clues she’s sprinkled in her wake, Quentin and his friends go on an epic adventure to find Margo.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ($15; amazon.com)
Dystopian fiction has risen in popularity over the past few years, but Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven goes beyond the Hunger Games fantasy. After a deadly flu pandemic destroys most of the world’s population, 21st century civilization as we know it ceases to exist. In the wake of the devastation, a small troupe of actors and musicians, who call themselves the Traveling Symphony, bands together in the hopes of keeping arts and humanity alive in this altered world. As the story moves between the past and present, Mandel weaves together a tale not only of survival, but what it means to be a survivor in spite of insurmountable loss.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ($27; amazon.com)
Everyone is buzzing about this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, and for good reason. Since the novel first hit bookshelves last May, it has captured the imaginations of readers worldwide thanks to Doerr's deftly written, engrossing story. Set in France during World War II, the novel follows two protagonists, a blind French girl and a German boy, who are both trying to survive during this difficult time. Their journeys begin in France and Germany, respectively, but eventually their lives collide in a spectacular way.
The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer ($19; amazon.com)
While you're sipping your first frozen drink of the season, crack open Nancy Thayer's delightful beach read. Set in Nantucket, the story follows a recently single mother of two and a widowed father who accidentally rent the same beach cottage for the summer. Determined to not let this snafu ruin their vacation, they decide to share the house. As the summer heats up, so does their attraction, but will they be jump back into love so soon? That's what you'll have to find out.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ($14; amazon.com)
Billed as the next Gone Girl, British writer Paula Hawkins's debut novel comes close. Like Gillian Flynn's bestseller, The Girl on the Train falls soundly in the can't-put-it-down psychological thriller category. Right from the opening line, Hawkins hooks the reader with a chilling must-solve mystery: "She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks…" From there, you'll be introduced to a trio of unreliable narrators whose increasingly interlocking stories collide in spectacular, mind-bending ways.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah ($15; amazon.com)
Much has been written about World War II, but Kristin Hannah gives us a new perspective with her heartwrenching novel The Nightingale. Set in Nazi-occupied France, Hannah tells the story of two sisters, one forced to fend for her family after her husband heads to the front, and the other an eighteen-year-old girl on the brink of adulthood. While their circumstances are vastly different, they're united in their journey of survival in war-torn France. Thanks to Hannah's descriptive writing, you'll be swept away in their plights, as they're forced to make difficult decisions that will determine their futures.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume ($11; amazon.com)
With Judy Blume's new book The Unlikely Event coming out next month, we're highlighting her last book for adults, Summer Sisters. Don't let the cover fool you, it's not your typical beach read. Yes, it recalls youthful summers spent in Nantucket, but the story, about two childhood friends who grow up together and then grow apart, is more than a fluffy novel for warm summer days. Blume explores the often complex nature of female friendships in a way that will have you nostalgic for your adolescence.
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith ($14; amazon.com)
J.K. Rowling's gift for storytelling transcends the world of Hogwarts in her new series. Written under her pseudonym, Robert Gailbraith, Rowling enters the world of crime fiction with The Cuckoo's Calling, the first of the Detective Cormoran Strike books. Here we're introduced to her unlikely protagonist, an Afghanistan vet who's down on his luck and living in his office after he breaks up with his girlfriend. When a childhood acquaintance enlists his service to investigate his supermodel sister's mysterious death, he gladly takes on the case to find out of his friend's instincts ring true.
The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza ($18; amazon.com)
If you loved The Devil Wears Prada, then you’re going to devour this juicy summer read. When Imogen Tate returns to work as the Editor-in-Chief of Glossy magazine after a six-month sick leave, she finds her former assistant Eve sitting in her chair taking a selfie. She soon comes to realize that her beloved magazine is being turned into an app. Now an outsider looking in, Imogen must navigate this digital-first world and take down her former assistant who threatens not only to ruin her career but the magazine.
Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin ($2; amazon.com)
Delve deeper into your love of Pitch Perfect by reading the book that inspired it all. Like the movie, you'll be captivated by the phenomenon that is collegiate a cappella thanks to journalist Mickey Rapkin, who follows a season in the competitive singing realm. Trust us, it's just as aca-awesome as the movie.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub ($12; amazon.com)
As anyone who has ever been on a family vacation knows, there will inevitably be some drama, and Emily Straub's The Vacationers explores just that. On the outside, the Post family's vacation to Mallorca should be perfect, but just below the surface each character is dealing with their own jealousy and secrets. The parents' marriage is on the brink; their son and his much older girlfriend are grappling with financial troubles; and their daughter is determined to lose her virginity before college. As these issues begin to bubble to the surface, you'll be reminded of your own family in the best way.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter ($12; amazon.com)
This book has been on the must-read list for the past two summers, and this year is no exception. An epic tale of love and loss that spans decades, Beautiful Ruins tells the story of a young Italian innkeeper who has an almost-love affair with a beautiful American actress. She lures him into her lavish, glittering world, from the set of Cleopatra to the back lots of Hollywood, they must navigate the ups and downs of life all while holding onto their improbable dreams.
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