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9 Perfect Novels to Put You in the Summer Mood

by | May 19

It may still technically be spring but I’m ready to go full on summer with my book choices. Even if you’re still in the office or the classroom, there’s no reason you can’t let some top-notch summer fiction transport you to a coastal town in Maine or a hazy day in southern California.

(Related: The 6 Best Book Giveaways Happening As We Speak)

Whether you’ve got a crazy adventure planned for this summer or you just plan on basking in the air conditioning, go grab some iced coffee and get whisked away by one (or all!) of these summer reads that we’re beyond excited for.

1. THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware

From the master of the summer thriller comes a new book about four friends who grew up together at a second-rate English boarding school. Notorious for playing “The Lying Game” with everyone they knew, the inseparable group had one rule—don’t lie to each other. Years later, they are brought back together as the consequences of their lies come back to haunt them. Don’t you love it when summer books are described as chilling?

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

2. THE GIRLS by Emma Cline

As twisted as this book is—and believe me, the story of a young girl who gets involved with Charles Manson’s cult leading up to the infamous Manson murders is VERY twisted—the hazy, atmospheric vibes of a California summer in the ‘60s make it one of the best summer reads around.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

 

3. FLY ME by Daniel Riley

Set against the backdrop of the drug and surf scene of the beaches in Los Angeles, Daniel Riley’s new book is an intense story of self-discovery, with all the danger and debauchery you could ask for in a coming-of age novel about a drug-trafficking scheme in the ‘70s.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

 

4. THE SUMMER HOUSE by Hannah McKinnon

Summer is often the time for family gatherings and, although my family is nowhere near as eventful as the Merrills, Hannah McKinnon perfectly captures what it’s like when a whole family comes together in one house. When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, before too long long-kept secrets come to light and the reality that they take for granted will be challenged.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

5. THE ACCOMPLISHED GUEST by Ann Beattie

One of the best things about summer is being able to travel, and I think I may be physically incapable of travelling without a book (or three!) in my bag. Grab this latest story collection from Ann Beattie and go find yourself adventure in the great wide somewhere (Beauty and the Beast reference, sorry not sorry).

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

6. ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT by Laura McBride

If your summer travels are taking you to Vegas, then, first of all, you’re much more adventurous than I am, and second, you need this book in your life. (Honestly, you may need it even more if you’re not going to Vegas). Centered around one life-changing moment at a casino nightclub, this gorgeous novel tells the interconnected stories of four women and the intensity and intimacy that fills their lives.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

7. THE SALT HOUSE by Lisa Duffy

Some summer reads are meant to fly by and some are meant to stay with us. Lisa Duffy’s heartbreaking, hopeful portrait of marriage, family, and friendship is the latter. Set in the coastal town of Alden, Maine, this gorgeously written novel follows a young family one summer after they are isolated by a sudden tragedy, but compelled to action to save their threatened lobster business.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

8. THE GYPSY MOTH SUMMER by Julia Fierro

This is another really quality book you need to have on your list this summer. Set in the summer of 1992, the gypsy moth invasion that is swarming the community of Avalon Island pales in comparison to the vivid stories of young lovers, tales of anxious outsiders, and plots of vengeful elders. All these threads come together to create a masterful “novel [that] shakes and stirs family saga and summer romance upside down” (Amy Bloom).

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

 

9. MANNY THE FRENCHIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS by Manny the Frenchie

Ok, so this doesn’t technically count as a novel, but I had to slip it into the end of this list because OBVIOUSLY. And a dog writing a book is kind of like fiction, right? Besides, this is the perfect summer read for when your brain has turned off and all you want is to be overwhelmed by the cuteness of a napping French bulldog.

READ IT: BARNES & NOBLE / AMAZON / INDIEBOUND

The Lying Game

The Lying Game

by Ruth Ware
New York Times Bestseller From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister... The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.” The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father). Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
The Summer House

The Summer House

by Hannah McKinnon
When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own. No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.
'Round Midnight

'Round Midnight

by Laura McBride
From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.What is it about the Midnight Room? In a choreographic tour de force, Laura McBride twirls four women through a Las Vegas nightclub, turning their separate lives into a suspenseful, intricate dance of mothers, daughters, wives, and lovers. The One Who Falls in Love: June hires a charismatic black man to sing at her club, but her fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount. The One Who Gets Lucky: Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail-order bride, then strikes it rich in the Midnight Room. The One Whose Heart Is Broken: Engracia finds bad luck in the Midnight Room and becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secrets when she confronts a man with a gun. The One Who Always Wondered: Coral struggles with her mysterious past until a desire to help Engracia steers her to the Midnight Room. Wise and heartbreaking, jubilant and loving, ’Round Midnight is about the intensity and intimacy of four women’s lives, lives that are connected by secrets, courage, tragedies, and small acts of kindness. This brilliantly conceived, passionately written novel will resonate long after you turn the final page.
The Salt House

The Salt House

by Lisa Duffy
*Real Simple “Best Books of June” *Refinery29 “Best Beach Reads of 2017” *Bustle.com “17 Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017” In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy.In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound. A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart. When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future. Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.
Manny the Frenchie's Art of Happiness

Manny the Frenchie's Art of Happiness

by Manny the Frenchie
Based on his popular Instagram feed @Manny_the_Frenchie and Facebook profile, this is an illustrated and humorous guide to living a happy and fulfilling life by “the most famous French bulldog in the world…who’s downright amazing” (Buzzfeed.com).In 2011, Manny was the runt of the litter and on his way to a shelter. But when his parents scooped him up, named him after the world famous boxer, Manny Pacquiao, and began posting photos of him sleeping in their sink accompanied by humorous, optimistic captions, Manny went viral. Whether he’s wearing sunglasses, hitting up music festivals, or sleeping in adorable costumes, this little Frenchie always encourages a positive, do-gooder outlook to his followers. Packed with cheeky humor, witty wisdom, and charming anecdotes, Manny the Frenchie’s Art of Happiness will satisfy dog lovers of all breeds.
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