Whether you’re looking for your next beach read or leisure time read, there are plenty of books to fall in love with this summer. From coming-to-age memoirs to mystery thrillers to romcoms, this list of books will fit all genres. Here are some of the best books to read this summer:
“Stay True” by Hua Hsu
Written by The New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, this is a short yet extravagant coming-of-age memoir. Going back to his time as an 18-year-old, the book follows him and his friend Ken. Both struggle with their sense of belonging due to their race, but together they help each other through it. But then Hua is struck with tragedy as Ken is killed in a carjacking only after a few years of being friends. What is a beautiful tribute to his friend, “Stay True” is a story destined to make you shed a few tears.
“Black Cake: A Novel” by Charmaine Wilkerson
This debut novel by Charmaine Wilkerson tells the story of Byron and Benny, whose deceased mother left them a black cake and a voice recording in their inheritance. It’s within this voice recording where they find out secrets of her past, making the two siblings rework everything they thought about their family. It’s a book that will have you deeply invested and you’ll be unable to put it down.
“Mary Jane: A Novel” by Jessica Anya Blau
Set in the summer of 1970s Baltimore, Md., 14-year-old Mary Jane takes up a job as a nanny for a daughter of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist takes in a famous couple, one a famous rock star, the other a movie star, to help them work on addiction and their marriage. That summer, Mary Jane is introduced to the double life of rock-and-roll while dealing with her own familial troubles at home. This historical fiction is ablaze start to finish, as you travel back to a heated summer in the 1970s.
“Small Worlds” by Caleb Azumah Nelson
“Small Worlds” explores the life of Stephen, an aspiring dancer, over the timespan of three summers. While looking for a place to feel free, he struggles with his relationship with his father. This coming-of-age story explores heartbreaking themes of racism with astonishing prose writing that will blow you away.
“Hidden Pictures: A Novel” by Jason Rekulak
Jason Rekulak’s supernatural thriller, “Hidden Pictures: A Novel,” is about a nanny who looks over a boy with one too many secrets. Through the five-year-old boy’s disturbing artwork, the nanny, Mallory, starts to ponder the pictures and all the hidden meanings. The novel won a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror in 2022, and is recommended for fans of “Stranger Things.” This thriller is a perfect campfire, late summer night read that might keep you up.
“Happy Hour” by Marlowe Granados
21-year old Isa arrives in New York City for an adventurous summer of partying and scraping for cash. Isa’s life as a party girl with no job is fascinating all-around, as her chaotic summer story never stops blazing with heat. Funny but also sentimental, Granados’s debut novel is a perfect summer read for those looking for a page turner of fun.
“Maame” by Jessica George
“Maame” consists of several themes including humor, racism and familial relationships. The story follows the life of Maddie, who takes care of her father and feels rejected at her workplace. After her mother comes back from a period of absence, Maddie can finally start going out into the world and experience all the things life has to offer. And of course, the fun doesn’t last that long when tragedy strikes. This story is a whirlwind of emotions but an overall touching story to read this summer.
“Pageboy: A Memoir” by Elliot Page
Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page is ready to share his story on coming out as a trans man and his journey of self–acceptance in his memoir “Pageboy.” He also speaks out about his time in Hollywood and the prolific film roles he was playing. This memoir will definitely be the hit release of the summer, so be sure to check it out.
“The Celebrants” by Steven Rowley
This moving tale about a group of longtime friends and their challenges with adulting, is a newly released summer read. Similar to the 80s film, “The Big Chill,” this novel follows a particular reunion of the group as they go on their usual summer trip to Big Sur. But in this go around, the pact is working on their biggest challenge yet, and it might be the end of the group as they know it. Readers can definitely resonate with summer reunions with friends and the struggles of being an adult.