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25 New Books You Need to Read This Summer

From 'Long Island Compromise' to 'Tell Me Everything'

  • May 22 2024
  • 122
25 New Books You Need to Read This Summer
25 New Books You Need to Read This Summer

Summer is just around the corner and those looking for something to read on the beach, by the pool or even indoors are in luck. The most anticipated books of summer 2024 seem to offer something for everyone: a heart-pounding mystery from Rachel Howzell Hall, a hip-hop history lesson from Questlove, and another Elizabeth Strout novel that stars her abrasive heroine Olive Kitteridge.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can relax with memoirs from Dr. Anthony Fauci, artist Anna Marie Tendler, and the long-time assistant to the late Joan Didion. Chill out with debuts from exciting up-and-comers like film producer Essie Chambers and Palestinian journalist Yasmin Zaher. Or heat things up with Casey McQuiston, who is back with a romance that they call their “spiciest” book yet, and memoirist Glynnis MacNicol, who shows how a few months in post-pandemic Paris helped her get her groove back.

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Below, the 25 most anticipated books of the summer.

Swift River, Essie Chambers (June 4)

Essie Chambers’ debut novel, Swift River, is a heartbreaking, yet hopeful coming of age story about the high cost of family secrets. In 1987, a lonely, overweight biracial teenager named Diamond Newberry struggles to make sense of her dad’s mysterious disappearance seven years earlier. (The only thing they ever found were his sneakers, placed along the titular New England mill town’s namesake river, with his wallet and house keys tucked inside.) While Diamond’s mom fights to declare her husband legally dead in order to collect his much-needed insurance money, the 16-year-old receives a letter from a long-lost relative that has her convinced that her dad is still alive. And if that’s the case, she wonders, why doesn’t he want to be found?

Buy Now: Swift River on Bookshop | Amazon

Fire Exit, Morgan Talty (June 4)

With his spellbinding follow-up to Night of the Living Rez, Morgan Talty offers a compassionate portrait of a man who is desperate to understand who he is and where he came from. A river on Maine’s Penobscot Reservation is all that separates Charles Lamosway from the daughter he secretly fathered more than 20 years ago and has watched from afar since her birth. When she suddenly goes missing, Charles finds himself revisiting the most consequential events of his life—his tough childhood on the reservation, his too-short relationship with his daughter’s mom, and the tragic death of his stepfather—in the hopes that he will be able to tell her the truth of his identity before it’s too late.

Buy Now: Fire Exit on Bookshop | Amazon

The Friday Afternoon Club, Griffin Dunne (June 11)

Actor and director Griffin Dunne is the son of investigative journalist Dominick Dunne, and the nephew of legendary writers John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. In his debut memoir, The Friday Afternoon Club, he attempts to make sense of his well-known family’s strange, and often tragic history and his place in it. He shares Hollywood tales about being saved from drowning by Sean Connery, trying to hook up with Janis Joplin in his teens, and forming a lifelong bond with Carrie Fisher while she filmed Star Wars. But it’s the 1982 death of his sister, Dominique, at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, and the trial that followed that looms large over the book. Written with candor and heart, The Friday Afternoon Club is more than just a juicy celebrity autobiography, it’s a loving portrait of a complicated but resilient family.

Buy Now: The Friday Afternoon Club on Bookshop | Amazon

The Sons of El Rey, Alex Espinoza (June 11)

A family of luchadores, Mexican wrestlers known for donning vibrant masks and costumes, are the subject of The Sons of El Rey, Alex Espinoza’s gripping novel about masculinity and migration. In present-day East Los Angeles, Mexican born-LA raised former lucha libre wrestler Freddy Vega struggles to save his dying dad Ernesto’s gym. On his deathbed, Ernesto, better known as famed luchador El Rey Coyote, has visions of his late wife and his alter-ego, who force him to confront the choices he made back in 1960s Mexico City. Meanwhile, Freddy’s openly gay American-born son, Julian, struggles to find a place for himself in a sport that has not always been accepting of queer people. With affection and humor, The Sons of El Rey shows how three generations of one luchador dynasty wrestle with their demons, desires, and destinies.

Buy Now: The Sons of El Rey on Bookshop | Amazon

The Uptown Local, Cory Leadbeater (June 11)

For nine years, Cory Leadbeater worked as Joan Didion’s personal assistant—but The Devil Wears Prada this is definitely not. In Leadbeater’s debut memoir, The Uptown Local, he makes it abundantly clear that working for Didion, who died in 2021, was a dream job for a then aspiring novelist in his early twenties. He writes longingly of the revered author and the time they spent together in her final years as roommates entertaining “Oscar winners, California governors, and Supreme Court justices”in her Manhattan co-op. But he also admits that this once in a lifetime gig couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. He writes honestly of the depression, addiction, and trauma stemming from an abusive childhood that made it hard for him to get up everyday. The Uptown Local is a touching tribute to an unlikely friend and mentor who changed his life and writing in ways he could have never imagined.

Buy Now: The Uptown Local on Bookshop | Amazon

What Fire Brings, Rachel Howzell Hall (June 11)

Best-selling author Rachel Howzell Hall’s latest thriller, What Fire Brings, is a riveting psychological mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. As the newest writer-in-residence for crime author Jack Beckham, Bailey Meadows must keep the twists coming and the books selling. But what Jack doesn’t know is that Bailey took the job to find her friend who went missing in the woods surrounding his home—the same friend who was out in those woods looking for another girl who vanished without a trace. And, as it turns out, neither of those women are the first to mysteriously disappear on his property.

Buy Now: What Fire Brings on Bookshop | Amazon

I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, Glynnis MacNicol (June 11)

I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself is a provocative travelog that covers one woman’s search for radical pleasure. After spending the height of the COVID-19 pandemic alone in her tiny Manhattan apartment, author Glynnis MacNicol jumped at the opportunity to sublet her friend’s Paris home in August 2021. At 46, childless, and unattached, she wanted to prove to herself—and to a world that is not always kind to women of a certain age—that she still had a lot of living to do. Over the course of one Parisian summer, she finds gratification in good food, good wine, and really good sex. (The book’s cover is a cheeky nod to just how much time she spends in the nude.) By giving herself over to her indulgences, MacNicol learns to live her best life. With her book, she encourages others to do the same.

Buy Now: I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself on Bookshop | Amazon

Hip-Hop Is History, Questlove (June 11)

Hip-Hop Is History, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s fifth book, traces the lineage of the titular musical genre alongside his own upbringing in Philadelphia. In the spiritual sequel to his 2021 book, Music Is History, the celebrated musician and Oscar-winning director chronicles the first 50 years of hip-hop through insightful and passionate analysis that celebrates the big-named artists who popularized the style, as well as those lesser-known creatives who quietly influenced rap’s rise. Along the way, he offers personal recollections about how the relatively young music style has shaped his identity. A must-read for old school hip-hop heads and burgeoning fans alike.

Buy Now: Hip-Hop Is History on Bookshop | Amazon

One of Our Kind, Nicola Yoon (June 11)

From Nicola Yoon, the author of Everything Everything, an unsettling social thriller that is Get Out meets Rosemary’s Baby. One of Our Kind, Yoon’s fourth novel and first for adults, is set in Liberty, Calif., a fictional idyllic all-Black gated community outside of Los Angeles. Jasmyn, a public defender expecting her second child, moves there with her venture capitalist husband and their young son looking for a place where they can feel safe and supported. What she finds isn’t the Black utopia she dreamed of, but a town more interested in self-care than social justice issues. When Jasmyn starts digging into the community’s history, she uncovers a shocking secret about Liberty’s founders that threatens to tear her family apart.

Buy Now: One of Our Kind on Bookshop | Amazon

Parade, Rachel Cusk (June 18)

Rachel Cusk, the author of The Outline trilogy, has never been afraid to get experimental with her writing. In the case of Parade, she is once again pushing the boundaries of the literary form. The follow-up to her more conventional 2021 novel, Second Place, is a work of abstract fiction that follows G, an artist who takes on nearly a half-dozen different personas. Across four sections, G is a chauvinist painter who creates portraits of his wife upside down, a 19th century female painter who dies in childbirth, a male filmmaker fleeing his repressed parents, a female painter in a dysfunctional marriage, a Black painter excluded by his peers, and a suffering female sculptor. Despite their core differences, each version of G forces readers to ask important philosophical questions regarding art, gender, motherhood, creativity, and objectification.

Buy Now: Parade on Bookshop | Amazon

On Call, Anthony Fauci (June 18)

The COVID-19 pandemic made Dr. Anthony Fauci a household name, but that was just one chapter in the 83-year-old’s long and storied career as an infectious disease expert. In his first memoir, On Call, Fauci recounts his time as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a role he held for nearly 40 years before stepping down in 2022. During his tenure, Fauci worked under seven presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan and ending with current President Joe Biden, and writes about those relationships in the book. In a statement via his publisher, Fauci said that he hopes his book “will serve as a personalized document for the reader to understand better the daunting challenges” that public health officials face.

Buy Now: On Call on Bookshop | Amazon

Caledonian Road, Andrew O’Hagan (June 18)

For fans of Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities: writer, journalist, and editor-at-large of London Review of Books Andrew O’Hagan’s sprawling seventh novel, Caledonian Road, is a sharp satire aimed at Britain’s modern polite society. In the span of one year, art historian, noted professor, and best-selling author Campbell Flynn finds himself entangled with a radical blue collar student, a scandal plagued friend, and an amoral Russian oligarch in hopes of climbing even higher on the social ladder. But it’s only a matter of time before Campbell’s questionable decisions start to catch up with him in this scathing tragicomedy about greed, corruption, and ambition.

Buy Now: Caledonian Road on Bookshop | Amazon

Devil Is Fine, John Vercher (June 18)

In John Vercher’s heart-wrenching novel, Devil Is Fine, the unnamed protagonist, a biracial writer, finds himself in constant conversation with the teenage son he unexpectedly lost. The boy becomes his dad’s quiet companion, helping him get through the days, which are often marred by panic attacks and regrets that he didn’t try harder to relate to his late son. Shortly after his teen’s death, the narrator learns that he has inherited a plot of land from his estranged white maternal grandfather that was once a slave plantation. He visits the property, planning to sell it, but once there, he begins having visions of those who were brutalized on the grounds. Caught between the natural world and the spirit one, he must come to terms with his family’s brutal past and his son’s death in order to find salvation.

Buy Now: Devil Is Fine on Bookshop | Amazon

The God of the Woods, Liz Moore (July 2)

Best-selling author Liz Moore’s latest thriller, The God of the Woods, begins in 1975 with the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl from an Adirondack summer camp. But Barbara Van Laar is no ordinary camper: she’s the troubled teenage daughter of the camp’s wealthy owners, whose older child, Bear, also went missing without a trace 14 years earlier. When members of the community—including the camp’s director, a head counselor, Barbara’s bunkmate, and an inexperienced state police detective—start looking into the young girl’s vanishing, they uncover long held family secrets that the Van Laars spent over a decade trying to hide.

Buy Now: The God of the Woods on Bookshop | Amazon

Long Island Compromise, Taffy Brodesser-Akner (July 9)

Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s follow-up to her best-selling debut, Fleishman Is In Trouble, picks up 40 years after mega-rich polystyrene manufacturer Carl Fletcher was kidnapped from his Long Island mansion and returned home less than a week later. The novel looks at how things went back to normal for the Fletchers—or so they wanted to believe. Long Island Compromise delves into the lasting impact the event had on Carl, his wife, and their three grown children, weaving in tales of tradition, ambition, and inheritance that span generations of the family’s difficult history.

Buy Now: Long Island Compromise on Bookshop | Amazon

The Lucky Ones, Zara Chowdhary (July 16)

Zara Chowdhary’s timely debut memoir, The Lucky Ones, is a moving account of how she and her family survived more than 20 years of anti-Muslim violence in India. The book begins on February 27, 2002, the day of the deadly Godhra train burning, which triggered India’s worst communal riots in over 50 years. Chowdhary, who was a teenager in the early 2000s, recounts in great detail the fear and anxiety her family felt as they watched their Hindu neighbors become their enemies. But she also offers necessary historical and political context for the violence that has transpired between Hindus and Muslims for more than eight decades and counting. The Lucky Ones is a harrowing survivor’s tale, an important history lesson, and a desperate warning from someone who has seen the tragic effects of ethnic violence.

Buy Now: The Lucky Ones on Bookshop | Amazon

State of Paradise, Laura van den Berg (July 9)

In the words of tortured poet Taylor Swift: “Florida is one hell of a drug.” And Laura van den Berg seems to agree. In her wonderfully weird new novel, State of Paradise, a ghostwriter for a famed author escapes to the Sunshine State to be closer to her messed-up family. Amid an unidentified pandemic, her mom becomes the unwitting leader of a cult, her younger sister uses sophisticated virtual reality technology to keep in touch with their dead dad, and their neighbors start going missing at an alarming rate. When her sister suddenly disappears only to return days later, she begins to investigate the origins of the mysterious VR company and excavate her own childhood traumas in hopes of saving those who still remain in her hometown.

Buy Now: State of Paradise on Bookshop | Amazon

The Coin, Yasmin Zaher (July 9)

The protagonist of journalist Yasmin Zaher’s bold debut novel, The Coin, is an enigmatic Palestinian woman struggling to find her place in post-2016 New York City. She is “simultaneously rich and poor” due to the fact that she’s unable to access her inheritance while in the U.S., but can’t stop buying designer clothes to keep up a dignified appearance. She teaches at a middle school for underprivileged boys, but sells counterfeit Birkin bags on the side for extra cash. Amid all this dirty business, she becomes obsessed with being clean, rubbing her skin raw in order to take back control of a body and mind that feel caught between two worlds. With The Coin, Zaher creates a hypnotic portrait of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Buy Now: The Coin on Bookshop | Amazon

Catalina, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (July 23)

The Undocumented Americans author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s first novel follows the titular character, a charming and cunning undocumented Ivy League student, as she prepares for post-grad life. Due to her immigration status, Catalina Ituralde’s future has always been uncertain. To get ahead, she has always had to hustle, and has been rewarded for her drive. But as she gets ready to leave Harvard, she’s feeling a bit disenchanted. Unlike her privileged peers, she can’t be legally employed, which has left her wondering how she’ll pay rent, care for her undocumented grandparents, and finally fall in love. With Catalina, Villavicencio draws from her own experience as an undocumented person and Harvard grad to give voice to a fierce, but vulnerable character.

Buy Now: Catalina on Bookshop | Amazon

Someone Like Us, Dinaw Mengestu (July 30)

The sudden death of an unconventional father figure leads the protagonist of Dinaw Mengestu’s third novel, Someone Like Us, on a cross-country journey to untangle the facts and fictions of his life. Amid the breakdown of his marriage, Mamush, a globe-trotting war correspondent, heads back to the Washington, D.C. suburb where he was raised by his Ethiopian mom. The day he arrives, he learns that Samuel, a charming but troubled family friend, has died. The loss forces Mamush to trace Samuel’s immigrant journey, often with the late man’s ghost by his side, in this captivating novel about displacement, isolation, and oppression.

Buy Now: Someone Like Us on Bookshop | Amazon

The Pairing, Casey McQuiston (Aug. 6)

Casey McQuiston, the best-selling author of One Last Stop, is back with another queer rom-com that is sure to set your heart aflutter. The Pairing picks up with sommelier-in-training Theo and pastry chef Kit, childhood best friends-turned-estranged exes, four years after their nasty breakup. The duo have now accidentally found themselves on the same nonrefundable European food tour they were set to embark on together before they called it quits. To prove they’re completely over one another, they decide to strike up a friendly bet to see who can hook up with their handsome Italian tour guide first. Horny hijinks definitely ensue in this delicious summer romance.

Buy Now: The Pairing on Bookshop | Amazon

Hum, Helen Phillips (Aug. 6)

Hum, Helen Phillips’ follow-up to her 2019 novel The Need, is a tense dystopian thriller set in a near-future where sophisticated artificial intelligence threatens human existence as we know it. After losing her job to highly capable robots, known as “hums,” May agrees to take part in an experimental surgery that will make her face unrecognizable to surveillance. The surgery, which brings her closer to becoming more like the AI she was once hired to train, comes with a big payday that helps bankroll a family trip to a nature theme park. When the vacation goes awry, May must do the unthinkable in order to save her husband and kids: seek help from a hum with questionable motives.

Buy Now: Hum on Bookshop | Amazon

Mina’s Matchbox, Yōko Ogawa (Aug. 13)

Mina’s Matchbox, celebrated Japanese author Yōko Ogawa’s 2006 novel that has been newly translated by Stephen B. Snyder, is a transfixing coming of age tale set in early 1970s Japan. When Tomoko’s mom decides to go back to school, the pre-teen is sent to live with her affluent aunt and uncle for a year. When she arrives at their mansion, she discovers eccentric relatives: a German great-aunt still reeling from the events of World War II, a precocious asthmatic cousin who carries matchboxes as her talisman, and a domesticated pygmy hippo, which acts as the family pet. While there she also uncovers a host of secrets that force her to question her family’s complicated history.

Buy Now: Mina’s Matchbox on Bookshop | Amazon

Tell Me Everything, Elizabeth Strout (Aug. 13)

With her tenth novel, Tell Me Everything, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout returns to the sleepy coastal town of Crosby, Maine, the fictional setting of her 2008 best-seller Olive Kitteridge, to catch up with three of her most beloved characters. Amid a murder investigation, writer Lucy Barton, local lawyer Bob Burgess, and Strout’s brusque titular heroine Olive Kitteridge, now 90 years old and living in a retirement home, find solace in one another’s company. Tell Me Everything is a novel of well-observed connected short stories about fear, regret, and friendship.

Buy Now: Tell Me Everything on Bookshop | Amazon

Men Have Called Her Crazy, Anna Marie Tendler (Aug. 13)

With her debut memoir, Men Have Called Her Crazy, artist Anna Marie Tendler steps out of the shadow of her famous ex-husband, comedian John Mulaney. Her new book is not a celebrity tell-all, but a stunning self-portrait of a woman trying to make sense of the misogyny and sexism she has faced throughout her life. With unbridled humor and honesty, she begins the book by recounting her experience checking into a psychiatric hospital in early 2021 for anxiety, depression, and disordered eating. From there, she recalls other pivotal decisions —the first time she self-harmed, lost her virginity, and decided to freeze her eggs—pinpointing the often negative role men have played in her life. With Men Have Called Her Crazy, Tendler is finally able to take back the narrative.

Buy Now: Men Have Called Her Crazy on Bookshop | Amazon


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