It’s beach read season! Whether you’re headed to a literal beach, or just need a respite from summer’s oppressive heat, curl up with one of these books to soak up some rays (or just the air conditioning). With titles from beloved favorites like Elin Hilderbrand, Emily Giffin, and Sara Shepard, these books will keep you entertained no matter where your summer takes you. Enjoy, and don’t forget to reapply!
Pretty little lying rich girls
Sara Shepard’s new series for adults certainly hearkens back to her Pretty Little Liars bestsellers: After making their wealth through diamonds, the Saybrook family commands New York City’s attention, from their heiresses’ sordid exploits to the dreaded family curse written about in a gossip blog devoted to the clan. But when one of the heiresses falls to her death, the remaining women find themselves stalked by someone close to the family—close enough to unveil their other hidden secrets and start picking them off, one by one. The Heiresses is frothy fun in the vein of Gossip Girl, with enough of a mystery to keep you turning the pages to find out which skeletons lurk in the Saybrooks’ walk-in closets.
On shelves: May 20
Clear eyes, full hearts, won’t move
There’s team spirit, and then there’s team spirit. Shea Rigsby falls into the latter camp: She loved her small town Walker and its Friday Night Lights-esque football culture so much that she never left. But a death in the community forces her to reevaluate her priorities and rethink the life she has chosen for herself. In The One and Only, Emily Giffin paints a picture of life in small-town Texas, and proves that what looks perfect from the outside sometimes isn’t, upon closer inspection.
On shelves: May 20
UK author Dani Atkins’ debut novel Then and Always is finally coming stateside. An accident changed Rachel’s life forever… but what if it didn’t really happen? Five years after her dreams were shattered, Rachel returns to her hometown to celebrate her friend’s wedding. When a second accident strikes, she can’t imagine life could get worse—and it doesn’t, it just gets different. She wakes up to a life where no one is quite how she remembers, her best friend is alive, and everything she lost is suddenly before her. While struggling to discover what has happened, Rachel is given a second chance to live out the life she once dreamed of.
On shelves: May 20
Can you see me now?
Fans of Shari Shattuck may be surprised by her departure from the action and paranormal elements that defined earlier works such as Lethal and Eye of the Beholder. Ellen Homes is invisible… but she’s not a ghost or sci-fi creature. She’s a quintessential wallflower: watching, observing, noting. For the most part, Ellen enjoys her place on the sidelines, though everything changes one night when she sees a blind woman being mugged and is forced into action. And once she’s been seen, there’s no going back to same ol’ Invisible Ellen.
On shelves: May 29
A little party never killed nobody
In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “ The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” a group of sisters sneaked away to a magical land every night while their father the King slept, and they’d dance with princes until their shoes were worn-out. In Nebula nominee Genevieve Valentine’s imaginative second novel, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, the sisters do a lot more than dance. They swig gin, flirt with scoundrels, dress like men, and evade the cops—all while doing the Charleston. This fairy tale retelling, set in the Roaring Twenties, is a delightful story of adventure, the bonds of sisterhood, and the meaning of freedom.
On shelves: June 3
First loves and imperfect matches on Nantucket
Every summer, with the regularity and welcomeness of a Memorial Day cookout or Fourth of July fireworks show, Elin Hilderbrand gives readers a sun-soaked, sea-sprayed story about friendship, family, and the power of human connection. Her new book, The Matchmaker, promises more of the same, telling the story of a middle-aged matchmaker whose world is turned upside down when an old flame returns to Nantucket after a 27-year absence.
On shelves: June 10
Good enough to eat
Portia has a sixth sense, of sorts: An excellent cook, she “knows” when someone will need the comfort of her food, even without completely understanding why. This sense kicks into high gear when, in the wake of a painful divorce, she moves from Texas to Manhattan to live in an Upper West Side townhouse an aunt has left to her and her two sisters. In Linda Francis Lee’s The Glass Kitchen, Portia deepens her love of cooking and forges important new relationships.
On shelves: June 17
When the tables turn
Ellen Moore is a social worker, so when she faces allegations of neglect after accidentally locking her daughter in a hot car, the accusation stings. A lot. Little Mercies tells the story of Moore’s improbable fight against the system she knows so well and of her ultimate redemption through her ever-deepening relationship with 10-year-old Jenny Briard. Heather Gudenkauf’s moving and insightful portrait of motherhood and its difficulties will tug the reader’s heartstrings—particularly those who are moms.
On shelves: June 24
One is the loneliest number
When One Plus One opens, Jess Thomas isn’t doing so hot. She’s juggling multiple jobs and working hard to hold everything together as a single mom. When tech millionaire Geeky Ed enters the picture, it seems like he is the answer to all of Jess’s problems. But nobody is exactly what they seem, and the reality of their relationship will be imperfect and quirky in its own way. Jojo Moyes takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster in this book about holding it all together (and maybe even falling in love) when it seems like everything is falling apart.
On shelves: July 1
Secrets you can’t see on YouTube
Much of the appeal of Hank Green’s web series The Lizzie Bennet Diarieswas retelling Pride and Prejudice through vlogs that made all of Lizzie’s thoughts and actions incredibly public. But that said, there’s something alluring about getting to unlock the snarky grad student’s private thoughts about her whirlwind Internet fame and a certain Mr. Darcy. Written by the series’ showrunner and consultant, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is the perfect companion for fans of the show.
On shelves: July 1
Sisterhood of the summer house
Four women, one oceanfront beach house, every August. Those were the rules. But when one of the foursome dies unexpectedly, the other friendships begin to deteriorate, and the remaining three go their separate ways. Years later, they reconnect at a wedding and decide to plan another trip together. With The Girls of August, Anne Rivers Siddons crafts a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for adults: This book is a testament to the importance of the bonds that bind us together across distance and time.
On shelves: July 8
You’re a real live outlaw, aren’t ya?
Road trips have a tendency of bringing out… well, everything. Even when you’re Driving with the Top Down, things can feel a little claustrophobic. The author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous, Beth Harbison explores the hilarious, heartfelt, and downright shocking moments that can be uncovered when three women from very different backgrounds hit the road together. Colleen struggles with the fear that she wasn’t her husband’s first choice. Under the premise of antique hunting, she seizes the opportunity to hit the open road and clear her mind. The last thing Colleen expects is to have her niece, 16-year-old Tamara, join her. And what she certainly never, in a million years, would’ve expected is to pick up her old friend Bitty—looking frazzled and clearly hiding a secret. Fans of Thelma and Louise will love Harbison’s humorous take of women learning to rely on each other, even in the darkest of times.
On shelves: August 5