Call up your book club–it’s time for another meeting! Whether your club is enjoying the summer sun by meeting outside or relaxing in a place where the AC is cranked up, we’ve got the books to get your group talking. Here are six book club picks your group will want to read this month.
Want recs to last the whole summer? Check out our Summer Previews for a look at the best books of the season.
True crime podcast fans, listen up: Denise Mina’s exhilarating new thriller introduces readers to a woman named Anna McDonald whose true crime podcast habit bleeds into her real life. Still recovering from the abrupt end of her marriage, Anna finds solace in listening to her podcasts. But one day, she tunes in to an episode that touches on a part of her past that Anna has worked very hard to leave behind. The episode describes a murder-suicide, but Anna is fairly sure that the authorities got it wrong. She decides to investigate, reopening an old chapter of her life–and the decision could prove deadly. We’re so excited about this novel that we named it one of the season’s must-read mysteries and thrillers.
Roselle Lim’s debut novel follows aspiring chef Natalie Tan as she returns home to San Francisco’s Chinatown in the wake of her mother’s death. Natalie’s last conversation with her mother was an explosive fight seven years earlier over Natalie’s career choice. Knowing her mother didn’t support her desire to be a chef, Natatlie is surprised to discover she’s inherited the family restaurant and a host of problems that go along with it. Book clubs and good meals go hand-in-hand, which is why we know your group will love this delicious read about family legacy, finding yourself, and the power of food.
Jean Kwok’s novel Searching for Sylvie Lee is perfect for book clubs that love discussing deep familial bonds and the effect tragedy has on a family unit. Sylvie is the oldest Lee daughter, and she gets on a plane one day to go visit her grandmother, who is quite ill, in the Netherlands. Sylvie goes missing, however, and doesn’t return from the trip as planned. When her younger sister Amy begins to look for clues about what happened to Sylvie, she unearths some surprising revelations. After you’ve finished reading, your book club can check out this essay Kwok wrote for Bookish about turning her grief about the loss of her brother into art.
Book clubs looking for an engaging read that tackles the way women are perceived won’t want to miss The Exact Opposite of Okay. Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill is planning to spend her senior year finding a way out of her small religious town and working on her comedy. Instead, she’s forced to defend herself when photos of her hooking up at a party are posted online. Izzy tells her story through blog entries packed with sharp observations about the double standards women face and wry humor as she continues to work towards her goal of becoming a comedian. Prepare for in-depth discussions about slut-shaming, feminism, privilege, and more.
Evvie Drake’s husband died recently, and ever since his passing, she’s been holed up inside her house in Maine processing the loss. Her friend Andy is concerned about her, but he has an idea: He has another friend, Dean, who is going through a hard time of his own. Andy invites Dean to come stay in the guest unit at Evvie’s house, and Dean and Evvie hit it off. While Evvie grieves and grapples with the complicated relationship she had with her husband, Dean tries to clear his head after hitting a snag in his career as a professional pitcher. The two form a relationship that your book club will love watching develop.
Malla Nunn’s latest is inspired by her own childhood and transports readers to a boarding school in Swaziland in 1965 where two girls bond over Jane Eyre. Until recently, Adele Joubert was accepted by the popular girls at her school, but now she finds herself living in a new room with outcast Lottie Diamond. Adele hopes to protect her fragile social status by staying away from Lottie, but soon they discover a shared love of literature. Set during Apartheid, this book explores the effects of systematic racism, colorism, and classism through the eyes of two teens. In a starred review, Booklist called this novel “a standout” and we know you’ll agree.