Best Books of the Summer (2024)

It’s so hard to choose! We are here to help… Our tightly curated list, with the help of our friend and librarian Christina Karvounis, is finally here. This year she reports slim pickin’s due to “world on fire, creatives under microscope, everything expensive...” but there are some gems she offers up, and we added a few of our favorites so far to her ever astute list.

Any one of these, we assure you, will be a page turner, will move you and will take you away to another world.

Funny Story

Funny Story by Emily Henry

Daphne finds herself heartbroken and in the company of the most unlikely of people when her fiancé dumps her for his childhood best friend—leaving her to shack up with none other than said childhood best friend’s equally heartbroken ex-boyfriend. Miles starts off as a rather scrappy and unlikely love interest for Daphne, but wins you over in earnest with time, and he absolutely oozes effortless charm. When they eventually come together, it works because they’ve seen each other at their worst—literally—and that makes their love story actually believable. -Publisher's Review

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All Fours

All Fours by Miranda July

A semifamous artist announces her plan to drive cross-country, from LA to New York. Thirty minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she spontaneously exits the freeway, beds down in a nondescript motel, and immerses herself in a temporary reinvention that turns out to be the start of an entirely different journey. Miranda July’s second novel confirms the brilliance of her unique approach to fiction. With July’s wry voice, perfect comic timing, unabashed curiosity about human intimacy, and palpable delight in pushing boundaries, All Fours tells the story of one woman’s quest for a new kind of freedom. Part absurd entertainment, part tender reinvention of the sexual, romantic, and domestic life of a forty-five-year-old female artist, All Fours transcends expectation while excavating our beliefs about life lived as a woman. Once again, July hijacks the familiar and turns it into something new and thrillingly, profoundly alive. -Publisher's Review

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A Rough Way to Go

A Rough Way to Go by Sam Garonzik

Peter Greene spends his days taking care of his toddler, Luke; staying on the right side of The Moms in his local beach town; and hanging out with his surf buddy, Frank. But when the body of wealthy Wall Street investor Robert Townsend washes up on shore one morning, nothing about the incident makes sense to Pete, and he’s completely bewildered when the death is ruled an accidental drowning. A Rough Way to Go is a raw, irreverent story that plumbs the depths of masculinity, unemployment, fatherhood, marriage, and modern capitalism—and the struggle to live a purpose driven life. -Goodreads

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Weyward by Emilia Hart

A riveting debut that explores witchcraft and female intuitive powers, told over five centuries through three connected women, for fans of Kate Morton, Diane Setterfield, and Sarah Perry. Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's Weyward is an astonishing debut, and an enthralling novel of female resilience. -Publisher's Review

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Roman Stories

Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri

In “The Boundary,” one family vacations in the Roman countryside, though we see their lives through the eyes of the caretaker’s daughter, who nurses a wound from her family’s immigrant past. In “P’s Parties,” a Roman couple, now empty nesters, finds comfort and community with foreigners at their friend’s yearly birthday gathering—until the husband crosses a line. -Publisher's Review

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How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book by Monica Wood

From the award-winning author of The One-in-a-Million Boy comes a heartfelt, uplifting novel about a chance encounter at a bookstore, exploring redemption, unlikely friendships, and the life-changing power of sharing stories. -HarperCollins Publishers

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Wandering Stars

Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange, a registered member of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, grew up in Oakland, California where Wandering Stars is, in part, set. The novel deepens Orange's exploration of the fraught identities of Indigenous American people across the US. Wandering Stars stretches across time and circumstance, using a mosaic of identities to explore how generational trauma, history, and violence carry forward through bloodlines and family systems to impact the identity of the characters. Wandering Stars also examines how art can transform the lives of those who create and participate in it, despite a history of extreme violence by the US against Indigenous Americans. Wandering Stars explores what the future might look like for those who’ve consistently been subjected to violent erasure. -Super Summary

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The Summer of Songbirds

The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process in this moving new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil and the Peachtree Bluff series. -Goodreads

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Somehow: Thoughts on Love

Somehow: Thoughts on Love by Anne Lamott

In Somehow: Thoughts on Love, Lamott explores the transformative power that love has in our lives: how it surprises us, forces us to confront uncomfortable truths, reminds us of our humanity, and guides us forward. In each chapter of Somehow, Lamott refracts all the colors of the spectrum. She explores the unexpected love for a partner later in life. The bruised (and bruising) love for a child who disappoints, even frightens. The sustaining love among a group of sinners, for a community in transition, in the wider world. Full of the compassion and humanity that have made Lamott beloved by millions of readers, Somehow is classic Anne Lamott: funny, warm, and wise. -Amazon Synopsis

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The Light Eaters

The Light Eaters by Zoe Schlanger

We need plants to survive. But what do they need us for—if at all? An eye-opening and informative look at the ecosystem we live in, this book challenges us to rethink the role of plants—and our own place—in the natural world. -HarperCollins Publishers

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Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books

Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

The provocative and hilarious summer read that will have book lovers cheering and everyone talking! Kirsten Miller, author of The Change, brings us a bracing, wildly entertaining satire about a small Southern town, a pitched battle over banned books, and a little lending library that changes everything. -Goodreads

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All the Colors of the Dark

All the Colors of the Dark by Christ Whitaker

1975 is a time of change in America. The Vietnam War is ending. Muhammad Ali is fighting Joe Frazier. And in the small town of Monta Clare, Missouri, girls are disappearing. When the daughter of a wealthy family is targeted, the most unlikely hero emerges—Patch, a local boy, who saves the girl, and, in doing so, leaves heartache in his wake. A missing person mystery, a serial killer thriller, a love story, a unique twist on each, Chris Whitaker has written a novel about what lurks in the shadows of obsession and the blinding light of hope. -Barnes and Noble

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The Women

The Women Kristen Hannah

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era. -Book of the Month

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How to Know a Person

How to Know a Person by David Brooks

In How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen, the author, David Brooks, explores the necessity of open-hearted human connection through anecdotes and philosophical reflections. This self-help book guides the readers to become more understanding and empathetic while mastering the art of seeing others beyond superficial levels. -SuperSummary

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The Golden Gate

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

In Berkeley, California, in 1944, Homicide Detective Al Sullivan has just left the swanky Claremont Hotel after a drink in the bar when a presidential candidate is assassinated in one of the rooms upstairs. Sullivan’s investigation brings up the specter of another tragedy at the Claremont, ten years the death of seven-year-old Iris Stafford, a member of the Bainbridge family, one of the wealthiest in all of San Francisco. Some say she haunts the Claremont still... -Goodreads

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End of Story

End of Story: A Novel by A.J. Finn

For fans of Knives Out comes a spellbinding thriller from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Woman in the Window. “I’ll be dead in three months. Come tell my story.” So writes Sebastian Trapp, reclusive mystery novelist, to his longtime correspondent Nicky Hunter, an expert in detective fiction. With mere months to live, Trapp invites Nicky to his spectacular San Francisco mansion to help draft his life story . . . while living alongside his beautiful second wife, Diana; his wayward nephew, Freddy; and his protective daughter, Madeleine. Soon Nicky finds herself caught in an irresistible case of real-life “detective-fever.” -HarperCollins Publishers

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The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers. -Amazon

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Wives Like Us

Wives Like Us by Plum Sykes

Take a grand English country house, one (heartbroken) American divorcee, three rich wives, two tycoons, a pair of miniature sausage dogs and one (bereaved) butler; put them all into the blender and out comes the impossibly funny Wives Like Us, the new novel from the best-selling author of Bergdorf Blondes and Party Girls Die In Pearls, Plum Sykes. -Goodreads

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Bright Young Women

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

An extraordinary novel inspired by the real-life sorority targeted by America's first celebrity serial killer in his final murderous spree. -Goodreads

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Bright Young Women

Good Material by Dolly Alderton

In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable story of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today, and the true voice of a generation. -Penguin Random House

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A Song for Ricki Wilde

A Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams

An epic love story one hundred years in the making… Set against the backdrop of modern Harlem and Renaissance glamour, A Love Song for Ricki Wilde is a swoon-worthy love story of two passionate artists drawn to the magic, romance, and opportunity of New York, and whose lives are uniquely and irreversibly linked. -Goodreads

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This Summer Will Be Different

This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

Each year, Lucy escapes to PEI for a big breath of coastal air, fresh oysters and crisp vinho verde with her best friend, Bridget. Every visit begins with a long walk on the beach, beneath soaring red cliffs and a golden sun. And every visit, Lucy promises herself she won’t wind up in Felix’s bed. Again. -Penguin Random House

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The Familiar

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House, Hell Bent, and creator of the Grishaverse series comes a highly anticipated historical fantasy set during the Spanish Golden Age. -Goodreads

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Vinson Cunningham

A historic presidential campaign changes the trajectory of a young Black man’s life in the debut novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Vinson Cunningham, which “expertly captures a distinct moment in American history”. -Town and Country

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When Women Ran Fifth Avenue

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue by Julie Satow

A glittering portrait of the golden age of American department stores and of three visionary women who led them, from the award-winning author of The Plaza. -Penguin Random House

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Lies and Weddings

Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan

A forbidden affair erupts dramatically amid a decadent Hawaiian wedding in this hilarious, sophisticated, and thrillingly plotted story of love, money, murder, sex—and the lies we tell about them all. -Goodreads

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Blank by Zibby Owens

A wife, mother, and frustrated writer faces an impossible deadline for turning her life around in a hilarious debut novel about family, friendship, success, and exhilarating self-(re)discovery. -Barnes and Noble

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The Limits

The Limits by Nell Freudenberger

From Mo’orea, a tiny volcanic island off the coast of Tahiti, a French biologist obsessed with saving Polynesia’s imperiled coral reefs sends her teenage daughter to live with her ex-husband in New York. By the time fifteen-year-old Pia arrives at her father Stephen’s luxury apartment in Manhattan and meets his new, younger wife, Kate, she has been shuttled between her parents’ disparate lives—her father’s consuming work as a surgeon at an overwhelmed New York hospital, her mother’s relentless drive against a ticking ecological clock—for most of her life. Fluent in French, intellectually precocious, moving between cultures with seeming ease, Pia arrives in New York poised for a rebellion, just as COVID sends her and her stepmother together into near total isolation... -Penguin Random House

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All the Summers in Between

All the Summers in Between by Brooke Lea Foster

When wealthy, impulsive summer girl Margot meets hardworking and steady local girl Thea in the summer of 1967, the unlikely pair become fast friends, working alongside one another in a record store and spending every spare moment together. But after an unspeakable incident on one devastating August night, they don’t see one another for ten years… until Margot suddenly reappears in Thea’s life, begging for help and harboring more than one dangerous secret.

Set in the dual timelines of 1967 and 1977, All the Summers In Between is at once a mesmerizing portrait of a complex friendship, a delicious glimpse into a bygone Hamptons, and a powerful coming-of-age for two young women during a transformative era. -Goodreads

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Table for Two

Table for Two: Fictions by Amor Towles

Table for Two: Fictions is a collection of tales that revolve around the fundamental theme of fiction—the stories we tell about ourselves and others, as well as the parts we play in the private theater of dining encounters. The book dives into its protagonists’ secret lives, with a table for two serving as the stage for these fictions to occur. -Medium

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Expiration Dates

Expiration Dates by Rebecca Searle

Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new man, she receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a name: Jake.

But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. -Simon & Schuster

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Young Adult (YA) Books

Not Like Other Girls

Not Like Other Girls by Meredith Adamo

When Jo-Lynn Kirby's former best friend—pretty, nice Maddie Price—comes to her claiming to be in trouble, Jo assumes it's some kind of joke. After all, Jo has been an outcast ever since her nude photos were leaked—and since everyone decided she deserved it. There's no way Maddie would actually come to her for help. But then Maddie is gone... Not Like Other Girls is a stunning debut that takes a hard look at how we treat young women and their trauma, through the lens of a missing girl and a girl trying to find herself again. -Breakwater Books

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Stay With My Heart

Stay With My Heart by Tashie Bhuiyan

From the author of Counting Down with You and A Show for Two comes a new YA contemporary about a girl who accidentally sabotages an up-and-coming local band and falls for the guitarist while secretly trying to make up for her mistake. -Goodreads

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The Mona Lisa Vanishes

The Mona Lisa Vanishes by Nicholas Day

A “witty thriller” (The New York Times) for middle-grade readers about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, how the robbery made the portrait the most famous artwork in the world—and how the painting by Leonardo da Vinci should never have existed at all. -Penguin Random House

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