Folks, it is blazing hot outside. Like you're walking around with a permanent heat blanket on kind of hot. Where the mere idea of moving around and doing anything physical is exhausting and out of the question kind of hot. Which is all to say that it's the perfect time of year to plant yourself on the couch in front of an AC unit, on a lounge chair poolside, or with your butt in the water, toes in the sand (should you be so lucky) and do nothing but bask in literary goodness. To help you out, we've rounded up our 10 hottest reads to keep you chilling out all summer long. Enjoy and happy reading!
1. The Lying Game
Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (July 25, 2017)
The Story: Remember when I said I was totally obsessed with Ruth Ware? Well the obsession continues to blossom with the release of her newest gem, The Lying Game, which comes out this July. We received an advance copy, so you still have to wait about a month to grab this one, but trust me, it's worth the wait! As Ware is prone to do, the novel revolves around the friendships between four women -- Fatima, Thea, Kate and Isa -- who were high school best friends before they were all expelled from Salten boarding school in their senior year under mysterious circumstances. The foursome was infamous for the myriad lies they spread throughout the school, which they called "The Lying Game." The rules were simple: tell a lie, stick to your story, don't get caught, know when to abandon the lie and -- most importantly -- never lie to each other. When a past lie comes back to haunt them the girls must rekindle their fizzled friendship and return to a game they never truly stopped playing.
2. Into the Water
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books (May 2017)
The Story: We've all been waiting with bated breath for Paula Hawkins' next story after her debut novel, The Girl on the Train, was a smashing success, and it finally dropped last month. Hawkins continues to delve into the world of psychological thrillers, as Into the Water takes us back to England -- a small riverside town in northern England to be exact. A single mom and a young teenage girl have been found dead in the river, just a few weeks apart and the investigations begin to uncover some long-hidden truths about this close-knit community's dark past. As with The Girl on the Train, you'll find that theres more to this thriller than just the twists, turns and unexpected ending -- it's as much a story about human connection, community relations and instinctive reactions as it is about crime. If you want to keep up with happy hour conversations this summer, I'd highly suggest picking this one up!
3. The Paris Wife
Author: Paula McLain
Publisher: Ballantine Books (2012)
The Story: I was a little late to game in discovering this gem considering it came out in 2012, but sometimes you need to revisit the book shelf and dust off that book hiding in the corner! You just might find a new favorite, like I did with Paula McLain's "The Paris Wife.' Set in the 1920s in Paris, this historical fiction novel delves deep into the lives of Ernest Hemingway and his fascinating, yet often unappreciated first wife, Hadley Richardson. I'm not quite sure how I managed to make it through an English Literature major without reading any Hemingway, but this book left me completely obsessed with Hemingway -- I've since read several short stories, "The Old Man and the Sea" and am now working on his memoir, "A Moveable Feast." Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging
4. The Women in the Castle
Author: Jessica Shattuck
Publisher: William Morrow; (March 2017)
The Story: This WWII era novel embeds its reader in the lives of three widows, who could not be more different but are forever held together by the secrets of their past that continue to haunt them. Set in a Bavarian castle following the Nazis' defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels vows to uphold the last promise she made to her husband and his dead war compatriots to find their wives and protect them at all costs. As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she learns to redefine her "family" and priorities while coming to terms with the choices of her past.
5. The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Anchor (1985)
The Story: Has anything been more talked about (besides Trump tweets of course) so far this summer than the hit Hulu series remaking this eerie dystopian novel?? I don't think so! If you're like me and have to read a book before you can binge the series/movie, and this wasn't part of your high school reading, pick this classic up before the plot line gets completely ruined for you. After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.
6. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson
Publisher: Random House (January 2017)
The Story: Lindsey Lee Johnson has accomplished a near impossible task with this novel: she manages to turn teenage drama into compelling adult fiction. Set in one of the wealthiest enclaves of San Francisco, we explore the seedy underbelly of the lives of the privileged, while demystifying high school stereotypes at every turn, as an array of characters navigate adolescence. Abigail Cress begins to derail her seemingly perfect life by engaging in an inappropriate relationship with her teacher, while Dave Chu struggles to be the A-student his parents demand and Emma Fleed balances the meticulous life of a dancer with her desire to fit in and rage on the weekends. Damon Flintov is re-acclimating to high school post-rehab and Calista Broderick, a once happy-go-lucky popular girl has made herself a social outcast. And connecting all of them is the ever idealistic new teacher, Molly Nicoll, who desperately wants to connect with her students and change lives.
7. This is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare
Author: Gabourey Sidibe
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (May 2017)
Gabourey Sidibe proves she’s far more than her acclaimed characters in “Precious” and “Empire” with this sassy, unapologetic memoir. Each chapter reveals a new layer of the complex actress, whose journey to stardom is full of wondrous twists of fate. Often the face of confidence on red carpets, Sidibe shares her vulnerable side with readers, from battling depression and bulimia, her fear of relationships, to being diagnosed with diabetes and undergoing weight-loss surgery. “This is Just My Face” is also full of laugh-out-loud moments, including Sidibe’s fascinating run as a phone sex “talker” just before landing the role of “Precious,” and her teenage obsession writing N’Sync fan fiction. At 34 years old, this is just the first chapter of Sidibe’s journey. By the final page you’ll be ready for her next.
8. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
Author: Leah Remini
Publisher: Ballantine Books (2015)
Leah Remini’s 2015 New York Times bestseller is even more juicy today with her A&E docuseries “Scientology and the Aftermath” making headlines. She unabashedly recounts her history with the controversial religion, from signing a billion-year contract with the Sea Organization as a child, making waves amid Hollywood A-listers, to her ultimate escape and being labeled a “Suppressive Person” in 2013. Readers get an inside look at the megachurch and its leaders, including Tom Cruise, David Miscavige and the disappearance of his wife Shelly. “Troublemaker” is a fitting title as Remini fills each page with scandal and jaw-dropping accounts, so much so that you almost fear for her safety. It’s impossible to simply call this a memoir. It’s part mystery, part thriller, with humor woven throughout. You won’t be able to put it down.
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (January 2017)
The Story: This is a must- read for Orange is the New Black fans, as this thrilling debut from a Howard University girl takes us into the world of Mary B. Addison , a woman who was convicted of murder when she was nine-years-old, has served her jail time and is learning to survive in a group home where she fears for her life on the regular. She has no will to defend her own reputation or fight her conviction, until she becomes pregnant with a child of her own. When the state threatens to take her child, Mary must learn to speak up for herself, if only for the sake of her family.
10. Do Not Become Alarmed
Author: Maile Meloy
Publisher: Riverhead Books (June 2017)
Kudos to our friends at Cincinnati Refined for telling us about this one. This is THE book of summer! It’s on everyone’s lists, and for good reason—it’s a scorcher. The premise is simple enough—two privileged families go on a cruise. But things take a turn when the ship docks in Central America. The children go missing. The adults turn on each other and themselves. Ann Patchett (who, as readers here will know, is one of my favorite authors, and one of the best writers working today) calls it "smart and thrilling and impossible to put down... the book that every reader longs for." Sold!
You can catch us on Good Morning Washington sharing more about our summer book recommendations here