17 Hand-Picked Novels You Need to Add to Your Summer Reading List, ASAP

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There's nothing quite like lounging lazily on the shoreline, basking in the warm sunshine with a good book in your hands — except maybe doing so with the guilt-free advantage of unlimited PTO
If you've got a little "me time" this summer, pick your feet up, and nestle with one of these 17 page-turners we're sure you're going to love!


Find a shady spot and curl up with one of the following debut or critically-acclaimed novels:

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Mother of four, Elena Richardson, is a successful journalist who plays by the rules of her cookie-cutter suburban town, Shaker Heights. When Mia Warren and her daughter move in, her children are immediately drawn to the unusual pair. 

Which is fine, until a custody battle between a friend of Mia's and a family friend of the Richardsons erupts, bringing forth issues of race, identity and motherhood. Some rules are meant to be broken, and in "Little Fires Everywhere," maybe some bonds, too.

2. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Cameroonian immigrant, Jende Jonga, feels one step closer to his American Dream when he lands a job as the chauffeur for Clark Edwards, the senior executive of Lehman Brothers. 

His wife, Neni, is also offered a temporary housekeeping gig at the Edwardses summer home in the Hamptons, which puts even more food on the table for the two and their six-year-old son. 

But when the global financial firm goes bankrupt shortly after, Jende is forced to compromise his American Dream or lose it altogether.

3. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Would you rather know the date of your death if you could or live your life in blissful naivety? Four adolescents choose the former when they sneak out to meet a mystical woman in New York City's Lower East Side who claims to be able to tell people their death dates. 
For the next fifty years, the children raise themselves into their prophecies, going their separate ways toward or away from their destinies.
Follow the Gold siblings as they walk the tightrope between fact and fiction, fate and choice and life and death in this "New York Times" bestseller.

4. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward 

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Image via Amazon

In a lot of ways, thirteen-year-old Jojo is forced to grow up early — his Black mother, Leonie, is an emotionally-stunted drug addict, his White father was incarcerated for most of his early life, and he's basically raising his younger sister, Kayla, since his grandmother's fallen too sickly to do so. 

Jojo's life is nothing short of gifted, though, as he follows the footsteps of his role model grandfather and inherits his mom's clairvoyance allowing him to see the ghost of a dead inmate who follows him throughout the novel. 

"Sing, Unburied, Sing" chronicles the powerful journey of a young boy who questions father and son relationships, family history and love — and learns about each in eyeopening ways.

5. The Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Fast forward to future New York City, where immortality is possible with medical technology to those who are deserving of it. That means consuming the proper nutritional intake, exercising often and strict, early bedtimes for most. 
Hundred-year-old Lea Kirino is a "lifer" who follows these rules to maintain her genetic perfectionism and health. But when she catches a glimpse of her estranged father on a busy street, she is pulled into the world of the Suicide Club... which is exactly what it sounds like it is — a rebellious group who chooses to live and die by their own rules. 
Now, Lea is forced  to choose between living a good life forever or living her best life while she still can. 

6. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Image via  Amazon
Image via  Amazon

"Americanah" follows the story of Nigerian lovebirds, Ifemelu and  Obinze, as they head for the West toward their American Dream. 

Ifemelu flees first, and is forced to relearn and articulate her black identity when she arrives. Obinze faces a different challenge when he tries to join her, but is hopelessly trapped in London, undocumented and unable to immigrate. 

Fast-forward to fifteen years later, when the two are reunited in their homeland. Will they be able to rekindle their love for one another or will they stand face to face, worlds apart?


Crack open one of these cold-hard cases and bask in their mystery, one page at a time:

7. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

"Miracle Creek" is a courthouse drama told from multiple perspectives starting with Young Yoo, a Korean immigrant and the wife of Pak Yoo, who runs the Miracle Submarine. 

The Miracle Submarine is a pressurized oxygen tank with the intention to cure disorders and disabilities — like autism and infertility — and the eventual promise to kill two patients and split the small Virginian town apart.

On the stand, you'll hear firsthand accounts from Mary, the daughter of the Yoos who fell into a coma after the explosion, Matt, a victim who was deformed by the incident and Elizabeth, the accused mother of eight-year-old Henry who dies in the tank. 

Follow this whodunit novel as family secrets unravel and questions get answered, including those that aren't asked.

8. The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Sylvie's sister, Persephone, went missing over a decade ago after enjoying a late-night out with a boyfriend she wasn't supposed to be seeing. Three days later, the mystery begins when her body is found by a jogger's path buried in snow.

It's been sixteen years since the incident, and Sylvie's no closer to solving her sister's murder mystery — until she returns home to care for her sickly mother who happens to also be under the care of Ben, Persephone's forbidden then-boyfriend.

This time machine-like turn of events forces Sylvie back into the mystery, but this time, through reintroductions of people she thought she knew well and reckonings that could threaten her life as she's come to know it.

9. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Anna Fox is the woman in the window — that's not the mystery, here. She spends her days alone, drinking wine and people watching her neighbors, The Russels, a picture perfect family of three including a mom, a dad and their teenage son.
But when Anna  becomes convinced that she's witnessed a murder in the living room, no one believes her. And how could they when she's consistently saturated in substances, hence she isn't a reliable witness.
Can Anna bring the truth to light when nothing is as it seems? 

10. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Silence speaks volumes in this thrilling novel, as we follow the silent patient, Alicia Berenson, who's accused of killing her famous photographer husband, adding notoriety to her already artistic fame. 

Forensic psychotherapist, Theo Faber, tries to crack the code, in this novel written from both perspectives, but blank stares and sealed lips threaten him into a downward spiral that he must protect himself from. 

Will Faber have what it takes to make her budge? And if he does, will he be ready to hear what comes out?

11. The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Six close-knit Oxford students spend an unforgettable summer together at a French farmhouse. Enter Severine, the girl from next door, who goes missing following a huge altercation on the last night of the group's vacation.
Ten years later, Severine's body is found near the farmhouse, resurfacing previously buried tensions and skepticism from that night. Suspicions hover heavily over one of the members, Kate Channing, is who's desperate to recollect her fleeting memory with no one to turn to for support.


Dig your toes into one of these feel-good page-turners and fall in love with each character along the way:

12. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Stella Lane is a math whiz — she can create algorithms for just about anything and believes that math is the nucleus of the universe. What she can't do though, is kiss, kiss, kiss. 
That's where Michael Phan comes in. The half-Vietnamese half-Swedish professional she hires to teach her a thing or two about the mistletoe tradition and other romantic tricks worthy of a Do Not Disturb sign.
As the pair progress from the bedroom to an almost-relationship, Stella's formulaic lifestyle is challenged as she starts to lean toward her feelings, instead.

13. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Khai Diep is a successful, fit, good-looking man, yet his mother embarks on a mission to find him the perfect wife, anyway. Why? Because Khai has no feelings. He can't feel grief or love — though he can feel irritation which he's not quiet about when his mother sends a prospect abroad to live with him for a summer. 
A beautiful hotel maid, Esme Tran tries her best to impress Khai with the intention to find a fitting father for her daughter, Jade. Esme quickly becomes discouraged once she realizes her attempts are falling flat — each and every last one. Or are they?
Is Khai capable of returning her affection? Or is the lesson really Esme's to learn?

14. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon
Stephen DeMarco is charming, manipulative and devastating — yet, Lucy Albright becomes addicted to him, anyway. The two meet during college, when Lucy ditches her placid Long Island lifestyle for the West coast and Stephen preys on her, fully aware of his seduction throughout their years-long affair.
Lucy is equally as aware of Stephen's bad influence. He's not good for her and she should leave him. But can she? And if she could, would she be willing to?
Climb inside the minds of both characters as they tell their love stories, in all of its questionable love and consequence.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Plan your escape with one of these truth-bending novels:

15. Circe by Madeline Miller

Image via Madeline Miller
Image via Madeline Miller
Circe is the daughter of the god of the sun, Helios, and her alluring nymph mother, Perse. But when she's born without the elemental embodiment and vicious appeal of her parents, Circe must discover and define her power for herself. 
When she turns to the mortal world for company and compassion, she realizes she is powerful after all. She has the ability to evolve enemies into monsters capable of threatening even the mightiest of gods. But soon after, she finds herself in the face of danger having to choose between her godly lineage, to whom she's always felt like an outcast or the mortals with whom she companioned. 
In the end, which side will she choose? In her place, which side would you? 

16. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Image via Chapters Indigo
Image via Chapters Indigo
Under new orders from a merciless king, magic no longer exists in the soil of Orïsha the way it had years ago. The maji met the same deathly fate including the mother of one of the novel's narrators, Zélie Adebola.
But all hope isn't lost, as Zélie still has a chance to summon the magic that once enchanted the land. This means standing up against the monarchy and outsmarting the prince. Though a dangerous feat, Zélie is accompanied by a rogue princess throughout her venture who helps control her powers which she struggles to do on her own. 
Will the unlikely pair have what it takes to bring their country back to life?


Pack your bags with this heart-healing self-help book from a famous woman we love and admire:

17. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero 

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

"You Are a Badass," which includes inspiring true stories and simple exercises with an err of hilarity, is just the pep talk you need to step into your greatness this season. In 27 page-turning chapters, Sincero teaches readers how to truly seize the moment and shift their mindset from self-doubt and excuse to optimism and gratitude.

Open up a new chapter every day or binge-read from the first page to the last. Regardless of how you flip, you'll be sure to get the motivation you need at the close of each read.

We hope there's room in your beach tote for one — or all — of these Fairygodboss-approved page-turners. Let us know which ones you're tempted to add to cart below!

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Stephanie Nieves is the SEO & Editorial Associate on the Fairygodboss team. Her words can also be found on MediumPayScale and The Muse.