27 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer
From thrilling page-turners to titles by popular authors, you're going to have a lot to read this summer.
When heading out on a summer vacation or even just lounging by the beach for a day, a "good book to read" seems to always find its way onto your check list of what to bring, among essentials like sunscreen. Thankfully, this year there's a massive slate of exciting new titles on the way—some from up-and-coming writers and others from recent buzzy authors. While some might qualify summertime beach reads as strictly easy-breezy novels or captivating thrillers, here at Thrillist, we look forward to reading just about anything, from hilarious essays and memoirs to sci-fi. Below, find all of the books coming out soon that are worth having on your radar and throwing in your beach bag or picnic basket.
Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen
Release date: June 7 (William Morrow & Company)
Few things make for a better, indulgent vacation read than capers and stories about luxury. The latest from Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners author Kirstin Chen is a stylish crime novel with those two very things at the center of it. When Ava's mundane days of an unfulfilling marriage and family life are interrupted by the return of Winnie, her wild college roommate from China, she's presented with the opportunity to go in on her old friend's counterfeit bag scheme—a plan that proves to be too good to be true when Winnie disappears.
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Release date: June 7 (MCD X Fsg Originals)
Imogen Binnie's cult classic Nevada was originally published in 2013 by Topside Press and shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award at the time. Now, the novel is getting reprinted for much wider distribution than its original run, introducing more to the beloved story about trans punk Maria and her unlikely role as a role model to a transitioning boy named James.
The Seaplane on Final Approach by Rebecca Rukeyser
Release date: June 7 (Doubleday)
If you never quite thought of Alaska as the center of all things lust-worthy and sexy, Rebecca Rukeyser's debut will have you thinking otherwise. The novel follows an 18-year-old named Mira whose obsession with "sleaziness" and a 24-year-old man she met on a previous trip to Alaska leads her to spend the summer working at a vacation lodge on a remote Alaskan island. While infatuation is what brings her there, she finds herself intrigued by the married couple who runs the business and their relationships with the few other colleagues at the resort.
Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perotta
Release date: June 7 (Scribner)
Tracy Flick, the go-getter star of Tom Perotta's black comedy Election and played by Reese Witherspoon in the fantastic adaptation, is back! It's been a few decades since she took the world of high school politics by storm, but when a new opportunity arises for promotion at the school she works at, Tracy just can't help herself, determined to get what she wants at all costs.
The Lifestyle by Taylor Hahn
Release: June 7 (Anchor Books)
There's nothing quite like a breezy, but smart beach read to herald in the beginning of the summer season. Thankfully Taylor Hahn's The Lifestyle is just the book to do so. Georgina is a successful lawyer, happily married, seemingly has it all, until she walks in on her husband with another woman. A divorce is not in her future plans, so instead she decides that they should start navigating the wild world of swingers. Roping in a couple pals who are also on the rocks in their respective relationships, Georgina thinks this is the path to solving all her (and her friends) problems, until she reconnects with her college ex and everything is up in the air again.
The Rise and Reign of the Mammals by Steve Brusatte
Release date: June 7 (Mariner Books)
If you loved Steve Brusatte's runaway bestseller The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, you ought to keep an eye out for its sequel of sorts, which tracks the journey of mammals from our humble beginnings as survivors of a global catastrophe to one of the dominant forces on the planet.
Exalted by Anna Dorn
Release date: June 7 (Unnamed Press)
No matter what your sun sign is, it looks like it's in the stars to check out Exalted. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water signs will all be able to find something in Anna Dorn's comedic novel, which alternates between the story of a millennial astrologer meme queen who runs a viral astro Instagram and feels as though one man's chart is the answer to her destiny, and an aimless, middle-aged lesbian who religiously follows the account.
The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays
Release date: June 7 (Dutton)
This New York-set novel takes place in the relatively recent past of 2015 and follows a young woman named Alice who attempts to get her life together and become a doctor, but quickly finds herself caught up in the misadventures of her rich tech innovator brother and her equally chaotic new roommate. Author Carter Bays wrote for the Late Show with David Letterman and a number of sitcoms before co-creating CBS's long-running hit How I Met Your Mother, a show that deftly mixed biting jokes and romantic melodrama, so expect this one to have a similar combination of wit and heart. Maybe lend it to a mutual friend of your own when you're done.
Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Release date: June 14 (Viking)
Novelist Geraldine Brooks—who once reimagined the story of Little Women in her Pulitzer Prize-winning March—now weaves another historical narrative, which traces the legacy of a racehorse beginning in 1850 through the present day. Based on the story of a real-life animal named Lexington, it's another excavation of America's racism and tradition.
One's Company by Ashley Hutson
Release date: June 14 (W. W. Norton & Company)
One's Company is a book about winning the lottery, trauma, one woman's wild imagination, and… the classic '70s sitcom Three's Company. When a self-isolating woman named Bonnie wins the lottery, she takes her funds and buys property in the mountains where she plans to escape reality by recreating the set of her favorite TV show, Three's Company.
Body Grammar by Jules Ohman
Release date: June 14 (Penguin Random House)
Portland-based writer Jules Ohman emerges with her debut novel, which follows an androgynous 18-year-old scouted for a modeling career she has no real interest in pursuing. The protagonist moves to New York, and so begins a vertiginous journey through the world of high fashion, all while she's still trying to figure out her own identity.
A Calm & Normal Heart by Chelsea T. Hicks
Release date: June 21 (Unnamed Press) For her debut short story collection, Osage tribe member Chelsea T. Hicks melds the modern experiences of young Native Americans through the decades with the ancestral, from an iPhone connecting with spirits, charting polyamorous relationships, to social climbing in mid-century Oklahoma. With its crackling prose, A Calm & Normal Heart is not to be missed.
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
Release date: June 21 (Penguin Press)
Queen of the fucked-up novel Ottessa Mosfegh returns with another disgusting and thought-provoking book. In this one, Mosfegh invents her own medieval land, where peasants are kept in check by a daft, childish, and greedy ruling family on an inaccessible estate. When an accident means that the son of a sheep herder is essentially adopted by the lord governor, the balances of power are set askew. Come for the prose, stay for the description of an old lady milking all the residents of Lapvona.
Bone Orchard Mythos: The Passageway by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
Release date: June 22 (Image)
Lemire calls this graphic novel, the first of three announced books in a shared horror universe, his "most complete collaboration" yet with artist Andrea Sorrentino, with whom he has previously released books like the beloved and creepy Gideon Falls. The Passageway is a deeply unsettling and emotional horror story with shades of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. A geologist is sent to a remote lighthouse to investigate a seemingly endless pit. Nothing good is found in endless pits. Nothing.
Clementine by Tillie Walden
Release date: June 28 (Image/Skybound)
The Walking Dead is better known as the never-ending universe of TV shows, but the iconic comic book series largely had just the creators' voices steering the ship for its long, long run. That all changes with Clementine. Tillie Walden (Are You Listening) will bring a distinctly different style and voice to the world-gone-zombie. It’s an all ages story focused on Clementine, star of Walking Dead video games, who is on the road, trying to stay alive as winter settles and everyone attempts to stay human.
X by Davey Davis
Release date: June 28 (Catapult)
Anytime the jacket copy on a book promises to explore "warehouses, bathrooms, and dungeons across New York City," it has our attention. This noir-inflected dystopian thriller follows true-crime obsessive Lee as they move through those spaces and attempt to unravel a mystery involving the titular "X." Author Davey Davis has cited Sarah Schulman, Dennis Cooper, and James M. Cain as influences, suggesting X will be a wild ride into the unknown.
The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger
Release date: July 5 (Riverhead)
A Category 6 hurricane decimates Miami and Houston in Bruce Holsinger's new novel, following 2020's bestselling The Gifted School. The cataclysm sends the wealthy Larsen-Hall family to a massive FEMA camp in Oklahoma in this page-turner about climate disaster and privilege.
Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola
Release date: July 5 (William Morrow & Company)
Last year, Bolu Babalola's book of short stories Love in Color stole the hearts of readers, including heartthrob Jake Johnson. So just in time to quench the thirst for a much-needed swoony summer read, Babalola's debut novel Honey & Spice is here. Kiki Banjo is a gal about campus—hosting a popular radio show and known for evading relationships. But when she's caught kissing Malakai Korede, a well-known player, her sterling reputation is on the line. In terrific rom-com fashion, the two decide to faux date to save both of their reputations and end up falling for each other. But can they make it work?
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Release date: July 5 (Knopf)
The world of video game design finds its Kavalier and Klay in the protagonists of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which follows Sam Masur and Sadie Green, partners in design who create a blockbuster hit and ride the wave of fame and notoriety in this decades-spanning story.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armstrong
Release date: July 12 (Flatiron Books)
When Leah returns from a marine biology expedition during which her research submarine sank to the bottom of the ocean, her wife, Miri, can sense something is different. Something has come back from the depths of the ocean with Leah, and Miri must find out what it is or risk losing the one she loves.
Cults: Inside the World's Most Notorious Groups and Understanding the People Who Joined Them by Max Cutler and Kevin Conley
Release date: July 12 (Gallery Books)
Based on the popular podcast of the same name, Cults delves into one of the modern age's biggest preoccupations: cults. If you enjoyed Going Clear, Wild Wild Country, The Vow, and other documentaries about the troublesome groups that lure all sorts of wayward folks, Max Cutler and Kevin Conley's book might help you understand more about these sects' allure.
The Work Wife by Alison B. Hart
Release date: July 19 (Graydon House)
At 38, Zanne Klein has spent way longer than she anticipated being the personal assistant for a married Hollywood power couple, and the star-studded party of the summer at their house one night could determine if Zanne gets the promotion she's been gunning for. But something goes terribly wrong at the 11th hour, forcing Zanne to confront the reality of having ignored her own ambitions in working for the couple for so long.
Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking by Marianne Eloise
Release date: July 19 (Icon Books)
Journalist Marianne Eloise comes to find peace with her most intrusive obsessions and anxiety in this debut essay collection about neurodivergence and disorder.
The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
Release date: August 2 (Riverhead)
Mohsin Hamid's Booker-prize finalist Exit West was a universally acclaimed novel about love persevering, and his next, The Last White Man, finds similar hopeful themes about empathy in a sci-fi-tinged narrative about a man who wakes up one day to see his skin has darkened, and learns of a phenomenon happening around the world.
Diary of A Void by Emi Yagi
Release date: August 9 (Viking)
Imagine escaping one workplace's sexual harassment to another workplace just to encounter a whole new set of misery? In Emi Yagi's debut novel, after leaving the sexual harassment of her old job, Ms. Shibata ends up being the sole woman working at her new company which comes with the expectation that she'll be doing all the menial tasks. At her breaking point, she lies saying she's pregnant when she's not. Over the next nine months, Ms. Shibata has to navigate her lie as her "pregnancy" and the reality of her life begin to blur.
Acting Class by Nick Drnaso
Release date: August 16 (Drawn & Quarterly)
From the acclaimed author of the Booker-nominated graphic novel Sabrina, Nick Drsano is back with Acting Class. A group of restless strangers who are looking to change their lives, whether that's because of a marriage gone sour or a young woman looking to make new friends, all join an adult acting class under the tutelage of John Smith, a mysterious and questionable teacher. With Drsano's signature graphics, simple yet alluring, Acting Class gives shades of Susan Choi's Trust Exercise or Sandi Tan's Lurkers, which means it's a must read.
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Release date: August 30 (Penguin Random House)
Taylor Jenkins Reid has a habit of writing immensely readable books about talented women, as in her rock saga Daisy Jones and the Six and old Hollywood tale The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Now she turns her attention to the world of tennis, chronicling a retired star who comes back to play.