While the official start of summer may be June 20, for me Memorial Day weekend has always signaled the start of the season. With the upcoming long weekend in mind, here are a few books I’ve already read but am excited for you all to get to read on the beach, by the pool, and late into the longer, warmer nights. Publishers must have the same idea in mind because these all come out next week on June 1.
Casey McQuiston, author of crowd favorite Red, White, and Royal Blue, is back with a new, swoony romance, One Last Stop. August Landry moves to New York feeling like she’s never really belonged anywhere. When she finds a room to rent in Brooklyn, sharing an apartment with electrical-engineer-turned-artist Myla, psychic Nico, and tattooist Wes, all of that starts to change. When she meets gorgeous, confident, punk Jane on the subway, well, game over. The only problem is: Jane has been stuck on the Q train since 1979 in some sort of crazy time slip. Can August figure out how to save the love of her life, keep her in 2020, and learn how to belong in a place with a family of her own making? Oh, also, there’s the mystery of long-missing uncle that August manages to solve and a large cast of supporting characters that will charm the pants off you.
I’m a fan of Taylor Jenkin Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, about a Hollywood starlet, mostly set in the ‘50s and ‘60s, for its surprising turns and story momentum. Her last novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, mostly spanned the ‘70s, and in Malibu Rising, Reid’s newest, she tackles the ‘80s in all its glory as she tells the story of the four Riva siblings, whose famous crooner of a father left them high and dry as kids and they’ve been left to make it on their own ever since. As adults they’ve found success surfing and modeling, but they’ve never quite gotten over their abandonment. Everything comes to a head, and a whole lot of secrets are revealed, the night of their annual end-of-summer party, which turns out to be a real blowout . . . Malibu Rising is a little over-the-top, the way any good ‘80s drama should be.
Meanwhile, The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Delila Harris is an urgent call for change in the guise of a psychological thriller. In this twisty page-turner, editorial assistant Nella Rogers welcomes the idea of not having to be the only black girl at Wagner Books when new hire Hazel moves into the cubicle next to her. But even as they develop a friendship, strange events prevent Nella from truly trusting Hazel. Could Hazel be behind the threatening notes that have begun appearing on Nella’s desk? And when Hazel starts to rise quickly—too quickly—through the ranks, Nella can’t help wondering if it’s at her own expense. As we get deeper into Nella’s obsession, it’s impossible to know who to trust. Harris does a terrific job of chronicling microaggressions in the workplace and of depicting Nella’s descent into madness.
I hope everyone has lots of beach time set aside in the coming weeks because there are a lot more in great summer reads arriving throughout June, July, and August. With the warmer weather here, we have the door to the Book Shop wide open and a nice breeze passing through the store. When we’re not inside making recommendations, you’ll find us on the stoop sneaking in some reading time in the sunshine.
Hannah Harlow is owner of The Book Shop, an independent bookstore in Beverly Farms. Harlow writes biweekly recommendations for us. See more of what she recommends reading at thecricket.com.