The Best Books of Summer 2018
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry—and someone will definitely get hurt.
1. All We Ever Wanted
By Emily Giffin
Every few years a Giffin novel starts the season swimmingly. This time she mines the present-day conversation by focusing on the morality of our parenting culture. Teens, texting and a mother’s dilemma.
2. The Disappearing
By Lori Roy
There may be no place like home, but for Lane, returning to small-town Florida with her two kids is a last resort—and a dangerous decision when her older daughter goes missing. As atmospheric as a sultry night.
3. The Dying of the Light
By Robert Goolrick
A literary gothic tale that enthralls and disturbs. A beautiful southern belle marries “beneath her” to save her family’s estate.
4. Give Me Your Hand
By Megan Abbott
Abbott’s perennial subject is dangerous desires and the drive to be the best—at almost any price. This time it’s hormonal as two former teen frenemies vie for a position at a research lab studying extreme PMS. Bloodthirtsty!
5. The High Season
By Judy Blundell
Blundell has spent her award-winning career (What I Saw and How I Lied) writing for kids of all ages. Now she turns to the adult world. Ruthie’s marriage has ended, her teen daughter is pulling away and her job is at risk. These seismic changes force her to figure out who she now wants to be.
6. There Are No Grown-Ups
By Pamela Druckerman
The decline of being middle-aged is probed with humor (chapter 7: How to Plan a Ménage à Trois), honesty (chapter 10: How to Have a Midlife Crisis) and heart (chapter 8: How to Be Mortal).
7. When Katie Met Cassidy
by Camille Perri
Rom-com for the millennial age, but an equal-opportunity enjoyment for all. Katie has just been dumped by her fiancé when she finds romance in the most unexpected way: a woman lawyer in male clothing. Love is love is love.
8. Another Side of Paradise
By Sally Koslow
An addition to a seemingly new genre: the conjuring of the women who lived in the shadow of “great” men à la The Paris Wife. Koslow deftly re-creates Sheilah Graham’s love affair with the brilliantly troubled F. Scott Fitzgerald.
9. Mary B
By Katherine J. Chen
Pride and Prejudice‘s beloved story is re-spun through the eyes of the mousy, overlooked—and now feminist—middle child, Mary.
10. You Me Everything
By Catherine Isaac
Jess is a single mom with low expectations for Adam, her son’s dad—he even missed the birth. Ten years later she reluctantly agrees to spend a month with him in France, hoping he can learn to be a better father. A lovely getaway (with a few storm clouds) that truly touches the heart. You can’t help but ship them!
11. All the Ever Afters
By Danielle Teller
Teller upends the beloved Cinderella fairy tale. Agnes is the maligned—misunderstood?!—stepmom battling rumors and classism. For every story, there are always two sides.
12. The Last Time I Lied
By Riley Sager
Read under the covers with the flashlight on. Emma returns to the camp where her friends disappeared years earlier. No one can be trusted—maybe not even herself.
By Lauren Groff
The beauty of a short story collection is that you can pick it up and put it down in between naps at the beach without finding you’ve forgotten a key plot point. When it’s by such an eclectic and evocative writer as Groff—author of Fates and Furies—it’s a double pleasure.
14. A Handful of Happiness
By Massimo Vacchetta with Antonella Tomaselli
Can a hedgehog save a life? In this slip of a memoir translated from the Italian, recently divorced veterinarian Vacchetta recounts how nursing Ninna, a baby hedgehog, helps him rediscover la dolce vita. The warm and fuzzy cover alone makes it irresistible.
15. The Summer List
By Amy Mason Doan
Once again we head to camp, but there are no horrors—just nights under the stars, scavenger hunts and heartbreak. Sometimes, the greatest regret is not the end of first love but of first friendship.
16. The Real Michael Swann
By Bryan Reardon
For when you crave an I’m-not-sure-where-this-is-going ride of a read. After a bombing, Julia’s husband vanishes. While searching, she realizes he may not be who she married.
17. The Outsider
By Stephen King
King is back with a vengeance. His ripped-from-the-headlines conceit—revered teacher/coach, murdered boy, alibi vs DNA—veers off into the (no surprise!) supernatural and an exploration of evil.
18. Somebody I Used to Know
By Wendy Mitchell
This is likely not the book you imagine enjoying on a lovely sunny day—or any day—but Mitchell’s recounting of her descent into early-onset dementia inspires, humanizes and demystifies. Hauntingly hopeful.
19. Us Against You
By Fredrik Backman
20. Whistle in the Dark
By Emma Healey
What starts with a thrillerish setup—missing teen—takes us to a more familiar but equally disturbing place. Trying to understand what happened to her daughter, Jen learns that we may be our own greatest fear.
The YA Section
Written for teens, but even us adults will enjoy.
The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I by Carolyn Mackler
In this long-overdue sequel to The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things (she’s a title maven!), Mackler continues to tackle real-world problems—body issues, love issues, even consent issues—without forgetting that real life can still be fun.
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
Nazi Germany. Aryan boarding school for girls. Blonde, blue-eyed Jewish spy. Truly hard to put down.
Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles
A diverse—in all senses of the word—collection of stories from some of YA’s best writers.
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
Fat girl and not-so-nice popular girl—not to mention romance—make for a winning combination.
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
This frothy fantasy rides the wave of the Kate/William/Harry/Meghan/Pippa hoopla. We may never be royals, but a girl can still dream.