The Best Books of Summer 2018

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry—and someone will definitely get hurt.

1. All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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.

Order here.

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. 

Order here.

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.

Order here.

4. Give Me Your Hand

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

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! 

Order here.

5. The High Season

The High Season by Judy Blundell

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.

Order here.

6. There Are No Grown-Ups

There Are No Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman

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). 

Order here.

7. When Katie Met Cassidy

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

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. 

Order here.

8. Another Side of Paradise

Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow

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

Order here.

9. Mary B

Mary B by Katherine J. Chen

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.

Order here.

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! 

Order here.

11. All the Ever Afters

All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller

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. 

Order here.

12. The Last Time I Lied

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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.

Order here.

13. Florida

Florida by Lauren Groff

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.

Order here.

14. A Handful of Happiness

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. 

Order here.

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.

Order here.

16. The Real Michael Swann

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

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. 

Order here.

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.

Order here.

18. Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell

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. 

Order here.

19. Us Against You

By Fredrik Backman

Set in the same Swedish community as Beartown, where youth hockey is the consuming passion. Friday Night Lights gets a dark Scandinavian twist. 

Order here.

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.

Order here.

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.