These celebrated new releases make a great addition to your summer reading list, from a bighearted family drama and a gripping murder mystery to a mind-expanding history of psychotropic plants.
Buzzy New Books for Your End-of-Summer Reading List
There’s still time to hit the beach with a sizzling read!
By Jessica Dukes
We Are the Brennans
By Tracey Lange
The Brennans are about to discover that the only thing more potent than a family secret is the redemptive power of family love. Five years after leaving her family and fiancé behind in New York, Sunday Brennan finds herself in a L.A. hospital, rattled and bruised from a drunk-driving accident. Upon her release, Sunday returns home to recuperate — only to realize that her family relationships need healing as well. Reuniting with resentful siblings and a former lover will be tough, yet Sunday’s determined to do it. But when a figure from Sunday’s past threatens the Brennan family business, the entire Brennan clan must come together to face down their troubled history if they hope to move ahead. Tracey Lange’s bestselling, “richly layered” (Booklist) debut novel is the perfect read to take with you to the beach.
By Alex Michaelides
If you loved Alex Michaelides’ blockbuster thriller The Silent Patient, you won’t want to miss his electric new narrative of psychological suspense. Tragedy strikes the idyllic campus of Cambridge University: A promising student is dead, murdered by an unknown hand. The victim was a member of The Maidens, an all-female secret campus society steeped in the themes and rituals of Greek mythology. Mariana Andros, a therapist and Cambridge alumna, knows in her bones who’s to blame: Edward Fosca, Cambridge’s popular Greek tragedy professor. But as her suspicions spiral into obsession, Andros must decide how much of her reputation — and her safety — she’s willing to risk to unmask the killer.
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of bestselling novels Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, is back with another gripping tale of sweltering family intrigue. Summer in Malibu, 1983: Supermodel surfer Nina Riva prepares for her annual end-of-summer soiree. All of her celebrity friends are set to attend, and she’s hoping the celebration will distract her from a painfully public separation from her pro tennis star husband. Nina’s brothers, Hud and Jay, are dealing with their own interpersonal issues, and Nina’s youngest sister, Kit, carries secrets of her own. It’s all leading up to one wild night of release — indeed, this year’s party will be wilder and more explosive than anyone could imagine. The question is, will the Rivas make it through the night to pick up the pieces?
By Jessica Anya Blau
Hailed by InStyle as “the best book of the summer,” Jessica Anya Blau’s new novel is a delightful blend of 1970s nostalgia and coming-of-age drama. Mary Jane is a bookish 14-year-old girl living in 1970s Baltimore. She loves nothing more than cooking with her mother or listening to show tune records on her family’s stereo. To earn extra cash, Mary Jane takes a summer job working as the nanny for the daughter of a neighborhood doctor. It’s a great gig with a respectable family. One week into the job, however, Mary Jane’s sheltered existence is flipped upside down. A troubled rock star and his movie star wife move into the doctor’s home, seeking a secret place to dry out. In between babysitting and doing the laundry, Mary Jane’s eyes are opened to the wild world of drugs, sex, rock ’n’ roll, and political activism. By the end of the summer, Mary Jane’s outlook — and what she expects from the future — will be radically different.
The Chosen and the Beautiful
By Nghi Vo
Jordan Baker straddles two worlds in 1920s America. On the one hand, she’s rich, well-educated, and the darling of every Jazz Age party she attends; on the other, she’s a queer Vietnamese immigrant who endures discrimination. Over the course of one summer, Baker navigates the glamorous scene of East Egg, rubbing elbows with the likes of Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby while seeking true connection. The dazzling parties are made even more fantastic by the presence of a magic that only Baker can wield. Great Gatsby devotees and newcomers alike will adore Nghi Vo’s glittering new spin on the literary classic.
By S.A. Cosby
S.A. Crosby is the author of the bestselling and award-winning crime novel Blacktop Wasteland. His latest Southern thriller crackles with heart and of-the-moment intensity. Ex-cons Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee are two very different men, yet tragedy brings them together when their sons, Isiah and Derek, are murdered. Isiah and Derek were married before their tragic deaths. Neither Ike nor Buddy was comfortable with the marriage, but now they’ll use their criminal connections to find out who killed their boys. As the hardened men navigate the dark and dangerous road to revenge, they’ll also reckon with the choices they’ve made and the prejudices that have consumed them.
The Last Thing He Told Me
By Laura Dave
Bestselling author Laura Dave returns with this exhilarating new mystery. Hannah Hall is one year into her marriage with Owen Michaels when her world drops out from under her: Owen has disappeared, and he’s left instructions for Hannah to take care of his daughter, Bailey. Hannah’s relationship with Bailey is far from perfect; in fact, the 16-year-old girl wants nothing to do with her. But now, federal agents are at Hannah’s doorstep, telling her that the life she had been living was a lie and the man she once knew as Owen harbored some devastating secrets. Somehow Hannah and Bailey must find a way to connect and uncover the truth together.
By Ashley C. Ford
In her searing new memoir, Ashley C. Ford returns to her fractured upbringing, examining the many ways her father’s incarceration impacted her formative years. Ford grew up poor in Indiana; her relationship with her mother was strained, her father was in prison, and she had no one to guide her through the confusion of being a teenager. Ford yearned for meaning and understanding throughout her adolescence, and when Ford’s grandmother finally revealed the truth about her father’s incarceration, Ford’s world was forever changed. An instant New York Times bestseller, Ford’s heart-wrenching account of struggle and self-acceptance is “sure to be one of the best memoirs of 2021” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
This Is Your Mind on Plants
By Michael Pollan
If you put just one more nonfiction title on your summer reading list, let it be Michael Pollan’s newest mind-expanding book. In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Pollan dives deep into the world of psychoactive plants, from coffee and tea to opium and mescaline. Pollan explores the history of each substance and society’s ever-changing views about it. Throughout, he challenges us to question our own attitudes and opinions: Why are some consciousness-affecting plants demonized as dangerous while others are perfectly legal? Part science journalism, part memoir, part participatory reportage, This Is Your Mind on Plants is yet another eye-opening reminder from Pollan about the richness and depth of our natural world.