13 Books to Read This Summer

Photo by Natasha Tendai

I don’t know about you, but every time I walk in a bookstore I absolutely have to walk out with a book, or sometimes even two, or three! (Sorry mom!) And why not? In my humble, book-loving opinion summertime is the perfect time to cuddle up with a new read, hence this summer reading guide.

Featuring memoirs, mystery and even some get-your-life-together self-help titles (i.e. my favorites!), there’s a title for everyone on this list, arranged in no particular order.

DIFFICULT WOMAN, BY ROXANNE GAY

Roxane Gay’s latest book is an unapologetically dark collection of short fiction that explores the lives of women both extreme and dull, sometimes woven with an unexpected dash of magical realism. At once the women are hopeful, knowing and sometimes well, difficult.

TOO FAT, TOO SLUTTY, TOO LOUD, BY ANNE HELEN PETERSEN

You know the type: the woman who won't shut up, who's too “extra,” too opinionated—too much. She's the unruly woman, and she embodies one of the most provocative and powerful forms of womanhood today. Brought to you by a BuzzFeed culture writer, this nonfiction book examines how some pop culture powerhouses like Serena Williams, Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian defy cultural stereotypes about femininity.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, BY NICOLA YOON

I knew this was a must-read after loving best-selling author Nicola Yoon’s debut novel (now a movie!) Everything, Everything. In her second YA novel, we follow Natasha and Daniel, two teenagers on a single day in New York City who have nothing in common randomly meet and fall in love. Natasha is trying to keep her family from being deported in a matter of hours. Daniel, a poet at heart, is dutifully making good on his commitment to a college interview per the pushing of his family. The two are drawn to each other and somehow their paths unexpectedly keep converging making for a super sweet read.

THE BIG LIFE, BY ANN SHOKET

Worried about the mythical “work, life balance?” Then this just might be the book for you. According to former Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket, "piles of dirty laundry" and a "four-espresso-a-day habit" might just be the small price of career success. In ultra-inspiring prose, The Big Life takes a look at what it means to have it all now, the common thread that millennials are too entitled on the job, and offers useful tips on how to power through to your passion.

THIS IS JUST MY FACE, TRY NOT TO STARE, BY GABOUREY SIDIBE

In this witty memoir, Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe delivers a glimpse into her childhood in Harlem, NY, and Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; her stint as a phone-sex operator; and her rise to fame with the 2009 film Precious before going on to star in roles on Empire, American Horror Story and more.

ONE OF US IS LYING, BY KAREN M. MCMANUS

Dubbed “The Breakfast Club,” meets “Pretty Little Liars,” by Entertainment Weekly, this might be the book I’m most excited to read this summer. Five students (a brain, a beauty, a criminal, and athlete and an outcast) all walk into detention on Monday, but only four leave. Simon, the outcast, is dead and according to the cops his death wasn’t an accident. And if that isn’t twisted enough, on Tuesday he’d planned to post juicy secrets about his four fellow detention-ees, which in turn makes all four of them suspects in his murder.

GEEKERELLA, BY ASHLEY POSTON

Who doesn’t love a good spin on the classic glass slipper tale? Cinderella makes her way to a comic-con-esque event in this fandom read. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the (fictional) classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. And when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she is game to enter. The prize? An invitation to every nerd’s dream: the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot, the ever dreamy, teen star Darien Freeman. Using her savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck, Elle is determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

NEON SOUL, BY ALEX ELLE

If you follow Alex Elle on Instagram, you might already be familiar with this writer’s inspiring words. Her latest collection of poetry and prose focuses on her experience as a young, single mother while also celebrating her triumph over adversity, and promotes recovery and self-care.

THE IDEA OF YOU, BY ROBINNE LEE

When middle-aged Solène Marchand takes her 12-year-old daughter to a concert by the hottest boy band on the planet, she doesn't expect to fall in love with one of the singers, but that’s exactly what happens in this new romantic read by actress Robinne Lee. He’s only 20, but has Solène smitten and thrown into the world of celeb super-fans (think the equivalent of Beyonce stans).

THE HATE U GIVE, BY ANGIE THOMAS

After witnessing her unarmed best friend gunned down by a white police officer, 16-year-old Starr Carter’s world is shaken. The story moves between the two sides of her life: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy prep school she and her brothers attend. Both of which collapse after the shooting. Everyone wants to know what took place that night and the only person who can answer that is Starr. But, what she says might endanger her life and her home in this best-selling, Black Lives Matter-esque read.

INTO THE WATER, BY PAULA HAWKINS

If you loved The Girl on the Train, get ready for the newest dark and twisty read from best-selling author Paula Hawkins. No surprise here what happens first: A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town and eerily a vulnerable teenage girl met the exact same fate earlier in the summer. What the town will discover is that there’s more to these dark waters than what meets the eye.

SURPASSING CERTAINTY, JANET MOCK

In her second memoir, celebrity author and Trans-activist Janet Mock talks about owning her truth as a young trans woman of color in America. Beginning just before her 20th birthday, this inspiring read follows her journey as a student at the University of Hawaii, her work as a dancer at a strip club, her first marriage, and more.

 To learn more about each title, click the books below!