Are you looking for your next summer read? With the summer months nearly here, palm trees and warm rays are constantly on our minds, including finding our next addictive book. There's nothing more we want to do than unplug and immerse in a novel that we just can't put down.
To help you find your next beach read, bestselling authors Jasmine Guillory, whose latest is "By the Book," and Isaac Fitzgerald, whose latest is "Dirtbag, Massachusetts," stopped by TODAY to share their must-reads for the summer. Whether you're looking for a historical romance or a hilarious relationship dilemma, they've got you covered.
Keep reading to see all of the top picks to bring along with you on your next beach vacation.
Jasmine Guillory's beach read picks
"The Marvellers," by Dhonielle Clayton
"When it comes to having adventures, nothing compares to middle grade fantasy! And with Dhonielle Clayton at the helm, I knew I was in for a treat when I picked up 'The Marvellers,'" says Guillory. "This inclusive, richly imagined tale follows Ella as she navigates her new magical boarding school, makes friends, and ultimately embraces the power she’s been given. It felt like I was alongside Ella the whole time I was reading and I never wanted to leave the world Dhonielle created."
"Love Radio," by Ebony LaDelle
A teenage, self-proclaimed love doctor who has his own radio show tries to get a girl to fall in love with him. The only thing is, she rejects the idea of love and romance.
"What a joy this book is, a celebration of Black teenagers, Black friendship, the Black family, and Black love," says Guillory. "It's a gorgeous young adult novel of two teenagers and their new, tentative relationship, as he (a hopeless romantic), tries to convince her (who thinks romance is not for her) to fall in love with him. This story is going to sweep you off your feet."
"Scoundrel," by Sarah Weinman
"If you want nonfiction that reads like a thriller, this is the book to reach for," says Guillory. "This is the story of a convicted murderer who convinced so many people in power of his innocence that they helped him to go free, only to see him try to kill again. Perfect for anyone interested in the criminal justice system, journalism, celebrity, and con artists."
"Bomb Shelter," by Mary Laura Philpott
"This memoir is the story of what happened when the author's teenage son has a seizure in the middle of the night, and how it changed their family afterwards," Guillory said. "It's about love, anxiety, parenting, and love, and is in turn heartbreaking and hilarious. It's a great read for anyone, but it's also the perfect gift for any parent with a teen graduating from high school this year."
Best books for summer to throw in your beach bagMay 25, 202204:14
"A Caribbean Heiress in Paris," by Adriana Herrera
Herrera's historical romance novel follows a rum heiress who takes over the family business and sets sail with her two best friends for Paris. She faces hardships of being a woman in the rum business and meets a charming Earl. Above all else, the one thing she didn't want was to fall in love.
"I grinned in delight so many times while reading this gorgeous, deeply researched, and very sexy historical romance novel. If you love Paris, Scotland, rum, whisky, or romance, you'll adore this book," Guillory said.
"The Lifestyle," by Taylor Hahn
After discovering her husband is having an affair, Georgina tries to save her marriage by suggesting they become swingers. It's not long until she enlists her friends into joining the lifestyle. Things are going according to plan — until she runs into an old flame.
"I fell in love with Georgina, her perfectly imperfect plans, and all of her friends, and had so much fun hanging out with them that I was sad when the book was over," Guillory said.
"Portrait of a Thief," by Grace D. Li
"Five college students try to pull off the heist—or heists—of the century and take you around the world with them in the process, as they try to steal precious Chinese artifacts back from the western museums that stole them," Guillory said. "This book is tense, adventurous, and thrilling; once I started it, all I wanted to do was keep reading."
"Neruda on the Park," by Cleyvis Natera
"This is a story of a mother and a daughter, a family, a neighborhood, a community, and two countries," Guillory said. "There's romance, and many secrets, but most of all, there's a story that grabbed hold of me as soon as I started reading, and refused to let go. This book took me on a huge journey, and I can't stop thinking about it."
"Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimagine Helen Gurley Brown's Cult Classic," edited by Eliza Smith and Haley Swanson
"The essays in this anthology, inspired by the late Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl, are so relevant to life as a woman today, whether you’re single or not," said Guillory. "They’re about dating, pop culture, politics, relationships, sex (of course) and so much more, and come together in a contemplative and entertaining package."
Brown's original book sold over two million copies in May 1962. While staying true to Brown's core message, Smith and Swanson teamed up to bring the cult classic to a new generation with more modern insights. This book features 24 original essays from critically acclaimed and bestselling authors.
Your ultimate guide to the best summer beach readsMay 26, 202205:00
Isaac Fitzgerald's beach read picks
"Serious Face," by Jon Mooallem
Fitzgerald says this collection of essays is by one of the best living nonfiction writers of today, New York Times Magazine contributor Jon Mooallem. He has a centering question: “Why are we not better than we are?”
"Follow along as Jon grapples with stories from all walks of life, be it remembering a harrowing kayak trip with some friends when he was in his 20s, or a devastating wildfire in Paradise, California," says Fitzgerald. "Here are stories that face the biggest questions of humanity—death, incarceration, climate change—while also somehow making you smile. A perfect collection for those looking for adventure, not just the physical sort, but the adventure found in diving into the very soul of humanity."
"You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty," by Akwaeke Emezi
After losing her husband five years ago, Feyi is ready to jump back into the dating scene with the help of her best friend and roommate. She finds the perfect guy until she meets another very off-limits man, his father.
"The perfect book for someone who wants a little emotional depth with their sexy beach read. Emezi's writing is hot, hot, hot—while also dealing with topics such as trauma, grief, and art, not to mention the art of letting go. Emotional growth and a person's ability to change is at the heart of this beautiful, steamy book," said Fitzgerald.
"Counterfeit," by Kirstin Chen
"Meet Ava, who is walking the straight and narrow path until her old college roommate, Winnie, comes back into her life. Winnie sells counterfeit bags out of mainland China, and she needs someone with a U.S. passport to lend her a hand," Fitzgerald said. "A fast-paced read full of twists and turns and maybe-not-so-reliable-narrators ... This book will have you turning the pages as you easily immerse yourself in the topsy-turvy world of counterfeit retail, and a friendship where not all is what it seems."
"The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza," by Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris
Don't forget a beach read for your kids! Fitzgerald chose this action-fueled graphic novel about a space cat who has to take on moon-eating rats.
"What can be done? Why, launch a bioengineered cat into space to tackle the problem, of course," says Fitzgerald. "With a stowaway purpose-pondering robot, LOZ 4000, and their soon-to-be-friend the Moon Queen, this book will have children of all ages rolling around laughing, delighting in this comedic tale."
For more stories like this, check out:
- From a beach read to an honest memoir, here are 5 books to read in May
- 6 books to read after 'Remarkably Bright Creatures' by Shelby Van Pelt
- Jenna Bush Hager's May 2022 book pick is a novel about 'unexpected friendship'
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