Feature image credit: @pageandcup

Get ready to start your summer TBR list! We’ve rounded up this summer’s hottest reads. From romance books to stories with complex themes about race and gender, this list will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (Mar 30, 2021)

Layers upon layers of distrust and displacement lead Jeanette, the daughter of Cuban immigrant Carmen, to struggle with addiction and take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. To learn more about her fractured family, Jeanette travels to Cuba to visit her grandmother and is met with the secrets of betrayal that shaped her family relations. 

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Mar 30, 2021)

What Libertie wants more than anything is to be a musician. But her mother tells her that in order to have a successful career, she must go into science and practice medicine alongside her mother. Besides, her mother can pass—but Libertie’s skin is too dark. So, when a man in Haiti tells LIbertie she can be his equal, she moves away, only to continue to feel subordinate. Throughout her journey, Libertie searches and strives for the freedom she yearns for.

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (Mar 30, 2021)

Coming of age in Detroit, the fierce and independent Opal can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—she wants to be a star. When up-and-coming British musician Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she joins him to make rock music together. Just as she’s finding her way, a rival band joins the scene. Later on, she begins to share the history of her idols with a music journalist. When a nasty allegation surfaces, the life that Opal has built is threatened.

Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Apr 6, 2021)

Flora Mancini’s twenty-year marriage is upended when she discovers an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring. He claimed that he had lost it, but now Flora realizes that the life they worked so hard to build was founded on lies. Flora begins to wonder what happened during the summer the ring was “lost” and wonders how to move forward. 

Caul Baby by Morgan Jenkins (Apr 6, 2021)

Laila has had too many failed pregnancies to count, so when her newest child is stillborn she is overcome with grief and rage. What Laila didn’t know is that her niece Amara will soon deliver a baby, Hallow, who is said to restore the family’s prosperity. Hallow grows up believing that something is amiss about her life, as she’s isolated away and raised by a woman who she doesn’t believe is her mother. When Hallow and Amara cross paths, their lives change forever.

Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley (Apr 20, 2021)

The young millionaire Agatha Howard is working on her latest project: converting a Soho building into luxury condos. The only thing standing in her way is the building’s tenants, and the brothel housed in the building. Precious and Tabitha work at the brothel and they won’t go quietly. While they fight for the property, other characters come along to occupy the space and make their jobs more difficult. As the characters converge, the fight for the property boils into a hot stew.

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri (Apr 27, 2021)

Initially written in French, Whereabouts surrounds a woman who is struggling to belong. In her hometown she serves as a confidant; at the pool, she mourns her father’s untimely death; at work, she feels out of place. But, within a year, her life and perspective changes.

Second Place by Rachel Cusk (May 4, 2021)

Believing that a famed artist will penetrate the mystery of her life, a woman brings a provocative man to her coastal home. She soon learns all there is to know about the female fate and male privilege, of relationships and morals, and of all the intersecting spaces of our souls.

Madam by Phoebe Wynne (May 18, 2021)

Calondbrae Hall is an elite boarding school for girls. After a decade with the same old faculty, the school finally hired Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher. Rose’s excitement quickly fades when she realizes that underneath the esteem lies a stark traditional culture. Beyond that, Rose quickly unearths the secrets behind her predecessor’s disappearance. Rose is then forced to confront ghosts and darkness as she discovers her purpose. 

The Lockhart Women by Mary Camarillo (Jun 1, 2021)

When Brenda Lockhart’s husband leaves her for another woman, the family’s money situation declines, and their relationships implode. Numb from her husband’s infidelity, she becomes obsessed with the O.J. Simpson trial, meanwhile, her teenage daughters run wild. Will this family be able to come back together? The Lockhart Women is a captivating debut that touches on motherhood, fidelity, responsibility, and how love can help families make it through.

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett (Jun 1, 2021)

Sammie Lucas is scared of her son and lives her life working from home and watching him. She’s also scared of her own abilities as a mother, and she tries her best to do it all but grows increasingly resentful of her absent wife Monika. As Sammie’s son grows older, her life begins to unravel. When her son is finally physically aggressive to her, Sammie must confront the role she’s played in the mess, and understand that perfection may never be achieved.

Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin (Jul 6, 2021)

Gilda is an atheists lesbian who can’t stop thinking about death. In a desperate attempt to stop these thoughts, she goes to free therapy at a local Church. However, she’s mistakenly hired as the new receptionist to replace their recently deceased one, Grace. Gilda must make her way in this new job by trying to memorize lines to mass and hiding her sexuality. When Grace’s friend starts sending emails to the church email, Gilda answers them, not wanting to break the news of her predecessor’s death. But when the police dig deep into Grace’s death, Gilda may finally have to share the truth of her existence.

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy (Jul 6, 2021)

Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny in an unlikely town. After her parent’s tragic death, she left her hometown to become a Playboy Bunny in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Soon she’s enthralled with drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, sex, and tight clothing. However, after getting caught in a love triangle, she’s left with a tragedy that will haunt her for the next forty years. Sherri then moves on over to California, to begin her life anew. 

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory (Jul 13, 2021)

Ben Stephens would much rather have a casual fling. However, he begins to question his ways when he begins working with the sexy and compassionate movie star Anna Gardiner on an ad campaign. Anna and Ben can’t resist flirting with each other and don’t see the harm until Ben helps Anna in a family emergency. Will this opportunity fling their romance into the spotlight? Or will Ben stay behind and continue to play a background role in Anna’s life?

Write my Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal (Aug 10, 2021)

Gloria Rose is in her 70s but is living her best life. She’s an influencer in the Upper West Side with scores of devoted Instagram followers. Her perfect life is cracked when her old flame is arrested. Knowing her involvement in his misdeeds, Gloria flees to avoid being the next arrest. Gloria must protect her nieces who can never get along. Willow is a failed songwriter, and Sam is desperate to revive her floundering video game company. The three women are then brought together and must look past trauma and heartbreak to be brought closer together. 

The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison (Aug 10, 2021)

Olive McCormick moved from Minneapolis to New York City in 1927 in order to become a star. She persists her way onto the stage and learns all about sacrifices and glamour. Once on stage, she meets the handsome and wealthy Archie Carmichael. Archie is the only man who accepts her for who she is, but once she accepts his marriage proposal things change for the worse. Olive must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for love.