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Top 5 Books You Need to Read This Summer

6 minute read

Summer Reading

Summer reads for the beach or the backyard

Summer is the perfect time to dive headfirst into a great book. Not only is the weather perfect for outdoor reading, but the selection of new releases is filled with must-read novels.

From memoirs and romances to thrillers and contemporary novels, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 must-read books for summer 2021. No matter where your summer takes you, grab one of these to enjoy along the way.

The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl - Summer Reads

Start your summer reading list with a thrill. This sharp and dynamic novel is part social commentary and part twisted thriller. This book is perfect for anyone who has felt marginalized, manipulated, or unsafe in the workplace.

Nell Rogers, the only Black employee at Wagner books, is tired. She is tired of the isolation, the microaggressions, and everything that comes with being alone in the workplace. Luckily for Nell, Wagner just hired Harlem-born Hazel and assigned her a cubicle next to her. However, it seems that Nell’s troubles are only just beginning.

Soon after Hazel becomes the office sweetheart, Nell starts receiving hostile messages on her desk, many telling her to leave the company – now. With her career on the line, Nell obsesses over the notes. But what she finds out threatens more than just her job.

A Special Place for Women, by Laura Hankin

A Special Place for Women - Summer 2021

Imagine a club just for women. No men, only powerful, accomplished women basking in their accomplishments. This novel explores what happens when rich and powerful women establish their own secret society.

The exclusive, women-only social club in NYC is invitation only. Rumor has it that dues cost $1,000 a month. They say that celebs like Rhianna frequent the club. But it is impossible to know the truth unless you are one of the lucky few who become a member. That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley sneaks inside.

With her career in the toilet, Jillian needs a big break. So, she sets her eye on exposing the secret society behind this exclusive women’s club. It doesn’t hurt that she has a personal interest in bringing down a few of the members. Jillian is prepared to face the billionaire girl bosses and their occult-obsessed bohemian ways. What she isn’t prepared for is the danger that comes with questioning the club.

Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising - Summer Reads

From the author of Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid prepares to take readers to an end-of-summer party that will top all others. What better way to spend a summer day than reading about the drama surrounding this Malibu party.

The Riva family is known for their annual end-of-summer party. But this year, all but the family themselves are looking forward to the celebrations. Nina would rather not attend, especially after being publicly abandoned by her husband. Hud has a confession to make to his brother Jay, who is excited to meet up with a girl. Then there is baby sister Kit, who is nervous after inviting an unapproved guest.

The party is one for the history books. By midnight it is completely out of control. The alcohol is flowing, the music is playing, and secrets are coming out as the Riva siblings let it all out. By morning, the mansion will be up in flames and the Riva’s have to decide what to keep of this night and what to throw away.

Somebody’s Daughter, by Ashley C. Ford

Somebody's Daughter - Summer 20201 memoir

If there is one memoir you must read this summer, it is this one. Considered one of the most prominent voices of her generation, Ashley C. Ford offers this insightful look into her childhood. Her powerful story dives into the world of growing up Black in Indiana in a family torn apart by incarceration.

As a young girl, Ashley wanted nothing more than to turn to her father for hope and encouragement. The only problem was that he was in prison and she didn’t know why. Unsure of how to navigate the world now that her life had changed and the way others looked at her had changed, she quickly fell into a bad relationship.

In her search for unconditional love, Ashley started dating a boy her mother hated, straining an already tense relationship. When she finds out the truth about her father’s incarceration, and her entire world turns upside down. Trigger Warning: sexual assault.*

While We Were Dating, by Jasmine Guillory

While We Were Dating - Summer romance

Of course, you can’t have a summer reading list without at least a bit of romance. Jasmine Guillory’s latest novel is a sizzling look at a hot Hollywood romance. Could a fling turn into something more? Or will it all go away once the cameras stop rolling?

Ben Stephens isn’t one for serious romances. Sure, he has lots of dates and is a big fan of flirting but anything more than that isn’t his style. Actress Anna Gardiner is too busy making herself a household name to worry about romance. But when the two start working on an ad campaign together, they can’t help but distract each other.

What starts as light-hearted banter quickly turns more serious as Ben helps Anna through a family emergency. Soon they are offered the opportunity to turn this flirting into a Hollywood headline, playing a couple for the cameras. They agree and before they know it, they are revealing truths about themselves they’ve never told anyone before. But will this fake relationship become serious, or will it all end once the cameras are off?

Before summer ends, be sure to add these top summer reads to your beach TBR. The best way to spend a hot summer day is between the covers of a great book.

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Photo by Jairph on Unsplash

Writer, editor, and proud nerd. Co-host of Wit Beyond Measure, a Jane Austen podcast. A reader of books, binger of Netflix, and knitter of scarves. Her cat is probably yelling at her right now.