STARRED REVIEW
June 2019

Summer reading 2019: Your sweetest escape

What are you reading this summer? Check out these must-reads for long, lazy days . . .
STARRED REVIEW
June 2019

Summer reading 2019: Your sweetest escape

What are you reading this summer? Check out these must-reads for long, lazy days . . .
June 2019

Summer reading 2019: Your sweetest escape

What are you reading this summer? Check out these must-reads for long, lazy days . . .
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Summer days were made for getting lost in a good book. We’ve gathered a few of the season’s hottest novels—stories of romance, adventure and suspense—that are just right for whiling away a few lazy hours. Grab a cold drink, find a spot in the shade, and get ready to read.


Cape May
By Chip Cheek

In Chip Cheek’s debut novel, the year is 1957. Young Henry and Effie from tiny Signal Creek, Georgia, are on a two-week honeymoon in Cape May, New Jersey. By the end of their first awkward week of marriage, Effie wants to go home early, and Henry, defeated, assents. But the night before they are to leave this coastal ghost town, they spot signs of life—signs of a party, no less—and decide to stop in. Cheek paints a graphic and sensuous portrait of an fragile marriage embattled well before its time. Cape May is a besotted picnic of a novel—day-drunk and languid, shadowed by ever-threatening storm clouds. —Kathryn Justice Leache


Cari Mora
By Thomas Harris
If it’s a thriller you seek for summer reading, look no further than Cari Mora by Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Rising. Beautiful young Cari Mora is an immigrant caretaker of a house in Miami Beach with a fortune hidden beneath it: millions of dollars in cartel gold. When Hans-Peter Schneider—a psychopath who thrives on violence—comes after the treasure, he develops a sinister interest in Cari. But she’s a fighter at heart, has experienced war and knows how to look after herself. Harris explores the dark side of human passion in this pulse-pounding novel. His first book in 13 years, Cari Mora will not disappoint fans of disturbing, taut thrillers. —Julie Hale


The Flatshare
By Beth O’Leary
If the idea of flatmates sharing a bed at alternate hours without meeting sounds too far-fetched, hold your skepticism. If it sounds like a meet-cute waiting to happen, you’re in luck. Regardless of your starting point, The Flatshare is a charming love story to warm your heart. After Tiffy’s boyfriend dumps her, she’s desperate to find a new flat. Night nurse Leon needs extra cash, and he’s willing to get creative. The flatmates follow a strict schedule to ensure that they won’t overlap, but as they begin to get to know each other through notes, their curiosity about each other grows. Even skeptical readers will be surprised by the thoughtful way Beth O’Leary faces not only new love but also the traces of individual pasts. —Carla Jean Whitley


How Not to Die Alone
By Richard Roper

Filled with humor and heart, How Not to Die Alone, Richard Roper’s debut novel, tells the story of Andrew, a solitary soul whose public health job entails tracking down the next of kin of people who die alone. Due to a misunderstanding, Andrew’s co-workers think he’s a happily married father of two. In truth, his only family is a distant sister, and he leads a generally isolated existence. When Peggy joins his team at work, Andrew feels an attraction that she seems to share. But coming clean about his life could mean the end of his career and his reputation. What’s a lonely guy to do? A brisk, compelling read, Roper’s book is a rom-com with substance. —Julie Hale


Into the Jungle
By Erica Ferencik
Delve into the heart of the Amazon in Erica Ferencik’s second action-packed thriller. In 2010, while living in a hostel in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Lily Bushwold, a Boston native, meets Omar, an Amazon hunter turned motorcycle mechanic. Two scrappy yet tender kindred spirits, they quickly fall in love. When Omar is summoned back to his jungle village, Ayachero, to avenge his mourning family, Lily accompanies him. Little does she know it’s not just Omar she follows, but a mystical calling to discover her ca’ah, her life’s purpose, intrinsically bound up with the fragile jungle ecosystem. A chilling journey into jungle life, Into the Jungle is also a deep probe into environmental ethics and love. —Mari Carlson


Monsieur Mediocre
By John von Sothen
Ah, Paris! There’s no city quite like it. And these days, when Americans are finding vacations as scarce as video rental stores, it’s hard not to look with longing at the six weeks’ getaway still in vogue across the pond. But American-­born columnist John von Sothen didn’t come to France for the vacations. Fifteen years ago, he fell in love with a French actress and moved to Paris. Now the father of two teens, he has penned an entertaining memoir of his life as a husband, father and constantly surprised expat. Monsieur Mediocre offers thoughtful observations about everything from politics to family life with irresistible charm. —Deborah Hopkinson


Mr. Know-It-All
By John Waters

If you’re a person who’s easily offended, take it from me: Don’t even read the reviews, much less crack open the cover of John Waters’ latest book. A whip-smart (he’d no doubt like that description), funny, multitalented and unique cultural icon, Waters is also an artist and book collector, and these essays reflect his endless assortment of interests—ranging from his movie-making memories (Patty Hearst thought he was kidding when he asked her to be in a movie) to his planning of and taking what he calls “a senior-citizen acid trip.” While it’s certainly not a book for everyone, Waters’ legion of admirers will be lining up in droves to hop aboard the Mr. Know-It-All bus. —Alice Cary


Mrs. Everything
By Jennifer Weiner
At the outset, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel pays homage to Little Women: Older sister Jo, a tomboy and athlete, wants to be a writer, while younger sister Bethie just wants to be a sweet, pretty daughter. But in Alcott terms, these two sisters are more like Jo and Amy—sometimes they just don’t get along. Mrs. Everything follows the two sisters from their Jewish girlhood in post-World War II Detroit through the present and into the near future, 71 years in all. With its long timespan and focus on cultural change, Mrs. Everything is a departure for Weiner, but she still delivers flawed but approachable female characters, well-­examined friendships and romantic relationships and often-joyful sex scenes. —Sarah McCraw Crow


Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune
By Roselle Lim
Summer beckons a reading list that is as light, fun and feel-good as the season itself. Roselle Lim’s Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune definitely fits that need. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lim’s debut is the story of 20-something Natalie, who has just returned home to the worst news possible: the unexpected passing of her mother, Miranda. Her shock and sadness are compounded by the guilt of parting ways seven years ago over a disagreement which now seems extraneous. But this is a story of luck and fortune, so it isn’t long before Natalie is given a chance to fix it all. —Chika Gujarathi


Necessary People
By Anna Pitoniak
Two complex women inhabit Necessary People, Anna Pitoniak’s second psychologically astute novel. College graduates Stella Bradley and Violet Trapp have become the closest of friends, though they’re opposites in so many ways. When their longtime friendship gives way to ambition, Pitoniak perceptively traces the fracture of their sisterlike bond, leading to a denouement the reader will not anticipate. An insightful glimpse into the competitive world of TV news and Pitoniak’s spot-on portraits of these two women come together in a gripping novel that’s sure to be a popular summer read. —Deborah Donovan


Nuking the Moon
By Vince Houghton
One category of “beach read” that’s criminally neglected is the “dad beach read.” Vince Houghton tackles this genre head-on in his curious, delightful new book, Nuking the Moon. At the height of World War II and the Cold War, national governments the world over devised missions and schemes that never came to fruition—because they were very bad. Houghton, a curator at the International Spy Museum in Washington, roasts these failed plots one by one. “Why not use a live cat to spy on the Russians?” someone at the CIA once asked without a hint of irony. “I’ll tell you exactly why,” Houghton responds, to readers’ delight. —Christy Lynch


Out East
By John Glynn
This memoir relates the travails of a group of privileged New England kids as they navigate an indulgent, raucous summer in Montauk in their late 20s. (Of course, references to The Great Gatsby abound.) When feelings for a male friend develop into something more, author John Glynn finds himself bearing the weight of a secret about his sexual identity. What follows is a charming portrait of how deeply human it is to be uncertain, to be driving a hundred miles an hour toward nowhere and longing to have a buddy in the car. Out East is a heart-wrenching reminder of the precarious emotional inner life that undulates just beneath the surface, even for people who seem as though they have it all. —Kelly Blewett


Passion on Park Avenue
By Lauren Layne

The title says it all: Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne is a Big Apple romance brimming with sophisticated fun. At 29, Naomi Powell is spirited, independent and oh-so-successful. The daughter of a housekeeper, she holds the rank of CEO at a major jewelry company—a position that gives her access to the rarefied world of the Upper East Side. Yet Naomi isn’t quite accepted by the city’s well-to-do. When handsome Oliver Cunningham—the son of a family who once employed her mother—enters the picture, she has a new distraction on her hands. The first entry in Layne’s new Central Park Pact Series, Passion on Park Avenue is the perfect summer escape. —Julie Hale


Recursion
By Blake Crouch
Blake Crouch’s follow-up to his breakout bestseller, Dark Matter, has an instantly compelling premise—across the country, people have begun experiencing vivid, emotional memories of alternate lives. Solving the mystery of False Memory Syndrome would be enough to drive Recursion forward, but the second you think the book has settled into a holding pattern, it pinwheels off in an entirely unexpected direction. Early on, Crouch lets the reader in on the secret of the syndrome’s origins through frequent flashbacks to 11 years before the disease started to spread, and the two timelines play off each other in increasingly poignant ways. It’s early, but Recursion may be the smartest, most surprising thriller of the summer. —Savanna Walker


The Scent Keeper
By Erica Bauermeister

Emmeline and her scientist father live a somewhat idyllic, if Spartan, existence on a remote island off Canada’s west coast. He’s invented a mysterious machine, the Nightingale, a kind of olfactory Polaroid camera that captures scent moments on specialized paper. But paradise, like childhood, has a fixed term, and one traumatic incident whisks Emmeline off her island into a society that she finds finds both intriguing and terrifying. Reminiscent of Vianne Rocher from Joanne Harris’ beloved Chocolat, Emmeline is persistent, engaging and a savant in her chosen field. All she has to do is to take her father’s advice: follow her nose, and then get out of its way. —Thane Tierney


Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered
By Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Fans of the wildly popular “My Favorite Murder” podcast already know the heart, hilarity and horror embodied by hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. But even those who have been living under a rock will enjoy their new book, Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered. Kilgariff and Hardstark delve into comedy’s darker, more vulnerable underbelly in these essays, detailing adolescent escapades with drugs, creeps, eating disorders and more. Confessional, wise and more than a little obscene, this book is for anyone whose path to adulthood is littered with blunders. These authors will show you how to remember them and laugh. —Christy Lynch


Summer Hours
By Amy Mason Doan

Summer Hours is a sweet, satisfying love story. Growing up, Becc always played by the rules, getting good grades and preparing for a journalism career. But a college romance with the irresistible Cal derailed her plans and damaged an important friendship. Years later, as she travels to California for a wedding, Becc is accompanied by a special guy whom she hasn’t seen in ages (we won’t spoil the story by revealing his identity!). Memories of the time she spent with him come flooding back, but he doesn’t seem to share her enthusiasm for the past. Should Becc ignore her feelings, or follow her heart? Doan spins an unforgettable tale of old-fashioned romance in this winning novel. —Julie Hale


Time After Time
By Lisa Grunwald

Fans of historical fiction will savor Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. In 1937, Joe, a railway man working in Grand Central Station, crosses paths with Nora, a mysterious young woman who doesn’t quite fit in with her surroundings—because she’s a ghost. The real Nora was an art student who died in a subway crash in 1925. As a spirit, she reappears in Grand Central Station every now and again, but when she and Joe fall in love, they’re determined to find a way to build a life together. An unforgettable tale of otherworldly romance, Grunwald’s book is a true page-turner. Pick up a copy and prepare to be transported. —Julie Hale

Cari Mora
By Thomas Harris
Grand Central

ISBN 9781538700228

Monsieur Mediocre
By John von Sothen
Viking

ISBN 9780735224834

Mr. Know-It-All
By John Waters
FSG

ISBN 9780374214968

Necessary People
By Anna Pitoniak
Little, Brown

ISBN 9780316451710

Recursion
By Blake Crouch
Crown

ISBN 9781524759780

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered
By Hardstark Kilgariff, Karen Kilgariff
Forge

ISBN 9781250178954

Get the Books

Cape May

Cape May

By Chip Cheek
Celadon
ISBN 9781250297150
Cari Mora

Cari Mora

By Thomas Harris
Grand Central
ISBN 9781538700228
The Flatshare

The Flatshare

By Beth O'Leary
Flatiron
ISBN 9781250295637
How Not to Die Alone

How Not to Die Alone

By Richard Roper
Putnam
ISBN 9780525539889
Into the Jungle

Into the Jungle

By Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams
Walker
ISBN 9781536205275
Monsieur Mediocre

Monsieur Mediocre

By John von Sothen
Viking
ISBN 9780735224834
Mr. Know-It-All

Mr. Know-It-All

By John Waters
FSG
ISBN 9780374214968
Mrs. Everything

Mrs. Everything

By Jennifer Weiner
Atria
ISBN 9781501133480
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

By Roselle Lim
Berkley
ISBN 9781984803252
Necessary People

Necessary People

By Anna Pitoniak
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316451710
Nuking the Moon

Nuking the Moon

By Vince Houghton
Penguin
ISBN 9780525505174
Out East

Out East

By John Glynn
Grand Central
ISBN 9781538746653
Passion on Park Avenue

Passion on Park Avenue

By Lauren Layne
Gallery
ISBN 9781501191572
Recursion

Recursion

By Blake Crouch
Crown
ISBN 9781524759780
The Scent Keeper

The Scent Keeper

By Erica Bauermeister
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250200136
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered

By Hardstark Kilgariff & Karen Kilgariff
Forge
ISBN 9781250178954
Summer Hours

Summer Hours

By Amy Mason Doan
Graydon House
ISBN 9781525823572
Time After Time

Time After Time

By Vicki Hinze
Avon
ISBN 9780380808069

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