Wondering what to read this summer? Whether it's from your sunbed or sheltering inside from the rain, you have to look no further as I asked You magazine's Books Editor Natasha Poliszczuk and bestselling author Ali Harris for their top reading recommendations for Summer 2021.
Your Summer Book List by Ali Harris author of The First Last kiss (You can follow Ali on Instagram @aliharriswriter)
Summer reading is just the best, isn’t it? Losing yourself in an unputdownable book whilst being unable to get up from a sun lounger (or, more likely this year, garden hammock). Here’s my list of the best (paddling) poolside reads:
The Book Club pick: The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
I love a book club. I belong to a local one, of course, but I also religiously follow Reese Witherspoon’s @reesesbookclub on Instagram and was super quick to nab this July recommendation. It’s Cowley-Heller’s debut novel, but as former head of Drama at HBO where she developed shows such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and The Wire (how’s that for a pedigree?) you instantly feel in safe, assured hands. Also, it has every ingredient I want from a summer read: secrets, a summer beach house, complex love triangle. Already a NYT bestseller, put this sweeping, sumptuous novel at the top of your TBR list at once!
The murder mystery: The Truants by Kate Weinberg
When Jess Taylor starts Uni and instantly falls in with a thrill-seeking peer group who are all in thrall to their charismatic, maverick professor Lorna, little can she predict that this carefree but claustrophobic group of contemporaries could lead to temptation and ultimately, tragedy. For fans of Donna Tartt and Liane Moriarty, with shades of Notes on a Scandal, this unfolds as a coming-of-age Campus chronicle and seamlessly morphs into a murder mystery that cleverly pays close homage to Agatha Christie, without resorting to pastiche. Indeed, there is in this debut, a lingering literary backbone that marks out new novelist Weinberg as one to watch.
The instant uplift: Yours Cheerfully by A J Pearce
Good news! Emmeline Lake, the gloriously gung-ho Wannabe War Correspondent turned advice columnist is back in this delightful sequel to A J Pearce’s bestselling debut novel, Dear Mrs Bird. It’s 1941 and Woman’s Friend has been drafted in by the Ministry of Information to spearhead a recruitment drive for Women War workers. But this is easier said than done for the employees Emmy meets at the Munitions factory who are expected to work long shifts and weekends with no childcare. What unfolds is an uplifting and insightful celebration of the power of female support, strength and friendship through the darkest of times. Historical and heartwarming, have a gin fizz and a hanky to hand!
The heart-wrenching romance: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
My friend, fellow author Paige Toon recommended Colleen Hoover to me when I’d finished her new novel, Someone I Used to Know (also highly recommend!) and said I was looking for another immersive, romantic summer read. Like Paige, Hoover writes fraught, unforgettable fiction, with live-off-the-page characters and complex love triangles that grip your heart it tightly until the last page. When 23 year-old Lily Bloom leaves her abusive childhood behind for a new life in Boston and meets and marries suave, sensitive, stubborn neurosurgeon Ryle, she feels she’s met her perfect man - apart from his similarities to her own father, that is. As she begins to question her relationship, her thoughts turn to her childhood love, Atlas Corrigan (great name, no?) But he unexpectedly turns up back in her life, she's forced to face the cycle of abuse she has become sucked into. Painful, powerful and unputdownable this is widely thought to be one of Hoover's best, you’ll devour it on your garden deckchair this summer.
The modern classic: Mr Wilder and Me by Jonathon Coe
I love reading historical fiction on holiday that draws upon the lives of real people and also takes you on a literary trip both abroad and back in time. It’s 1970s Corfu and teenage Calista’s life has been changed by meeting Billy Wilder, Golden Era Oscar winning film writer and director (Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment) and invited to be a translator on one of his final films. Decades later, she’s a well-known composer and is asked to write a score about him. A delightful, deeply immersive portrayal of the rise and fall of fame, expectation versus success and the long, hard pull of nostalgia on your life. Escapist and enthralling - enjoy!