I read all year round, but I love the idea of a summer novel -- a story you enjoy on the beach or on a road trip. As always, I get most of my reading from the Boston Public Library, but I have a few advance copies and one Little Free Library find on my summer reading list.
I really enjoyed the upcoming novel, You’re Invited, by Amanda Jayatissa. In this twisty thriller, maya feels strange about receiving her invitation to her ex-bestie Kaavi’s wedding. First, the former friends haven’t spoken in years, and second, Kaavi’s engaged to Amaya’s ex. But, after a personal invitation from Kaavi’s family and encouragement from her new bestie, Beth, Amaya decides to return to Sri Lanka for the massive wedding celebration, and find a way to stop the wedding. This is a twisty thriller with fascinating social media influencer themes.
Things We Do In The Dark, by Jennifer Hillier, is a twisty story where almost everyone’s got a dark secret they need to keep hidden at all costs. This is a fast-paced suspense story, with complicated, well-developed characters. The story opens when Paris Peralta comes home to find her wealthy, famous, much-older husband dead and covered in blood in his bathroom. Paris didn’t have anything to do with it, but — in my very favorite kind of thriller set-up — she doesn’t have a good alibi because she was off dealing with complications from an entirely different set of dark secrets.
Finally, my last summer thriller was The It Girl. I was supposed to read Ruth Ware’s new thriller, The It Girl, as part of a readalong, but it was impossible to put down. I knew I’d like it going in — I always love Ruth Ware thrillers for twisty, not-gory, page-turning suspense stories.
In YA fiction, If You Could See The Sun, by Ann Liang, uses a supernatural invisibility power to tell a moving, realistic story about class, money, and adolescence in Beijing. When high school Alice Sun discovers her invisibility power, she immediately uses it to earn money to pay her exorbitant private school school fees. As the Beijing Ghost, Alice will do the secret tasks and favors, all anonymously. Once Alice started getting secrets from her classmates, I thought this was going to turn Gossip Girl, but there’s a uniquely Beijing flavor. No mean girls or gossipy backstabbing here, as much as ambitious high-school students willing to do anything for success. If You Could See The Sun tells a distinctly Beijing coming-of-age story.
For retro pulpy fun, I read Valley of the Dolls. In this old show business melodrama, a 30-year-old woman is basically a withered old hag, but fortunately there are endless pills to sleep more, to lose weight and to just take the edge off the glamorous dramas. I was glad to finally read something that’s referenced in pop culture, and I enjoyed Jennifer and Neely’s stories, but don’t forget that a lot of the drama was pretty dated.
Finally, if you also do a lot of reading in the library, The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill, is a thriller about a novelist who’s working on a thriller that might have a novelist in it. It opens in the Reading Room of the Boston Public Library, and contains so many familiar Boston places.