Eight book recommendations to liven up summer break

Arts Reporter Grace Westergaard shares eight book recommendations perfect for summer break. With three new releases and five published favorites, this list has a variety to choose from.

Grace Westergaard, Arts Reporter

After a long year of work or college classes, picking up a book for fun may be the last way someone wants to spend their summer. However, I have a few book recommendations that made me feel like I wasn’t even reading at all. Instead, I was transported to a new place without even leaving my home.

Many new books will be published throughout the summer. One recent release I anticipated was Emily Henry’s new book, “Happy Place,” which was released on April 25. Henry is the author of the famed “People We Meet on Vacation,” “Book Lovers,” and “Beach Read,” all of which will soon be made into movies.

As a huge Emily Henry fan, I was immensely excited for the release of “Happy Place.” I can safely say it met all my expectations of Henry’s usual summer romance novels. The story follows Harriet, an ambitious surgical resident, and past fiancée Wyn at their annual summer visit to the Maine cottage filled with memories galore. Then, the twist: Harriet and Wyn are broken up, but keep this secret from their friends for old times sake.

I absolutely recommend this book, as it kept me constantly turning pages wanting to know more. Coincidentally, there’s even a mention of the Iowa Writers’ workshop in the pages of this story.

Similarly, Carley Fortune — author of the beloved “Every Summer After” — released her highly-awaited second novel, “Meet Me at the Lake,” on May 2. I was ecstatic for this to release as well, as I enjoyed her first book “Every Summer After,” which also stands as a superb summer recommendation.

“Meet Me at the Lake” follows Fern and Will, who meet one day by a chance encounter, one neither will soon forget. They agreed to meet up again one year later. Fern showed up, but Will didn’t, seemingly leading to an example of the “right person, wrong time” narrative. Out of nowhere, Will shows up on Fern’s doorstep nine years later, making her question everything she thought she knew. This twisty romance is one I won’t soon forget either.

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Another new release fans are buzzing about is R. F. Kuang’s newest book, “Yellowface,” which will hit shelves on May 16. Kuang is also the author of the story that went viral on TikTok, “The Poppy War.” Unsurprisingly, the media is ecstatic about her new book as well.

“Yellowface” follows authors June Hayward and Athena Liu, supposed literary stars of the same virtue, though Athena is regarded as much more popular than June. When Athena dies, June contemplates editing Athena’s almost finished manuscript and sending it to her publisher, passing it off as her own work. A story that touches on racism and cultural appropriation in the publishing industry as well as society, this is one book that will surely make an impact this summer.

Many books are currently released that I think make perfect summer reads. “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin follows unlikely best friends Sadie and Sam as they grow up together, going on to become very successful video game creators.

This story spans over 30 years, and is a different type of love story, one of a strong platonic friendship. This book won the title of “Best Fiction” in the 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards, so it’s no surprise I adored this book and think everyone should read it.

For the lovers of mystery or thriller books, “The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager fits the part for a twisty summer read. The story follows Casey Fletcher, a recently-widowed actress, as she stays at her family’s lake house in Vermont to dissuade bad press.

She makes note of Katherine and Tom Royce, the couple that live in the house across the lake from her. Casey befriends Katherine, but \Katherine suddenly disappears. Eerie, dark truths are uncovered leading to a twist I never saw coming.

For those who aren’t the biggest fans of creepy thrillers, “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt carries themes of a cozy-mystery. Protagonist Tova Sullivan’s husband has just died, and she starts working at Sowell Bay Aquarium. Tova forms an unlikely connection with Marcellus, the giant Pacific octopus housed in the aquarium.

Tova’s son also disappeared over t30 years ago – Marcellus works to uncover what happened to him that night. I found this story of friendship so heartwarming, I and know it would make for a warm summer read.