16 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down This Summer
It’s finally summer, which means it’s time to grab a great book and head down the beach.
Whatever your mood or your vibe is as we head into the new year, we reckon got you covered with these book selections. Whether you want something to cheer you up, something to make you go “hmm”, something to thrill and excite, or just a really great story to escape into, we have an option for you!
These 16 page-turner books will have you hooked, though, so be warned. Really, apply your sunscreen before you settle into these. We’ll take no responsibility for any sunburns incurred from getting lost in these books.
If You Need a Pick-Me-Up:
The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig
Synopsis: The Comfort Book is a collection of consolations learned in hard times and suggestions for making the bad days better. Drawing on maxims, memoirs and the inspirational lives of others, these meditations celebrate the ever-changing wonder of living. This is for when we need the wisdom of a friend or a reminder we can always nurture inner strength and hope, even in our busy world.
If You Feel Like Learning:
Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, by Amanda Montell
Synopsis: Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish,” revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere.
If You Can’t Wait for Bridgerton Season Two:
The Viscount Who Loved Me, Bridgerton Book 2, by Julia Quinn
Synopsis: 1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better… – Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1814.
But this time the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry — he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield – the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…
Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands — and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister — but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…
If You’re Into Poetry:
You Better Be Lightning, by Andrea Gibson
Synopsis: You Better Be Lightning by Andrea Gibson is a queer, political, and feminist collection guided by self-reflection.
The poems range from close examination of the deeply personal to the vastness of the world, exploring the expansiveness of the human experience from love to illness, from space to climate change, and so much more in between.
If You Need a Good Thriller:
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
Synopsis: Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe.
Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college rideshare board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news — the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.
Travelling the lengthy journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story. As she begins to plan her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect that Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking.
Meaning that she could very well end up as his next victim.
A game of cat and mouse is about to play out. In order to win, Charlie must do only one thing . . . survive the night.
If You’re After a Great Australian Crime Thriller:
Cutters End, by Margaret Hickey
Synopsis: A desert highway. A remote town. A murder that won’t stay hidden.
New Year’s Eve, 1989. Eighteen-year-old Ingrid Mathers is hitchhiking her way to Alice Springs. Bored, hungover and separated from her friend Joanne, she accepts a lift to the remote town of Cutters End.
July 2021. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case, one in which he has a personal connection. Three decades ago, a burnt and broken body was discovered in scrub off the Stuart Highway, 300km south of Cutters End. Though ultimately ruled an accidental death, many people — including a high-profile celebrity — are convinced it was murder.
When Mark’s interviews with the witnesses in the old case files go nowhere, he has no choice but to make the long journey up the highway to Cutters End.
And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…
Booktopia | audible
If You Want to Get Swept Away in a Really Great Story:
Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney
Synopsis: Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young – but life is catching up with them. They desire each other; they delude each other; they get together; they break apart. They have sex; they worry about sex; they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Synopsis: A lifetime holding it together. One party will bring it crashing down.
Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over-especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control.
By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames.
But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
No One Is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood
Synopsis: A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence overwhelmed by the internet — or what she terms ‘the portal’. Are we in hell? the people of the portal ask themselves. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?
Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: ‘Something has gone wrong,’ and ‘How soon can you get here?’ As real life and its stakes collide with the increasing absurdity of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.
Irreverent and sincere, poignant and delightfully profane, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the infinite scroll and a meditation on love, language and human connection from one of the most original voices of our time.
We Were Never Here, by Andrea Bartz
Synposis: Your best friend killed a man. Now, she needs your help. But can you really trust her motives? Her Last Holiday meets Thelma and Louise.
Emily is on holiday with her best friend, Kristen, in the stunning mountains of Chile. It’s heaven on earth – until, on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find it covered in blood.
Kristen claims a backpacker attacked her. She shouted, but no-one heard. She struggled, but he was too strong.
She had no option but to kill him.
With no evidence of the assault, Emily must help her hide the body. . .
But, as the walls close in on their cover-up, Emily asks herself- can she really trust her closest friend?
The Vanishing Half, by Britt Bennett
Synopsis: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.
Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Apples Never Fall, by Liane Moriarty
Synopsis: From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family. Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now that they’ve sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to ‘relax’. Their four adult children are busy living their own lives, and while it could be argued they never quite achieved their destinies, no one ever says that out loud.
But now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes. Is her disappearance related to their mysterious houseguest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?
The Hush, by Sara Foster
Synopsis: Lainey’s friend Ellis is missing. And she’s not the only one.
In the six months since the first case of a terrifying new epidemic – when a healthy baby wouldn’t take a breath at birth – the country has been thrown into turmoil. The government has passed sweeping new laws to monitor all citizens. And several young pregnant women have vanished without trace.
As a midwife, Lainey’s mum Emma is determined to be there for those who need her. But when seventeen-year-old Lainey finds herself in trouble, this dangerous new world becomes very real. The one person who might help is Emma’s estranged mother, but reaching out to her will put them all in jeopardy …
Scary Monsters, by Michelle de Kretser
Synopsis: When my family emigrated it felt as if we’d been stood on our heads.
Michelle de Kretser’s electrifying take on scary monsters turns the novel upside down — just as migration has upended her characters’ lives.
Lili’s family migrated to Australia from Asia when she was a teenager. Now, in the 1980s, she’s teaching in the south of France. She makes friends, observes the treatment handed out to North African immigrants and is creeped out by her downstairs neighbour. All the while, Lili is striving to be A Bold, Intelligent Woman like Simone de Beauvoir.
Lyle works for a sinister government department in near-future Australia. An Asian migrant, he fears repatriation and embraces ‘Australian values’. He’s also preoccupied by his ambitious wife, his wayward children and his strong-minded elderly mother. Islam has been banned in the country, the air is smoky from a Permanent Fire Zone, and one pandemic has already run its course.
Three scary monsters — racism, misogyny and ageism — roam through this mesmerising novel. Its reversible format enacts the disorientation that migrants experience when changing countries changes the story of their lives. With this suspenseful, funny and profound book, Michelle de Kretser has made something thrilling and new.
Which comes first, the future or the past?
The Yield, Tara June Winch
Synopsis: Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words in the wind.
August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land — a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Future Feeling, by Joss Lake
Synopsis: The year is 20__, and Penfield R. Henderson is in a rut. When he’s not walking dogs for cash or responding to booty calls from his B-list celebrity hookup, he’s holed up in his dingy Bushwick apartment obsessing over holograms of Aiden Chase, a fellow trans man and influencer documenting his much smoother transition into picture-perfect masculinity on the Gram. After an IRL encounter with Aiden leaves Pen feeling especially resentful, Pen enlists his roommates, the Witch and the Stoner-Hacker, to put their respective talents to use in hexing Aiden. Together, they gain access to Aiden’s social media account and post a picture of Pen’s aloe plant, Alice, tied to a curse:
Whosoever beholds the aloe will be pushed into the Shadowlands.