Seven summer reads you need to add to your bookshelf
Summer holidays have certainly looked a little different this year, with travel restrictions, potential quarantine and social distancing all playing a major factor in our lives. Whether you were able to head abroad for some much-needed sun or instead opted for a traditional staycation, there’s been no shortage of good books to keep you occupied this summer. We’ve picked the late summer reads that will make a perfect addition to your reading list.
All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
A tale of loneliness, community and hope, Gayle’s latest offering is a particularly fitting entry given the current state of the world, as we all emerge from lockdowns which have seen loneliness levels reach new highs, for both the young and the old.
The novel tells the story of Hubert Bird who paints a picture of perfect retirement in weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, however the life he leads is anything but perfect. Gayle touches on difficult themes, such as racism, substance abuse and leaving your home country but in an uplifting and inspiring way.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
Jewell’s no stranger to creating gripping thrillers since switching from women’s fiction nearly a decade ago, and this novel’s no exception. Invisible Girl follows 17-year-old Saffyre, a teenager with a painful past, who goes missing on Valentine’s night. All eyes instantly look to 33-year-old loner Owen, a teacher who lives across the street with his aunt.
Told from multiple perspectives, the novel forces us to consider how as a society, we are often too quick to point the finger at the people lurking in the shadows, while the real predators walk in plain sight.
One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie
For a dark story told with great humour, Mackenzie’s debut novel ticks all the boxes. Yola Palacios is settling into her new life in Trinidad when her aunt Celia passes away, leaving her to deal with the family debt to local criminal, Ugly. When Yola finds herself attracted to Ugly’s right-hand man, Roman, she finds herself unable to resist the temptation. The author manages to portray the lives of Venezuelan refugees alongside a feel good love story, through sharp and witty writing that keeps you turning the page.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Spanning four decades from the 1950s to the 1990s, Bennett explores the lives of two estranged twin sisters leading very different lives, and very different racial identities.
After running away from a stifling small town in the Deep South at sixteen, their lives divide. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same town while the other secretly passes for white, with a white husband who knows nothing about her past – that is until the paths of their daughters cross.
The Vanishing Half is a beautifully written story of family, race and class in America.
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
If you’re in the market for a feel-good read, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect. As a teenage girl, Emmie releases a balloon with her secret into the air and when it is found by a boy on a beach in France, they start an intense friendship spanning 14 years.
Now on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Emmie longs for Lucas to finally reciprocate her feelings but instead he announces he is about to marry someone else. For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Louis’ novel offers a satisfying lesson in learning to let go and trust in what is meant to be.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
Who says summer reads can’t sweep you away to a completely different time or place? This gothic debut from Macneal begins in 1850s London, following aspiring artist Iris caught between fellow artist Louis Frost and taxidermist Silas Reed, whose fascination soon takes a dark turn. Macneal’s prose creates a vivid and immersive picture of life in Victorian England, examining the position of women as her heroine battles a society which is determined to keep her in her place.
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
The award winning author of One Day is back with his latest novel Sweet Sorrow, a nostalgic and heart-warming exploration of the highs and lows of first love and the unsettling angst of teenage years through to adulthood. Set in 90s England, the novel is told from the perspective of the book’s protagonist, Charlie Lewis, as he seeks to win the love of posh girl Fran Fisher by joining rehearsals to perform the ultimate love story, Romeo and Juliet.
This classic Nicholls novel seamlessly takes you down memory lane, making it impossible not to reminisce over the first person you fell in love with – the highs, the lows and everything in between.