Popular titles enjoyed by our 2023 Summer Reading participants.
American Dirt / Jeanine Cummins
Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has her son Luca, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy-two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Lessons in Chemistry / Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
The Midnight Library / Matt Haig
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Nora Seed finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one: following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist. She must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Happy Place / Emily Henry
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college-they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now–for reasons they’re still not discussing–they don’t. They broke up six months ago, but still haven’t told their best friends. Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. The cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place, so Harriet and Wyn decide to fake it for old time’s sake. After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week?
It Ends With Us / Colleen Hoover
After building what should be a perfect life with neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid, Lily finds herself in a troubled relationship with an abusive husband and must make a decision about her future, as she re-encounters Atlas Corrigan, a man with links to her past. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Pineapple Street / Jenny Jackson
A deliciously funny, sharply observed novel of family, wealth, love and tennis, this zeitgeisty debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one, the millennial conscience of the family, who wants to give it all away. Rife with the indulgent pleasures of affluent WASPS in New York and full of recognizable if fallible characters (and a couple of appalling ones!), it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, about the haves and have-nots and the nuances in between, and the insanity of first love–Pineapple Street is a scintillating, wryly comic novel of race, class, wealth and privilege in an age that disdains all of it.
Demon Copperhead / Barbara Kingslover
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Red, White, and Royal Blue / Casey McQuiston
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
The Song of Achilles / Madeline Miller
Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of fate. Set during the Trojan War. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on hoopladigital.
Someone Else’s Shoes / Jojo Moyes
Nisha Cantor is the longstanding second wife of wealthy American businessman, Carl, a master of murky wheeler-dealing. In London as part of their privileged, globe-trotting life, Nisha is caught entirely off-guard when she learns Carl plans to divorce her. Nisha is glamorous, fearless, and determined to hang onto the life she has created for herself. But soon, she must scramble to adjust to an entirely new landscape as she tries to work out how to get back at Carl, and the woman who is now ensconced with him in the penthouse of the Bentley Hotel, taking Nisha’s rightful place (and her wardrobe).
Sam is at the bleakest point of middle age. Her husband is jobless and depressed, her daughter barely gives her the time of day, and her boss is systematically destroying the small pleasures she once gained from her job. She is a woman who feels invisible to everyone and trapped by everyone else’s needs. When she mistakenly grabs Nisha’s gym bag, Sam finds herself wearing Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes to take a series of important meetings. The unexpected results give her a jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change, and that something is herself. And when the two women finally meet, they will discover that each needs the other to put right the wrongs that are done to them, and to the women around them. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Hello, Beautiful / Ann Napolitano
William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him. So it’s a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. With Julia comes her family, and the Padavanos fold Julia’s new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household. But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable loyalty to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo / Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Monique is not exactly on top of the world: her marriage is ending and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds, revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love, Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
The Perfect Marriage / Jeneva Rose
Would you defend your husband if he was accused of killing his mistress? Sarah Morgan is a successful and powerful defense attorney in Washington D.C. At 33 years old, she is a named partner at her firm and life is going exactly how she planned. The same cannot be said for her husband, Adam. He is a struggling writer who has had little success in his career. He begins to tire of his and Sarah’s relationship as she is constantly working. Out in the secluded woods, at Adam and Sarah’s second home, Adam engages in a passionate affair with Kelly Summers. Then, one morning everything changes. Adam is arrested for Kelly’s murder: she had been found stabbed to death in Adam and Sarah’s second home. Sarah soon finds herself playing the defender for her own husband, a man accused of murdering his mistress. But is Adam guilty or is he innocent? Also available as an ebook and audiobook on hoopladigital.
Bad Summer People / Emma Rosenblum
Jen Weinstein and Lauren Parker rule the town of Salcombe, Fire Island every summer. They hold sway on the beach and the tennis court, and are adept at manipulating people to get what they want. Their husbands, Sam and Jason, have summered together on the island since childhood, despite lifelong grudges and numerous secrets. Their one single friend, Rachel Woolf, is looking to meet her match, whether he’s the tennis pro-or someone else’s husband. But even with plenty to gossip about, this season starts out as quietly as any other. Until a body is discovered, face down, off the side of the boardwalk.
Remarkably Bright Creatures / Shelby Van Pelt
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors— until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on hoopladigital.
Zero Days / Ruth Ware
Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her. Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer.
SCIENCE FICTION YARROS
Fourth Wing / Rebecca Yarros
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general–also known as her tough-as-talons mother–has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them. With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter–like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow / Gabrielle Zevin
A modern love story about two childhood friends, Sam, raised by an actress mother in LA’s Koreatown, and Sadie, from the wealthy Jewish enclave of Beverly Hills, who reunite as adults to create video games, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
Atomic Habits / James Clear
Break unwanted habits and stick to ones that help you become a better person. Your usual failures when adopting new habits will be avoided. You can override your lack of willpower and motivation and develop inner strength and belief in yourself. Learn how to introduce new habits in your life even if you have limited time. Also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.
The Sixth Extinction / Elizabeth Kolbert
Draws on the work of geologists, botanists, marine biologists and other researchers to discuss the five devastating mass extinctions on Earth and predicts the coming of a sixth. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.