Fashion

21 Must-Read Books to Pick Up This Summer


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summer preview 2022 book

Courtesy / Design Leah Romero

As the bustling summer months slowly begin, we’re looking ahead at the best new books of the upcoming season.

Ahead, you’ll find reads from debut authors like Leila Mottley—who wrote Nightcrawling when she was just 17 years old!—and see some familiar names like Ottessa Moshfegh who’s making her long-awaited return after her bestselling 2018 novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Whether you’re looking to lounge on a beach chair with a lush romance novel or dive into some thought-provoking nonfiction, you’re sure to find something here for your summer vibe.

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This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

Straub’s modern take on 13 Going on 30 skips all the fluff and goes straight for the gut. Brimming with whimsy and humor, the story of a young woman’s second chance at life is grounded by the unforced father-daughter relationship at its center. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the tenderness. —Juliana Ukiomogbe, assistant editor

Out May 17.

Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri

Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri is back, and this time, with an ode to language. In this collection of personal essays, Lahiri waxes poetic about the complexities of translation—from its origins in Ovid’s myths to her personal experiences of translating her own work from Italian to English. Her observations are as plentiful as they are enlightening. —JU

Out May 17.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi’s first foray into romance, and their third book released this year, is high on our list of most-anticipated reads. Set in the tropical Caribbean, You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty follows a young woman named Feyi as she attempts to heal from a previous relationship and ends up finding a new love in the process. —JU

Out May 24.

Either/Or by Elif Batuman

Five years after the release of The Idiot, Batuman returns with its much-anticipated sequel, Either/Or. The novel picks up where its predecessor left off and finds our protagonist Selin back at Harvard for her sophomore year, with even more astute observations and tongue-and-cheek commentary than before. —JU

Out May 24.

Doxology author Nell Zink returns this summer with the dreamy and delicious—yet unquestionably insightful—Avalon. A young woman raised in a Buddhist colony in Southern California meets (and falls in love with) an East Coast college student, who opens her eyes to a penchant for the arts…only for their long-distance relationship to falter between the coasts. —Lauren Puckett-Pope, associate editor

Out May 24.

Rainbow Rainbow: Stories by Lydia Conklin

An apt title for a gleefully queer collection of stories, Lydia Conklin’s Rainbow Rainbow weaves between hope and despair, love and fear as its characters—a lesbian comics artist, a sex addict, a trans vlogger, various teenagers coming-of-age (and into their sexuality)—wrestle with the fraught dynamics of gender identity and queer romance in the 21st century. —LPP

Out May 31.

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

A love story as vibrant as its cover, Yerba Buena is neither breezy nor light-hearted, but it is nevertheless a perfect beach read: Two women meet at a fashionable restaurant known as—you got it—Yerba Buena, and there embark on a journey of addiction, self-discovery, renewal, and, perhaps, real commitment. —LPP

Out May 31.

Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera

The impacts of gentrification—and generations of shifting social status—ignite a fascinating ripple effect in Cleyvis Natera’s debut Neruda On The Park, in which members of a Dominican family in New York City clash around the wealth (or lack thereof) that defines their choices. Exciting but nuanced, this is a book you’ll want to race through, then pick up and start again. —LPP

Out May 31.

Who Is Wellness For?: An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who It Leaves Behind by Fariha Róisín

In this timely and urgent examination, Like a Bird author Fariha Róisín breaks down wellness culture through the lens of social justice and its genesis in Indigenous communities. From ashwagandha and meditation to body dysmorphia and “the self-care industrial complex,” she charts the path forward for a more inclusive approach to wellness. —JU

Out June 2.

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

The author of National Book Award finalist Sabrina & Corina returns this summer with another tale of the American West, this time chronicling no fewer than five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family. Each ancestor is connected to Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a seer who experiences visions of the past—in all their tenderness and horror. —LPP

Out June 2.

Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley

Anyone who’s been captivated by Sloane Crosley’s essays will recognize a similar puckish sense of humor undergirding this novel, a Cultish-meets-Christmas Carol-like exploration of what it’s like to confront your past (that is, if Ebenezer Scrooge were a Gen X woman with a colorful roster of exes.) —Véronique Hyland, fashion features director

Out June 7.

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Fast money, crooked cops, and dire consequences are at the forefront of Mottley’s electric debut novel, which she wrote when she was just 17 years old. Striking prose and unforgettable characters—including a young Black woman in relentless pursuit of justice—make for a shocking page-turner and timely reflection. —JU

Out June 7.

The Twilight World by Werner Herzog

Fans of Herzog’s films—filled with obsessive characters, quixotic journeys, and the natural world as antagonist—will by captivated by his first novel, which draws on the true story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who held out defending an island in the Philippines for nearly three decades after the end of World War II. Part Aguirre, The Wrath of God, part Apocalypse Now, and part fever dream, Herzog’s The Twilight World casts a spell that asks us to consider who we are and what we’re fighting for. —Katherine Krueger, features editor

Out June 14.

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

After the massive success of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Moshfegh returns with something completely different, albeit a little strange. Set in a fictional medieval village, Lapvona follows a slew of characters—from an abused shepherd boy to a cruel and sadistic lord—as they navigate religion, morality, and the complexities of the human experience. —JU

Out June 21.

Thrust by Lidia Yuknavitch

From the author of the deeply affecting memoir The Chronology of Water and novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children comes a novel that revolves around a girl able to time travel with the help of a talking turtle. Despite that unusual premise, there’s so much that feels deeply present about Yuknavitch’s latest novel: the ever-expanding police state, lower Manhattan under water, and a woman on a mission to rescue other vulnerable women. Yuknavitch’s words are incantations, and Thrust is a triumph. —KK

Out June 28.

The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories by Jess Walter

Many a book has attempted to lure readers with a fashionable young woman on its cover and promises of a glittering tale from abroad. But Jess Walter (of Beautiful Ruins renown) has a lot more to offer in this story collection, about a transfixing cast of characters navigating fame, performance, identity, aging, and romance in spots scattered between Europe and America. —LPP

Out June 28.

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

Anyone who’s read Bolu Babalola’s tweets knows she’s got a crackling sense of humor. As a debut novelist, she blends that signature wit with the warmth of romance in Honey & Spice, about an independent young Black woman at the British Whitewell University who discovers that—when it comes to love—“fake relationships” more often than not turn true. —LPP

Out July 5.

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

Quaking with age-old righteous anger but nevertheless luminescent with hope, Calling For A Blanket Dance follows Ever Geimausaddle, a young Native American man caught in the crosshairs of family, nation, and self, searching to understand his values and beliefs in a country desperate to strip them away. —LPP

Out July 26.

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West was one of the most interesting novels I’ve read in recent years; I still find its heartbreaking tale of migration and connection popping into my thoughts unprompted. I expect nothing less from The Last White Man, another tale of poignant magical realism, in which Hamid’s characters wake up to find their skin color has suddenly and inexplicably changed. Haunting and arresting in equal measure. —LPP

Out August 2.

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews

In All This Could Be Different, Sarah Thankam Mathews’ protagonist accomplishes that great and lofty goal: She graduates college, and she actually gets a job. Even in a recession, she finds she can support herself and then some—an immigrant’s American Dream. But it doesn’t take long before the perfect contours of her corporate life start to slip, and Mathews explores the fallout with tenderness and exhilaration. —LPP

Out August 2.

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

And so the Taylor Jenkins Reid fictional universe expands further. The author of Daisy Jones and the Six and, most recently, Malibu Rising, brings back Carrie Soto—a character you might recall from Malibu—for an epic adventure about a female athlete perhaps past her prime, brought back to the tennis court for one last grand slam. —LPP

Out August 30.

Lauren Puckett-Pope Associate Editor Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.

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