Can’t wait to get your hands on summer’s buzziest books? Enjoy summer reading with the backlist books from the authors with titles in our 2021 Summer Reading Guide! Some books are as recent as 2020 and we even have a title from 1992. I know your patience will be rewarded when your new books arrive but until then, I hope you will find and enjoy a new read from this list!
LOOKING FOR MORE BOOKS?
- Get our latest Summer Reading Guide here.
- If you’re keen on picking up a classic novel, check out our list of classic novels to read in the summer.
Summer Reading Guide 2021 – Backlist Books
Outline by Rachel Cusk
Rachel Cusk’s Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens.
The Patrick Melrose by Edward St. Aubyn
Collected into one volume for the first time, all five installments of Edward St. Aubyn’s celebrated Patrick Melrose novels. By turns harrowing and hilarious, this ambitious novel cycle dissects the English upper class. Edward St. Aubyn offers his reader the often darkly funny and self-loathing world of privilege as we follow Patrick Melrose’s story of abuse, addiction, and recovery from the age of five into early middle age.
The Returned by Jason Mott
From the New York Times bestselling author of Hell of a Book, a sensational novel about an impossible miracle and a family given a second chance at life. Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s eight-year-old son, Jacob, died tragically in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep–flesh and blood, still eight years old.
The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith
Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost–that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-eighteenth century Manhattan, thirty years before the American Revolution.
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
Laced with humor, rich historical detail from Charles Dickens’ life, and clever winks to his work, Samantha Silva’s Mr. Dickens and His Carol is an irresistible new take on a cherished classic.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
A marvelous and absorbing debut novel about a chance meeting between two supernatural creatures in turn-of-the-century immigrant New York.
High Drive by Jonathan Lee
In the fall of 1984, the Grand Hotel in the seaside town of Brighton, England, became ground zero for the attempted assassination of Margaret Thatcher. Nimbly weaving together fact and fiction, comedy and tragedy, here Jonathan Lee vividly reimagines those fateful days from the perspectives of three unforgettable characters–a young IRA bomb maker, the deputy hotel manager, and his teenage daughter–whose lives will be changed forever by the Prime Minister’s visit.
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
A historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passed as white–until she let herself grow too attached to the wrong person.
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Ted–a gay, single, struggling writer is stuck: unable to open himself up to intimacy except through the steadfast companionship of Lily, his elderly dachshund. When Lily’s health is compromised, Ted vows to save her by any means necessary. By turns hilarious and poignant, an adventure with spins into magic realism and beautifully evoked truths of loss and longing, Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.
The World Without You by Joshua Henkin
It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. They have gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings and an intrepid journalist killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq. But Leo’s parents are adrift in a grief that’s tearing apart their forty-year marriage, his sisters are struggling with their own difficulties, and his widow has arrived from California bearing a secret.
From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers–young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Joyce Maynard, acclaimed author of At Home in the World, is back with Labor Day. The unforgettable story of a mother and son forever changed during a long summer weekend when a mysterious man comes into their lives.
Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
Kerry Hayes is a single mom, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into foster care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past. Noah Martineau is a successful lawyer with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back. When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From the award-winning, bestselling author of We Should All Be Feminists and Half of a Yellow Sun–the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race, belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.
American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales
Award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales crisscrossed the country talking to more than two hundred girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen about their experiences online and off. They are coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills.
That Woman by Anne Sebba
The first full scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the Twentieth Century, a character who played prominently in the blockbuster film The King’s Speech.
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to a coastal island in Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind, desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.
The Other Mother by Carol Goodman
From the author of the internationally bestselling The Lake of Dead Languages comes a gripping novel about madness, motherhood, love, and trust.
Blacktop Wasteland by S. A. Cosby
A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic robot western from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Series by Natasha Pulley
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama, Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime–maybe even love–in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride & Prejudice, this debut is a delightful #ownvoices queer rom-com about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve–with results not even the stars could predict.
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point–in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.
Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family set in the New South.
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.
What do you think about these 2021 summer reading guide backlist books?
Have you read any books from this list? What is your favorite book or author from this list? Are any of these books on your TBR?
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