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9 Perfect Novels to Put You in the Summer Mood

by  | May 19

It may still technically be spring but I’m ready to go full on summer with my book choices. Even if you’re still in the office or the classroom, there’s no reason you can’t let some top-notch summer fiction transport you to a coastal town in Maine or a hazy day in southern California.

(Related: The 6 Best Book Giveaways Happening As We Speak)

Whether you’ve got a crazy adventure planned for this summer or you just plan on basking in the air conditioning, go grab some iced coffee and get whisked away by one (or all!) of these summer reads that we’re beyond excited for.

Manny the Frenchie's Art of Happiness

Manny the Frenchie's Art of Happiness

by Manny the Frenchie

Ok, so this doesn’t technically count as a novel, but I had to slip it into the end of this list because OBVIOUSLY. And a dog writing a book is kind of like fiction, right? Besides, this is the perfect summer read for when your brain has turned off and all you want is to be overwhelmed by the cuteness of a napping French bulldog.

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The Salt House

The Salt House

by Lisa Duffy

Some summer reads are meant to fly by and some are meant to stay with us. Lisa Duffy’s heartbreaking, hopeful portrait of marriage, family, and friendship is the latter. Set in the coastal town of Alden, Maine, this gorgeously written novel follows a young family one summer after they are isolated by a sudden tragedy, but compelled to action to save their threatened lobster business.

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'Round Midnight

'Round Midnight

by Laura McBride

If your summer travels are taking you to Vegas, then, first of all, you’re much more adventurous than I am, and second, you need this book in your life. (Honestly, you may need it even more if you’re not going to Vegas). Centered around one life-changing moment at a casino nightclub, this gorgeous novel tells the interconnected stories of four women and the intensity and intimacy that fills their lives.

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The Summer House

The Summer House

by Hannah McKinnon

Summer is often the time for family gatherings and, although my family is nowhere near as eventful as the Merrills, Hannah McKinnon perfectly captures what it’s like when a whole family comes together in one house. When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, before too long long-kept secrets come to light and the reality that they take for granted will be challenged.

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The Lying Game

The Lying Game

by Ruth Ware

From the master of the summer thriller comes a new book about four friends who grew up together at a second-rate English boarding school. Notorious for playing “The Lying Game” with everyone they knew, the inseparable group had one rule—don’t lie to each other. Years later, they are brought back together as the consequences of their lies come back to haunt them. Don’t you love it when summer books are described as chilling?

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The Accomplished Guest

The Accomplished Guest

by Ann Beattie

One of the best things about summer is being able to travel, and I think I may be physically incapable of travelling without a book (or three!) in my bag. Grab this latest story collection from Ann Beattie and go find yourself adventure in the great wide somewhere (Beauty and the Beast reference, sorry not sorry).

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The Girls

The Girls

by Emma Cline

As twisted as this book is—and believe me, the story of a young girl who gets involved with Charles Manson’s cult leading up to the infamous Manson murders is VERY twisted—the hazy, atmospheric vibes of a California summer in the ‘60s make it one of the best summer reads around.

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Fly Me

Fly Me

by Daniel Riley

Set against the backdrop of the drug and surf scene of the beaches in Los Angeles, Daniel Riley’s new book is an intense story of self-discovery, with all the danger and debauchery you could ask for in a coming-of age novel about a drug-trafficking scheme in the ‘70s.

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The Gypsy Moth Summer

The Gypsy Moth Summer

by Julia Fierro

This is another really quality book you need to have on your list this summer. Set in the summer of 1992, the gypsy moth invasion that is swarming the community of Avalon Island pales in comparison to the vivid stories of young lovers, tales of anxious outsiders, and plots of vengeful elders. All these threads come together to create a masterful “novel [that] shakes and stirs family saga and summer romance upside down” (Amy Bloom).

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Isabel DaSilva is a Marketing Coordinator at Atria Books. She reads every kind of fiction you can think of but gives special bonus points to books that are so good they make her miss her stop on the subway. As a born and raised New Yorker, this is the only criteria that will ever matter to her. She also loves memoirs, humor, and essay collections. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @isabelrose05