26 best summer reads of 2022
Maybe you’re the type of person who doesn’t choose their next read based on the weather. But some of us are looking for a specific type of book to read in the summer. More than a genre, a summer read is a mood: a book that is airy and captivating, able to hold our attention as we enjoy the outdoors.
Speaking to TODAY about reading on the beach, the authors talked about their own summer reading routines and provided some recommendations to add to your summer reading list. Lily King, author of Read With Jenna pick “Writers & Lovers,” said she likes her summer readings to be messy when she takes them to the beach and park. “I want proof of the summer on the pages,” King told TODAY.
The only question is: where to start? We’re rounding up some of the new releases of 2022, from novels and memoirs to romances and comedies, that fit the summer vibe.
“Every Summer After” by Carley Fortune
Search #beachread on Instagram and you’ll probably see this cover. Speaking to TODAY, Carley Fortune said she was inspired by growing up in Barry’s Bay, a small lakeside town in Canada, while writing this perspective-changing love story between childhood summers and two adults trying to right their teenage wrongs. Read an excerpt on TODAY.
“Book Lovers” by Emily Henry
Emliy Henry’s rom-coms know the beach reading mission: they’re often on vacation and involve writers or bookworms. “Book Lovers” follows in the tradition of “Beach Read” and “People We Meet on Vacation,” which takes place during book publisher Nora Stephens’ month-long trip to a town in North Carolina, where she meets a rival: an equally successful book agent. It doesn’t take long for the transformation of enemies into lovers to happen.
Destined to be Mine by Hannah Orenstein
Do you believe in fatal love? The protagonist of “Meant to Be Mine” does — she’s staked her romantic future on a prophecy her grandmother told her. When Edie, a fashion designer, meets singer Theo Larsen, she knows she’s met the man her grandmother dreams of. It remains to be seen whether he can actually respect them.
“Counterfeit” by Kirstin Chen
Once roommates in college, Winnie and Ava lost touch. When they meet in a café, Winnie has a proposal. “Counterfeit” spins to the beat of a heist movie, as in, once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.
“So Happy For You” by Celia Laskey
If you’re going to multiple weddings this year, “So Happy For You” might speak to you viscerally. A fast-paced satirical thriller, “So Happy For You” is set in the near future, where a declining birth rate leads to a wedding fever fueled by government incentives. Best friends since childhood, Ellie and Robin have grown apart in recent years, especially given their disagreements over marriage. The tension comes to a head when Ellie asks Robin to be her bridesmaid.
“Tracy Flick Can’t Win” by Tom Perrotta
Tracy Flick is a character first made famous in Tom Perrotta’s 1998 novel “Election” and the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon. Years later, to the high school student body, Tracy is now a middle-aged mother and vice-principal, revisiting her past while still yearning to be recognized in that familiar way.
“Hurricane Girl” by Marcy Dermansky
Marcy Dermansky’s books are written in sparse but punchy prose, with every sentence guaranteed to get you thinking. “Hurricane Girl” is about a woman running away from her boring life. But if she doesn’t know what she’s looking for, how will she know when she finds it?
“More Than You’ll Ever Know” by Katie Gutierrez
As a true crime reporter, Cassie Bowman finds the truth behind the stories that grab people the most. She comes across an article about Lore Rivera, a woman who has led a double life with a family in Mexico and one in the United States, and thinks she has found the ultimate moment to define her career. “More Than You’ll Ever Know” is an interwoven story about ambition, motherhood and more.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin
Sadie and Sam bond over their shared love of video games. And one day they will go on to make one of the most successful in the world. But they don’t know it yet. “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” is a feat that spans a decade in storytelling, changing perspective over the years.
“Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The title of “Carrie Soto Is Back” is the story that tennis great Carrie Soto wants to tell the world – and her skeptics, of whom there are many. At 37, six years after retiring, Carrie watches a young tennis player break her record. She decides to leave the retreat for a year to take back what she feels is hers.
“Mutual Friend” by Carter Bays
This debut novel from the creator of “How I Met Your Mother” follows the intersecting lives of a few New Yorkers. A smart, all-seeing narrator (who is also a character) tells their stories, and it’s worth reading the book just to find out the satisfying ending, with everything fitting together perfectly.
“Those Impossible Things” by Salma El-Wardany
A Read With Jenna pick, “These Impossible Things” follows the lives of three Muslim-British friends in the UK, all navigating the pressures of family expectations with a desire to forge their own paths. El-Wardany told TODAY that she wrote the book in the space of a month. “I just want to tell a story from the lived experience (of Muslim women) that doesn’t make us the butt of a joke,” she said.
“Our Women Under the Sea” by Julia Armfield
Leah returns from a mission on the high seas – and she’s changed forever. At first, his wife, Miri, only takes care of minor touch-ups. But over time, Miri must now learn to reconcile the new version of Leah with the woman she fell in love with. It’s a melancholic novel about falling in love and then seeing love change; a great option if standard rom-coms aren’t your thing at the moment.
“Olga Dies Dreaming” by Xochitl Gonzalez
Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo are both New York personalities: Prieto is a politician and Olga is a wedding planner. Behind the scenes, they deal with a family that matters after their mother returns – 27 years after she disappeared. It’s a rom-com that’s also about family and healing — and acknowledging how all of these types of love are connected.
“The Latecomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Can’t resist some juicy sibling drama? You’ll find it here, in droves. “The Latecomer” is told by the literal latecomer in her family: Zoe is significantly younger than her triplet siblings, who don’t get along. Born into a wealthy and broken family, Phoebe seeks to understand what happened before she was born and how she can fix it now that she’s here.
“The Strength of Such Beauty” by Barbara Bourland
Falling in love with a prince is no fairy tale, as the protagonist of this captivating novel discovers. Caroline is a former Olympian turned princess of a small European country. His role becomes more like a trap; her husband, more like a kidnapper. Bourland said she was inspired by the real-life royal family when writing this novel set in pre-recession Europe.
“The Palace Papers” by Tina Brown
Whether or not you follow royal family news, Tina Brown’s comprehensive account of the last 25 years of Windsor family history, from Princess Diana to Meghan Markle, is bound to fascinate. Brown writes in bubbly and relentlessly clever prose, making a history lesson feel like a gossip party.
“Honey and Spices” by Bolu Babalola
Sexy and emotionally astute, “Love and Color” author Bolu Babalola has penned a romance that will stick with you. “Honey and Spice” is set during the college years, as the characters discover each other through their relationships. Podcast host Kiki Banjo begins a mutually beneficial fake relationship with a playboy.
“Marriage Love” by Monica Ali
For Yasmin Ghorami, love is the easy part of her relationship. Merging families is not. Before the wedding, her family clashes with that of her fiancé. Through One Marriage, Monica Ali’s book touches on so many cultural truths and tensions.
“Kaleidoscope” by Cecily Wong
Not all beach reading needs to be light and airy. “Kaleidoscope” is a moving story about grief and a prominent family adjusting to sudden loss. Cecily Wong captures the gradations of loss but also the power of love in romance, which may be just what you need this summer.
“Draft” by Katy Tur
NBC anchor Katy Tur speaks honestly about her upbringing in this memoir. Tur’s parents were photographers who documented LA from a helicopter, and as a result, she and her brother grew up in the sky. As an adult, Tur’s relationship with his father, which changed later in life, became more complicated.
“Normal Family” by Chrysta Bilton
Take the title of this book as a joke: There are no normal families. Chrysta Bilton unpacks her family origin story, which began when her mother, a single gay woman, entered into a clandestine deal with a sperm donor that resulted in two children. As she got older, Bilton learned that she had many more siblings across the country: 35, to be precise.
Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia
Move over Hercule Poirot. Louise Lloyd, the central character of Nekesa Afia’s books, will be your new favorite mystery solver. She gets to the bottom of the crimes from her perspective in a speakeasy in 1920s Harlem. Read the first installment of the series to discover Louise’s origin story.
“The Last Housewife” by Ashley Winstead
Shay Evans is in a rare category. She is one of the few to make it out. “The Last Housewife” is about the ramifications of a cult on women who escaped the chief’s grasp and those who didn’t.
“Chemistry Lessons” by Bonnie Garmus
Find that runaway hit where story meets humor. The book follows a 1960s chemist who doesn’t get the respect she deserves. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she becomes the host of a famous cooking show. With her platform, she encourages viewers to push boundaries the same way she did at work.
“The Parisian Apartment” by Lucy Foley
The author of “The Guest List” returns with another novel written in the vein of Agatha Christie. Jess moves to Paris from London. As she settles in, her brother comes to stay – then quickly disappears, leaving her to find out where he is and the secrets he’s been keeping.