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5 Books You Need to Read This Summer

Culture

There's just something magical about a summer romance. Two strangers who meet on holiday. A teenage girl 'glowing up' and trying to navigate the difference in the way she's treated. Two best friends who fall in love. So many tropes that the season of sunshine brings around, a season of heated romance and refreshing, light-hearted love. You may be on the beach curled up with a book. Or you're under the covers on a hot summer's night trapped in the pages of a book. Or you're on a road trip or plane journey to a holiday destination, and you need a book to keep you company. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, here's a list of five books that you just NEED to read this summer.

1. The Fine Print by Lauren Asher

Book Blurb

Rowan: I’m in the business of creating fairy tales.Theme parks. Production companies. Five-star hotels. Everything could be all mine if I renovated Dreamland. My initial idea of hiring Zahra was good in theory, but then I kissed her. Things spiraled out of control once I texted her using an alias. By the time I realized where I went wrong, it was too late. People like me don’t get happy endings. Not when we’re destined to ruin them.

Zahra: After submitting a drunk proposal criticizing Dreamland’s most expensive ride, I should have been fired. Instead, Rowan Kane offered me a dream job. The catch? I had to work for the most difficult boss I’d ever met. Rowan was rude and completely off-limits, but my heart didn’t care. At least not until I discovered his secret. It was time to teach the billionaire that money couldn’t fix everything. Especially not us.

Genre: Romance

Quick Thoughts and Rating

My Rating: ⚝⚝⚝⚝

This is a 'grumpy and sunshine', billionaire romance book; it's mainly set in Dreamland, which is very much like Disneyland. The book is written from two points of view, which I loved. It was great to see into each of the characters' minds and see their perspective on situations in the book. I liked the romance between Rowan and Zahra; however, my issue was that it felt like it lacked build-up. They were touchy-feely way too soon, especially since Rowan was supposed to be this hard, 'love is weak' character. I also didn't like the epilogue, its content only really works with some books, and this was not one of those books. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it had the type of feel-good vibes that remind me of summer.

2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Blurb

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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Quick Thoughts and Rating

My Rating: ⚝⚝⚝⚝⚝

This book was amazing. You flicker between the past and the present, as the story is being told to Monique and she is technically the main character in the present. However, her presence in the book wasn't big for me, and I've seen others agree. My favorite parts were when Evelyn was telling her story and we met each of her husbands. I also liked how they acknowledged her heritage and how racism played into her success as an actress. This book had some great representation, but also some bad representation. This isn't exactly a summer book, but the journey explored in the story gives all the vibes that a summer romance would. A whirlwind of husbands and 'forbidden' love in Hollywood. But overall, it was a great read and it's loved by many people for a very good reason.

3. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Book Blurb

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again...

When Eva Mercy, a single mother and bestselling erotica writer, and the enigmatic, award-winning novelist Shane Hall meet at a literary event in New York, sparks fly. But what no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one week together, madly in love. While they may pretend to be strangers, they can't deny their chemistry.

Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect. But Eva is wary of the man who broke her heart and wants Shane out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before he disappears, though, she needs a few questions answered . . .

With its keen observations of creative life in America today, as well as the joys and complications of being a mother and a daughter, Seven Days in June is a hilarious, romantic, and sexy-as-hell story of two writers discovering their second chance at love.

Genre: Romance

Quick Thoughts and Rating

My Rating: ⚝⚝⚝⚝⚝

Have you ever finished a book and thought 'this is why I love reading'? This was that book for me. This book is literally set in the summer, so it's the perfect summer read. Eva Mercy is a fantasy erotica writer and her love interest in this book is Shane Hall. They spent seven days in June together as teenagers and now they're back as successful authors with the book detailing their seven days in June together as adults. I loved the cyclical structure of their relationship and the second chance trope being explored between them. And to do this, Tia Williams wrote flashbacks to the past which I also loved. The book was also very real, exploring black life, black motherhood, invisible disabilities, the effect of motherlessness and more. I would highly suggest looking at its trigger warnings and don't read the book without checking them. But overall, the book was amazing, and with it being set in summer, I would 100% recommend it.

4. You Made a Fool of Death with your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Book Blurb

It's the opportunity of a lifetime.

Feyi is about to be given the chance to escape the city's blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. And as the sun goes down on her old life, our heroine also might just be ready to open her heart to someone new.

The only problem is that she's falling for the one man she absolutely can't have.

Genre: Romance

Quick Thoughts and Rating

My Rating: ⚝⚝⚝⚝⚝

This book was a rollercoaster I never wanted to get off of. I thought I knew who was off-limits in the book, but then when he was revealed my jaw dropped. Feyi was a complex character, still dealing with the grief left by her husband and simply passing through life, but in this book, you get to see her character come to life and find love again.

The plot and the settings had such summer and island vibes, yet it was still quite grown in the themes it contained and the way it approached romance. I loved the maturity of the characters and how they went about life. I'm so used to reading YA books, so an adult romance was new to me, and I loved it.

There was such a great representation of black characters and love, and also a great representation of bisexual people. And in its representation, Akwaeke Emezi wrote an unapologetically black book, with reference to the different cultures and in the way the characters spoke; it wasn't censored. I love it when POC authors just write books, they don't write about their culture with a need to educate audiences that don't understand, or censor themselves because they're afraid of alienating people. They simply express who they are on paper and those that get it, get it. I would highly recommend this book.

P.S. Check content warnings!

5. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry By Joya Goffney

Book Blurb

Quinn keeps lists of everything - from the days she's ugly cried, to "Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud," to all the boys she'd like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears (as well as embarrassing and cringe-worthy truths) on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is until her journal goes missing . . .

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn't know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett - the last known person to have her journal and who Quinn loathes - in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn's been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

Genre: Romance

Quick Thoughts and Rating

My rating: ⚝⚝⚝⚝

Diversify your book collection with this light-hearted, meaningful, story of Quinn and her journey to complete confidence. This is a young adult book featuring Quinn, who stays sane by creating lists. I understand Quinn; our minds can be so busy and full of thoughts that sometimes it's easier to free up space by writing things down, but keeping an actual journal can seem daunting as well, so here we have lists. Reading how her character developed was beautiful, losing her journal forced her to actually face her fears and address her worries and thoughts that she had written down. There was no escape. The romance aspect of the book was very cute and heart-warming, with an almost enemies-to-lovers/miscommunication take on it. They both assumed they knew what the other person thought of them, only to be wrong and have to actually discover the truth behind their misconceptions. This book was a cute, easy-read, YA book, with lessons to be learned. I can picture myself reading this on a summer road trip or on a flight to a holiday destination. Wherever you are, wherever you're going, I would definitely recommend this book for this summer.

Your Homework For the Summer...

So here's your summer reading list. You just have to read these amazing books and let me know what you think of them. Do you agree with my opinions or completely disagree? Make sure to check content warnings for all the books before you read them, so you're not surprised by topics that could trigger you if that's something you need to worry about. I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I did!

Anjola Oshoko
1,000+ pageviews

Anjola Oshoko is a first year marketing student at Birmingham City University. She is a curious individual who is constantly looking for answers to the many questions that run through her mind. You can find her with her nose deep in a book with music providing a soundtrack to her life. And when she isn't reading, she's either with friends or satisfying her curiosities.