Taking a road trip? Have a never-ending affair with books? Then these are the 20 perfect summer reads you need to add to your road trip itinerary for inspiration fuel.
American Family by Catherine Marshall Smith
Richard (now three years sober) is eager to take the next big step with his partner Michael by moving in together. However, there is one obstacle that stands in the way: Richard wants to meet his 10-year-old daughter Brady, but her fiercely conservative grandparents won’t allow it. Equal servings of heartbreaking words and heartwarming plot, American Family is the family drama that needs to be in your summer life.
What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
A stunning portrait of a young African-American woman who learns to live vibrantly again after a tragic loss, What We Lose is being hailed as one of 2017’s most poignant releases. A gorgeous parade of stunning and heart-wrenching vignettes, there isn’t a chance the reader will escape this one without an empty tissue box and a heart deeply stirred.
This is Not the End by Chandler Baker
Lake Deveraux is only a teenager but is about to make one of the most consequential decisions of her life: should she resurrect her boyfriend or her best friend after a tragic car accident leaves them both dead. This is one of the most addictive and emotionally riveting page-turners in years. Making it a part of a road trip will be your best travel decision in 2017.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
A failed novelist on the verge of turning 50 goes on a journey abroad, and trust us, every international leg is entertainment at its finest. A gorgeous tale on romances, chances and seizing life even if it’s brimming with mistakes, Less will have every summer reader laughing out loud and eager to turn the dazzling next page.
Who is Rich by Matthew Klam
Full disclosure: You’re going to fall madly in bibliophile love with this book. A former “it” cartoonist leaves his home and family behind to take a summer teaching job in New England – and it turns out to be paradise. The character must navigate a summer of temptations, worries and self-discovery to decide if his old life is still where his heart is.
Finding My Badass Self by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley
Truth: We all need to connect to our badass self. Author Sherry Stanfa-Stanley shares the secrets of her 52/52 Project – a year of daring new experiences that force her out of her comfort zone and connect her soul with that of the woman she’s always wanted to be. From nude beaches to going on a SWAT raid, there isn’t a single moment short of inspiring found in these pages.
Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
Leave it to Mary Kubica to give us goosebumps in the middle of summer. Clara Solberg’s world is destroyed when her husband and young daughter get into a car crash…and only her daughter survives. Reeling from the horror, heartbreak and obsessive suspicion due to her daughter’s night terrors, Clara is determined to uncover the truth of what happened. That truth and the plot leading up to it makes Every Last Lie one of Kubica’s most painfully teasing thrillers to date.
The Windfall by Diksha Basu
A stunning debut novel about a family who quickly learns what it means to survive life in modern India, The Windfall will surely deliver post-reading ab pain from laughter. This refreshing exploration details one family’s attempts to fit in with India’s elite at all costs – from skinny ties to security guards – and what they discover along the way will warm the heart of every reader.
The Lake Effect Erin McCahan
Briggs Henry lands a summer job as the personal assistant to an elderly woman – oh, and it involves plenty of funerals. Nightmare gig or the best thing to ever happen? We’ll let you decide. If you want to go on a major heartwarming summer adventure brimming with romance and hilarious coming-of-age growing pains, then The Lake Effect belongs on your bookshelf ASAP.
The Last Laugh by Lynn Freed
Three empty-nested grandmothers trade in loneliness for a year of Greek island life – nope, not kidding. Don’t let the demographic of these characters fool you; this summer adventure is brimming with romance, drama, hilarity and the sweet quest for independence.
Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
A gloriously refreshing adventure that follows one woman as she tries to renew her career, save her BFF and lose 30 pounds – and trust us, dumpster diving at Whole Foods and fad fitness trends are involved. This is the book every girl inflicted by the annoying wrath of modern beauty standards is going to devour and re-devour (because it’s that good).
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
After a breakup with her fiancé, 30-year-old Ruth quits her job and returns home – only to realize her father is sicker than ever. A wild tale about finding yourself as the tides of change, loss, and absurdity take a grip, Goodbye, Vitamin proves Khong is one of literature’s most promising voices.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Fact: No summer is complete without a generous serving of Liane Moriarty. This tantalizing reading treat is parade of marriages, fault lines, sex, friendship and every thing in between. If you were glued to your couch during Big Little Lies (both the TV adaption and novel), you’re going to absolutely inhale another tale from the mastermind behind it all.
The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
Two girls convince the world that fairies do actually exist – yes, this plot is every bit as fantastical and wonderful as it sounds. When Olivia Kavanagh discovers an old manuscript and photograph proving the nation once believed in magic, she must find a way to believe in it (and herself).
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
Bestselling author Sarah Dessen returns with a heartwarming summer treat sure to cause major swooning. Spoiler alert: the main character is a wedding planner who can’t quite find happily ever after, even if it is standing right in front of her. We’re betting this one will be optioned for a rom-com flick in no time.
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
The Tanner sisters disappeared three years ago. When one returns, there is one glaring problem: the other one does not. A stunning psychological suspense brimming with the darkest shades of family dysfunction, Emma in the Night will absolutely keep you up at night with a major case of thriller-induced chills.
Made For Love by Alissa Nutting
Hazel ditches the controlled world of her husband’s technological enterprise for a trailer park brimming the company of senior citizens and her father (oh, and his sex doll). Quite the switch. Her husband uses all terrifyingly advanced technologies to hunt her down and Hazel must fight for her life – and she finds support in the most unexpected of places.
Before I Knew by Jamie Beck
Do you live for stories about second chances? Well, be prepared to indulge. Colby Cabot-Baxtor is ready to let go of her husband’s suicide and the turbulent life they shared together – but the past never quite lets go. When she hires family friend Alec Morgan as her restaurant’s executive chef, he comes with baggage: Her ex-husband was responsible for Alec’s brother’s death. A delicate web of secrets, guilt and bringing a long-hidden love to life, Before I Knew will have your heart melting from the first chapter.
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
What do a con man, classified government studies, a psychic, tragedy and the CIA have in common? Well, you’ll have to read Spoonbenders to find out. A heartwarming and hilarious tale brimming with laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of adventure, Spoonbenders will make the miles of any road trip zoom by.
Love Reconsidered by Phyllis J. Piano
Aleen Riddick’s marriage unravels after the boyfriend of her teenage daughter is lost in a tragic accident. Left alone to their own emotional devastation, the only person the family can rely on is the dead boy’s father – but dark secrets loom. An emotional tale about families, hope and the elusive quest for forgiveness, Love Reconsidered will break your heart only to put it back together again.