The 20 best reads for your summer break

Looking for a book to take you away this summer? Grab one of these beauties and let your imagination run wild.

How Hard Can It Be?
Allison Pearson (fiction, Little, Brown, out June 5)
Allison Pearson’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It” was a runaway bestseller that introduced readers to Kate Reddy, a working mother famous for faking store-bought pies at the school bake sale. Now she’s back after taking some time out from the workforce to raise her kids and discovering that easing back into the office is anything but easy.

Stephen Markley (fiction, Simon & Schuster, out Aug. 21)
In a small town in northeastern Ohio, four former classmates converge there on four different missions. No longer really friends, the ghosts of their childhood — and the memories of what the town used to be — linger.

Chloé Esposito (fiction, Dutton, out July 24)
Alvie Knightley is back in the second installment of the Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know trilogy. After kinda/sorta killing her twin sister in Sicily, she’s on the run from the police across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies (and a number of Prada items) in her wake.

The Glitch
Elisabeth Cohen (fiction, Doubleday, out now)
When this razor-sharp novel begins, Shelley Stone’s young daughter has gone missing while the family vacations on a beach in France. The Silicon Valley CEO combs the beach frantically but stays on her business call the whole time, gesturing at her husband. Stone is one of those alpha women who claim to have it all under control until a woman shows up on the same vacation, claiming to be a younger version of herself.

Little Disasters
Randall Klein (fiction, Viking, out now)
In a Brooklyn maternity ward, two couples meet each other just as their lives are forever changed. Slowly, an awkward bond develops and emerges into something far more dangerous. It all comes to a head during an unspecified citywide emergency that finds the two husbands in the same place.

The High Season
Judy Blundell (fiction, Random House, out now)
Summer has come to the Hamptons, and Ruthie prepares to vacate her house for a socialite in town for the season. Renting the house out is the only way Ruthie and her family can afford to keep the house for the rest of the year. As she navigates her expensive, changing town and the moneyed friends she can’t quite trust, Ruthie tries to hang onto her job at a local museum and survive another summer.

Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens (fiction, GP Putnam’s Sons, out Aug. 14)
Abandoned by both parents and left to fend on her own in the North Carolina wetlands, Kya Clark is known around town as the “Marsh Girl.” For years, she is happy to live in nature, keeping away from the civilized world. But when two young men from the town become infatuated with her and one of them ends up dead, Kya’s life is turned upside down.

A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising
Raymond A. Villareal (fiction, Mulholland Books, out June 5)
An epidemic of vampirism has swept across the United States, and now these changed people, fresh from their blood diet, are called “Gloamings” and have become a part of this changed society. As the Gloamings start taking over prominent positions, they lobby to change laws and fight discrimination against vampires.

Baby Teeth
Zoje Stage (fiction, St. Martin’s, out July 17)
Suzette is a stay-at-home mom devoted to her 7-year-old daughter, Hanna, who does not — or will not — speak. Unrelated, Hanna’s also kind of a handful, the scourge of babysitters, and might possibly be a complete psychopath. Or is it all in Suzette’s head? The reader won’t know, making this a deliciously creepy read.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Ingrid Rojas Contreras (fiction, Doubleday, out July 31)
Chula and Cassandra live privileged lives in Bogota, but elsewhere in the city, violence and kidnappings abound. When their mother hires Petrona to be their maid, they find it’s no longer possible to ignore the world outside their gates.

The Book of Essie
Meghan MacLean Weir (fiction, Knopf, out June 12)
Esther Ann Hicks is 16 and the youngest member of “Six for Hicks,” a popular reality TV show highlighting the evangelical family. But when Esther Ann becomes pregnant, her powerhouse mother decides to arrange a wedding between her daughter and a boy she hardly knows.

Lauren Groff (fiction, Riverhead Books, out June 5)
The pages of “Florida” are populated by snakes, leaking air conditioners, marshlands, cheap motels and decaying neighborhoods. The short stories in this slim volume are about different things but tied together by the enigmatic state.

Social Creature
Tara Isabella Burton (fiction, Doubleday, out June 5)
When poor Louise meets rich Lavinia, the two young women begin an intoxicating friendship that’s a whirl of borrowed designer dresses, parties and selfies. When Lavinia dies, Louise seizes her chance to live a life that was otherwise out of her grasp. A “Talented Mr. Ripley” for the social-media age.

Sweet & Low
Nick White (short stories, Blue Rider Press, out June 5)
No one is quite what they seem in this collection of short stories, all painting pictures of the modern South and tackling issues of identity, masculinity and place.

The Outsider
Stephen King (fiction, Scribner, out now)
An 11-year-old boy is found dead in the park, and all signs point to Little League coach Terry Maitland, father of two and one of the most popular citizens in town. As the investigation begins, town detectives have to ask themselves if Maitland is who he seems or if he’s been hiding dark secrets.

David Sedaris (fiction, Little, Brown, out Tuesday)
Sedaris pictures sun, sand and relaxation when he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast; what he comes to find instead is that it’s not possible to take a vacation from yourself. Hilarious, classic Sedaris, aptly described on the back cover as “beach reading for people who detest beaches.”

When Katie Met Cassidy
Camille Perri (fiction, GP Putnam’s Sons, out June 19)
Katie Daniels has just been dumped by her fiancé when she meets Cassidy Price, a confident woman in a man’s suit. The two are mutually drawn to one another, while not entirely sure what to make of each other, either. A romantic comedy about redefining what love looks like.

A Terrible Country
Keith Gessen (fiction, Viking, out July 10)
When New York transplant Andrei must return to Moscow to take care of his ailing grandmother, the next year gives him an opportunity to take stock of his life, love and career prospects. He joins a hockey team, becomes involved with a group of political activists and sees the country he left as a child through a new lens.

Hey Ladies!
Michelle Markowitz, Caroline Moss & Carolyn Bahar (fiction, Harry N. Abrams, out now)
This follows a fictional group of female friends through a year of summer house rentals, brunches, breakups and wedding planning told entirely through texts, DMs and e-mails. Funny because it’s true.

If You Leave Me
Crystal Hana Kim (fiction, Willia m Morrow, out Aug. 7)
War, family and doomed love are all center stage in this debut novel about the Korean civil war, the years that follow and the choices people are forced to make. Haunting.

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