summer reads

Our 17 Favorite Summer Books Picks to Read Poolside

It’s beach read season, and here are some of the most exciting summer releases.

Beautiful crazy woman reading a book on inflatable ring in blue swimming pool.
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It’s time to lather on some sunblock, pour mama a cocktail, and break out the beach chairs because it’s officially summer — and the forecast is calling for reading outside. There’s truly nothing better than falling head over heels in love with a book to the soundtrack of birds chirping and lapping waves. But, childless pool days are far and few between so you might as well set aside a few light, summery reads that you can blow through when you have a little time to yourself.

There are so many (like *so* many) amazing titles coming out this summer, including Julie Clark’s anticipated thriller, The Lies I Tell, and beloved author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s end of summer drama, Carrie Soto is Back. With so many new releases, how’s a bookworm to choose?

Allow us to be your personal book handler. We combed through stacks and stacks of new titles and found 17 books you can’t go without reading this summer. Whether you plan on doing a bulk of your summer reading water side, in a hammock, on a sandy beach, or under the AC, these books will help you ride out the summer heat.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Scary Mommy’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Here are the best 2022 summer releases we can’t wait to toss in our pool bag:

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

When contributing Elle editor Cat Wolff offers broke intern Lora Ricci a gig as her personal ghostwriter, Lora feels like she can finally breathe a sign of financial relief. At the end of her internship, Lora packs up her NYU apartment and settles into Cat’s suite at the Plaza Hotel. How’s that for an upgrade? It's an aspiring writer’s dream gig — working for a part editor, part influencer, who also happens to come from a wealthy family. But Lora is about to learn the true meaning behind all that glitters turns to dust real fast. Sprinkled with diary pages, emails, and FBI messages, Cover Story explores one of 2022’s biggest entertainment muses: scam culture.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, is everything NYC is not, which is just fine for Manhattan literary agent Nora Stephens, who’s in much need of a vacation, some inner peace, and a hot summer fling with a local. Enter: Charlie Lastra. He’s not a local, not peaceful, and works in the same industry as Nora, so she’s very familiar with Charlie and his glum attitude. Nora has read enough about meet cutes to know this isn’t one, or is it the literary world’s weird way of showing her that her real-life love interest has been under her nose this whole time? This is definitely a novel that belongs in your pool bag.

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

Yerba Buena explores the lives of two very different women, Sara Foster and Emilie Dubois, as they each respectively set out to carve new lives for themselves in Los Angeles. It’s a story about friendship and unexpectedly finding love. Sara is trying to outrun her past while Emilie is on a journey of self-discovery. But as conflict arises, Sara and Emilie must decide if their bond is stronger than the baggage of their past.

Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera

When schmoozy developers and luxury sky rises start infiltrating Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican NYC neighborhood, longtime resident Eusebia Guerreros concocts a plan to disrupt their demolition project. Little does Eusebia know, her adult daughter, Luz, is getting cozy with the enemy. Tensions are already high in Nothar Park, and this mother-daughter drama is only going to add fuel to the fire.

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

Where are our true-crime junkies at? In this murderous novel about a woman with a secret double marriage, author Katie Gutierrez spins a mystery centered around motherhood, sex, journalism, money, and of course, true-crime. It’s told from two different POVS and two separate timelines, spanning many years apart, until the lives of main characters Lore and Cassie finally come to a head. This gripping family drama will suck you right in. Publishes June 7

Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley

Let’s set the scene: You’re recently engaged and you and your friends are having a night out on the town. You pop out of the restaurant to snag a cigarette only to run into an ex. Then you spot another ex-boyfriend. Oh, and there’s another old fling. Before you know it, the city is crawling with your exes. Lola’s best friend and old boss observe from inside the restaurant, she is not yet aware of their involvement. How is Lola supposed to plan a wedding when every person she’s ever hooked up with is quite literally in her backyard? Publishes June 7

Hurricane Girl by Marcy Dermanksy

Allison Brody’s picturesque beach cottage lifestyle is turned upside down after a Category 3 hurricane tears through town. Her trip to the dive bar, and consequently, a stranger’s guest room, and somehow a visit to the hospital, is only the beginning for this protagonist. With a splash of dark humor, a bout of violence, and a fair share of interesting sexcapades, Marcy Dermansky’s Hurricane Girl is the perfect recipe for a chaotic summertime read. Publishes June 14

Island Time by Georgia Clark

Jet setting to a tropical island off the coast of Queensland with their daughter and daughter-in-law sounds like a blissful retreat to the Lees, until they learn the Kellys, aka the in-laws, will be joining. Their lil’ getaway turns into a six-week tortuous stay after a volcano unexpectedly erupts and leaves them stranded on the island. Georgia Clark’s weaves together a delicious tale about queer romance, a hilariously disgruntled group of in-laws, and pearly white beaches. Publishes June 14

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

Do you ever wish you could don the life of someone else? Take on another persona, temporarily change jobs, and towns? Best you add Julie Clark’s new psychological thriller to your summer TBR pile. It’s a story about master con artist Meg Williams — if that’s even her real name — and the woman who’s dedicated the last 10 years of her life to exposing the scam mogul. It’s personal for Kat. She once was on the receiving end of Meg’s snarky games, but never again. Publishes June 21

The Truth About Ben and June by Alex Kiester

In a lot of ways, Alex Kiester is shining an important light on postpartum anxiety and depression and the ways in which pregnancy and parenthood can affect new moms. A family’s life is rocked when first-time mom June vanishes at daybreak, leaving behind her dutiful husband and young son. Told through alternating timelines and both Ben and June’s perspectives, it’s up to Ben to track down his wife’s whereabouts. Time is of the essence. Publishes June 28

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Whitewell University student radio host Kiki Banjo is in hot water. She got caught red-handed kissing Malakai Korede, otherwise known as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” a nickname she gave the stunning heartbreaker on her show Brown Sugar. Kiki takes pride in sharing relationship advice to the women of the Afro-Caribbean Society. But publicly kissing the biggest player on campus? That might have been her reputation’s kiss of death. Thus, Kiki hatches a plan. She just has to get Malakai to agree to be her fake boyfriend for it to work. Publishes July 5

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

After returning from her traumatic submarine expedition in which the vessel sank to the oceanic floor, Leah isn’t the same Leah she was before she left — and her wife Miri is worried. Leah lost her appetite, has wandering thoughts, doesn’t leave the house, and has an odd fascination with keeping the sink taps running. Leah isn’t okay. It’s on Miri to rescue her wife from the mental submarine that has her landlocked within the walls of their home. Publishes July 12

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

As an adult, going back to your childhood home can be a trip of nostalgia or an uncomfortable challenge due to the anxiety and wretchedness you experienced there as a kid. For Vera, it’s the latter. When her mother summons her home, she listens. Vera is back at her childhood home where her father, a serial killer, once lived…and buried the bodies of his victims. As it turns out, her mother has a guest. When Vera starts finding notes around the house in what appears to be her late father’s handwriting, she sends herself in a downward spiral looking into her father’s and the guest’s past. Publishes July 19

Twice a Quinceañera by Yamile Saied Méndez

Nadie is one month out from her wedding day. Only, she’s newly single, about to turn 30, and overcome with anxiety because she has to tell her Argentinian family that the wedding is off. Procrastinating, Nadia busies her mind with a magazine in which she reads of a woman who threw herself a second quinceañera (Sweet 15) on her 30th birthday. The timing couldn’t be more kismet: Nadia has a venue, she’s turning 30, and her guests are already due to arrive. Things are finally looking up until Nadia learns that the handsome venue director is an old flame of hers. You’ll never know when or where cupid is going to strike…again! Publishes July 26

No Ordinary Thursday by Anoop Judge

An immigrant and fruitful restauranteur, Lena Sharma believes she’s done a good job raising her daughter, Maya, and son, Sameer, in San Francisco. That is until their tight-knit shell begins to crack. Lena’s divorced daughter is newly engaged to the son of her longtime friend. Not to mention, he’s 12 years younger than Maya, too. This puts a heavy burden on Lena and Maya’s relationship. Simultaneously, Sameer’s addiction leads to a very public episode, bringing even more attention (and judgment) to their family name. Publishes August 1

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker’s estranged family is (un)willing to put their differences aside for the sake of Nana’s 80th birthday bash. Chaos ensues when a tidal storm hits the remote island, cutting them off from the mainland for eight hours. Tragedy strikes at midnight when Nana is found dead, and again at 1:00 a.m. when another relative drops dead. Secrets will be exposed and lives will be lost in Alice Feeney’s forthcoming thriller, which is sure to sweep your beach chair (and the hairs off your arm) away. Publishes August 30

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

From the author of Malibu Rising, comes another family and emotional drama that will pull you right in. It’s been six years since renowned tennis player Carrie Soto hung up her tennis racket, but she’s back. Under the guidance of her father, — who’s also a tennis champ and has been Carrie’s trainer since she was two — Carrie will take to the court for one last season in hopes of reclaiming her title. She’ll once again be a praised yet ridiculed topic in sports media, she’ll have to face rising players like Nikki Chan, and Carrie will need to navigate training with a man who once broke her heart. Publishes August 30

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