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33 Must-Read Books for Summer

by | Apr 13, 2023

Readers, We’ve picked 33 must-read summer books just for you. After reading dozens of advanced copies of the summer’s releases, these are our favorites. From true-crime to romance, literary fiction to laugh-out-loud memoir, zany mystery to disturbing thriller, and lots in between, I bet there’s a new one (or three) that will tickle your fancy.

Check out our most-anticipated reads this season, all coming out between May and August 2023. Click a book to preorder it, and we’ll have your copy ready on release day.

The Main Street Books team


 Booksellers’ Top Summer Picks

coming May 2


Tembe Denton-Hurst

A thrilling debut novel about a young Black writer whose world is turned upside down when she loses her coveted job in media and pens a searing manifesto about racism in the industry.

“Tremendous… checks all the boxes of a great book.” – Andrea


The Half Moon

Mary Beth Keane

From the bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes, a masterful novel about a couple in a small town who must navigate the complexities of marriage, family, and longing.

“Mary Beth Keane has done it again. I loved it.” – Jessica


Summer on Sag Harbor

Sunny Hostin

Following her New York Times bestseller Summer on the Bluffs, The View cohost and three-time Emmy Award winner Sunny Hostin spirits readers away to the warm beaches of Sag Harbor for the compelling second novel in her acclaimed Summer series.

“I have been impatiently waiting for this one!” – Andrea

coming May 9

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece

Tom Hanks

From the legendary actor and best-selling author: a novel about the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film…and the humble comic books that inspired it. Funny, touching, and wonderfully thought-provoking, while also capturing the changes in America and American culture since World War II.

coming May 16

Quietly Hostile: Essays

Samantha Irby

A hilarious new essay collection from #1 New York Times bestselling unabashed fan-favorite Samantha Irby invites us to share in the gory particulars of her real life, all that festers behind the glitter and glam.

“Pee-your-pants funny.” – Beth


The Guest

Emma Cline

A young woman pretends to be someone she isn’t in this stunning novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls.

“This multilayered novel keeps a hold on the reader with its racy and kinetic prose.” – Melissa


Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City: A Memoir

Jane Wong

In her debut memoir, Wong tells a new story about Atlantic City, one that resists a single identity, a single story, as she writes about making do with what you have—and what you don’t.

“Wong’s memoir grabbed my by the throat and never let go. Read and be changed.” – Jan


coming May 23


R.F. Kuang

White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences… Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang.

“BABEL stunned; this one slices, skewers, and stabs. Whew.” – Beth


Brave the Wild River

Melissa L. Sevigny

The riveting tale of two pioneering botanists and their historic boat trip down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon.

“A tale brilliantly told, full of enough drama and a motley crew of characters.” – Jan


Bad Summer People

Emma Rosenblum

A whip-smart, propulsive debut about infidelity, backstabbing, and murderous intrigue, set against an exclusive summer haven on Fire Island.

“Make room for this page-turning flurry of a read in your beach tote this summer.” – Melissa


coming May 30

Good Night, Irene

Luis Alberto Urrea

In the tradition of The Nightingale and Transcription, this is a searing epic based on the magnificent and true story of courageous Red Cross women.

“Exquisite. Cathartic. Brilliant. Unlike any WWII novel I have ever read.” – Adah


Rhythm and Muse

India Hill Brown

Cinderella meets Cyrano in this pitch-perfect YA rom-com that is a celebration of Black joy, first crushes, and putting your heart on the line for love.

“Cute Cinderella retelling with fun, fresh dialogue.” – Sophia


coming June 6

George: A Magpie Memoir

Frieda Hughes

“He was a hectic, unprincipled bird, but it was impossible not to love him.” From poet and painter Frieda Hughes comes a memoir of love, obsession, and feathers.

“It is always a delight to encounter a new writer with the skill to make the natural world come alive.” – Jan


Lucky Dogs

Helen Schulman

The paths of two women on opposite ends of a high-profile sexual abuse scandal set them on a devastating collision course.

“A smart and unputdownable read about two women entangled in a web of deception, inspired by current #metoo events.” – Melissa


August Blue

Deborah Levy

A new novel from the Booker Prize finalist Deborah Levy, the celebrated author of The Man Who Saw Everything and The Cost of Living.


coming June 20

The Quiet Tenant

Clémence Michallon

A pulse-pounding psychological thriller about a serial killer, narrated by those closest to him: his 13-year-old daughter, his girlfriend — and the one victim he has spared.

“Just a heads up that you won’t want to read THE QUIET TENANT alone at night. I could not turn the pages fast enough in this heart-pounder.” – Jessica


We Ship It

Lauren Kay

This rom-com debut has the fierce girl energy of the movie Booksmart, blended with the awkwardness of Kelly Quindlen’s Late to the Party, topped with a thrilling international meet-cute a la Love and Gelato.

“Very likable characters and so many relevant themes.” – Sophia


coming June 27

The Art Thief

Michael Finkel

One of the most remarkable true-crime narratives of the twenty-first century: the story of the world’s most prolific art thief, Stéphane Breitwieser.

“The kind of riveting, narrative nonfiction that’s perfect for summer reading.” – Jessica


The Quiet Part Out Loud

Deborah Crossland

For fans of You’ve Reached Sam and A Heart in a Body in the World, this searing and heartrending teen novel follows an ex-couple as they struggle to reunite in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

“Incredibly sweet romance with authentic and relatable characters.” – Sophia


The Road to Roswell

Connie Willis

A delightful novel about alien invasions, conspiracies, and the incredibly silly things people are willing to believe—some of which may actually be true—from the Nebula and Hugo award-winning author of Blackout and All Clear.

“Crazy. Mad. Fun. This is the summer book I’ve been waiting for!” – Jan


Will They or Won’t They

Ava Wilder

Onscreen, they’re in love. Offscreen, they can’t stand each other. From the author of How to Fake It in Hollywood.

“We know we are guaranteed the happily-ever-after, but this one was so much fun and surprising!” – Jessica


coming July 4

The Librarianist

Patrick deWitt

From bestselling and award-winning author Patrick deWitt comes the story of Bob Comet, a man who has lived his life through and for literature, unaware that his own experience is a poignant and affecting narrative in itself.

“Sharp observations, filled with poignancy… a joy of a reflective read.” – Jessica


The Door-to-Door Bookstore 

Carsten Henn

The charming international bestseller about an unlikely friendship between an elderly door-to-door bookseller and a nine-year-old girl that changes his life.

“Endearing – a balm for the common loneliness most of us feel amongst the rush of ordinary life.” – Jennifer


coming July 11

Thief Liar Lady

D.L. Soria

“Happily Ever After” is a total scam, but at least this time the princess is the one controlling the grift—until her true love arrives and threatens to ruin the whole scheme. Intrigue, magic, and wit abound in this Cinderella fairytale reimagining, perfect for fans of Heather Walter and Naomi Novik.

“Royalty, courtly intrigue, spies, forbidden love…everything I look for in a fantasy book.” – Catherine


coming July 18

Small Worlds

Caleb Azumah Nelson

An exhilarating and expansive new novel about fathers and sons, faith and friendship from National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Costa First Novel Award winning author Caleb Azumah Nelson.

“Gorgeously written.” – Adah


Strange Sally Diamond

Liz Nugent

A wickedly dark, twisted, and brilliantly observed new novel about an enigmatic woman confronting her unknown past.

“Disturbing yet spellbinding! Could not stop reading this one.” – Andrea


coming Aug 1

Tom Lake

Ann Patchett

In this beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.

“What a time to be alive, while Ann Patchett keeps giving us novels.” – Adah


Those We Thought We Knew

David Joy

From award-winning writer David Joy comes a searing new novel about the cracks that form in a small North Carolina community and the evils that unfurl from its center.

“Highly anticipated thriller about belonging and betrayal in the South.” – Jennifer


Family Lore

Elizabeth Acevedo

From bestselling, National Book Award–winning author Elizabeth Acevedo comes her first novel for adults, the story of one Dominican-American family told through the voices of its women as they await a gathering that will forever change their lives.

“The first adult novel by Elizabeth Acevedo, author of Poet X, delivers! This Dominican-American story about a family of powerful women is not easily forgotten.” – Andrea


coming Aug 8

The Women Could Fly

Megan Giddings

A biting social commentary from the acclaimed author of Lakewood that speaks to our times—a piercing dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored.

“Thank you, Megan Giddings.” – Jennifer


The Blonde Identity

Ally Carter

A fast-paced, hilarious road trip rom-com about a woman with amnesia who discovers she’s the identical twin sister of a rogue spy… and must team up with a rugged, grumpy operative to stay alive.

“Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!” – Catherine


The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

James McBride

From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them.


coming Aug 22

It’s Not A Cult

Lauren Danhof

Mona Awad’s All’s Well meets Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in Lauren Danhof’s darkly humorous debut, in which a daughter races to save her mother from a dangerous cult before it’s too late.

“It’s not a cult, but it is a delight to read.” – Jan








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