Jo’s Picks of the Week: Great Summer Reads

One of the perks of working at a library is access to what we call pre-pubs, which are advance reader copies of books coming out in the next few months. So many terrific books are coming out this summer, and here are just a few I’ve enjoyed.

Evvie Drake Starts Over is the delightful debut novel by Linda Holmes, known for her NPR podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. Evvie is supposed to be in mourning for her husband, who died in a car accident. No one in her small Maine town knows she was getting ready to leave her doctor husband the day he died. Her solitary, unhappy life is changed when she agrees to rent out the apartment in the back of her house. Dean Tenney is a superstar major league pitcher who suddenly washed out because he couldn’t throw a decent pitch. These two miserable souls become friends and try to help each other. If you are looking for a fun, lighter read for the summer, this will fit the bill. Publication date June 29.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is made for book nerds. Nina Hill is an introverted, anxiety-ridden, cat-loving reader who works in a bookstore. She spices up her sedentary, lonely life with weekly trivia games with her friends. Nina was raised by a beloved nanny because her mother, a globe-trotting, famous photographer, didn’t have time to raise a child. But one day Nina’s life is upended when a lawyer informs her that her previously unknown father just died and left her in his will. Nina suddenly is overwhelmed to discover she has brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces. To complicate matters, a hot guy on a competing trivia team is paying her attention. Full of snarky humor and bookish delights, this novel is a fun summer read and will appeal to JoJo Moyes fans. Publication date July 9.

Chances Are by Richard Russo is the first standalone novel he has written in a decade, and it won’t disappoint the great author’s many fans Three old college buddies in their 60s decide to have one more reunion at a family beach house on Martha’s Vineyard. They can’t help thinking back to last time they got together in 1971 with Jacy, a young woman they were all in love with. When the weekend in 1971 ended, Jacy went missing. Russo, who is one of my favorite authors, is an expert at creating authentic characters and their struggles with friendship and family. In this book, he adds a touch of suspense. I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what happened to Jacy. Publication date July 30.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson is more suspenseful than her other books. Amy is living with a horrible secret from her childhood but managed to start a new life where no one knows about her troubled past. She is happily married with a stepdaughter, a new baby and a best friend. Her happy suburban life is upended when newcomer Rou crashes her book club. Rou eventually reveals she knows Amy’s dark secret. Amy faces caving in to a blackmailer or fighting back. How far will she go? This page-turner with plenty of twists and turns will appeal to thriller readers and fans of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. Publication date July 30.

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