30 Books You'll Want to Finish By the End of Summer

30 Summer Book Recommendations from Our Editors


Mauro Grigollo/Stocksy

A favorite pastime of editors at THE/THIRTY? Scouring the world for the coolest products and wellness trends—whether they're brand-new or classic hidden gems—and keeping you in the loop. In that spirit, welcome to My Top Thirty, a series in which our editors, staffers, and even some readers share what's on their radars at the moment. From cult-favorite supplements to the latest workout to the newest food craze and more, we're going to provide you with inspiration each month. Want to share what's on your must-have list? Send us a DM on Instagram @thethirty.

Can you believe we're pretty much at the tail end of summer now? I'm not sure how it's already August but there's one thing I'm having regrets about: Not doing as much reading as I had hoped. You see, I had big aspirations to read at least a book a week as a way to unwind and take advantage of all the summery, beachy reads out there. Nope, that didn't happen. And I won't even tell you what my measly total ended up being.

But you know what? Summer isn't over yet and there's still time for me to get moving on my reading list. If you're feeling in the same boat, or maybe you just need some book recs because you've been plowing through your TBR list, I've got you covered. I polled my colleagues for their summer book recs and, boy, did they deliver.

Take a look at their suggestions below. And if you have a recommendation that we didn't feature on here, we'd love to know. Send us a DM at @thethirty.

"If you want an easy read thriller, this [young adults] series is the way to go. I call these kinds of books literary flaming hot Cheetos. Not substantive, won't make you better, but man is it a good time while you are ripping through them. Think of this series as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. I think I read each book in a few hours because once I started I didn't want to stop until I knew what happened. I can't recommend these enough, particularly if you are in a reading slump, or want a quick read that you won't be able to stop talking about." — MacKenzie Green, VP, Social

"I love a media-person memoir, and Shafrir's frankness about everything from the bleak dating scene in NYC to her career at The Observer and BuzzFeed to creating her family in Los Angeles is equal parts funny, informative, and inspiring. I listen on long walks through Prospect Park; it's like catching up with an old friend." — Drew Elovitz, Director of Content Strategy and Senior Managing Editor

"Of all the recent critical race theory books that have created a buzz, none quite live up to the hype like Cathy Park Hong's book Minor Feelings. As someone who regularly loves and reads anthologies from authors worldwide, I found her whit and candor around her experience as a Korean American woman refreshing and informative. If you're still on a journey of self-reflection and allyship, this book is a must-read." — Jasmine Fox-Suliaman, Audience Engagement Editor

"I've been gravitating towards more romantic reads lately, and if you are as well, then the name Emily Henry should come as no surprise. I loved Beach Read, Henry's first foray into the genre, which was hilarious, heartfelt, and had an emotional gut-punch I was not expecting. Her long-awaited sophomore romcom, People We Meet on Vacation, is about two life-long friends who are meant to be more than just that. While it has a slightly different tone than Beach Read, I could still not get enough of the quick-witted banter, raw emotional turns, and the wanderlust-worthy destinations the author takes us on. Consider me a fan for life, Emily Henry." — Candice Aman, Social Media Editor

"Like many people, I thoroughly enjoyed Red, White & Royal Blue, so Casey McQuiston's latest novel is at the top of my list. It's a romantic comedy set in New York City that follows the story of August, a 23-year-old cynical diner waitress, and Jane, an 'old-school punk rocker.' I mean, they had me at romance set in New York City." — Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY

"A man wakes up randomly with 108 random predictions about the future in his head. He starts leveraging those predictions to his advantage, but it turns deadly when some powerful people want that information. After 2020 I think we all wish we knew what was coming in the future. This is such a good thriller, Clancy-ish novel, from comic book author Charles Soule. This was a ride, I truly didn't know where this one was going, but the interconnected stories, the global chase, all of it was worth the read." — Green

"Seven Days in June is a hilarious page-turner for anyone who's looking for a light read by the pool. The story takes you into the life of single mom and author Eva Mercy as she reconnects with an old high school lover who abandoned her after a whirlwind week of romance. When Eva and Shane reunite at a conference during the summer, Eva can't help but be drawn back to the person who she once believed was her soulmate." — Samantha Pouls, Audience Development Coordinator

"Admittedly, I have not picked up a self-help or spiritual book in quite a minute, so I was a little dubious when my therapist recommended I read Panache Desai's book, You Are Enough. Before you gawk at the title, let me tell you that this book doesn't feel like your typical woo-woo self-help book, and honestly, it helped me process some unhealed grief and trauma. If you're looking for a way to embrace who you are and where you are in your life, start by reading this book." — Fox-Suliaman

"This suburban thriller follows the main character, Francine, as she's getting over a divorce. It takes place in the late '80s in a neighborhood called Hawthorn Woods, which is a real neighborhood in Illinois where the author grew up. It's a seemingly quiet place where nothing major happens—in other words, the perfect setting for a murder mystery. As Francine becomes more acquainted with Hawthorn Woods, and the people who live there, weird things start happening, and mystery unfolds. This book is a great summer read, for both its nostalgia factor (it took me back to being a kid and exploring my neighborhood in the summer) and its thrill factor." — Alyson Stehly, Copy Chief

Just released this month, this book has already gotten so many accolades. Author Anthony Veasna So, who passed unexpectedly in 2020, writes about the Cambodian-American experience in this collection of stories.

"Imagine The Talented Mr. Ripley for the social media era. This one was creepy, intriguing, and the right kind of cringey. I found myself initially thinking that was an improbable premise to realizing that something this twisted could really happen in the Insta age. If you enjoy Influencer scandals, you'll really like this one." — Green

"This is a collection of poetry that I have read at least three times before, but I always come back to it because I find something new to cry and obsess over every time. In these poems, the author recounts his memories and his interpretation of the lives of the people around him as he has participated in them, ultimately telling the story of how these lived experiences are connected to one another and to the man he is today. The collection centers on the idea of memory and the questionably linear passage of time, and after reading it, I often find myself really contemplating the early experiences in my life and the lessons I was taught before I was ready to receive them." — Jaree Campbell, Copy Editor

I wasn't really familiar with everything that went down with WeWork until I listened to a podcast, WeCrashed, about the whole thing and now I just want to learn more. So I'm excited to dig more into the history of the company and its larger-than-life founder, Adam Neumann.

"If you loved Harry Potter, or Dan Brown, or a good supernatural angsty love, this will be your jam. Also, there's something super fun about imagining all those Yale secret societies as magical societies. Oh, and Leigh Bardugo already has one adaptation on Netflix, I feel like this is primed to be another in the future. So why not read it so you can pretentiously compare the adaptation to the book for your friends." — Green

"As almost anyone in fashion, I'm a huge fan of The Devil Wears Prada. When the author released her book When Life Gives You Lululemons in 2019, I immediately bought it and read it within a week. I just bought her latest book, Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty, and I'm very much excited. Lauren Weisberger has such a great way of telling stories with intriguing plot twists and added touches of drama and of course, fashion and pop culture. This one centers around two sisters who live perfect lives, and how one lie can make it all come crashing down. Will they be able to survive the truth? I'm looking forward to reading and finding out." — Yusra Siddiqui, Assistant Market Editor, Who What Wear

For a bit of retro nostalgia and to fulfill my love of all things history, I'm putting this book on my list. It tells the story of Pan Am's stewardesses as they traveled around the world during what was probably the most glamorous era of air travel. If you love anything '60s and watched all of Mad Men, you'll probably want to read this one, too.

"This is my second time reading Trick Mirror now, and I will probably go back to it again. It's brilliant. Through a series of essays that traverse everything from the early days of reality TV to the cult of barre classes, author Jia Tolentino offers a witty cultural critique of the modern-day Millennial experience and reflects on all the ways in which we delude ourselves." — Anna LaPlaca, Editor, Who What Wear

"I've read quite a few of Audre Lorde's essays, but I had never finished her entire book Sister Outsider up until recently. While published in 1984, this series of essays feels more timeless than ever and requires reading for anyone who identifies as a feminist. Just fair warning, though, this book will change the way you see the world, and it's not a bad thing at all. — Fox-Suliaman

"The panini press (aka pandemic) turned me into a rom-com book lover. Jasmine Guillory writes my favorite because she puts Black women at the center of the story. This book isn't spicy, it's more fade-to-black spicy. Oh, and if you fall in love with the characters in this book, all of her books have interconnected characters, so it's a fun collection to read and you get to see shoutouts to other books." — Green

"I just finished The Cave Dwellers by Christina McDowell. If the red toile book cover doesn't immediately catch your eye, perhaps the portrayal of Washington D.C.'s social elite will draw you in, and then spit you out. Highly recommend it to anyone who has done their own tour of the Beltway—whether they've escaped or not—and is ready to see the light." — Elovitz

This book doesn’t come out until later this month, but it’s on my TBR list. Kat Chow explores grief and her Chinese American family’s history (three generations to be exact) in this memoir.

"Strong women: May we know them, and read books about them. This book has been everywhere: Belletrist book club, Book Tok, and some many bookstagram feeds. It's a pop-lit rec that is well worth the read. You have immortal beings, sexy time with a dark figure, angsty love, all the things a book needs so it's a fun escape. I'll even admit I got a little misty-eyed and missed Addie at the end of the book because she's the kind of resilient woman you want to be around. Also, it's a beautiful love letter to art, artists, and books." — Green

"Kate Quinn's latest novel, The Rose Code, is precisely my jam. Fiesty broads who break codes in WWII's Bletchley Park and reunite to solve a mystery? Sold. I finished this one in just three days." — Elovitz

How Stacey Abrams had time to write a novel while saving democracy is astonishing to me, but I'm glad she did it! The novel follows Avery Keene, a young law clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who suddenly becomes his legal guardian and power of attorney when the Justice slips into a coma. There's intrigue, drama, mystery, conspiracy, and of course, politics. Can this be made into a movie already?

"All over social media, I've seen avid readers sharing and talking about Ashley C. Ford's memoir, Somebody's Daughter, but I didn't cave until adding it to my summer reading list until listening to her interview on NPR's Fresh Air. I love that this memoir is all about a woman grappling with her father's incarceration and her own trauma, and I can't wait to curl up on a beach and read this book." — Fox-Suliaman

"I'm currently reading Bringing Up Bébé. It seems almost every parent I know with young kids has read and recommended it. Written by an American journalist who lived and had a baby in Paris, it covers what she learned from observing the French parenting style. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but the description on the back cover talks about how French parents peacefully sip their (still-hot) coffee while their children play quietly, so it seems like a worthwhile read." — Stehly

For some mystery and suspense, the new novel We Were Never Here needs a spot on your list. It tells the story of two best friends, Emily and Kristen, who are vacationing in the mountains of Chile. One night, Emily comes back to their hotel room to find out that Kristen killed another backpacker in self-defense. The twist? This isn't the first time a backpacker has wound up dead on their trips. If that doesn't leave you wanting more I don't know what will.

"If you liked Daisy Jones, but want a little more soul this is the book for you. Opal reminded me of an Afropunk homage to Darlene Love. This book is that fun style of 'autobiographical fiction,' but what I loved most about this one was the underlying convo around misogynoir and Black punk/rock influence. I just thought this was a wonderful escape that made me sit with the characters when I was done." — Green

If you're interested in the healing powers of plants, then you'll probably be intrigued by Michael Pollan's latest book. It's a deep dive into three plant drugs—opium, caffeine, and mescaline—that looks into why we’re attracted to them and their history.

"I love Anna K so much! My good friend Traci Thomas who runs The Stacks podcast is a tough critic when it comes to fiction, and she recommended this one. … So that's saying a lot. This is a modern adaptation of Anna KareninaCrazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl vibe. I loved getting lost in the world of this book. And I loved it so much that I even felt inspired to pick up the Tolstoy original and was blown away by the narrative Jenny Lee was able to craft from the OG version." — Green

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