The Perfect Books To Read On Vacay This Winter

So here's the deal. It's winter. It might be cold out, depending on where you live. But maybe you're planning a little holiday getaway, maybe with the family or your S.O. or just your besties. Or perhaps you're going solo YOLO, you brave adventure seeker you. Now all you need is a little light reading for the plane and pool — or the jacuzzi near some ski slopes, depending on your destination.

First off: We are really jealous/happy for you regarding your upcoming vacation! Second, we've got some great reads in mind for your trip. But even if you're staying home and chilling by the fire (or maybe just a fireplace-scented candle), chances are you have a little extra time on your hands. What better way to fill it than with some of our favorite releases from this year, right? So glad we're on the same page. Now get your read on, wherever you may roam.

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Photo: Delacorte Press.
By Carolyn Parkhurst
Released August 2

Tilly Hammond is brilliant, but her off-the-charts IQ also comes with complete and total social incompetence. When Tilly is booted from the last school in D.C., her mother, Alexandra, seems to have run out of options — save for one. The Hammonds head to Camp Harmony, seeking out a child-behavior guru named Scott Bean to help them solve Tilly's issues.

But what they find out there in the woods isn't what they expected, and it's going to take a lot of strength to get the whole family through this ordeal. Told from Alexandra's point of view, and that of her younger daughter, Iris, Harmony is book about the lengths a mother will go to in order to save her family, and it's nothing short of fantastic.
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Photo: Penguin Random House.
Behold the Dreamers
By Imbolo Mbue
Out July 12

Jende and Neni moved from their native Ghana to New York City with their young son to track down their own iteration of the American dream. Neni is training to become a pharmacist while Jende works to provide for his family — and stabilize his status in the country.

But when Jende winds up with a job as a chauffeur for a Wall Street banking scion, he winds up taking home more than a paycheck. The Edwards family is wealthier than any people that Jende and Neni have ever come into contact with, and little by little they get pulled inside their new employer's world. But as the saying goes: Not all that glitters is gold. Mbue's beautifully conceived debut draws on her own experience of being a Cameroonian immigrant in the U.S. But more than that, it also asks an important question: Why is it so important to stay, and when is it time to let go of the dream and return home?
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Photo: Putnam.
The Girl Before
By Rena Olsen
Out August 9

Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train fans, you're going to love this one. Clara Lawson was blindsided the day that armed men broke into her house, tore her away from her husband and daughters, and life as she knew it ended. Even more confusing was that while she was was being dragged out the door, her husband yelled just one thing to her: Say nothing.

But it turns out that Clara knows less about her own history than she ever could have imagined. Alternating between the past and present, The Girl Before is the story of a woman who has lost herself — and her memory — reconciling who she used to be with what she has become. But the haunting question at the center of the plot is this: Who should she be more afraid of — her husband or her captors?
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Photo: Atria/Emily Bestler Books.
The Regulars
By Georgia Clark
Released August 2

What would you sacrifice to be gorgeous?

That's the question at the heart of The Regulars, a novel about three besties struggling to make their way up their respective career ladders in NYC who stumble upon a magic tincture that will make them supermodel gorgeous in a snap. But those kinds of looks don't come without a cost, and Evie, Krista, and Willow have to decide what they will give up to keep their show stopping good looks.

Sexy and smart, this novel is Sex and the City meets The Picture of Dorian Gray, and we doubt you'll be able to put it down.
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Photo: Little, Brown and Company.
The Invitation
By Lucy Foley
Out August 2

When Hal and Stella meet in Rome in 1953, it's either chance or destiny — but in any case, they make the most of it. Hall falls for Stella in a romantic whirlwind, convinced he's met the love of his life. Until, mysteriously, she disappears.

Hal is devastated, slipping back into his regular routine as a journalist but never forgetting the girl he fell for. Until, one day, when he's asked by an Italian Contessa to be the reporter on her yacht en route to the Cannes Film Festival, Stella reenters his life. But on a boat filled with Hollywood's most gorgeous and powerful elite, Hal finds out that the object of his affections is well beyond his reach — and as they get closer to their final destination, his obsession grows until things take a tragic turn.
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Photo: Simon & Schuster.
By Lindsey Rosin
Out August 16

After four long years, high school is finally coming to a close — but these besties still have one more major thing to tick off their to-do list.

Layla, Emma, Alex, and Zoe didn't start off planning to make a pact that they'd lose their virginities before graduation. But one afternoon, over frozen yogurt, they all wound up committing to doing the deed together...but not, like, actually together.

An insightful tale about the true bonds between young women, like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but deliciously saucier, Cherry traces the girls' journey to lose their V-cards and all that comes along with it. No matter how long it's been since you lost your virginity, this is still one of those books that will transport you right back into your teen years in the best possible way.
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Image: Henry Holt and Co.
A Wife of Noble Character
By Yvonne Georgina Puig
Out August 2

Houston socialite Vivienne Cally has a secret: Behind her moneyed reputation she's actually penniless — and she'll need to snag a mate to help change that fact and keep up appearances sooner than later.

But the man she falls for doesn't exactly fit in with her social scene, and ultimately Vivienne must decide whether to follow tradition and stay the path, or give into love and give up her blue-blooded expectations.

A witty love story rife with social commentary inspired by Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, Puig's novel is a juicy look at a certain Southern segment of high society with all its delightfully salacious fixings.
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Photo: Blue Rider Press.
By Delia Ephron
Out July 12

Lizzie knows that her husband of 13 years, Michael, is unhappy and distracted — and she thinks that if she can only whisk him away on a whirlwind Italian vacation, she can win him over again. They're joined by Finn and Taylor — Lizzie's ex-lover and his chilly wife — along with Snow, Finn and Taylor's beautiful but strange young daughter.

But what happens when they get to Italy is worse than anyone could have imagined — and someone isn't coming back alive. A suspenseful, sensuous portrait of marriage, the secrets we keep to save one another, and the ones we keep to save ourselves, Siracusa is a force. You won't be able to put it down until you reach the end.
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Photo: Knopf.
This Must Be the Place
By Maggie O'Farrell
Out July 19

Daniel Sullivan is a New Yorker who packed up his life, leaving his broken first marriage and a whole mess of other complications behind in the states, to join his new wife, Claudette, at an idyllic farmhouse in the U.K.

But despite all the ways they have tried to seclude themselves from the world, Claudette and Daniel are followed by a secret from the past. When a woman Daniel lost contact with two decades ago tracks them down, he is thrown wildly off course. Will his love for his wife and kids be enough to bring him back again?

A compelling and nuanced portrait of marriage and how secrets can ruin everything we've worked for This Must Be the Place is a brilliant tapestry of one family's history, underbelly and all.
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Photo: Ballantine Books.
We Are All Made of Stars
By Rowan Coleman
Out July 26

Stella is a nurse who always works the late shift at her local hospice center, helping the dying write letters to loved ones. The missives will only be mailed after the author's passing, which means that things stay pretty placid for Stella at work — which is good, given that her war vet husband is at home, and their relationship has been rocky since his return.

Stella finds her work both rewarding and soothing, until one day a woman under her care writes a confession to the son she abandoned years ago, and Stella realizes the letter must be sent straightaway. But if she sends it, she'll not just be breaking a rule: She'll be tampering with fate.

We Are All Made of Stars will break your heart and put the pieces back together — fans of Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, this one is right up your alley.
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The Assistants
By Camille Perri
Out May 3

Tina Fontana is a 30-year-old assistant barely scraping by while working for the CEO of a multinational media organization. And she's always played by the rules, until now. When the opportunity to wipe out her student debt presents itself, Tina takes it.

But just when she thinks her secret is safe, another assistant finds out, pulling Tina into a major embezzlement scheme that could land her in a world of major pain. This delightfully wry debut from former Esquire and Cosmo books editor Camille Perri is equal parts satire and modern-day Robin Hood tale. And if you’ve ever worked too hard for too little while the people above you are rolling in bank...well this is a book you’re going to adore.

Read our interview with the author.
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Photo: Broadway Books.
I Take You
By Eliza Kennedy
Out May 24

Lily and Will are engaged — and madly in love. But the closer they get to their wedding date, the more it becomes clear to them both that there's another side to Lily — one that might make getting married a huge mistake. Sexy, sassy, and wonderfully unapologetic, I Take You really goes there, in the most bawdy and brilliant way.
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Photo: Gallery Books.
Last Ride to Graceland
By Kim Wright
Out May 24

Cory Ainsworth is a blues musician who has never known the identity of her father — but it's within the realm of possibility that her dear old dad could have been Elvis Presley himself. When Cory finds a piece of rock-'n'-roll history belonging to the King in a family storage shed, she decides to turn it over to his estate, taking a road trip down to Memphis. But what she finds along the way isn't just her parentage. On the ride to Graceland, Cory discovers herself.
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Photo: Dey Street Books.
It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool, Too)
By Nora McInerny Purmort
Out May 24

Nora McInerny Purmort had been through the dating ringer and wasn't sure if she would ever find The One — until she met Aaron. They fell hard and fast in love, but not long afterward, Aaron was diagnosed with a rare, terminal brain cancer. Together, they had to decide how they would spend his remaining months.

This gorgeous and insightful memoir holds up the lens to mortality and leaves us with a reminder to make every moment count and value what is truly precious: time — and laughter.
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Photo: Riverhead Books.
Modern Lovers
By Emma Straub
Out May 31

Elizabeth and Zoe became best friends in college — and have stayed close ever since. After Oberlin, they moved to Brooklyn’s not-yet-gentrified Ditmas Park and stayed put while life (and the neighborhood) sprung up around them. They got married, started their own families and businesses, and worked their way through middle age.

But the past is always present, and things get complicated — especially when a producer approaches both women, along with Elizabeth’s husband Andrew, about being part of a film project that would reveal some unseemly moments from their youth. Modern Lovers, by the best-selling writer behind The Vacationers, is a treat, as well as a fabulous coming-of-age novel about women entering into a new era of their lives.
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Photo: Picador.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life
By Victoria Fedden
Out June 7

Picture it: You're 36, pregnant, and living with your parents in Florida, when one morning the DEA knocks on the door to take your mom and stepdad down. Turns out, they've been masterminding a pump-and-dump scheme, and the only place their grandkid is going to see them for a while is behind bars.

So, what's a new mom to do when her family is in barely functioning order and she's got a new human on her hands? Work her way through it — and this laugh-out-loud memoir tells us how she did it.
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Photo: Knopf.
By Yaa Gyasi
Out June 7

At the beginning of Gyasi's epic debut novel, two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born in different villages in Ghana: One is married off to an English slave-trader, while the other is imprisoned and sent to America to become a slave herself. The stories of their families unfurl from those fates, and each chapter in this gorgeous and often heartbreaking book picks up with a new generation of the sisters' descendants, until the novel arrives in the modern moment.

Visceral and haunting, Homegoing traces three centuries of history, beginning in Africa and wending its way to modern-day San Francisco. If you're going to read one book the entire summer, let this be the one: Not only will it stimulate your literary sensibilities, it is an important and timely reminder of the legacy of Black existence in America.

Read our interview with the author here.
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Photo: Random House.
The Girls
By Emma Cline
Out June 7

This is not the story of the Summer of Evil. But you don't have to read too closely to see the tale of the Manson family emerge. Debut author Emma Cline crafts a thrilling coming-of-age novel imbued with an anxious urgency. As the drama builds and your eyes widen, it becomes ever more impossible to find a stopping point in this beautifully written book. For that reason: Plan to pick it up on a day when you have literally nothing else to do.

Read our in-depth coverage on The Girls and the Manson murders as American past time here.
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Photo: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Monsters: A Love Story
By Liz Kay
Out June 7

Stacey has been a mess since her husband passed away eight months ago — unable to write, constantly feeling like she's failing her kids — and something has got to give.

But when Tommy — an A-list actor who wants to turn Stacey's feminist rewrite of Frankenstein into a movie — arrives on the scene, things get even messier. Tommy and Stacey fall for each other, but their budding relationship is anything but smooth sailing. Monsters tells the story of two people who are made for one another, but can't quite see that themselves because of all the baggage between them.
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Photo: Ecco.
Rich and Pretty
By Rumaan Alam
Out June 7

Female friendships are a complex and beautiful thing. But what happens when your best friend — who has been like a sister to you for nearly 20 years — suddenly becomes someone you're not sure you even like very much anymore?

This delightful debut explores the longtime relationship between Sarah and Lauren, besties who have grown up and apart but still can't deny the tether that binds them. A charming and insightful meditation on what it means to mature and adapt to adult life while still holding on to our shared histories, Rich and Pretty is a perfect pick for book clubs and BFFs — and, of course, for a day at the beach with the most important lady friend in your life.

Read more about this book and the evolution of female friendship here.
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Photo: Riverhead Books.
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
By Ramona Ausubel
Out June 14

On Labor Day of 1976, Fern and Edgar — a married couple enjoying all the boons of being solidly upper class — happen upon their worst nightmare: becoming suddenly poor. After finding out that their fortune has disappeared, they both begin to unravel, which in turn leaves their three children left to fend for themselves, often for days at a time.

Nine-year-old Cricket becomes the de facto leader of the little trio, creating a sort of Neverland for his siblings on Martha's Vineyard in the wake of their parents' misfortune. Full of wisdom and wonderfully meditative insights on wealth and class in America, Sons and Daughters is both highly imaginative and philosophical in scope.
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Photo: Viking.
The Whale: A Love Story
By Mark Beauregard
Out June 14

It's the summer of 1850, and Herman Melville is in a sad state of affairs. Hounded by debt-collectors and critics, he is afraid his writing career might have come to an end — until a fateful picnic in the Berkshires and a chance meeting changes the course of his life and the literary legacy he'll leave behind.

The Whale is the story of that meeting between Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne and the connection that formed between these two brilliant men. Full of nuance and passion and an incredible amount of objective research, The Whale swirls around the relationship between Melville and Hawthorne, without losing its factual footing or sacrificing any storied intrigue.
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Image: Simon & Schuster.
All The Missing Girls
By Megan Miranda
Out June 28

Nicolette Farrell left home ten years ago after her best friend disappeared into thin air one night, never to be seen or heard from again. But when she's called back to her small town on a family matter, the details of that case come back to haunt her — especially after another girl she grew up with goes missing just days after Nic's return.

A suspenseful psychological thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, Miranda's novel is impossible to put down — so plan to pack it for a beach weekend when you have nothing to do but read in the sand.

Read our review of All The Missing Girls here.
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Photo: Bloomsbury USA.
Hot Milk
By Deborah Levy
Out July 12

Sofia has spent most of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's mercurial illness. But despite how frustrating that endeavor has been, she's more than happy to hit pause on her own life to accompany her mom to southern Spain over the summer for an experimental treatment.

But once they arrive, it becomes clear that the doctor's methods are more than a little unusual — and Sofia's mother's symptoms become even more confusing. But as the true source of the pain begins to bubble to the surface, Sofia discovers how her mother's suffering connects to her own struggles. Dazzling and, at times, deeply disturbing, Hot Milk is a mystery meets introspective coming-of-age novel. It's unnerving — and that's a good thing.
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Photo: Little, Brown and Company.
Invincible Summer
By Alice Adams
Out June 28

The summer after college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien all break away from their comfortable routines and try and reinvent themselves as adults on the cusp of the new millennium. But a toxic romance between two of the friends, combined with their expanding geographic divides, make staying in touch a true struggle. Once they reconvene, they realize how much they all really need one another and that they have to reconnect. A testament to the power of friendship and love, this is a beautiful coming-of-age story about the intimacy of long-term relationships against the changing landscape of time.
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Photo: Riverhead Books.
Losing It
By Emma Rathbone
Out July 19

Julia Greenfield is 26 and uncomfortable with the fact that she hasn't lost her virginity. With sex in mind, she travels to spend the summer with her aunt Vivienne in North Carolina. As it turns out, 58-year-old Vivienne also still has her V-card, a discovery that makes Julia even more fearful that she's never going to meet the right guy — or, even some guy to simply have sex with.

A slightly neurotic and wholly hilarious meditation on the difference between love and lust, The One and close enough, Losing It is about so much more than a quest for sex: It's a confrontational narrative about all the other stuff that goes along with it, and the intimate decisions we make that shape our lives for better — and worse.
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Photo: Knopf.
The Hopefuls
By Jennifer Close
Out July 19

A young woman named Beth follows her husband Matt to DC, where he plans to pursue his political dreams. But when she gets there, she realizes that she is out of her social element. Soon enough, Beth and Matt become pals with a White House staffer named Jimmy and his wife, Ashley, developing a couples quad that helps the transplants find their footing in the capitol city.

But as Jimmy's career begins to take off, the easy friendship begins to shift shape, and everything begins to unravel — including Beth's marriage. A fascinating drama about relationships, loyalty, the price of aspirations and success, The Hopefuls will surely ensnare you into this world from page one — and hold you there, tightly, until the final word.
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Photo: Pamela Dorman Books.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradal
Out July 28

When Lars Thorvald's wife leaves him for a sommelier, he is left to raise their daughter, Eva, all on his own. Determined that his daughter develop a great of love food, Lars begins cultivating her culinary tastes early on, priming Eva to eventually become a star chef herself.

Food, identity, self-preservation, and the kitchen arts are all ingredients in this sumptuous novel, but at its heart, this story is about the bond between a parent and child. Fair warning: It will make you hungry. (Very, very hungry.) As such, this book is best enjoyed with a bar of chocolate and a box of tissues.
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Photo: Henry Holt and Co.
A Wife of Noble Character
By Yvonne Georgina Puig
Out August 2

Vivienne Cally is a beloved Houston socialite — but unlike her peers, she doesn't actually have the wealth to back up her status. For that reason, 30-year-old Vivienne needs to marry rich and marry quick. Fortunately, she has ample access to the city's most eligible bachelors.

But when she begins to fall for her childhood friend, Preston Duffin, a man who doesn't share her social-climbing aspirations, Vivienne begins to question what she wants out of life — and where she really belongs. Inspired by Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.
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Photo: Penguin Books.
When Watched
By Leopoldine Core
Out August 9

This outstanding story collection from Whiting Award winner Leopoldine Core explores life on the margins, while digging into the vulnerability of longing and sadness. Full of dazzling insight and empathy, each of the 20 stories in this debut will force you to consider how personal identity is impossible to pin down: We are all chameleons, shifting parts of ourselves to make the best of new circumstances.

While there is an undeniable headiness to Core's collection, her writing is never heavy-handed: It's refreshing — even bright — and full of heart. This new voice fills a void that, until finishing the final pages, we didn't know was sorely missing. But now that When Watched has surfaced, we can't wait for more from Core.
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Photo: Pamela Dorman Books.
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living
By Louise Miller
Out August 9

Olivia Rawlings didn't intend to relocate her life — and career as a prized pastry chef in a Boston dinner club — to the tucked away town of Guthrie, VT. But when the opportunity to take over the kitchen at a charming inn presented itself, Olivia leapt — and got more than she bargained for.

Once she's made the move, Olivia realizes that she's not just there to make decadent desserts: She's going to have to win a blue ribbon at the upcoming county fair for her apple pies. In the midst of reworking recipes and handling the cantankerous innkeeper, Olivia also discovers the scent of love in the air. All is going well and Olivia finally feels like she's found her home, until another game-changer shows up in her life — and Olivia has to decide where she truly belongs.
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Photo: Hachette.
You'll Grow Out Of It
By Jessi Klein
Out July 12

Veteran comedy writer and stand-up comic Jessi Klein is one of the funniest voices in television, though you might not know it: As the lead writer and executive producer behind Inside Amy Schumer, she has a knack for letting the limelight wash over someone else while she continues honing her craft. But this delightful, laugh-out-loud collection puts Klein front and center.

Klein explores what its like to go from being a tom boy to a tom man (her hilarious little turn of phrase), working her way through anxiety and depression to grab a comedy career by the horns, and wrangle it all the way up to the top, all while dealing with all the things women have to contend with in the world these days, from cads to wedding dress shopping and navigating the complicated world of porn. Prediction: You will rip through this collection quick — and then go back and read your favorites all over again.
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