Summer Reading

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A curated booklist by your favorite SPL librarians!

Summer Reading

Literary Fiction | Memoirs | Mysteries | Romance | Sci-fi and Fantasy | Thrillers | Graphic Novels

Literary Fiction

Deacon King Kong Deacon King Kong by James McBride

This award-winning historical fiction novel by acclaimed Black author, James McBride, begins with the shooting of a drug dealer by a brown-skinned church deacon called Sportcoat in 1969's south Brooklyn housing projects. With humor and insight, members of the housing projects speculate over why Sportcoat woke up and chose violence that day, while Sportcoat himself doesn't quite know why he pulled the trigger.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Nikki, a 22-year-old British-Punjabi woman trying to make ends meet, takes a part-time job teaching English to Sikh widows in London's Southall community. Nikki is stunned when her class shows interest in writing erotica as part of their lessons, and as the women's trust in Nikki grows, dark and unsettling secrets about life in Southall are uncovered. Tender, observant, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Summer Fun Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton

Winner of the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, Summer Fun, follows the story of Gala, a young tans woman living in New Mexico who is a fervent fan of the Get Happies, a 1960's band from California. Gala faithfully writes letters to the band's mysterious leader, B--, who one day replies, and what starts as inquiries about the band leads to deeper conversations about music, identity, and culture that ultimately bring Gala down a path of self-discovery and belonging.

True Biz True Biz by Sara Novic

A 2022 Reese’s Book Club pick, this coming of age tribute to the Deaf community follows students and faculty at the River Valley School for the Deaf as they navigate personal triumphs and hardships. It's a story of "sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy" (Publisher).

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Children of the Land Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

An NPR Best Book of the Year (2020), this award-winning, moving memoir details the heartbreaking hardships of American immigration endured by Mexican poet and activist Castillo, and his family. Library Journal Review says, “This inventively rendered memoir provides an intimate, important look at the immigrant experience, family and intergenerational trauma, and coping with the ongoing presence of uncertainty in one's life."

Little Weirds Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

In this dream-like, whimsical collection of award-winning essays, Jewish actress and comic, Slate, re-examines her charmed, yet weird existence, from growing up in a haunted Massachusetts home, to battling self-doubt in Hollywood, and surviving a painful, public divorce. To see the world through Jenny Slate's eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility (Publisher).

Wow, No Thank You Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Comedian and bestselling author, Samantha Irby, writes about the ups and downs of life in her forties, not quite fitting in with her professional contemporaries in Los Angeles, and being a Black, queer woman in the red state of Michigan in this uproariously hilarious and touchingly relatable collection of Lambda Literary Award-winning essays.

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Arsenic and Adobo Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Lila Macapagal is trying to rebuild her life while waitressing at her family's struggling Filipino restaurant in Shady Palms, Illinois. But when Lila’s ex-boyfriend, local food critic Derek, drops dead at the restaurant, she becomes the primary suspect in his suspicious demise. Now it's up to Lila to save the restaurant, prove her innocence, and try to not have a mental breakdown in the process: piece of cake, right? The next mystery in this delightful series, Homicide and Halo-Halo, is also available now.

The Ninja Daughter The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge

Modern-day Chinese-Norwegian-American ninja, Lily Wong, a has devoted her life to protecting women ever since the murder of her beloved sister, all while balancing family relationships, cultural identity, and an inner sense of right and wrong. After a rescue mission goes sideways, Lily takes a pro-bono case that leads to a dangerous conspiracy that she’s determined to reach the bottom of. This title is the first of an addictive trilogy.

The Thursday Murder Club The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

A clever, witty mystery perfect for fans of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. Joyce, Ron, Elizabeth, and Ibrahim meet every Thursday in the Jigsaw Room at the retirement community they call home, but don't let their age fool you, this unlikely foursome are clever, capable sleuths who gleefully spur into action when a murder falls onto their doorstep. The second installment in this charming series, The Man Who Died Twice is also out and in high demand.

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Boyfriend Material Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Born to famous parents, Luc is accustomed to life in the spotlight, but when a compromising photo threatens to leak, he knows he must do something drastic to save face. In comes nice, normal Oliver, a handsome barrister who strikes a deal with Luc to pretend to be his boyfriend. But when they catch feelings for each other, they have to decide if chasing love is worth the risk.

Girl Gone Viral Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Retired curvy-model-turned-angel-investor Katrina King likes to keep a low profile to manage her anxiety, but when an innocent meet-cute goes viral, her hard work to stay unseen threatens to unravel. In steps dreamy bodyguard, Jas Singh, whisking Katrina to his remote family farm, and offering her more than safety, if only Katrina can drop her defenses.

The Last Tang Standing The Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

If you thought you loved Bridget Jones, wait until you meet Andrea Tang. At thirty-three, witty, wise-cracking, Singapore attorney Andrea has yet to make partner at her firm, or find the right person to settle down with, making her the sole disappointment of her wealthy Malaysian-Chinese family. Determined to find love and beat infuriatingly charming workplace rival Suresh out of a promotion, will Andrea collapse under the weight of familial expectations, or will she find her best life by pushing against tradition?

The Unhoneymooners The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Compared to her perfect twin, Ami, Olive Torres thinks she drew the unlucky lot in life: case in point, on the day of Ami's wedding, Olive is freshly unemployed, wearing the worst-ever bridesmaid dress for her curves and warm skin tone, and has nowhere to hide from sworn nemesis, Ethan Thomas, brother of the groom. But when the newlyweds suffer food poisoning, Olive and Ethan are sent on the honeymoon in their place. Is Olive's luck about to change, or is her life about to become messier than ever?

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Sci-fi and Fantasy

The Priory of the Orange Tree The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A captivating, inclusive, feminist fantasy novel of critical acclaim. Queen Sabran the Ninth, ruler of the ancient kingdom of Inys, is expected to protect the realm from the return of an evil dragon known as the Nameless One by conceiving a child and continuing her family's legacy. But the female mages of the South, the Priory, don't believe the Queen's bloodline is the key to stopping the Nameless One’s return.

She Who Became the Sun She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

A bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy (Publisher). Destined to the dull life of a second daughter, a young woman disguises herself as her brother, Zhu, and embarks on a quest for greatness in this compelling and unforgettable first in an epic new fantasy series.

Under the Whispering Door Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home (Publisher). Wallace, a White, forty-year-old bisexual man, spent life before his fatal heart attack focused on professional success over emotional fulfillment. Now waiting to cross over to the afterlife at Black ferryman Hugo’s teashop, Wallace has a second chance to find the deeper meaning of existence.

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The Hacienda The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

After the Mexican War of Independence, Beatriz loses her father and her childhood home. Desperate for security, she agrees to marry the attractive Don Rodolfo Solórzano, despite questions regarding the death of his first wife, and soon finds herself haunted by a malevolent spirit in her new hacienda. Cañas' award-winning debut is perfect for lovers of suspenseful Gothic fiction.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

A gripping, award-winning work in true crime. In early 1920's Oklahoma, a string of murders occur to members of the Osage Indian Nation after oil is discovered in land where they've settled, making some members of the Osage Nation shockingly wealthy. A former Texas Ranger sent by J. Edgar Hoover to solve the crimes unwraps a horrific conspiracy in American history, seldom discussed due to the legacy of racism against Native Americans.

Verity Verity by Colleen Hoover

A dark and twisted bestselling psychological thriller. Lowen Ashleigh is struggling as a writer when she’s hired by the husband of injured author Verity Crawford to take over the completion of her works. But when Lowen discovers Verity’s unfinished autobiography, and its sordid secrets, she’s tempted to reveal their contents to Verity’s husband; a move that could fatally impact their marriage.

When No One is Watching When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

This bestselling, award-winning psychological thriller follows Sydney Green, a Black woman who's unsettled by how her Brooklyn neighborhood has changed around her. To fight gentrification, Sydney forms an unlikely duo with neighbor Theo, leading walking tours to showcase the area's African American history. But as the story twists and turns, Sydney's paranoia grows: have her Black neighbors truly relocated, or is something sinister afoot?

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Graphic Novels

Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger's, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger's, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color by Julie Dachez; art by Mademoiselle Caroline

After an explosive fight with her boyfriend, awkward, sensitive Marguerite seeks professional help to discover why she never feels entirely comfortable in her surroundings, and finds out that she has Asperger’s in this thoughtful and inspiring graphic novel.

Nimona Nimona by ND Stevenson

Nimona, a lovable shapeshifter with a flair for the dramatic, works with Lord Blackheart to prove the Institution for Law Enforcement and Heroics is actually a cover for the most dastardly deeds committed in the kingdom. With dragons, medieval villains, and most importantly, layers, Nimona will keep you up all night reading under the covers, just like when you were a kid.

Run: Book One Run: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; art by Afua Richardson with Nate Powell

Late Congressman, John Lewis, details his run for the fifth Congressional district seat in Georgia following the death of Civil Rights activist, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., in this award-winning and highly anticipated graphic novel following his critically acclaimed March series.

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