I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but the temperatures in Denver are climbing and I can taste summer reading season in the air. This March, I read two of what are sure to be summer’s buzziest books, and I’m breaking down what I loved about them to help you decide if they’re right for your summer reading list.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (out May 11, 2021)
Armchair travel plus winsome characters made this a book I couldn’t put down.People We Meet on Vacation is about two long-time friends, Poppy and Alex, who have taken an annual summer vacation together for the last decade—that is until something happened on their most recent trip that leads to two years of no communication. When Poppy decides she needs Alex back in her life, she plans a spontaneous summer trip with the intention of restoring their friendship to its former state. The book alternates between this summer’s vacation in Palm Springs and previous trips all over the world. The structure kept me turning the pages but also perfectly paced the revelations about how Poppy and Alex’s relationship evolved over their many years of friendship. Like Henry’s previous novel Beach Read, this is a romance that also explores the nuances of modern life, especially how individual timelines and ambitions make it hard for the right people to find each other at the right time. Add this to your list if you love a good friends-to-lovers romance and want to find a vacation in the pages of your book.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (out June 1, 2021)
Malibu Rising is about the Riva siblings—four twenty-somethings with an absent rockstar father, a tragic past, and an unbreakable bond. The book is divided into two parts. In the first, Reid alternates between the present timeline--1983 Malibu in the 24 hours leading up to and through the annual Riva family end-of-summer party--and the past--a year-by-year depiction of the ill-fated romance between the Riva kids’ parents, Mick and June. This structure was propulsive, and Reid certainly knows how to structure a book in a way that makes it impossible to put down. I also appreciated the balance of glamour and heart. The Riva kids had a rough childhood, but the way they love each other is fierce and redemptive. And an added sprinkle of 80s fashion, recognizable celebrity allusions, and an epic party, made this one a fun break from reality even while exploring hard subjects. If you love family stories and evocative settings, I definitely recommend pre-ordering this and adding it to your beach bag for when you need a book that is utterly unputdownable.
Which upcoming release are you most excited to tuck in your tote and take to the pool with you this summer?