They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but they also say not to meet men at bars and the best option is to meet through shared hobbies, and that’s gotten me about as far as the distance one can safely travel on one of those motorized scooters. Which is to say, about 5 feet before face planting! But I’m not here to gripe about my dating life (today). I’m here to help you judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you want to read a good beach reach (and for that, might I recommend my Summer Reading List?), and sometimes, you want to just Instagram your book cover on the beach. With this list, you can do both. I’ve rounded up the best summer reads that have a lot going on and are pretty to look at (aka what my dad says about me when asking why I’m still not dating anyone). Check out my favorite Instagrammable books that also happen to be good books.
This novel is quickly being hailed by the likes of Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Popsugar, and most importantly, Betches! Duh. First of all, the cover is a gorgeous cotton candy sunset, which will look great on your feed (no filter necessary). But the actual book itself has themes similar to The Act and a twist that will take you by surprise. I won’t say any more. I will say that this book has it all: sisters, a former Olympic athlete running away from her problems, a tropical locale with sexy strangers… you’ll love it.
Okay, definitely don’t read this book at the pool or beach unless you have plenty of snacks on hand, because it will make you hungry af. This one follows Natalie Tan, a young woman who returns home to San Francisco after her mother’s death (safe to say, Natalie’s relationship with her mom was complicated). With no real path in life (or formal training) but a love for cooking, Natalie decides to revive her grandmother’s legacy and reopen her family’s Chinese restaurant.
This is a romance novel in the sense that it actually details a blossoming romance, and not in the sense that it’s a euphemism for a book with a lot of sex. It’s not! Ayesha At Last and the main characters, Khalid and Ayesha, explore issues like arranged marriage, what it means to be a good Muslim, how to deal with workplace discrimination, and a whole lot more! All while trying to find love, follow their dreams, and live up to their families’ expectations. I don’t want to spoil it because there’s so much that goes on in this book, but all of it fits together and none of the plot points feel random, despite there being sooo many subplots. This was a fun read, and a nuanced portrayal that is necessary in 2019.
Picture this: your husband dies suddenly in a tragic accident. You have your young son to take care of by yourself. You have an overzealous brother-in-law who’s pushing you to give him control of your deceased husband’s finances, plus a grief counselor-turned-best-friend who might have ulterior motives. Who do you trust? Where do you turn? That’s what the main character, Tess, is grappling with in The Perfect Son. The triller is told in two alternating time periods that come together at the very end, with a very big twist.
You guys know I loved Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor series, and American Royals did not disappoint. Just in time for the 4th of July, American Royals is set in a world where the American Revolution never happened, and the U.S. is governed by a monarchy. There’s Beatrice, the next in line for the throne (and America’s soon-to-be first queen), who is perfectly composed and follows all the rules. Then you have troublemaker Samantha and her twin brother, Jeff. They all have to navigate typical young adult problems like falling love, deciding what to do with their future… oh yeah, and governing one of the most powerful countries in the world. All without f*cking it up.
Is this a fun read? Absolutely not, but it’s a completely necessary read (and the cover is very photogenic). What Red Was follows the lives of Max and Kate, who become best friends at college (or, “uni”, as they say in England, where this novel takes place), despite growing up with very different backgrounds. But then, an act of violence changes Kate’s life, and her and Max’s friendship. I’m sure you can all guess what that act of violence is. Again, this book is a hard read, but it really is one you need to push through.
When Mia West is dumped by her boyfriend on their 6-year anniversary (the bastard) and she’s let go from her job (the bastards), the life she had envisioned for herself falls all the way apart. So what’s a girl to do? She joins her roommate on a humanitarian trip from Mumbai to Budapest to chase a long-forgotten dream she’d put on the backburner. But can her dream deferred become her new reality? (Check me out, a regular Langston Hughes over here.)
First of all, the cover of this book is an actual portrait of how I’m trying to be all summer. If the name Chanel Cleeton sounds familiar, it’s because her 2018 novel, Next Year In Havana, was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. The highly anticipated follow-up takes place in 1960s Florida in the wake of Fidel Castro’s ascent to power. Protagonist Beatriz (a throwback to those of you who read Next Year In Havana) feels suffocated by Palm Beach’s snobby high society, and is determined to escape. So she’s recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle (naturally), which finally gives her the chance to be more than just a superficial debutante. Of course, with the stakes so high, Beatriz is going to fall in love with the wrong man…
Guillory’s third novel takes on the classic enemies-to-lovers romance that I’m honestly considering putting into practice in my real life (because if the guys I actually like are all assholes, maybe I should look towards the ones I hate?). ANYWAYYYY, in this romance novel, Maddie and Theo have two things in common: a mutual best friend, and a hatred of each other. That mutual friend’s wedding puts these two frenemies in close proximity, and you know how people get with weddings. Emotions run high, physical attraction runs higher. Will they get attached? I won’t tell you, but the answer is probably yes.
Look, not to toot our own horn, but we make some pretty nice looking books. And they’re nice to read, too! Our third book is all about how to boss tf up in your career. But not in like, a boring self-help way. We’ll tell you what to do (and how not to f*ck up your life) in a funny way. And the color is sooo perfect for your feed, especially during the summer.
Beth is planning to leave her abusive husband, which means she’s at her most vulnerable. Every move has to be carefully planned out, because one slip could leave her in grave danger. At the same time, hundreds of miles away, a husband returns home to find his wife missing, leaving behind only her car, with no signs of foul play. The detective on this case is piecing things together. See if you can piece them together first.
Images: Amazon (10)
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In lieu of a traditional holiday reading list this year (mostly because I didn’t get my sh*t together in time, but also because I (perhaps prematurely) published a Thanksgiving reading list, I’m doing something a little bit different this year. A fun fact about me is that I love to give book recommendations. So that’s what I’m here to do. I’m going to give you some dope book recommendations based on the books you’ve already read and loved. And isn’t that the best way to do it? I think it is. Just a fair warning: some of these books aren’t available until 2019. But then again, 2019 is like, next week, so I think you’ll live.
If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love…
‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing
If you read one book this year, make it My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. This book is going to be the new Gone Girl. In all honesty, I think it’s even better than Gone Girl. My Lovely Wife is Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets Dexter—a seemingly ordinary suburban husband and wife abduct and murder women for fun. Yeah, it’s wild. And there’s a twist at the end that even the most avid thriller readers (hi, it’s me) will never see coming. That’s really all I can say for now.
If you liked To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, you’ll love…
‘One Day In December’ by Josie Silver
This is your classic rom com, turned into a novel! Personally, I prefer novels anyway because I’d rather read something than watch it. Team texting while watching TV, reporting for duty. Anyway, One Day In December follows Laurie, a young woman who barely has her life together, who spots a guy on a bus one day and it’s immediate love at first sight. So then she sets off on a quest to find this mystery bus guy—and finds him in a very unexpected place. Sorry, I can’t give away any more, but you’ll love this book.
If you liked The Girl On The Train, you’ll love…
‘The Lost Night’ by Andrea Bartz
If you’re reading this, on Betches, I assume you’ve blacked out before, yes? Great. Now imagine having blacked out the most important night of your life—the night your best friend committed suicide. Or did she? As protagonist Lindsay revisits her best friend’s suicide, she becomes convinced it was anything but, and sets on a journey to find the truth.
If you liked The Favorite Sister, you’ll love…
‘Best Friends Forever’ by Margot Hunt
Need a thriller, but one you can get your hands on now? Bet. Best Friends Forever is about Alice Campbell, a regular suburban mom, who befriends uber-rich Kat Grant. They become fast friends, until Kat’s husband dies in a drunk accident. Suddenly Alice is being questioned by the cops at Kat is MIA. It will make you wonder: How well do you really know your friends?
If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll love…
‘The Night Olivia Fell’ by Christina McDonald
This domestic thriller is told from two perspectives: Olivia, a bright and beautiful high school student who mysteriously falls to her death one night, and that of her mother, Abi. A single mom, Abi is often criticized for being overprotective of her daughter. But when she’s struggling to put together her daughter’s final moments, it’s this same overprotectiveness that may help her discover the truth.
If you liked I Had A Nice Time And Other Lies, you’ll love…
‘When’s Happy Hour? Work Hard So You Can Hardly Work’ by The Betches
I mean, I’m sorry about this, but I’m also not. If you loved our brutally honest dating advice, then you’ll love our equally honest and hilarious career advice. From choosing an industry to work in to what not to put on your resume to getting the job and more, we will help you navigate your job search in the real way only we can.
Images: Thought Catalog / Unsplash; Amazon (5)