In the past few weeks, we’ve all been trying to step up when it comes to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. From making donations to joining protests to holding our racist aunts accountable on Facebook, we’re trying to be better allies in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism. Part of being an ally means taking the time to educate ourselves and listen to Black stories and Black voices. We’ve already touched on good documentaries to watch, and since there already are many lists of anti-racism books to read out there, we’re focusing on another way you can support the Black community: by reading books from Black authors that do not have to do with race. Black people are more than their skin color, and their stories are about more than just racial injustice. Normalizing Black representation in media is another important step towards equality. After all, white people get stories all the time that don’t revolve around their whiteness (and, in fact, rarely tend to even mention it). Which is why I’ve compiled a list of great beach reads that support Black writers and voices, that you can buy from Black-owned bookstores.
‘Party of Two’ by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory has been a powerhouse in the romance/women’s contemporary fiction genres for the last few years and I’ve been singing her praises to literally anyone who will listen. The way she writes rom-coms is *chef’s kiss* absolutely brilliant. Her books are always the perfect blend of sweet meet-cutes and hot sex—basically everything my Hinge dates are not. In her most recent novel, Party of Two, main character Olivia has just moved to LA to start up her own law firm when she meets a sexy stranger in a bar: Senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when Max pursues her she can’t say no. Cut to clandestine date nights, funny disguises, and swerving to ditch the press, and Olivia somehow finds herself falling in love with the last guy she ever expected to. If you loved the Olivia Pope/Fitz political powerhouse couple trope but wished for more of the happier couple moments, then this book hits the perfect sweet spot.
‘Blitzed’ by Alexa Martin
Set in the fast-paced, glitzy world of the NFL, Alexa Martin’s Playbook series is as fun and fizzy as a glass of champagne. The author is actually the wife of a former NFL player, so she has firsthand knowledge of the games played on and off the football field, which is probably why her books are so freaking addictive. In her latest novel, we meet bar owner Brynn Larson, whose establishment has become the local drinking hot-spot for NFL players and their reality TV star wives. But just because she likes their business doesn’t mean she’s stupid enough to jump into bed with a professional athlete. Or so she thinks! Enter: Maxwell Lewis, who’s been in love with Brynn ever since he first laid eyes on her. Add in steamy sex scenes and hilarious banter and you’ve got the perfect beach accessory.
‘The Sun Is Also a Star’ by Nicola Yoon
If you’re wondering why you’ve heard of this book before, it’s because it was recently turned into a movie starring Yara Shahidi and Riverdale’s Charles Melton—but trust me, the book is just as good as the movie. Cynical, logic-driven Natasha is hours away from being deported with her family to Jamaica when she meets Daniel. Their meet-cute on the subway leads to 12 hours of the most adorable relationship I’ve ever read. And I’m even willing to suspend reality here and believe that someone could find love and not human feces on a New York subway because the book is that cute! While this book is technically a young adult novel, it touches on deep issues, like what it means to be a child of an immigrant and breaking away from parental expectations, while at the same time being a beautiful love story. If you’re looking for a good cry (when am I not?), then this will be a good read for you.
‘My Sister, The Serial Killer’ by Oyinkan Braithwaite
If your idea of a feel-good beach book involves murder and homicidal siblings, then you’re going to absolutely loooove this book. My Sister, The Serial Killer came out in 2018, but it’s not as popular as it really deserves to be, so listen to me as I shout this from the metaphorical rooftops: BUY THIS BOOK. In the novel, Korede is always cleaning up after her self-absorbed beautiful sister. And while for some that might mean picking up your sister’s bar tab or helping her clean puke stains off her shirt from the night before, for Korede it means helping her sister hide the body of the latest man she’s just murdered. Dark, twisty, and weirdly funny, this book feels like an insane mix between Dexter and Sharp Objects. I couldn’t put it down.
‘The Opposite of Always’ by Justin A. Reynolds
Another young adult must-read, The Opposite of Always is all about love, loss, and second chances. Jack meets Kate at a party, and by the time the sun rises, he knows all of her favorite movie, that they share a love of Froot Loops…and that he’s falling in love with her. Their love story was supposed to be epic, but then Kate dies. But instead of their story ending there, Jack finds himself transported back to the beginning, to the night they first met, when Kate is still alive and they’re both so in love. Jack doesn’t know if he’s losing his mind, but he’s willing to do anything to prevent Kate’s death, even if it means believing in time travel and trying to change the future. Though this book sounds heavy—and it is super emotional—it’s also ridiculously funny, with laugh-out-loud banter and a little bit of a choose-your-own-adventure twist. Part love story, part sci-fi time travel, part funny coming of age story, this book truly has it all. I dare you not to fall in love with it.
‘Ties That Tether’ by Jane Igharo
So this book actually comes out in September, but I’m alerting you now so you can go ahead and preorder it. The premise is this: 12-year-old Azere promises her dying father that she’ll marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture, even after her family immigrates to Canada. Years later, Azere ends up at a bar hitting it off with Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and…white. Azere finds herself falling for Rafael, but can she really be with him without compromising her identity? This book packs a lot int0 its 320 pages, but it feels effortless. A Nigerian immigrant herself, Igharo tackles issues like immigration, cultural identity, and interracial dating in a compelling way. While a love story at heart, this book is so much more than that. It’s a must-read for your summer vacation.
‘Spin’ by Lamar Giles
Young adult thrillers aren’t typically my thing, but Spin by Lamar Giles is top-notch when it comes to teen thrills. When famous DJ ParSec is found dead, her best friend Kya and one of the DJ’s groupies, Fuse, have to put their differences aside to find out what happened. As they dig deeper, secrets are uncovered, motives are unearthed, and Kya and Fuse fall deeper and deeper into ParSec’s tangled web of a life. Kya gives off some serious Veronica Mars vibes, but the author puts a new and interesting twist on the teenage whodunit. It’s definitely worth the read!
Images: Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash; Amazon (7)
It’s that time of year again! The sun is out, the temperatures are rising, and all you want to do is go to the park in your bikini and read a good book. Or, maybe that’s just me. In any case, I’ve been powering through advance copies all season to get you the Betches Summer Reading List 2019. Whether you’re into romance, mystery, fun character sketches, etc., you’ll likely find something you will enjoy on this list. Now, as a warning, here is how I am classifying my summer reading list: books that come out during the spring and summer. So don’t be salty if some of these picks aren’t available yet. That’s why God invented preorder.
‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston
This book is so cute and fun and I’m obsessed with it. It’s about Alex Claremont-Diaz, the heartthrob son of the first female President of the United States (if only), and Prince Henry, the Prince of England. The two start out as rivals and are forced to fake a friendship, until that fake friendship turns into a real friendship… and then more. Told through narrative, texts, emails, and even a podcast, this book is inventive and fun, and super heartwarming. I finished it today and low-key teared up on the subway.
‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing
Yes, I wrote about this one before, and yes, I’ll likely do it again. This book was that good. Literally think Gone Girl, except better. I promise you. My Lovely Wife is about a typical suburban married couple with children… who hunts and murders women for fun. I swear to you, you won’t see the twist coming. And if you do, kindly drop your location in the comments, so I can alert the police.
‘Honestly, We Meant Well’ by Grant Ginder
I loved The People We Hate At The Wedding, so I was not surprised that I loved Grant Ginder’s next book, Honestly, We Meant Well. Here’s the gist: a family takes a trip to Greece. But in that family, you have Dean, a famed writer and now-professor who just cheated on Sue Ellen, his wife. Oh, and they have a son, Will, who just broke up with his boyfriend, only to have him move on immediately and steal his job. There’s not a lot of action (until the climax), but there’s plenty of character development to keep you hooked. This fun family portrait is a perfect summer read.
‘The Learning Curve’ by Mandy Berman
Fiona and Liv are two best friends who became inseparable after Fiona experienced a family tragedy. Senior year of college, their lives are headed in different directions, and their differences are only highlighted by the sudden arrival of famed writer and controversial figure, Oliver Ash. It’s not what you think—at least, not entirely. This novel, through different perspectives, explores loss, grief, sex, friendship, power dynamics, and much more.
‘Star-Crossed’ By Minnie Darke
If you’re into horoscopes, and romantic comedies that are told through vignettes that ultimately come together in the end, you’ll love Star Crossed, which has both of those elements. The novel focuses on a few characters, namely, Justine (a Sagittarius and a serious skeptic), who starts working at a newspaper. One of her projects? Laying out the horoscopes. All is proceeding normally until Justine takes the horoscopes into her own hands… and ends up changing other people’s lives, not just her own.
‘Watching You’ by Lisa Jewell
If you’re only going to read one thriller this summer, make it this one. It takes place in a nice neighborhood of Bristol, England, where everyone is hiding something—and everyone is watching each other. When someone in the community ends up murdered, all these secrets start scratching at the surface, threatening to come to life. Told via first-person narrative and transcripts of police interviews, this is a page-turner you won’t be able to put down. And with so many twists, it’s guaranteed that at least one will surprise you.
‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book is literally going to be huge, and Reese Witherspoon loved it so much she made it a book club pick. Told like a biography (that’s not a real biography), the book follows Daisy Jones, a girl coming of age in LA in the late sixties, and her life is all sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. When she joins forces with The Six, they become one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Remember—this is all fictional, but it reads like an oral history. It’s an extremely inventive format and a captivating story that you and all your friends will love.
‘The Last Book Party’ by Karen Dukess
It’s 1987, and Eve Rosen, aspiring writer and lowly assistant at a publishing house, is desperate to prove her mettle in the arts and literary scene. So when famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey extends an invite to a party at his summer home in Cape Cod, Eve jumps at the opportunity. Henry takes a liking to her and hires her as his personal assistant, giving her even access to the world she previously only dreamed about. She also scores an invite to the famed “Book Party,” an end-of-summer celebration where everyone dresses in elaborate literary costumes. However, the deeper she gets into this world, the more she discovers that all that glitters is not gold and nothing is really as it seems.
‘The Perfect Girlfriend’ by Karen Hamilton
Another fun suspense-filled novel, this one follows Juliette, who was just dumped by Nate. She’ll do anything to win him back… literally. She’s convinced she and Nate are meant to be and has devised a truly crazy plan to win him back. So crazy, it just might work? You’ll have to find out. Juliette is certifiably insane, for sure, but you’ll find yourself siding with her more and more as the plot progresses.
‘The Bride Test’ By Helen Hoang
If you read and loved last year’s The Kiss Quotient, then you need to run out and order Helen Hoang’s next novel, The Bride Test, right now. Just like The Kiss Quotient featured a protagonist on the Autism spectrum, this one does as well—so you’re not just reading a fun novel, you’re also reading a novel that’s giving visibility to groups that aren’t often written about. So. Onto The Bride Test. Khai Diep doesn’t really experience emotions—or at least, he doesn’t think he does. He doesn’t think he’s capable of love, but his family knows better. So his mom travels to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
‘The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill’ By Abbi Waxman
I knew I forgot something I’d read and liked on my reading list, so I updated the post to include this fun read about Nina Hill, a nerdy girl living in LA, whose life is turned upside down when she finds out her estranged father died and left her a whole dysfunctional family who wants to meet her. And, given that Nina is a huge introvert, she would rather not—yes, I know what you’re thinking. Even if it means passing up that sweet, sweet inheritance money. If you relate to staying in and JOMO (joy of missing out), you’ll relate to Nina. This book was a fun, cute beach read that you’ll breeze through pretty quickly, but it’s still got a lot of heart.
Images: Link Hoang / Unsplash; Amazon (10)
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Summertime is officially upon us (it’s June 21st, I’ll forgive you if you just had to Google it), so that means you officially have no excuse not to pick up a fucking book for once. We’ve rounded up some great books that, even if you’re taking an Adderall vacation, you’ll actually be able to get through this summer. Yes, they’re that good. Whether you’re on the subway (we feel sorry for you), at the beach, or standing in front of your open freezer, we’ve got the best summer reads for every betch in your life.
For The Betch Who’s Dead Inside: ‘Standard Deviation’ By Katherine Heiny
Simply put, this book is about a married couple and the ins and outs of their lives. I know, it sounds like a snore, but hear me out. The characters are so vivid you’ll feel like you know them—and honestly, it’s about a family in the Upper East side so like, you probably do know a family a lot like them. But this book is betchy because everyone’s divorced. Everyone’s cheating on each other and everyone’s divorced. If you need reaffirmation that love does not exist and marriage is a sham of an institution (aka #TeamDeadInside), read Standard Deviation. And then delete your Bumble profile.
For The Betch Who Loves A Good Scandal: ‘The Misfortune Of Marion Palm’ By Emily Culliton
If you love scandals and mystery but like, murder scares you, then you’ll love The Misfortune of Marion Palm. It’s about a young Brooklyn mom (I’m sure you know the type) who embezzles $180K from her kid’s fancy private school and then runs away to Sheepshead Bay. Someone who commits a felony in Brooklyn and then runs away to a different part of Brooklyn and evades police… sounds like the ever-incompetent Rosewood PD had something to do with this, making this book equally perfect for the Pretty Little Liars fan.
For The Betch Who Thinks She’s Olivia Benson: ‘The Perfect Stranger’ By Megan Miranda
Another mystery, this one’s good for your friend who keeps re-reading Luckiest Girl Alive. Like, girl, you already know the twist. What’s the point? Anyway, in this suspenseful read, a millennial who doesn’t know wtf she’s doing with her life (same girl) is forced to live in exile rural PA to figure out her shit and help her friend who got in too deep with a fuckboy. But things get weirder than the contestants on this season of The Bachelorette when her BFF ghosts her….perhaps literally.
For The Betch Who Can’t Stop Keeping Up With The Kardashians: ‘Rich People Problems’ By Kevin Kwan
It’s Keeping Up with The Kardashians meets The Real Housewives, except set in Singapore. Everyone should read this because 1) the first book in the series is going to be a movie soon so you’ll look cultured AF if you’ve read it before the movie trailer comes out 2) it’s scandalous, vindictive, and hilarious (also adjectives I use to describe myself on Bumble just btw) and 3) it’ll finally convince people that Asian dudes are hot (important).
For The Betch Who Loves Murder: ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’ By Barbara Bourland
When Hillary, a betch who works at a magazine, dies alone in a locked, windowless conference room (y aren’t there windows tho?), people initially think she died as the result of an eating disorder. But Hill’s best friend knows she wasn’t like that, and two months later a note in Hill’s handwriting ends up at the NYPD. The case is reopened and the best friend and colleague have to put up with party girls, Type A narcissists and half-dead socialites (sounds like my squad tbh) to solve the case. If UnReal, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex & The City had a vindictive, hilarious, betchy baby it would be this novel.
For The Betch Who Won’t STFU About Her Wedding: ‘The People We Hate At The Wedding’ By Grant Ginder
The book is not, I presume, simply the word “everyone” written over and over. Rather, it’s about a super dysfunctional family whose daughter is marrying some bougie-ass British guy in London. The mom is a pothead, the single daughter is facing a quarter-life crisis (hi), the gay son has a shitty boyfriend, the bride is a hot mess… no, I promise I didn’t just look through your family tree and come up with that. It’s really what the book is about. Oh, and lots of wine is involved.
For The Betch Who Watches Too Many Rom Coms: ‘The Hating Game’ By Sally Thorne
Yah this came out in summer 2016 but I’m including it because it’s just that good. This book honestly starts out just like every rom com: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl hate each other with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. Boy and girl constantly throw shade at each other at the publishing company at which they work. This one has Pam and Jim vibes written allll over it, but like less annoying and more sexy. It’s light and fun and you’ll probs finish it before your
sunburn tan sets in.
For The Betch Who’s Having A Quarter-Life Crisis: ‘Chemistry’ By Weike Wang
If you’re in grad school or just hate your life in general, you’ll relate to this breezy read by Weike Wang about a millennial-aged female who’s dealing with a PhD-induced nervous breakdown and grappling with uncertainty about whether or not she should marry her nice guy boyfriend. I mean, that’s what was happening when I started this book earlier today, and I’m already v into it, so.
For The Betch Whose Family Deserves Their Own Reality Show: ‘Spoonbenders’ By Daryl Gregory
This is a novel about a lovable family of psychics, and no I’m not high. This novel has everything: psychics. The mob. The CIA. It’s kind of like Arrested Development meets The Incredibles since every member of the family has their own special psychic powers and they’re all batshit. Since I already fulfilled my quota of dysfunctional familes on TV aka I binge watched all of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, and because bringing my laptop to the pool is highly inadvisable, I’m going to be reading this shit ASAP.
For The Betch Who’s A Delusional Dater: ‘I Had A Nice Time And Other Lies: How To Find Love And Sh*t Like That’ By The Betches
Let’s say you have a friend who dates fuckboy after fuckboy and thinks getting a “WYD tonight?” text before 11pm is romantic. You’ve tried everything short of a sit-down intervention with this girl because you just can’t listen to her cry over the same asshole YET AGAIN. Save yourself the awkwardness of a confrontation and just give her our dating advice book. We cover every stage of a relationship, from your first Bumble meet up (and how not to sound like a psycho in your profile), to the first date, to becoming FB Official and beyond. We’ll give you our signature advice every step of the way, in the way only the Betches can do it: snarky and real AF. I Had A Nice Time is newly available on paperback so bringing it to the beach is less of a schlep.