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We've got your 2024 summer reads right here

By Kobo • May 20, 2024Recommended Reading

Summer days may feel long, but the summer reading season is always far too short. Don’t waste it.

Whether you’re spending it poolside, staycating, or globetrotting, we’ve got picks for you to make summer 2024 the best reading holiday ever.

The best of the year so far

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

Set in the Spanish Golden Age, The Familiar follows Luzia Cotado, a scullion with a secret knack for magic. When her mistress discovers her talents, Luiza is forced to use those gifts to improve the family's social position. Things take a perilous turn when Luzia catches the attention of the disgraced secretary to Spain's king and plunged into a world of seers and alchemists, holy men and hucksters, where the lines between magic, science, and fraud are uncertain and dangerous. She will have to use every bit of her wit and will to survive.

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Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age author Kiley Reid returns with this story about Millie, a young woman working her way through a degree at the University of Arkansas as a Resident Advisor. Millie’s dreams are modest, her challenges are significant, and she’s not afraid of a little hard work. What caught our attention in reading it was how Reid captures the precise value of the financial stakes and how the difference in the numbers that get different characters to take notice represents a chasm of difference in how they experience the world.

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A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

An American family striving to get ahead and blend into their new neighbourhood experiences a multiplicity of shocks one Saturday afternoon. Fans of Celeste Ng will find a lot to chew on here.

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A Year of Last Things: Poems by Michael Ondaatje

You don’t need to be a poetry fan to enjoy what Michael Ondaatje can do with a line or two. He can be funny, wise, and a little sexy—all on the same page. In his latest collection—his first all-new collection of poems since 1998’s Handwriting, he takes an elegiac view of many “last things,” including the loss of pets.

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The Angel of Indian Lake by Stephen Graham Jones

With the publication of The Angel of Indian Lake earlier this year, Stephen Graham Jones completed his Indian Lake Trilogy. Now readers can sprint right through these chilling, unforgettable books that pay homage to slasher movies and the works of Stephen King while also feeling completely original—the way truly great books always do.

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One of Us Knows by Alyssa Cole

Kenetria Nash needs a break. Putting her skills as a historical preservationist to use in a low-pressure, slow-moving job as the caretaker of a historic home on an island in the Hudson River, Ken’s hopeful she'll be able to use the time to heal her fragile psyche. But then members of the home’s conservation trust show up, bringing with them a man whose presence for Ken is far from healing. The author of When No One Is Watching brings her mastery of low-key dread and threat to this story that’s perfect to bring along on a solo getaway.

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James by Percival Everett

While “classics retold” is almost a subgenre of its own, what sets James apart is that it’s a great novel on its own, and at the same time makes the book it grew from suddenly feel fresh and new for readers today. Novelist and poet Percival Everett imagines the life of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’s Jim, who goes by James here, as he gets word that he’ll soon be separated from his wife and daughter after being sold to a man in New Orleans and chooses to flee down the Mississippi. In a testament to his literary skill, Everett’s retelling of Mark Twain’s classic novel is as much a satire as its 140-year-old source—and just like Twain, Everett’s playing the hypocrisies of his contemporaries for laughs.

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Curvy Girl Summer by Danielle Allen

As much as we love telling readers why a book is a must-read, sometimes the title alone can do the whole job.

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Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange

The author of 2018’s There There returns with a sequel of sorts, introducing characters connected to those of the first book but in a completely fresh story tracing parallel storylines, with generational echoes and overlaps that convey Orange’s towering talent for conveying historical events’ enduring presence in our lives.

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Just for the Summer by Abby Jiminez

Justin and Emma are complete strangers with one thing in common: they are cursed when it comes to love. Together, they come up with a plan to cancel out each other’s curses. The plan? Date and break up. But what’s supposed to be a quick fling becomes a lot more when real life gets in the way. Or is it fate?

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Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

This story of a bookish young woman ordered by her war hero mother to join the ranks of elite dragon riders—or die trying—delivers action scenes that fly as high as the emotions stirred by its romantic entanglements. It’s no wonder it became such a hit on Booktok.

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The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake

Olivie Blake’s dark academia Booktok-approved Atlas trilogy draws to an explosive conclusion as the six magicians who’ve successfully been recruited into the elite ranks of the Alexandrians realize the society they’ve joined is less a fraternity than a free-for-all among the power-mad.

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From page to screen

It's shaping up to be a big year in book-to-screen adaptations—and we’re not just talking about Harold & the Purple Crayon (but we’re not not talking about it).

Shogun by James Clavell

The world of Lord Toranaga is, if you can believe it, even richer than what came to screens earlier this year—and absolutely worth diving into on the page.

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Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

With the 3rd season out on Netflix, there’s never been a better time to dive into Julia Quinn’s books. If it seems a little overwhelming, check out our guide through the prequels and spin-offs of Bridgerton: How to read the Bridgerton books in order | Kobo Books Blog.

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Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire’s 1995 debut novel Wicked, the wittily-told backstory of the “Wicked” Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, will always be for us booksellers one of those singular breakout books that did something fresh and found its readership through word of mouth over a period of years. A generation later, it’s as much recognized as a hit Broadway musical of the same name—and soon to be a 2-part movie starring stage & screen actor Cynthia Erivo as the witch Elphaba with pop singer Arian Grande as her friend and schoolmate Galinda.

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Heartstopper: A Graphic Novel by Alice Oseman

If you haven’t yet discovered the gently water-coloured books behind the unbearably charming Netflix series all about a tentative first true love, now’s the time to get into it and catch up. The 5th volume came out at the end of 2023, and author/illustrator Alice Oseman has announced that the next volume will be the last.

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Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

Parenthood changes us in all kinds of ways, but this story takes that transformation to an extreme. Amy Adams stars in the movie adaptation coming out later this year.

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Firebrand by Elizabeth Fremantle

As the fates of his several wives proved, marriage to King Henry VIII was a perilous affair. Katherine Parr, his final wife and for whom Henry’s death would mark her a woman thrice-widowed, is the heroine of this psychologically-driven novel by Elizabeth Fremantle. Previously published as Queen’s Gambit, this book is the basis of the movie Firebrand starring Jude Law as the capricious King Henry VIII.

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The Crow by James O’Barr

Legend has it that a crow can resurrect the restless spirits of those who die tragically, so when such a bird visits a couple’s graves on the anniversary of their murder, a young man returns to the world of the living to avenge himself and the woman he loved. Sound familiar? The Crow was adapted into a film of the same name in 1994, and a new adaptation is on the way to theatres this summer. This special edition of the graphic novel includes early sketches and scenes that were cut from the original series of comic books that ran from 1989-1999.

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The Idea of You  by Jessica George

When Solène Marchand takes her daughter to meet her favorite boy band, the last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But there’s something about Hayes Campbell, and their attraction is immediate. Who cares that he is all of twenty years old? A secret, electric rendezvous ensues between the two. But when their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must make a difficult choice.

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It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily Bloom's life seems too good to be true when she meets dreamy neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid. But as their relationship deepens, Lily finds herself overwhelmed with questions about Ryle and is forced to confront painful memories and dark secrets from her past. When her first love, Atlas Corrigan, reappears, everything Lily has with built with Ryle is threatened.

This is the first novel from S. A. Cosby since he broke onto bestseller lists with 2021’s Razorblade Tears.

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes finds herself involved in the mystery of a missing billionaire. With the lure of a $100,000 reward and the encouragement of her best friend Daisy, Aza must confront the never-ending spiral of her own thoughts and navigate a budding romance with the billionaire's son, Davis. Turtles All the Way Down is a heartfelt exploration of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

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