Poolside Reads: Titles to Help You Escape into Summer 2022
When you’re not cooling off in the cool, crystal water of your swimming pool, one of the greatest summertime joys is cozying up in your poolside lounge chair with a good book.
Looking for a few fresh titles this year? Let’s check out some popular best-sellers to quick-start your search and get you into a great new book so you can get your RELAX on!
For the adult readers, here’s a compilation of some popular titles, in no particular order:
by Emily Henry
When her pregnant sister suggests a girls’ trip to picturesque Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, cutthroat literary agent Nora agrees. To her chagrin, she runs into grumpy editor Charlie Lastra, who years before had brusquely rejected one of her manuscripts. As Nora and Charlie get to know each other, she learns that there may be more to him than she suspected.
All of You Every Single One
by Beatrice Hitchman
During Vienna’s early-20th-century golden age, a troupe of queer characters find refuge in the city’s liberal Jewish quarter, seeking romance, companionship, and independence in an otherwise unforgiving world. The novel leaps time – first to the eve of World War II, then to the city’s postwar aftermath – as the characters strive to hold onto the love of their chosen families in the face of adverse historical circumstances.
by Steven Rowley
Although Gay Uncle Patrick (“GUP”) has always enjoyed visiting with his niece and nephew, caretaking for two children is outside his purview. But tragedy strikes and GUP is thrust into the role of primary guardian. Despite the “Guncle Rules” he has memorized, he has no idea what to expect. GUP’s eyes are quickly opened to a new sense of responsibility and the realization that being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
Where the Crawdads Sing
by Della Owens
Kya Clark, aka the “Marsh Girl,” was abandoned by her family at a young age. Thanks to her resourcefulness, Kya has survived for years alone in the marsh outside a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. But the locals harbor fear and distrust of the Marsh Girl, so when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately point the finger at her.
by Tory Henwood Hoen
Ursula is successful, witty, and smart. It shouldn’t be this hard to find her life partner! When she learns about a secret and sophisticated matchmaking service that engineers lifetime partnerships, she jumps at the opportunity to find her ideal mate. From the electric moment Ursula is paired with Rafael, it feels like the lasting love they’ve been seeking. But soon their faith in the Arc’s pairing methodologies is tested, and they question whether love is a sure thing.
With Love from London by Sarah Jio
by Sarah Jio
When Valentina Baker was only 11 years old, her mother unexpectedly left Val and her father in California to return to her native London. Now a librarian in her 30s, Val receives news that her mother has died and left Val the deed to the bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. In her quest to save the store and preserve her mother’s legacy, Val soon realizes that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined.
Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Historical Fiction / Feminism
Elizabeth Zott is a scientist taking 1960s California by storm. Her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute has a very unscientific view of equality – except Calvin Evans, the Nobel Prize nominee who falls in love with her. But life – like science – is unpredictable, and a few years later Elizabeth finds herself a single mother and reluctant star of America's most beloved cooking show. Elizabeth isn't just teaching women to cook; she's daring them to change the status quo.
Portrait of a Thief
By Grace D. Li
Harvard Art History major Will Chen is the perfect student – and the perfect recruit for a mission to steal five Chinese sculptures looted centuries ago as spoils of colonialism. His team has every classic heist archetype: con artist Irene, a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything; thief Daniel, a pre-med student just as capable of lockpicking as suturing; getaway driver Lily, an engineering major who races cars in her free time; hacker Alex, MIT dropout turned Silicon Valley software engineer. Succeeding will earn them $50 million – but failure will mean another thwarted attempt to restore what colonialism stole.
Patron Saint of Second Chances
by Christine Simon
Contemporary / Humor
Prometto, Italy, has a problem. The town needs 70,000 euros to repair its pipes – otherwise, the water commission will shut off their water, and the villagers will be forced to move. Vacuum repairman and self-appointed mayor Signor Speranza hatches a hair-brained scheme to boost tourism (ergo revenue): He spreads a rumor that blockbuster movie star Dante Rinaldi will be filming his next project nearby. Soon everyone in town wants to be a part of the nonexistent film, and the only way to keep up the ruse is to make the movie for real.
by Sara Novic
Contemporary / Coming of Age
The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want everyone to stop telling them what to do. Charlie is a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person; Austin is the school’s golden boy whose world changes when his sister is born hearing; February is the hearing headmistress struggling to keep her school open and her marriage intact. A series of crises bring the three together – and change them forever.
The Dictionary of Lost Words
by Pip Williams
Historical / Feminism
It is the height of the Suffragist Movement and the edge of World War I. Young Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, where her father’s team of lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. One day, she rescues a slip of paper containing the word “bondmaid” that flutters beneath the table. As she grows up, Esme realizes that many other words related to women’s experiences go unrecorded. She sets out to create her own dictionary of words discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.
The Name Curse
by Brooke Burroughs
Just because Bernie was named for her great aunt Bernice doesn’t mean they’re anything alike. Bernice was adventurous and spontaneous; Bernie hasn’t taken a vacation in years. When friends and family convince her to join a hike through Alaska to gain perspective, Bernie reluctantly agrees. Matthew is a struggling screenwriter looking for inspiration who joins the same hike. When the two meet at the trailhead, it’s irritation at first sight. But as they hike through the wilderness, their relationship becomes a source of empathy and inspiration.
We know that younger swimmers can be voracious readers as well, so here are some ideas for the younger book fans (or those young at heart!):
The Accidental Apprentice
by Amanda Foody
Middle Grade / Fantasy
Young Barclay Thorne, an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, follows the rules and avoids danger. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: Never wander into the Woods. After he unwittingly bonds with a magical Beast lurking in the Woods, an angry mob runs the young hero out of town. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay sets off on a life-altering journey that will question what he’s always accepted in life.
The Ice Monster
Middle Grade / Historical Adventure
It’s 1899 London. After running away from her abusive home of Wormly Hall: Home for Unwanted Children – where each meal is cockroaches – a 10-year-old orphan Elsie seeks refuge in the Natural History Museum. There, she helps revive a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth (“Woolly”) from suspended animation. Determined to save Woolly from a life of captivity, Elsie sets off on the adventure of a lifetime across the city and onto the high seas.
Amari and the Night Brothers
by B.B. Alston
Middle Grade / Magic
Amari and her brother Quinton have grown up poor in the projects. When Quinton mysteriously goes missing after earning two Ivy League scholarships, 13-year-old Amari is left to wonder what happened. She gets a clue in the form of a ticking briefcase in her brother’s closet, which contains an invitation to try out for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain to find Quinton somewhere inside the Bureau if only she can compete with the rich kids who’ve known about mermaids, dwarves, and magicians their whole lives.
The Boy Who Grew Dragons
by Andy Shepherd
Middle Grade / Fantasy
Tomas discovers a strange old fruit tree in a corner of his grandfather’s garden. He takes the funny fruit back into the house – only to watch it hatch into a tiny dragon. Tomas must learn to navigate the pitfalls of having a pet dragon (to avoid having his toothbrush torched or stepping in flammable excrement). Then he notices that his grandfather’s tree has begun sprouting more of these special fruits. Tomas is officially growing dragons!
Flirting with Fate
by J. C. Cervantes
YA / Magic / Romance
Ava Granados gets in a fender bender rushing to her beloved Nana’s deathbed and misses her grandmother’s mystical blessing – family magic that has been passed down for generations. But soon Nana’s ghost appears with a message: She did pass Ava a blessing that unintentionally landed with the boy from the accident. Ava is determined to reclaim her lost blessing – but that means befriending some random boy and letting her guard down. And for someone who protects her heart by keeping people at a distance, this could be a risky endeavor.
Does My Body Offend You?
By Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt
YA / Feminism
Neither Malena nor Ruby ever expected to lead a rebellion against their Florida high school’s dress code. Their backgrounds couldn’t be further apart: Malena Rosario fled her home in beloved Puerto Rico, and Seattle native Ruby McAllister has a reputation as an outspoken feminist rebel. When the school administration treats the new girl Malena unjustly, Ruby speaks up. Although these unlikely heroes come to the fight from distinctly different angles, they are united by the power of friendship, feminism, and standing up for beliefs.
Castles in Their Bones
by Laura Sebastian
YA / Fantasy
The triplet princesses of Bessemia spend their 16th birthday together before setting off to different kingdoms to be married. Bessemian Empress Margaraux claims that these advantageous marriages will strengthen relationships with other kingdoms on the continent – but her daughters know her real goal is to swiftly unite the continent under her rule. Margaraux trained them to play a role in destabilizing their new kingdoms – from espionage to coding to poisons – but when each arrives at court, nothing goes according to their mother’s plans.
by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson
YA / Murder Mystery
Alice and Iris, inspired by the detective novels of Agatha Christie, are trying to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex-best friend and fellow ex-girlfriend of the same guy, Steve. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, although Alice and Iris have a different theory. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea of the danger they’re about to face to prove Steve’s innocence.
Cinder & Glass
by Melissa de la Cruz
YA / Romance
This retelling of Cinderella introduces readers to Cendrillon de Louvois, France’s most eligible maiden – until her father’s untimely death. “Lady Cinder” becomes a servant to her cruel stepmother. But at the royal ball, she attracts the attention of Prince Louis and his younger brother, Auguste. Although she forms a connection with Auguste, she realizes that Louis is her ticket to escaping her stepmother. As the torment from her new family grows, and she must choose between love and freedom.
Family of Liars
by E. Lockhart
YA / Mystery
This prequel to the 2014 mystery, We Were Liars, takes readers back to the Sinclair family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts. The story begins in present day, with Caroline Lennox Taft Sinclair (“Carrie”) talking with her son’s ghost. Carrie recounts the summer of 1987, when she was 17 – the summer she first saw a ghost and first kissed a boy. As Carrie retells the events of that summer, she reveals her “perfect” family’s dark secrets and deep flaws.
by Emily J. Taylor
YA / Fantasy
Sisters Jani and Zosa are resigned to their dreary life – until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford to stay in this magical hotel that transports itself somewhere else every midnight, join the staff and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.