12 of the Best Books We Read on Vacation in July


With the passage of the solstice, summer has officially begun. Many of us are taking advantage of the ease of restrictions and flying off on our first well-deserved vacation in over two years.

Whether you’re hopping on a train, catching a plane, or staying home this season, we’ve got you covered with July’s most anticipated reads. From jaw-dropping memoirs to dazzling works of fiction, heart-pounding thrillers to investigative non-fiction, our curated list includes something for everyone.

These are 12 books we recommend this month.

Tanqueray by Brandon Stanton and Stephanie Johnson

Fans of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York know a striking woman named Tanqueray. A photo of her on her Instagram account in 2019 instantly caught the attention of millions around the world. Her birth name is Stephanie Johnson, and here is her remarkable story.

Told through a stream of consciousness in Stanton, Johnson recounts her life growing up in an abusive home to become one of the city’s best-known burlesque dancers in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s the story of a icon that will stop you in your tracks and make you wonder where has she been all my life?

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

The gripping and adventurous novel by internationally acclaimed author Gabrielle Zevin is about the friendship between two unforgettable characters called Sam and Sadie, who met as children and bonded over their love of video games.

A chance encounter in adulthood brings them together again. With star ratings from Weekly editors and Kirkusand a movie in the works, you won’t want to wait until tomorrow to pre-order it.

Liz Alterman’s Perfect Neighborhood

For fans of Liane Moriarty and Lisa Jewell, The perfect neighborhood is the latest page-turning thriller on the block. The dark side of suburbia is revealed in the perfect community of Oak Hill when model and actress Allison Langley runs away in the middle of the night, leaving her rock star husband behind.

Gossip spreads like wildfire, then suddenly two young children are kidnapped, giving the locals something new to talk about. Suspicions mount and readers’ minds will explode until the very last page. The latest from Alterman is undeniable.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Calling all fans of Bridgerton and Jane Austin, this book is perfect for you. With advanced praise from Taylor Jenkins Reid, who called it “one of the funniest and most romantic books” she’s ever read, Sophie Irwin’s debut follows headstrong Kitty Talbot who is abandoned by her engaged three months before their wedding.

Without her money to save her family from ruin, she goes in search of a rich bachelor. Kitty doesn’t plan on meeting Lord Radcliffe, who sees her as the fortune hunter she really is. But will he burn for her? You’ll have to find out in this positively splendid read.

Ruth Ware’s It Girl

New York Times Best-selling thriller author Ruth Ware returns with another gripping, action-packed tale, traversing alternate timelines and told from the perspective of happily married Hannah Jones.

Her life is turned upside down when she learns that the man suspected of having committed the murder of her best friend a decade earlier may well be innocent. If he didn’t kill April, who did?

Groupies by Sarah Priscus

A fascinating start to a passage from Canadian writer Sarah Priscus. Take a trip back to the 70s and meet rock ‘n’ roll aficionado Faun Novak. After her mother dies, college dropout Faun grabs her Polaroid and hops on a Greyhound for Los Angeles.

She reconnects with a childhood friend and finds herself caught up in the alluring music scene, getting reckless along the way. Perfect for readers of Daisy Jones and the six and Mary-Jane.

Cults of Max Cutler, with Kevin Conley

What is your opinion on cults? Cutler and Conley’s insightful and expertly researched tale is based on the hit podcast Cults. They delve into the lives of some of the most notorious figures like Charles Manson and Marshall Applewhite and tell how they rose to power and then fell from grace.

Find out what’s really going on within these groups and what makes them so appealing to the everyday human as they search for deeper connection, purpose and meaning. A must have for any true crime fan.

NSFW by Isabel Kaplan

An anonymous protagonist rising through the ranks of a male-dominated television network forms the arc of Kaplan’s brilliant debut novel. On the outside, she seems like the vision of success, and at first, the high-adrenaline work environment motivates her.

When our leading lady’s professional and personal lives collide, threatening both the network and her future, she must decide what to protect. NSFW is a dazzling exploration of an industry that we often only see from the outside.

Normal Family: About Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings by Chrysta Bilton

Debra Olson yearned for a child, but as a single gay woman in the 1980s, she had few options. By chance, she met Jeffrey Harrison, who seemed to be her ideal sperm donor. The two came to an agreement and Chrysta was conceived. Another girl came later.

It wasn’t until Chrysta grew up that she found out everything her parents had kept from her, including a shocking fact, first revealed by a New York Times article, that his father had become the father of many other children. An extremely moving and absorbing memoir, and a book that will leave you wondering, what is a normal family?

Violet Acts by Margarita Montimore

One of my favorite things about a book is being able to dive in and escape reality, and Montimore creates a parallel world where readers can do just that. Acts of Violet focuses on the mysterious disappearance of magician Violet Volk, the result of a trick she performed a decade earlier.

Alternating between the perspective of the sister she left behind and the podcast transcripts of a narrator obsessed with disappearance, this multi-genre work of fiction is well-written and fantastically original. The accompaniment audio bookwith a full cast and excellent pacing, comes highly recommended.

Honey & Spices from Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola’s first novel is a spellbinding love story. Meet Kiki Banjo, a student at Whitewell University and host of the popular radio show brown sugar. She is on a mission to call out “the wasters of Whitewell” to protect her friends. However, a kiss with a boy she publicly denounced brings her show to the brink.

The two soon find themselves in a fake relationship to save their reputations. Kiki has never given up her heart before, but is she ready to give Malakai a chance to love? Filled with passion, warmth and humor, Honey & Spices is this month’s ultimate beach read.

Illegally Yours: Memoirs of Rafael Agustin

did you watch Joan the Virgin Again? Illegally yours is a special and deeply touching memoir from Rafael Agustin, the TV screenwriter behind the series. Told through a comedic lens, it’s about how Rafael, a junior in high school, was found out by his parents when he tried to get his driver’s license that he was, in fact, undocumented.

Read as this struggling Ecuadorian immigrant family comes together to navigate Rafa’s growth in America, determined to make the most of their always turbulent and sometimes dangerous existence.


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