This Summer’s 40 Most Anticipated Books

The season is packed with beachy romance, fantastical page-turners, and taut thrillers.

by The Editors
A selection of new books out in Summer 2024, including Casey McQuiston's 'The Pairing,' Chukwuebuka ...

At long last, it’s that time again: As spring gives way to summer, readers can transition from huddling under blankets to sprawling out in parks, novels in hand. Here’s to lazy, sun-drenched afternoons spent lost in stories, and to lapping up novellas in one sitting.

TBR running low? Don’t worry, June, July, and August offer a little of everything. Beloved authors like Rachel Cusk and Yoko Ogawa are returning with new novels — Parade and Mina’s Matchbox, respectively — and rising stars like Vajra Chandrasekera, the author of last year’s acclaimed The Saint of Bright Doors, prove their staying power with standout follow-ups. Those interested in memoir-cum-cultural criticism will delight in Charlotte Shane’s An Honest Woman, which explores themes of desire and sexuality; Emma Specter’s More, Please, about body image and diet culture; and Sable Yong’s Die Hot with a Vengeance, on the state of beauty and wellness.

And of course, there’s plenty of fun beach material, too, like standout romances Seven Summer Weekends and Summer Romance. Here at Bustle, we’ve got our eyes set on The Pairing, an all-new second-chance romance from Casey McQuiston, of Red, White, and Royal Blue fame.

Below, our most anticipated books of Summer 2024.

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh

Out June 4. The LGBTQ community — like every community — is not a monolith, and Blessings is a necessary reminder that the lives and experiences of the individuals within these groups can be drastically different. The novel follows young Obiefuna as he comes of age in Nigeria, where same-sex relationships are criminalized and queer spaces are regularly raided, tracking Obiefuna’s slow acceptance of his sexuality — from the moment his father sends him to seminary school after seeing him in an intimate moment with a male friend, to his discovery of a relationship and friends that give each other strength while their country tries to destroy them. It’s absolutely stunning; I fell in love with Obiefuna completely. — Arianna Rebolini

The Ordinary Stardust by Alan Townsend

Out June 4. Environmental scientist Alan Townsend’s memoir — about the overlapping brain cancer diagnoses his wife and 4-year-old daughter received — is an extraordinarily difficult read, but ultimately life-affirming. Townsend describes how his belief system evolved during this unthinkable period of his life — that grief opened him up to the relationship between science and spirituality, and how we limit our understanding of ourselves when we practice either without the other. Most poignantly, Townsend finds comfort in the fact that humanity’s shared origin (in the stardust of the title) makes us materially connected. — A.R.

Such a Bad Influence by Olivia Muenter

Out June 4. My most anticipated book of summer is this thriller by former Bustle editor Olivia Muenter. The story follows 18-year-old Evie, who went viral as a kid, grew up in front of an audience of millions, and is now a lifestyle influencer. When she disappears during a disturbing livestream, her spotlight-averse older sister struggles to piece together clues to her whereabouts. For all the talk about kids’ privacy on the internet, we don’t often hear directly from people like Evie — part of the first generation to grow up on their parents’ blogs — so I’m intrigued. — Hannah Orenstein

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy

Out June 4. In this novel from acclaimed Irish novelist Kilroy, a mother (nicknamed “Soldier”) struggles with the day-to-day demands of caring for her toddler son, Sailor. Sailor refuses to eat solid food, rejects medicine, bangs his head against the floor, and Soldier’s absentee husband blames her parenting for their son’s every misstep. Left alone with Sailor all day, Soldier struggles to hang onto her own sense of self. Kilroy’s willingness to depict how immolating motherhood can be, especially without the active support of a co-parent, balances beautifully with her tender evocation of the mother-child relationship. As difficult as Sailor is, he also loves his mother, and she him. — Morgan Leigh Davies

Seven Summer Weekends by Jane L. Rosen

Out June 4. This transporting romance will be perfect for reading on the beach — or for readers whose only access to the beach is through a novel’s pages. Addison, a 34-year-old ad exec, is expecting a promotion when she instead makes the catastrophic mistake of insulting her boss on their team’s public Zoom chat. After she’s let go, her life takes a second unexpected turn when she realizes she’s inherited a house on Fire Island from a distant aunt; without anything else to do, she sets out for the island. As she settles in, she begins cleaning out the house and befriending her neighbors, but she keeps getting distracted by the cute guy she sees around town… who turns out to be her neighbor, who thinks her aunt meant to leave the house to him. A series of misunderstandings ensue, but as the summer passes, the two begin to realize they may not be so different after all. — M.L.D.

Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Out June 4. Although she works as an organizer (of closets, businesses, you name it) in her professional life, Ali Morris’ personal life is a mess: Her husband has left her, her mother has died, and she’s overwhelmed by the burden of taking care of her three young children as a newly single parent. She’s even making impulse purchases from Instagram — a sure sign of distress. But out of nowhere, she meets a new guy, Ethan, when her dog pees on him at the dog park. Instead of getting offended, Ethan takes this as an excuse to flirt with Ali. Soon she and Ethan are going on a date, and then falling into an irresistible fling. Ali keeps reminding herself not to take their relationship seriously, since Ethan’s life has been so different from hers and surely their chemistry will dry up by the end of the summer… but what if it doesn’t? — M.L.D.

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Chelsea Devantez

Out June 4. Like many of us, Chelsea Devantez has a closet full of skeletons. But unlike the rest of us, the Emmy-nominated head writer for The Problem with Jon Stewart decided to reveal them all in her new essay collection, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. Whether she’s writing about the cringe-y, comical episodes of her life (like moving on from her three-year spell of celibacy) or the more agonizing moments of her childhood (like when she and her mom had only $100 in the bank), Devantez draws readers in with her conspiratorial voice and uproarious sense of humor. — Samantha Leach

Serendipity by Becky Chalsen

Out June 4. When Maggie moved from New York to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of becoming a screenwriter, she didn’t find herself with a Hollywood happy ending. Instead, she hurt those closest to her — her then-boyfriend, Mac, and former best friend, Liz — and found herself back home a handful of years later. But when Maggie gets the chance to join a summer share-house with Liz and Mac, she decides there’s no better way to rekindle their relationships than spending three weekends in Fire Island together. With the friend group dynamics of The Big Chill and the romance of Emily Henry’s The Happy Place, Serendipity is the perfect summer romp. — S.L.

Margo’s Got Money Troubles by Rufi Thorpe

Out June 11. You’d be hard-pressed to find three types less likely to fit together than Margo (an OnlyFans star), Jinx (her ex-pro wrestler father), and Bodi (the newborn she had with her college professor). But in Rufi Thorpe’s audacious, empathetic hands this band of misfits, who’ve have come together after a period of estrangement to bring up the baby, transform into one of the most root-for-able, charming families in recent literary history. This plucky and poignant story of one young woman’s quest for money, power, and survival is wholly original, and wildly entertaining. — S.L.

Tehrangeles by Porochista Khakpour

Out June 11. After two critically acclaimed nonfiction books (2020’s Brown Album and 2017’s Sick), Khakour returns to fiction for the first time in eight years. Her previous novels probed the experiences of Iranian exiles in the U.S., but her latest takes a lighter turn and delivers a real crowd-pleaser in the process. Tehrangeles follows a wealthy Iranian-American family who are about to become reality TV stars. Some family members hope they’ll become the next Kardashians, others imagine they’ll be able to fade into the background — but none of them expect what actually happens. — Chloe Joe

The God of the Woods by Liz Moore

Out June 11. Moore’s puzzle-box tale kicks off when Barbara Van Laar, the daughter of a New York banking clan, goes missing from the summer camp the family runs on its upstate property. This disappearance is especially fraught because Barbara’s older brother, Bear, also vanished before Barbara was born. Moore jumps backward and forward in time and between perspectives, letting readers into the minds of Barbara’s depressed mother, her new friend at camp, and the female detective hell-bent on discovering what happened to her. Fans of mysteries, family stories, and historical fiction alike will find this tale irresistible. — M.L.D.

The Material by Camille Bordas

Out June 11. Bordas’ novel imagines a university where stand-up comedians can pursue MFAs in their craft, much like writers, artists, and filmmakers. The program’s students — Artie, too handsome to be funny; Olivia, prickly and evasive about her private life — are instructed by a faculty that includes Dorothy, an aging comedian who’s sharper but less famous than her colleagues, and her old acquaintance Manny Reinhardt, whose recent physical altercation with a fellow comedian and stories of his dubious sexual encounters with female comedians have made him temporarily persona non grata. Over the course of a single day, Bordas seamlessly weaves together the neuroses, insecurities, and egos of her characters, yielding a novel that both skewers the comic impulse to turn everything into “material,” and manages to live up to the humor of its subject. — M.L.D.

The Sisters K by Maureen Sun

Out June 11. Sun takes inspiration from Russian classic The Brothers Karamazov in this psychologically and philosophically profound debut. (Readers who aren’t familiar with the original shouldn’t worry: This book stands on its own.) Instead of brothers, Sun delves into the complicated relationship between three sisters, the daughters of the tyrannical and abusive Eugene Kim. Though Eugene has had success in business after immigrating to America from Korea, his daughters’ childhoods were emotionally and often materially deprived, and as adults they’ve scattered, only to come back together when Eugene informs them that he’s dying. Sarah, the middle child and an academic, resists having anything to do with Eugene, while her older sister Minah, a lawyer, is focused on making sure he leaves them money in his will. At first, only the youngest daughter, Esther, is concerned with her duty to her father in his illness, but soon all three start reevaluating their duties to their father, to each other, and themselves. — M.L.D.

Four Squares by Bobby Finger

Out June 18. I crave books about generations other than mine — as comforting as it is to really feel seen, sometimes I need an escape from millennial disillusionment! — and Bobby Finger’s beautiful sophomore release explores a vital, queer Baby Boomer perspective. Four Squares opens with New Yorker Artie Anderson in the ‘90s as he spends his days in a soulless copywriting job and evenings with his close friends at their neighborhood gay bar; then jumps to 2022 as Artie, realizing how much he’s lost in the past 30 years, unexpectedly finds connection at a local center for queer seniors. Alternating between both timelines, it’s a love letter to the gay community — especially the elders who fought for the progress we’ve seen since the AIDS epidemic — and the importance of preserving its history. — A.R.

Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera

Out June 18. Chandrasekera’s debut novel, The Saint of Bright Doors — a secondary-world tale at once mythic and grounded, with an edge of social critique — was one of 2023’s buzziest science-fiction/fantasy books. With Rakesfall, the Sri Lanka-born author begins closer to home: with a pair of two close friends who met as kids during the Sri Lankan civil war. But the fantastical soon makes itself known, and the novel follows them through a series of reincarnations. — C.J.

Parade by Rachel Cusk

Out June 18. Parade tells the story (rather, stories) of various artists by the name of G, whose works intersect with their lives and relationships in surprising ways. Fans of Cusk and her Outline trilogy know not to expect a traditional plot, and Parade once again upends storytelling convention in pursuit of a twisty, original ride. — Grace Wehniainen

The Memo by Rachel Dodes & Lauren Mechling

Out June 18. There’s a sliding doors moment in everyone’s life: the job you could’ve taken; the boyfriend you should’ve stayed with. For The Memo’s protagonist, Jenny Green, this moment was spurning her pushy college career counselor. That one choice set her on a path directly to the middle, working a mediocre job, dating a cheating partner, living in Pittsburgh of all places. So when Jenny gets the opportunity to return to that critical apex — and this time, make all the right decisions! — she gladly takes it. The result is a highly satirical, remarkably clever examination of success, ambition, jealousy, and our inability to see one another clearly. — S.L.

Woman of Interest by Tracy O’Neill

Out June 25. Following the collapse of a 10-year relationship and the onset of the pandemic, Tracy O’Neill, having been raised by adoptive parents, finds herself preoccupied with the fear that she’s running out of time to meet her birth mother in South Korea. After a private investigator abandons her in the middle of the job, O’Neill decides to gather up the clues he left her with, get on a plane, and continue the search on her own. O’Neill leverages her significant talent to infuse the tension of a hard-boiled mystery novel into an exploration of motherhood, identity, and belonging. — A.R.

Bear by Julia Phillips

Out June 25. In her widely acclaimed debut novel, 2019’s The Disappearing Earth, Phillips transported readers to an underknown peninsula in Russia. With Bear, the author again focuses on an isolated place: Washington state’s San Juan Islands. There, separated from the conveniences and opportunities of the mainland by a lengthy ferry ride, sisters Sam and Elena spend all of their time struggling to pay down their debts and caring for their ailing mother. When a bear unexpectedly arrives on their island, their encounters with it — and their disparate reactions to it — upend their lives. — C.J.

Love Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell

Out June 25. Tasha Coryell’s debut novel, Love Letters To A Serial Killer, may be this summer’s most relatable and entertaining read for millennials. Thirty-something Hannah is stuck in a job that doesn’t appreciate her, feels disconnected from her married suburbanite friends, and just got ghosted by a guy in a band (brutal). So naturally, she pours all her energy into an online true crime forum trying to solve a local murder. When she starts writing to the lawyer who’s been arrested for the murders, it seems like a good outlet for all her complicated feelings — until, of course, he writes back. Darkly comic, fast-paced, and thrilling, this is one book you’ll be hard-pressed not to read in one sitting. — Hayley Schueneman

The Grief Cure by Cody Delistraty

Out June 25. What if the five stages of grief don't capture the depth and longevity of the mourning you’re experiencing? What if the traditional advice — make peace with it, go back to work, try to live a normal life — is impossible for you to follow? Such was the case for writer Cody Delistraty, who lost his mother to cancer in his early 20s, and later discovered the recent diagnosis of Prolonged Grief Disorder. In this heart-rending and incredibly astute work of nonfiction, he explores this diagnosis as well as larger, more eternal questions like, what does it truly mean to live with grief? — S.L.

Goodnight Tokyo by Atsuhiro Yoshida

Out July 9. Looking at the books I’m loving lately, I can’t help but draw the conclusion that readers and writers — and probably people in general — are yearning for community: Goodnight Tokyo, like both Four Squares and How to Leave the House, is about place, neighbors, and interconnectedness. Focusing on the Tokyo that comes to life in the wee hours of the morning, Yoshida follows a group of night owls who, whether they realize it or not, are seeking some missing piece in their lives—a helpline operator, an overworked film prop coordinator, a fruit thief, a self-described detective, and the taxi driver at the center. Through their stories, the author explores all of the surprising and mysterious ways we affect each other. — A.R.

State of Paradise by Laura Van Den Berg

Out July 9. Few people do weird as well as Laura van den Berg, and her latest really brings it. In the wake of a pandemic (referred to only as “the fever,” but distinguished from Covid-19 by its surreal lasting effects) an unnamed ghostwriter returns to her native South Florida to move in with her mother, right across the street from her eccentric little sister. Bizarre occurrences are plaguing the town — a local tech company has people spending their days in virtual reality, a roving gang of cats has taken over the streets — and the narrator dives into its underbelly when her sister goes missing. Flirting with metafiction, and just slightly off-kilter from reality, State of Paradise is a hurricane of a book. — A.R.

More, Please by Emma Specter

Out July 9. Vogue writer Emma Specter’s debut is a banger, a journalistic memoir that melds her personal history with binge-eating disorder with cultural criticism of body representation in ‘90s and ‘00s media, as well as experts’ insights about fat liberation, intersectionality within the body positivity movement, and the wellness-to-eating-disorder pipeline. Drawing on works from, and interviews with, writers like Carmen Maria Machado, Leslie Jamison, Virgie Tovar, and Isle McElroy, Specter finds a way to expand the book’s perspective without speaking for anyone whose experience isn’t her own. It’s an exciting addition to the body politics canon — not least of all because of its queer lens — from a writer who’s been living and breathing these themes for most of her life. — A.R.

All This & More by Peng Shepherd

Out July 9. My favorite speculative fiction writer, Peng Shepherd, is back with her third book in six years. (If you’re looking for an all-absorbing paperback for summer, check out The Book of M or The Cartographers.) In All This & More, a disillusioned, 40-something woman participates in a gameshow that promises to grant her a second chance. If it’s anything like Shepherd’s previous books, expect cliffhangers, plot twists, and existential questions that will linger in your mind, long after you’ve read the last page. — Brianna Kovan

The Coin by Yasmin Zaher

Out July 9. Stories about women spiraling out in New York aren’t exactly hard to come by, but with The Coin, Zaher fashions a narrative in this vein that’s undeniably fresh. The novel’s narrator is a wealthy, Palestinian-born 30-something, who works as a teacher in the city. Feeling stuck, she gets involved in an international scheme centered around reselling Birkin bags, but the more she surrounds herself with luxury, the more she rejects it. — C.J.

Die Hot with a Vengeance by Sable Yong

Out July 9. Yong’s many years as a beauty editor have afforded her unparalleled access to coveted products and treatments. In her essay collection, she asks: to what end? Expect a mix of personal history and cultural criticism, as she wrestles with what beauty and wellness hath wrought. — C.J.

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

Out July 16. Alisa Alering’s surreal, thrilling debut brings readers to 1980s Appalachia, where responsibility-laden Sheila and her spitfire little sister Angie scrape by in poverty while their mother works around the clock. When two women are murdered nearby on the Appalachian Trail, the girls become enmeshed in the tragedy — and as the mountain community’s mysteries unfold, so do hints of its magic. Moody, potent, and tinged with the occult, Smothermoss is unlike anything I’ve read in a long time. — A.R.

The Melancholy of Untold History by Minsoo Kang

Out July 16. With his quietly magical debut, Kang delivers a book that only a history professor such as himself could write. The novel switches between a profoundly personal story of loss and a grand, mythic epic, poking at the varied ethics and aims of historicism as it goes. — C.J.

The Black Bird Oracle by Deborah Harkness

Out July 16. When Deborah Harkness announced the fifth book in her spellbinding All Souls series, fans were surprised to learn that the novel wouldn’t be a spin-off or prequel, but a continuation of Diana Bishop’s story. The Black Bird Oracle ushers in a thrilling new era for Diana, an Oxford scholar and powerful witch, as she navigates marriage to the vampire Matthew and motherhood, while reckoning with dark secrets from her family’s storied past. There’s no better time to get swept up in the romance, adventure, and magic of the All Souls world, beginning with A Discovery of Witches. — Gabrielle Bondi

Catalina by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Out July 23. Villavicencio made waves in 2020 with her nonfiction debut, The Undocumented Americans: a refreshingly forthright and sensitive depiction of undocumented Latinx people, infused with brash humor and a keen sense of justice. The author seamlessly transfers these skills to her first novel, an addictive bildungsroman, which follows its title character, Catalina, through her final year at Harvard. Catalina, like her author, is not interested in being a model immigrant, instead viewing the institution that temporarily houses her (and the white boy who romances her) with skepticism. Still, she temporarily plays the respectability game to save her grandfather from deportation, agreeing to star in an advocacy documentary made by her boyfriend’s famous father — until palling around with the well-intentioned rich begins to seem like more trouble than it’s worth. — M.L.D.

Liars by Sarah Manguso

Out July 23. Manguso began her career as a memoirist, and in recent years has transferred her distinct prose style to novels, first in Very Cold People (2022) and now in Liars, which chronicles a 15-year relationship between a writer, Jane, and John, an artist and entrepreneur. Over those years, they get married, have a child, and move across the country repeatedly for John’s work — and, eventually, separate. Though the outline of this narrative may seem familiar, Manguso’s signature short paragraphs and eye for detail brilliantly highlight the small details that make long relationships so challenging, especially those that keep women partnered with irresponsible men. It’s hard to look away from the catastrophic portrait she paints of Jane’s marriage, which some readers will recognize from their own experiences, and some will be glad not to. — M.L.D.

Off the Books by Soma Mei Sheng Frazier

Out July 30. I was immediately taken with protagonist Mei Brown, a Chinese American who, following the death of her father, makes the eyebrow-raising decision to drop out of Dartmouth and return to her Oakland hometown to work as a limo driver. She just seems so real — awkward with hints of fake-it-til-you-make-it vibes that had me picturing myself in the same driver’s seat — and her grandfather, a weed-smoking weirdo, feels like an utterly new type of character. It’s her grandfather who links Mei with clients on the fringe, first sex workers but then the charming and mysterious Henry who, Mei soon discovers, is part of a network helping transport Uyghur Muslim refugees from China to safety — and who, on this particular trip across the country, is smuggling an 11-year-old girl whose family was disappeared. It’s an illuminating update of the classic American road trip story, equal parts uplifting and heartbreaking, and always mindful of the journey’s underlying danger. — A.R.

The Wedding People by Alison Espach

Out July 30. Espach’s previous novel, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance, fused together the story of a girl mourning her late sister and an irresistible romance. This novel, too, combines serious subject matter with romance as well as comedy. Phoebe, a depressed adjunct professor reeling from her divorce, arrives at a high-end hotel in Newport, Rhode Island, set on ending her life. Her plan falters when she gets a little too honest with the bride-to-be, Lila, who does her best to prevent a suicide during her wedding week. As she gets swept up in the wedding festivities, Phoebe becomes Lila’s confidante — realizing that the younger, more beautiful bride isn’t as happy as she first appears — and also realizes that she’s begun to nurse a crush on the groom. By deftly invoking many popular romantic comedy tropes, Espach fills this novel with champagne-tinged fizz, while never losing sight of the more sober emotional truths that kicked off her narrative. — M.L.D.

The Pairing by Casey McQuiston

Out Aug. 6. This searingly hot queer romance follows Kit, an aspiring sommelier desperate to escape her nepo baby identity, and Theo, the “the reigning sex god” of his pastry school class. They haven’t spoken since their explosive breakup four years ago, but that changes when they accidentally wind up on the same weeks-long food and wine tour of Europe. The Pairing is bursting with desire — for each other, for flavor, for wanderlust, for their hot tour guide. If you were into that peach scene in Call Me By Your Name, this is for you. — H.O.

How to Leave the House by Nathan Newman

Out Aug. 13. It’s impossible not to be charmed by this big-hearted story that tracks intersecting small-town neighbors over the course of 24 hours. At the center is Natwest, an anxious, awkward, too-smart-for-his-own-good 23-year-old who has to track down an embarrassing package that was supposed to arrive at his house — i.e. his mom’s house — but never showed up. On this odyssey, he encounters a fascinating cast of characters dealing with their own tiny dramas: the dentist-slash-artist fumbling through his relationship with a trans woman, the grumpy widow trying to date after uncovering her late husband’s devastating secret, the imam navigating a complicated relationship with a vicar. It’s so sweet and fun — an exciting debut from an author whose assuredness and polish could easily be mistaken for that of an old pro. — A.R.

An Honest Woman by Charlotte Shane

Out Aug. 13. In compulsively readable, confessional prose, Shane probes her own experiences with desire, being desired, and the desire to be desired. Going back and forth between her first sexual encounters and her adult life as a sex worker, she places the incongruities of heterosexual relationships in high relief, and exposes the ways in which capitalism and patriarchy infect every union. — C.J.

Mina’s Matchbox by Yoko Ogawa

Out Aug. 13. Ogawa’s latest novel follows a young girl, Tomoko, as she leaves Tokyo to spend time with her relatives in coastal Japan. While on their splendorous estate — the perfect environment for an immersive coming-of-age story — Tomoko begins to unravel family mysteries. It’s the kind of transformative trip that makes for a powerful read at any time of year, but feels especially appropriate when you’re craving a (literary) summer sojourn. — G.W.

Bluff by Danez Smith

Out Aug. 20. Fresh off a Minnesota Book Award win for their latest poetry collection, Homie, Smith returns with Bluff. The new book is rooted in an especially personal place — their own hometown of the Twin Cities — but its insights into the role of art in uncertain times will resonate with readers the world over. — G.W.