Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Relax with These 20 Books for Summer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Relax with These 20 Books for Summer

Article excerpt

It wouldn't be summer without a fresh mix of books with sand, swimsuits and sisters on their covers.

So if you don't get to choose between a vacay at Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket Island, at least you can read about both places in Elin Hilderbrand's "The Identicals." It features twins with different personalities who live on the two East Coast islands. A family crisis brings them back together, so along with its gossip and romance, the novel is made-for-the-beach escapism. Or maybe you prefer the sand in South Carolina, where two couples renew their friendship in "Same Beach, Next Year" by Dorothea Benton Frank.

Not every vacation book features swimsuits, though. For our annual summer book roundup, we include settings as far as India and as close as St. Louis. (There are two novels set here, in fact: one light, one darker.) And if you want something serious, we've also got you covered.

Here are 20 new or upcoming titles to consider, listed alphabetically by title, including a few recommended by local bookstore owners. The books range from family drama and island mystery to World War II history and Middle East tension.

There are even a couple with sisters.

"The Almost Sisters," a novel by Joshilyn Jackson (July 11, William Morrow) * Perhaps an archetypal book for summer, this family drama about Southern women includes one who becomes a single parent after a tequila-soaked night with a comics convention Batman. Holland Saltman of the Novel Neighbor says it's "Comic Con meets 'The Help.'"

"The Destroyers," a novel by Christopher Bollen (June 27, Harper) * A literary thriller pitched as resembling Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley," its hero has been cut out of his father's will. On a Greek island, Ian Bledsoe meets up with a wealthy friend, who, after leaving his girlfriend in Ian's care, disappears.

"Do Not Become Alarmed," a novel by Maile Meloy (Tuesday, Riverhead) * Two families go on a cruise, enjoying the lazy luxury and getaway. But when they go ashore in Central America, their children seem to disappear while a mother falls asleep as the kids swim. Panic, guilt and a suspenseful mystery ensue.

"Hunger," a memoir by Roxane Gay (June 13, Harper) * Gay's essays on culture have quickly made her a well-known commentator on race, gender and more ("Bad Feminist"). Now she writes about being raped at age 12 and subsequent overeating connected with her secret. Expect brutal honesty. Gay, a professor at Eastern Illinois University, will talk about her memoir July 8 at a ticketed event at St. Louis County Library.

"I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad" by Souad Mekhennet (June 13, Holt) * An international correspondent who grew up Muslim in Germany recounts her work exploring the roots of Islamic radicalism. She revealed in the Washington Post the identity of "Jihadi John," a British Arab shown on gruesome videos of radicals beheading captives. Her memoir and reporting help give an insider's look at current terrorism.

"The Late Show," a memoir by Michael Connelly (July 18, Little, Brown) * Connelly's Harry Bosch books have made him one of the most popular thriller writers in the U.S. Now, he introduces a new series featuring a female detective in Hollywood. Rene Ballard is on the night shift because she filed a harassment suit against her boss. But when assaults and shootings come her way, she keeps investigating, even when she's supposed to hand off a case.

"The Leavers," a novel by Lisa Ko (May, Algonquin) * A boy loses his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant who suddenly disappears. Adopted by white parents, he later tries to reconstruct his past while learning his mother is still alive. This first novel is already out and has been doing well.

"Little Boy Lost," a novel by J.D. Trafford (Aug. 1, Thomas & Mercer) * This paperback original, set in St. Louis, features a lawyer who serves the less privileged, including a young girl who begs him to look for her brother. …

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