The Hottest Fiction and Nonfiction of Summer 2016

Memorial Day weekend is behind us, and that means it’s officially summer reading time! If you’re ready to throw down an inflatable pool, fill it with books and margarita mix, and jump in, we’re right there with you. Check out the summer 2016 fiction and nonfiction we’re most excited about for June, July, and beyond. And if you live in Seattle, don’t forget to play #BookBingoNW2016 with the Seattle Public Library for your chance to win awesome prizes!


The Girls in the GardenThe Girls in the Garden (available June 7)
Author: Lisa Jewell
In the middle of bustling London, this garden square surrounded by homes feels like a safe space. The neighbors all know each other and their kids run around and play in and out of each other’s houses. But during a summer night’s party, little Pip finds her teenaged sister Grace lying bloodied and unconscious in a dark corner of someone’s garden. What really happened — and who did it? Dark family secrets abound in this suspenseful family thriller.






Grunt by Mary RoachGrunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (June 7)
Author: Mary Roach
It’s been a couple of years since Mary Roach’s last wacky-science book (2014’s Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal) and I’m ready for more. Grunt takes on the science of military life from a soldier’s point of view, from uniform design to healthcare logistics and the love-hate relationship with military food. From paintball courses to acting studios, Roach seeks out the obscure and absurd to learn more about a soldier’s life, with plenty of fun facts and corny jokes along the way.





StilettoStiletto: A Novel (available June 14)
Author: Daniel O’Malley
I’ve been waiting for this sequel ever since The Rook came out! Supernatural secret agent Myfanwy Thomas is working to broker a contentious merger between The Checquy (her own supernatural-threat-fighting government agency) and The Grafters, a group of magic-wielding humans. When a wave of bizarre attacks hits London, will mutual suspicion and bad blood destroy their alliance? Or can the Rook find the true villains and stop a magical war? Fans of Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant novels will enjoy this darkly witty urban fantasy — but do start with the first book!





We Could Be BeautifulWe Could Be Beautiful (available June 28)
Author: Swan Huntley
This delicate, eerie cover caught my eye before I knew anything about the story. Wealthy and directionless, Catherine West spends her time shopping, redecorating her fancy Manhattan apartment, and collecting beautiful things, yet she feels her life is empty. With two broken engagements and a series of mooching boyfriends, she hears her biological clock ticking and worries it’s too late to start a family of her own. Then she meets William Stockton: handsome, educated, and refined. His parents and her parents even knew each other years ago. But as their romance deepens, red flags start popping up, and Catherine’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother seems troubled by bad memories of the young William. What is William keeping from Catherine — and is she willing to blow up their picture-perfect life together to learn the truth?





The Wicked BoyThe Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer (available July 12)
Author: Kate Summerscale
Part biography and part true-crime thriller, this is the story of Robert Coombes, the “Wicked Boy.” In 1895, at age 13, Robert and his younger brother Nattie went on a spending spree through East London — dining out, visiting the seaside and attending the theater. They claimed their mother had gone to visit relatives and left them alone, but when their aunt became suspicious and checked the house, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother. Robert confessed to killing his mother, but his lawyers pushed for an insanity plea, stressing his intense headaches, obsession with criminals, and fixation on “penny dreadful” pulp fiction. Robert was committed to a lunatic asylum, but that wasn’t the end of his story — his institutionalization turned out to be the beginning of a new life. A fascinating story of a shocking crime and its unexpected aftermath.




The Private Lives of the TudorsThe Private Lives of the Tudors (available July 19)
Author: Tracy Borman
Does the world need another book about Tudor England? Probably not, but as long as they keep writing them, I’ll keep reading them. This book’s angle is the juicy gossip that royal servants were privy to, thanks to their up-close-and-personal job duties. Historian Tracy Borman digs up the dirt on Henry VIII, Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I. Get ready for a new warts-and-all look at this popular period of English royal history.







The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 (available July 19)
Author: Ruth Ware

Travel journalist Lo Blacklock is setting out on a writer’s dream job: a week-long stay on a luxury cruise ship with just a few cabins. At first, it’s the trip of a lifetime — opulent accommodations, lively dinner parties, and clear skies. But a storm soon closes in, battering the ship, and Lo sees something awful: a woman being thrown overboard. Or does she? All the passengers are accounted for, and Lo’s warnings are dismissed. Did she see what she thinks she saw? And if so, who on the ship can she trust?






Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter
(available July 26)
Author: Blake Crouch

In this sci-fi thriller, Jason Dessen is kidnapped and knocked unconscious by a mysterious abductor — and awakens to find himself in an alternate world. In this new life, Jason’s wife isn’t the same person, and he never had a son. Here, he’s not a medium-successful college professor, but a famous tech genius who’s done the impossible. So which world is the “real” one — and if he has the choice, which one will he decide to stay in?






Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty (available July 26)
Author: Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty returns with another story of a modern family facing what-ifs and road-not-taken dilemmas. Sam and Clementine have a happy life together with their two daughters. Sam’s just started his dream job, while Clementine is an acclaimed cellist. When Clementine’s oldest friend, Erika, invites them to a BBQ with her neighbors Tiffany and Vid, it sounds like a delightful afternoon. Tiffany and Vid are fun people with big personalities — what’s not to like? But when something terrible happens at the party, it forces everyone to re-examine their complicated relationships, hidden motives, and secret regrets.





You Will Know MeYou Will Know Me (available July 26)
Author: Megan Abbott

Devon Knox is a gymnastics prodigy with a shot at the Olympics — if she and her parents, Katie and Eric, want it bad enough. And oh, they do… until a shockingly violent death shakes up the tightly-knit gymnastics team, risking the family’s dream. Rumors start flying, and Katie tries to keep her family together, but she becomes obsessed with the crime. Is there anything Katie won’t do to make Devon’s Olympic dream a reality?







Secrets of Nanreath HallSecrets of Nanreath Hall (available August 2)
Author: Alix Rickloff

This historical romance with a touch of mystery is perfect for Downton Abbey fans. In 1940s England, Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth learns that her adoptive parents, Graham and Prude Handley, are dead. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, because she’s just been assigned to a military hospital located in Nanreath Hall, the home of her biological mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth. Will this be her chance to learn the secrets of her past? Meanwhile, 30 years earlier, the young Lady Katherine is preparing for a life of luxurious ease when she meets bohemian painter Simon Halliday. He offers her a future she never imagined… but at a terrible cost. As the family mystery slowly comes to light, Anna wonders if there’s a place for her in this broken family.




The House Between TidesThe House Between Tides (available August 2)
Author: Sarah Maine 

They had me at “Kate Morton meets Daphne du Maurier.” After her only living relative dies, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and returns to Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland. Her plan is to renovate the house and make it a hotel — until the shocking discovery of century-old human remains on the property. Investigating on her own, Hetty learns about the former resident (and distant relative) Theo Blake, a painter and naturalist who brought his bride Beatrice to Muirlan in 1910. But their marriage was tumultuous, and Beatrice suddenly vanished, never to return; after her disappearance, Theo became a recluse, painting dark, disturbing art. Digging deeper, Hetty is determined to solve the mystery of the unidentified body… but is she ready to learn the truth?




the-girl-beforeThe Girl Before (available August 9)
Author: Rena Olsen

Sometimes your life can change completely in a moment. When Clara Lawson’s home is invaded by armed men, she is separated from her husband and daughters, and the last thing she hears is her husband yelling to her to say nothing. Alternating between past and present, the story explores Clara’s troubled life: raised by strict adoptive parents, falling in love with their off-limits son, and now locked away in an institution, being interrogated by people who call her “Diana” and accuse her husband of horrible crimes. Does Clara really want to know all her husband’s secrets?



Magical Jungle Coloring BookMagical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book for Adults (available August 9)
Author: Johanna Basford 

Coloring book queen Johanna Basford returns with her newest collection of intricate pen-and-ink drawings for adults to color in. This one explores a mysterious rainforest full of exotic birds and beautiful creatures. From tigers to monkeys, tree frogs to hummingbirds, you’ll find pages and pages of gorgeous images to color in. Why not throw a coloring book party with friends?




The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door (available August 23)
Author: Shari Lapena

Reading these marital thrillers makes me feel like the only person in the world who hasn’t switched identities, killed somebody, or abducted a child. This time around, Anne and Marco Conti are the seemingly perfect couple, from their blissful relationship to their lovely home and perfect baby Cora. Until something unthinkable happens one night, when they’re at a dinner party next door. Suspicion immediately falls on the parents, but it turns out that both Anne and Marco are hiding some dark, ugly secrets. As their marriage and family unravel, those pages will be turning faster and faster. Will this be 2016’s Gone Girl?




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