The 25 must-read books of summer 2024

Picture this: The sun is high in the sky and you’re on your way to the beach with your friends with the latest Chappell Roan song blasting on the radio. You’re all slathered in SPF and have your folding chairs and coolers at the ready. It’s summertime, finally, and the only thing that’s missing is the perfect book to read while you burn to a red hot crisp by the side of the ocean.

Not sure what to bring with you? Good news! There are a ton of books coming out between the months of June and August that are worth checking out. There’s a clever reimagining of the story of Lady Macbeth, celebrated children’s author M.T. Anderson’s adult debut, the follow up to 2022’s hottest romantic fantasy, and a truly surprising number of heist novels. Which is all to say that there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

Below you’ll find 25 of the most romantic, fantastical, and action packed books coming out this summer that we can’t wait to kick back and read.


Image: Alcove Press

Barely Even Friends by Mae Bennett

June 4

If you’re in the mood to read a steamy, contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast, look no further than Mae Bennett’s debut romance novel, Barely Even Friends.

A contractor by trade and expert in all things to do with home renovation, Bellamy Price is determined to get a leg up and prove herself in a typically male-dominated field. Luckily, the perfect opportunity presents itself when she’s offered a job working on the palatial and mysterious Killington Estate. Expecting the house to be empty upon her arrival, Bellamy is shocked to discover it’s occupied by none other than Oliver Killington, recluse and heir to the vast Killington empire, who happens to have a very convenient thing for suspenders. Though frustratingly obstinate at first, it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to Oliver than meets the eye, and a common enemy quickly brings him and Bellamy closer together than either are expecting.

An android holds a teapot in their hand while looking at a green desolated wasteland in the cover for Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Service Model

Image: Tordotcom

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

June 4

From the author of Elder Race and Children of Time comes a new, surprisingly funny and deeply philosophical sci-fi novel about a murderous robot valet by the name of Charles that’s perfect for fans of I, Robot and Jeeves.

When Charles, a robot valet meticulously designed to be at the right hand of any modern human, gets the idea to murder their master — and subsequently does — they’re forced to go on the run, something they never thought they’d be able to do. Charles quickly discovers that the world is much larger than the home they worked in, and that they’re not the only robot discovering their independence.

Cover image for Yume Kitasei’s The Stardust Grail, showing what looks like an octopus in space, hidden behind what looks like red space nebula

Image: Flatiron Books

The Stardust Grail by Yume Kitasei

June 11

It’s hard not to be incredibly excited about The Stardust Grail, a book that’s pitched as an anti-colonial space heist with a protagonist who returns stolen artifacts to the alien civilizations they belong to rather than keeping them for herself or putting them behind glass in a museum.

Set ten years after a job goes horribly wrong, Maya Hoshimoto — once considered to be the galaxy’s best art thief — is approached by an old friend with an offer she can’t refuse: track down an powerful alien artifact. The catch? The artifact in question might not actually exist, and if it does, its discovery could lead to the end of human civilization as we know it.

Cover art for Robin Sloan’s Moonbound, featuring an image of a world with a tear through the red sky

Image: MCD

Moonbound by Robin Sloan

June 11

If you, like me, read Robin Sloan’s delightful novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and thought to yourself, “That was strange,” then you might want to hold onto your hat.

Set 13,000 years in the future, Moonbound tells the story of Ariel, a boy who lives in a town under the control of a wizard. When Ariel accidentally stumbles across an important piece of record-keeping technology from the past, he finds himself called to adventure and a mission to save the world.

Cover art for Alicia Thompson’s The Art of Catching Feelings, drawn in the style of a baseball card, with a woman embracing a baseball player on a baseball field

Image: Berkly Books

The Art Of Catching Feelings by Alicia Thompson

June 18

What better time to read a romance novel about baseball than during the height of summer?

In Alicia Thompson’s novel, The Art of Catching Feelings, a professional baseball player and his number one heckler navigate a delightful enemies-to-lovers romance. When Daphne Brink takes her taunting a little too far, driving Chris Kepler to literal tears during the middle of a game, she reaches out over social media to apologize. When Chris messages her back, it quickly becomes clear that he doesn’t know who Daphne is, and their relationship begins to grow into more than a few sweet DMs. But as the season progresses and their feelings for one another become undeniable, Daphne realizes she might not be able to keep her true identity from Chris forever.

Cover image for Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Anguish and Anarchy, featuring a Black woman wearing a gold veil with silver hair streaming down her back

Image: Henry Holt & Company

Children of Anguish and Anarchy by Tomi Adeyemi

June 25

It’s (almost) here! The final installment of Tomi Adeyemi’s Lady of Orïsha series finally hits shelves in late June.

As the blood moon grows ever closer, Zélie faces the king who has been hunting her heart. But there is little she can do to prepare herself while she is trapped on a foreign ship bound for distant lands, warriors with iron skulls, and unfamiliar allies.

A slumped over figure crawls along a pile of bodies in a red cover for Christopher Buehlman’s The Daughters’ War.

Image: Tor

The Daughters’ War by Christopher Buehlman

June 25

I have been counting down the days until the release of The Daughters’ War since I first caught wind that Christopher Buehlman would be writing a prequel to his fantastic fantasy novel, The Blacktongue Thief. Rather than return to the lush world that he’s crafted with a sequel (we’ll see Kinch again eventually), Buehlman is taking readers back in time with a tale about Galva as she rides into battle against goblins on the back of her war-corvid.

Cover image for Liz Moore’s The God of the Woods, a water-color style image of trees with a pink drop oozing down the middle

Image: Riverhead Books

The God of the Woods by Liz Moore

July 2

Set in the Adirondack Mountains during the late summer of 1975, The God of the Woods tells the story of 13-year-old Barbara Van Laar, who vanishes from her bunk overnight while at summer camp. Barbara isn’t just any camper though, and this isn’t the first time a Van Laar has gone missing. Sixteen years ago, Barbara’s older brother also vanished too, never to be seen again.

This is a gorgeously written and tragic tale with a non-linear plot that jumps through time from the 1950s to the 1970s as Moore transports her readers, weaving a rich and complicated tapestry.

Cover image for Megan Bannen’s The Undermining of Twyla and Frank, featuring two figures incased in a heart surrounded by dragon wings and TNT

Image: Orbit

The Undermining of Twyla and Frank by Megan Bannen

July 2

Hot off the heels of her first heartwarming romance novel, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Megan Bannen returns to the magical world of Tanria with its friends-to-lovers sequel, The Undermining of Twyla and Frank.

It’s fair to say the entire town of Eternity was shocked when Twyla Banneker, middle-aged and a widow, joined her best friend, Frank Ellis, to be a Tanrian marshal. But, eight years later, Twyla is still at it (and very good at her job, to boot). Her life takes a sudden and exciting turn when she and Frank discover the dead body of one of their fellow marshals covered in — of all things — glitter. As Twyla and Frank are drawn further into the mystery afoot, it becomes increasingly clear that the two are much more than just work partners.

Cover art for Fernanda Trías’ Pink Slime, an abstract red and pink image

Image: Scribner Book Company

Pink Slime by Fernanda Trías

July 2

Set in a not-to-distant future in which the world has been utterly devastated by a plague, Pink Slime by Fernanda Trías is a deeply distressing but compulsively readable work of climate fiction.

When a mysterious algae bloom poisons the air blowing inland from the ocean, a nameless corporation develops a vile pink food substance — think Pepto Bismol crossed with Soylent Green — for everyone to eat. As the end of the world grows ever closer and society continues to collapse, one woman in particular — the narrator of this story — refuses to leave the family and friends she loves behind, clinging to the life she once knew.

Cover image for Anton Hur’s Toward Eternity, an alien image filled with plantlife on a distant planet

Image: Harpervia

Toward Eternity by Anton Hur

July 9

Already a force to be reckoned with in the world of literary translation, Anton Hur’s upcoming novel, Toward Eternity, is a brilliant and thought provoking examination of what it means to be human.

Told in the form of journal entries that connect characters across centuries, Toward Eternity is set in a world where cancerous cells can be replaced by nanites — robotic cells — effectively eradicating the disease. It’s nothing short of a miracle. At the same time, a literary researcher and the doctor who holds the patent to nano-technology join forces to place an AI program into a physical, robotic form, effectively giving it bodily autonomy and bringing mortality and humanity into question in the process.

Cover image for Paolo Bacigalupi’s Navola, featuring a red eye surrounded by a white background

Image: Knopf Publishing Group

Navola by Paolo Bacigalupi

July 9

Fans of Windup Girl, The Water Knife, and Shipbreaker, rejoice! An exciting new science fiction title from Paolo Bacigalupi is hitting shelves in July.

Set in an Italian Renaissance-inspired world, Navolo is a mashup of literary scifi/fantasy and historical fiction that tells the story of Davico di Regulai, a young lord set to take over his family’s vast empire. The di Regulai family are wealthy beyond belief and have influenced the rise and fall of politicians and great cities alike, but not everything in the city of Navola is as it seems. When Davico discovers the existence of a fossilized dragon eye — a symbol of raw power that is pictured on Navola’s excellent cover — he finds that there are few he can trust, including members of his own family.

The sky looks on fire in the cover image for Jenn Lyons’ The Sky on Fire, as a dragon soars by a castle built into a mountain.

Image: Tor Books

The Sky On Fire by Jenn Lyons

July 9

Billed as Dragonriders of Pern but for modern readers, The Sky on Fire promises to be exactly what fans of Temeraire, Fourth Wing, and even Patricia C. Wrede’s beloved Dealing With Dragons are craving.

After being saved from a local warlord by a group of unlikely adventuring misfits — picture an average D&D party — Anahrod realizes that her new companions are determined to reach the cloud cities and the immense dragon’s hoard located there. The only problem with this plan is that the hoard belongs to Neveranimas, and Neveranimas wants nothing more than to see Anahrod dead.

Cover image for M.T. Anderson’s Nicked, showing someone picking up a skull by the eye socket against a black background

Image: Pantheon Books

Nicked by M.T. Anderson

July 23

If there’s one thing about M.T. Anderson, it’s that he’s going to write a book with a plot that’s as delightful and captivating as it is downright strange. His adult debut Nicked is no exception.

In the year 1801, the Italian port city of Bari is wracked by a plague, and a monk by the name of Brother Nicephorus is visited by Saint Nicholas in his dreams. His superiors don’t believe him, but Tyun, a treasure hunter, does and the two soon hit the road to collect Saint Nicholas’s bones and the mysterious liquid they rest in, which is rumored to heal the sick. What follows is a heist that is complex and action packed enough to make even the likes of Steven Soderbergh jealous.

Cover image for Sarah Rees Brennan’s Long Live Evil, featuring a woman with a bloody dress splayed across a throne

Image: Orbit

Long Live Evil by Sarah Rees Brennan

July 30

Sarah Rees Brennan’s adult debut, Long Live Evil, proves that sometimes it feels good to be a little bad.

Rae is dying, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. As her world comes crumbling down around her, she makes a last ditch magical bargain that transports her to the court of her favorite fictional character, the Once and Forever Emperor. The catch? Rae isn’t the hero of this story. Quite the opposite, in fact. As the emperor becomes increasingly violent, Rae assembles an unlikely team of villainous allies who deserve a much better ending than the one originally written for them.

A vast sci-fi fantasy scape, with long jagged cliffs stretching into the sky, on the cover for James S.A. Corey’s The Mercy of Gods.

Image: Orbit

The Mercy of Gods by James S.A. Corey

August 6

James S.A. Corey, the dynamic duo behind the phenomenal series, The Expanse, is back once again for a brand new, utterly epic sci-fi adventure.

For generations, the Carryx — a combination of an empire and a hive — have waged wars and enslaved alien species across the galaxy. They are a force to be reckoned with to say the least, but when they finally meet their match, it becomes clear that the best and brightest humans living on the planet Anjiin are the only ones who can save them. The result is a gripping tale of survival, rebellion, and hope.

Cover image for Matthew Erman and Sma Beck’s Loving, Ohio, featuring a person covering their face, as they are enveloped by a ghostly image of another version of theirself.

Image: Dark Horse Comics

Loving, Ohio by Matthew Erman and illustrated by Sam Beck

August 6

It’s safe to say that Loving, Ohio — written by Matthew Erman and gorgeously illustrated by Sam Beck — is my favorite horror graphic novel that I’ve read since Emily Carroll’s In The Woods. It’s a perfectly balanced mix of punk rock, small town coming-of-age, and bone chilling, nightmare fueling dread.

After the shocking suicide of their friend, four teens are grief stricken, unmoored, and counting down the days until high school comes to an end. There’s not much for them in Loving anyways, besides the mysterious new age cult known as the Chorus that has taken root there. When tragedy strikes again, the group can’t help but wonder if the Chorus is somehow behind it, and one in particular, Sloane, is hell-bent on finding out the truth, no matter the coast.

Cover image for T. Kingfisher’s A Sorceress Comes to Call, with gold trees against a starry black background

Image: Orbit Books

A Sorceress Comes to Call by T Kingfisher

August 6

T. Kingfisher has outdone herself once again, proving to sci-fi and fantasy readers alike why she’s one of the best in the biz. A retelling inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale Goose Girl, A Sorceress Comes to Call is a bewitching and wildly entertaining adventure.

Cordelia has not had an easy life. Raised by a domineering, emotionally manipulative and downright abusive mother in a house without any doors, and with only a beautiful white horse for a friend, Cordelia craves a freedom she’s certain she’ll never have. When a death in town forces the two women to go on the run in the middle of the night, they find themselves seeking shelter with a wealthy man, his unwed sister, Hester, and a squire. When Hester recognizes the pain and torment that Cordelia has suffered, and that Cordelia’s mother isn’t the woman she pretends to be, she becomes determined to save everyone she cares for before it’s too late.

Cover image for Beth Revis’s Full Speed to a Crash Landing, featuring two large silhouettes looming over a crashed spacecraft

Image: Daw Books

Full Speed to a Crash Landing by Beth Revis

August 6

Having dabbled in the literary side of Star Wars for some time, Beth Revis is no stranger to science fiction, outer space, impossible heists, or romantic tension. Her new novella, Full Speed to a Crash Landing (the first in a trilogy) has all that going for it and more.

When readers first meet Ada Lamarr, she’s running out of time. And oxygen. But help soon arrives in the form of a government sanctioned salvage crew. They’re less than thrilled to have her on board as they head to their destination, a secret mission helmed by the delightfully handsome Agent Rian White, but Ada promises to stay out of their hair and out of their business. This, of course, is a lie. But as Ada and Rian spend more time together and their attraction to one another continues to grow, it becomes increasingly unclear who is playing who.

Cover image for Matthew Lyons’ A Mask of Flies, featuring a dead-looking girl without a face, covered with flies

Image: Tor Nightfire

A Mask of Flies by Matthew Lyons

August 6

If you’re in the mood to read a dynamic and brutal horror novel that will have you on the edge of your seat from cover-to-cover, look no further than A Mask of Flies by Matthew Lyons.

After a bank heist goes horribly awry, Anne Heller is forced to hole up in her family’s old cabin with Jessup, her badly wounded partner-in-crime, and Dutch, the police officer they’ve taken hostage. Jessup, unfortunately, doesn’t make it. Anne and Dutch decide to bury his body, only for something that is-but-isn’t Jessup to rise from his grave and try to get back into the cabin.

Lady Macbeth wears a veil and is framed by an oval frame in Ava Reid’s Lady Macbeth cover art

Image: Del Rey Books

Lady Macbeth by Ava Reid

August 13

When it comes to complicated, multi-faceted female characters, Ava Reid reigns supreme, and her upcoming novel, Lady Macbeth, reimagines the story of one of Shakespeare’s most ruthless, unforgiving, power-hungry women.

The Lady knows what her fate holds in store for her. She knows that she is destined to marry a brutish Scot and to drive men to madness. The Lady also knows that sometimes it takes a little witchcraft to get by. What she doesn’t know is that her husband has secrets of his own, including his own ties to the occult.

Cover image for Nalo Hopkinson’s Blackheart Man, featuring a long-haired man’s face framed by mirrored images of a woman’s face and an alligator’s

Image: Simon & Schuster

Blackheart Man by Nalo Hopkinson

August 20

Inspired by Caribbean culture, folklore, and history that deftly blurs the lines between reality and fiction, Blackheart Man by Nalo Hopkinson is a gripping tale of a magical island and the man who will do whatever he can to protect it.

Veycosi, a scholar on the island of Cynchin, wants nothing more in the world than the chance to get his hands on the Alamat Book of Light, a tome that contains knowledge that would ensure his place on his island’s Colloquium. His plans go abruptly sideways when fifteen galleons from a neighboring land arrive, forcing the island and its inhabitants into a trade agreement that proves to be much more dangerous than anticipated.

Cover image for Kerstin Hall’s Asunder, featuring a woman surrounded by sparks and fog

Image: Tordotcom

Asunder by Kerstin Hall

August 20

If you play Dungeons & Dragons and love the Warlock class and their pacts with mysterious, often otherworldly beings, then Asunder by Kerstin Hall is the perfect book for you.

In a world where magic users are allowed to choose their gods, Karys Eska is bound to an eldritch creature with three faces and hundreds of wings who has gifted her the ability to communicate with the dead. Karys uses her powers to help investigate strange deaths in the city where she lives, knowing that, one day, she’ll be forced permanently to the real where her benefactor exists. Her life takes an unexpected turn, however, when she meets a dying man who she inadvertently binds to her shadow.

Cover image for Frances White’s Voyage of the Damned, featuring a long fish bone and a boat under water against a light blue background

Image: Mira Books

Voyage of the Damned by Frances White

August 20

Now being published in North America for the first time, Voyage of the Damned by Frances White has a little bit of everything. Part And Then There Were None, part fantasy novel, queer as hell, and surprisingly, delightfully romantic, it’s sure to scratch the Pirates of the Caribbean and Our Flag Means Death itch for a lot of readers.

The land of Concordia has maintained peace throughout its many provinces for thousands of years. It’s an incredible feat, and to celebrate, the emperor is sending the twelve heirs of the provinces of Concordia, including Ganymedes Piscero (a notorious screw up and general disappointment to his family) on a twelve-day trip. When one of the other heirs turns up dead, Gamymedes knows his only choice is to find out who killed them before he ends up dead as well.

Cover art for Alexis Hall’s Confounding Oaths, featuring two well-dressed regency era men embracing under vines and birds

Image: Del Rey Books

Confounding Oaths by Alexis Hall

August 27

Alexis Hall, author of Boyfriend Material, has done it again! Confounding Oaths is a heartwarming regency romance that will be the perfect book to read while sitting on a beach or by the pool in the late August sun.

The year is 1815 and John Caesar is determined to host an incredible coming-out for his younger sister, Mary. Despite his best efforts, John is thwarted in just about every way imaginable; ragtag soldiers, a military cult, and a fairy godmother with ill intention all stand in his way. When Mary is cursed by fairy folk, John is forced to enlist the dashing, handsome, and unfortunately working class Captain James to rescue her.

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