A collage of the covers included in this article

Got plans this summer? Whether we’re by the pool or parked in front of the air conditioner, you know we’ll be spending our time lost in a good book. If you’re looking to start drafting up your summer must-read list, you’re in luck. We’ve asked 15 authors to share one book at the top of their TBR pile, and their recommendations are not to be missed.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

“We are but two of millions patiently waiting on The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang, who writes her stories with a delicate pen, lovingly drawing a cast of characters that faces complex struggles both internal and external, making readers feel seen and known in her careful exploration of mental health and the bonds that form when we are loved just as we are. We are absolutely on the edge of our seats waiting for Quan and Anna’s story.” —Christina Lauren, author of The Soulmate Equation

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon

“There are many incredible LGBTQ titles publishing this summer spanning every genre, among them one of my most-anticipated summer reads: P.J. Vernon’s Bath Haus. I tore through Vernon’s gripping debut, When You Find Me, and the lie at the heart of his new thriller already has my heart racing. I love novels that take a flawed character’s single bad decision and use it to tighten the screw—the result being a plot as unpredictable as a runaway train. Thrillers are far afield from the family dramas I write; perhaps that’s why I admire them so much. Bath Haus promises to be a sexy summer escape. You can bet I’ll be reading it by the pool.” —Steven Rowley, author of The Guncle

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

“What child hasn’t dreamt of being whisked away by Peter Pan? It’s curious that our connection to Neverland weakens with age since I feel an even stronger urge to go there now as an adult. That’s why reading Lost in the Never Woods was like a literary dream come true! I joined the Aiden Thomas fan club after Cemetery Boys, so this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021—and it totally enchanted me! Lost in the Never Woods introduces an older, darker Wendy caught up in an exciting and suspenseful adventure that’s brimming with nostalgia. Pan is more seductive than ever, and Thomas’ thrilling tale feels as ageless as the legend himself.” —Romina Garber, author of Cazadora

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

“I’ve been hearing a lot about this book in my newsfeed and it sounds like something right up my alley: After a tragedy, a girl assumes her dead brother’s identity to enter a monastery, where her will to survive takes over. She then assumes her brother’s fate to rise to glory and become a general. I’m really looking forward to a proper epic with destiny-determining battles, all helmed by an ambitious woman driven to success. I can’t wait.” —K.S. Villoso, author of The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

“When June Jones’ library is threatened with closure, she must band together with a group of eccentric locals to save it. I’ve always loved stories revolving around books and readers, which is why I’m so excited for The Last Chance Library. As an avid reader myself, I find the deep connection and love shared for words in those pages. It’s what brings us together and it’s something so many people have in common. This debut novel promises to have the warmth and comfort I’m looking for and I’m eager to dive in.” —Nekesa Afia, author of Dead Dead Girls

Uncharted by Alli Temple

“Lesbian pirates—need I say more? If that’s not enough, Alli Temple’s Uncharted also features a political revolution, a princess spy, a royal kidnapping, a dark legend, and drama on the high seas. I could go on because there’s so much more in this fantasy novel where Princess Georgina is coerced into marriage by an evil prince before being carried off by the infamous pirate Captain Cinder. Then things get really complicated because of feelings and love and all the mushy stuff. I can’t wait to dive in.” —Hudson Lin, author of Hard Sell

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

“Emily Henry’s 2020 release, Beach Read, made her one of my all-time favorite authors. The complex characters, witty banter, and vivid writing transported me to another (read: happier) place. When I learned that she was coming out with a book that navigates friendship and has When Harry Met Sally vibes, it jumped straight to the top of my TBR list. The more I learned about it, the more I knew it checked off so many of my boxes for a summer read. Friends to lovers? Yes! Vacations? Yes! Alternating timelines? Yes! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. I know I’m in for a funny, nuanced, and heartfelt read that’ll stay with me for a long time.” —Saumya Dave, author of What a Happy Family

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

“I am intensely excited for June C.L. Tan’s Jade Fire Gold. This is a book that has everything a YA fantasy reader could ever want: a peasant girl with a dangerous power, an exiled prince with a thirst for vengeance, traumatic backstories, and a slow-burn romance that makes you want to pour yourself into the book screaming ‘kiss already!’ All against an epic backdrop of an ancient China-inspired empire. Yes. Inject it directly into my veins. I was lucky enough to read a very early draft of this book, and I can’t wait to savor the final version and devour every thrilling word.” —Victoria Lee, author of A Lesson in Vengeance

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

“I love Alexis Hall’s writing—his nuanced characters, his hilarious banter, the tenderness of small moments between his couples—so I cannot wait to get my hands on Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. It’s set in the world of a competitive baking show, featuring a bisexual single mom heroine and a shy cinnamon roll hero (and hopefully, at some point, some actual cinnamon rolls), and it just sounds so incredibly fun. Best of all, it’s the first in a planned series!” —Martha Waters, author of To Love and to Loathe

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

“I adored Tasha Suri’s Empire of Sand with every chamber of my heart. She’s proven she can masterfully handle epic fantasy worldbuilding along with nuanced characters, themes, and a romantic beating heart thriving at the center of it. Her upcoming novel, The Jasmine Throne, promises more in this vein. The cover is a whole mood, and I can’t wait for this tale of a vengeful princess, a maid with a secret, and forbidden magic. It promises to be the kind of page-turning fantasy that makes me ravenous for the next book. Can’t wait to dive in!” —L. Penelope, author of Requiem of Silence

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

“If you’re in the mood for chilling domestic suspense with jaw-dropping twists, you must pick up the latest by New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica. I devour Kubica’s novels, and this one is no exception. In Local Woman Missing you’ll find a tightly knit, seemingly perfect neighborhood where terrifying and deadly secrets lie. Delilah Dickey has been missing for eleven years, and now she’s returned. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but some people will do anything to keep the truth buried. A must-read!” —Kaira Rouda, author of The Next Wife

XOXO by Axie Oh

“Out in July, XOXO by Axie Oh is a book I’m super excited about! I’m cheating a bit because I have already read an early copy, but it’s so cute that I really can’t wait to have a hardcover edition of my own. It’s Oh’s first contemporary and she knocks it out of the park. It has an adorable romance, delicious food, a trip to South Korea, and K-pop! And the cover is gorgeous! I can’t wait to hold it in my hands and read it all over again.” —Kasie West, author of Sunkissed

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

“Any new book by Christina Lauren is a cause for me to drop everything, and their newest stand-alone romance, The Soulmate Equation, is a delight from start to finish. As the precocious child of a hard-working single mom, I immediately connected with the cast of characters— especially Fizzy. While reading, I felt like they might have been reading my texts. I loved how they wove serious questions about fate and our genes into a swoon-filled love story ripe with their signature humor, heat, and heart.” —Andie J. Christopher, author of Hot Under His Collar

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

“I absolutely cannot wait to read Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta this summer. This is slightly cheating because I’ve already read an ARC, but it’s so good that I’m counting down the days until a finished copy lands in my hands. My standards for YA sci-fi are high, but this is a near-perfect book: brilliant world-building, a futuristic cityscape, fighting mecha-deities, sapphic slow-burn romance, and a delightful cast of grubby teens coming together to make a found family. Also just look at that cover—who doesn’t want that on their shelves?” —Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

“A crumbling gothic manor, a marriage of convenience with a mysterious figure, the promise of gross magic, creeping horror, and twists for days—basically, The Death of Jane Lawrence is catered specifically to my interests. The gorgeously unsettling cover and the fact that the author has face cast Gwendoline Christie as the titular character helps, too. I’ve had this one pre-ordered for ages, and I can’t wait for it to keep me up at night.” —Hannah Whitten, author of For the Wolf

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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