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2020 Summer Reading List: 10 Books You Won’t Want to Miss

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It's here! [cue happy dance] My 3rd annual Summer Reading List Giveaway , my favourite post of the year, launches today. Not only do I get to talk about the books that I'm most excited to read right now, I also get to give some of them away. Win-win! So much fun!

Skeena River

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.  Thank you for your support! 

Usually, I do some kind of meaningful theme for my summer reading list and then pick a mix of fiction and non-fiction books that fit in with this theme. 

This year, however, I feel like we've all been stretched and grown enough as it is, without having to do any heavy lifting over the summer. My theme for this year, then, as loose as it is, is Escapism. 

As in, let's escape into some really amazing books and forget about how much the world sucks right now.

So, without further ado, I give you my top ten picks for an absorbing, unputdownable summer read. 

Also, you can enter to win the book of your choice on Instagram. There will be three winners announced on July 31. 

Where to find these books

For each book, I'll let you know where to find it at your favourite retailers. 

If they're available on Scribd, I'll include that link too. If you haven't signed up for this monthly subscription service yet, I highly recommend you check it out. For $9/month, you get unlimited access to a massive selection of books. About half of the books on this year's list are included with a Scribd subscription.

You can sign up for a free trial of Scribd here

The Ultimate Summer 2020 Reading List Giveaway

This year's giveaway will be hosted on Instagram. 

  1. Check out the books below.
  2. Visit me on Instagram. 
  3. Follow the entry guidelines.

Three random winners will each win one book of their choice from the list. 

Win The Vanishing Half in my 2020 Summer Reading List Giveaway

1. The Vanishing Half

by Britt Bennett

American Literature

A multi-generational family drama that deals with the timeless and timely issues of racial identity and belonging, this is the second novel from bestselling author, Brit Bennett.  

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not 

just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. 

The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

Find The Vanishing Half on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

2. The Mother-in-Law

by Sally Hepworth

Contemporary Women's Fiction

A mystery novel full of twists and surprises, The Mother-In-Law is a perfect summer read for fans of Liane Moriarty.

From the publisher: "From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy 

Win The Mother-in-Law in my 2020 Summer Reading List Giveaway

at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth."

Find The Mother-in-Law on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo
read on Scribd

3. The Confession Club

by Elizabeth Berg

Contemporary Women's Fiction

A heartwarming story about a multi-generational group of women facing a variety of relatable and humorous challenges.

From the publisher: "When a group of friends in Mason, Missouri, decide to start a monthly supper club, they get more than they bargained for. The plan for congenial evenings—talking, laughing, and sharing recipes, homemade food, and wine—abruptly changes 

course one night when one of the women reveals something startlingly intimate. The supper club then becomes Confession Club, and the women gather weekly to share not only dinners but embarrassing misdeeds, deep insecurities, and long-held regrets.

They invite Iris Winters and Maddy Harris to join, and their timing couldn't be better. Iris is conflicted about her feelings for a charming but troubled man, and Maddy has come back home from New York to escape a problem too big to handle alone. The club offers exactly the kind of support they need to help them make some difficult decisions."

Find The Confession Club on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo
read on Scribd

4. 28 Summers

by Elin Hilderbrand

Contemporary Women's Romance

No summer is complete until you've taken a trip to Nantucket with an Elin Hilderbrand novel. She hits it out of the park with each book and her latest work is no exception.

From the publisher: "Once a year, Alice and Tom have met on Nantucket to rekindle the passionate love affair they began 28 years earlier. Each married to someone else, with busy lives and happy families, they've managed to keep their secret, and to keep their love alive.

Win 28 Summers in my 2020 Summer Reading List Giveaway

But nothing is forever. Tom's wife is in the national spotlight for her controversial and increasingly popular campaign for a Senate office. And Alice has received a diagnosis that puts her future in doubt. Could their 28th summer together also be their last?"

Find 28 Summers on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

5. Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner

Contemporary Women's Fiction

A lighthearted beach read about the power of female friendships and the ubiquity of social media in our lives.

From the publisher: "Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the 

society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most." 

Find Big Summer on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo
read on Scribd

6. American Dirt

by Jeanine Cummins

American Literature

The book everybody is talking about this year! A life-changing novel delving into the deepest aspects of humanity.

From the publisher: "Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who 

American Dirt

is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?"

Find American Dirt on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo
read on Scribd

7. Such a Fun Age

by Kiley Reid

Contemporary Women's Fiction

A compelling coming-of-age novel that examines race and class in a refreshingly poignant and humorous style. 

From the publisher: "Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. 

So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other."

Find Such a Fun Age on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

8. Party of Two

by Jasmine Guillory

Contemporary Women's Fiction

A light, fun rom-com perfect for devouring at the beach.

From the publisher: "Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. 

Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, 

Win Party of Two in my 2020 Summer Reading List Giveaway

but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist—it is chocolate cake, after all. 

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble—not just some privileged white politician, as she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?"

Find Party of Two on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

9. Want

by Lynn Steger Strong

Literary Fiction

A fast-paced, unputdownable novel about trying to hold together the crumbling remnants of a privileged life and shines a light on the cost of unfettered desires. 

From the publisher: "Elizabeth is tired. Years after coming to New York to try to build a life, she has found herself with two kids, a husband, two jobs, a PhD―and now they’re filing for bankruptcy. As she tries to balance her dream and the impossibility of striving toward it while her work and home lives feel 

poised to fall apart, she wakes at ungodly hours to run miles by the icy river, struggling to quiet her thoughts.

When she reaches out to Sasha, her long-lost childhood friend, it feels almost harmless―one of those innocuous ruptures that exist online, in texts. But her timing is uncanny. Sasha is facing a crisis, too, and perhaps after years apart, their shared moments of crux can bring them back into each other’s lives."

Find Want on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

10. A Woman Like Her

by Marc Levy

Contemporary Women's Fiction

I discovered Marc Levy's books earlier this year and I've been burning through them like wildfire—they're so good! Smart, fast-paced, and written with a dry sense of humor, Levy never fails to keep me turning pages.

From the publisher: "It’s been five years since fate upended resilient Chloe Bronstein’s world. 

Win A Woman Like Her in my 2020 Summer Reading List Giveaway

While she may be living with her father, and her acting career has taken a decidedly unexpected turn, she’s alive. And she’s intrigued by Sanji, the charming new elevator operator in her quaint Manhattan apartment building. There’s just something about the Mumbai-born, Oxford-educated, thoroughly modern elevator man that doesn’t quite add up.

Sanji is dazzled by Chloe. They have so much in common: Both defiant. Both independent. Both determined to live by their own rules. But there’s one thing about Sanji that Chloe doesn’t know. Yet.

However hesitant Chloe and Sanji’s burgeoning romance is—complicated by family, friends, neighbors, and the past—it also awakens them to life’s limitless possibilities."

Find A Woman Like Her on:

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes and Noble
Purchase on Indigo

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