17 Books to Check Out Before the End of Summer

From Ruth Ware's latest thriller to the millennial novel everyone is talking about, here are the must-read novels to bring to the beach (or couch, you do you!) before Autumn comes.

By Tierney Bricker Aug 08, 2020 10:00 AMTags

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One way to avoid an end of summer bummer? Grabbing a new book to get totally lost in as the temperatures start cooling down. While E! already provided a list of the best beach reads to pack in your bag earlier in the season, we've rounded up 17 new releases coming out in August and September for you to dig into if you're looking for your next literary fix.

Whether you prefer print, Audible or Kindle, they're all available at prices where you can stock up on several books to spend the dog days of summer with—or you could even try Kindle Unlimited. So grab a refreshing drink, put on your summer sweaters and get lost in one of our recommendations...

Stars' Juiciest Tell-Alls

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch

We regret nothing when it comes to this recommendation about a presidential hopeful who is forced to do major image rehab when a childhood friend's scathing op-ed about her past misdeeds goes viral. After coming up with a list of over 200 regrets, senator and single mother Cleo McDougal attempts to publicly right her top 10 wrongs to repair her reputation, but they might just be too risky to expose. (Available now)

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

Gossip Girl but make it a juicy murder mystery. That's the jist of this irresistible YA novel set at a prep school on Long Island. After her best friend was brutally murdered by her boyfriend during their freshman year, Jill is now just trying to enjoy her senior year and role in Gold Coast Prep's secret society…until she receives a text insisting the killer is still out there and begins her own investigation. Basically, imagine Blair Waldorf and Veronica Mars in one body. (Available now)

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

Life-long best friends Ellen and Unity are both in a rut, so they do what any normal pals would do: they create a list of things to do to push themselves out of their respective comfort zones, whether that's single mom Ellen finally wearing a bikini in public or Unity, a young widow, opening her heart again. Unfortunate tattoos may or may not happen along the way. We recommend adding this frivolous and touching book to your end of summer to-do list. (Available now)

Luster by Raven Leilani

One of the sexiest and most urgent new releases of the year, Leilani's novel follows messy millennial Edie, one of the only Black women at her low-paying job, who finds herself living with her married white co-worker, whom she's had sex with, his wife and their adopted Black daughter. Through it all, Edie navigates adulthood in all of its (sometimes) shameful glory and complications in what is sure to be one of the best books of the year. (Available now)

No Offense by Meg Cabot

The bestselling author returns to the Florida Keys for the second book in her Little Big Island book series, and this time she's telling the sweet love story between a children's librarian and the town sheriff in the cute small town. Yeah, we can already feel a bidding war between Hallmark and Lifetime to turn this into a TV movie. (August 11)

Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy & Maria Callas by Gill Paul

Historical fiction at its most juicy, Paul's novel imagines a chance meeting between Jackie Kennedy and famed opera singer Maria Callas on billionaire Aristotle Onassis' yacht, which results in the two powerful women becoming romantic rivals as the world watches completely riveted. Socialites and scandal, a most satisfying cocktail for gossip lovers. (August 18)

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

PSA: you may just need a box of tissues nearby while reading McDaniel's latest, which is based on her own mother's harrowing history. A gripping and all-consuming novel, Betty tells the story of its titular character, the sixth of eight children born to a white mother and a Cherokee father in the 1950s. As she endures poverty, family deaths and racism in rural Ohio, Betty grapples with her family's tragedies and secrets and whether or not to share them. (August 18)

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Siblings July and September are born just 10 months apart and have a deeply close bond before a case of bullying forces the sisters to relocate with their single mom, causing ripple effects in their lives. Johnson's exploration of sibling love and rivalry is powerful and tinged with a hint of menace, and you'll feel a slight pit in your stomach as July and September's fraught relationship slowly and horrifyingly continues to fracture in this new kind of love story. (August 25)

Majesty by Katharine McGee

It's finally here! The highly anticipated sequel to last year's juicy American Royals, Majesty continues to explore what it would look like if America had its own royal family, including its first queen as Princess Beatrice struggles with her new position. If you binge-watch The Crown as soon as new episodes drop, saw Crazy Rich Asians multiple times in theaters and obsess over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's every move, this one may just reign supreme on your summer reading list. (September 1)

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi follows up her bestselling debut Homegoing with this raw portrait of a Ghanaian family in Alabama grappling with issues like addiction, grief and faith that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. (September 1)

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan

If you loved Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones and the Six and know every lyric to a Britney Spears song, this one is definitely for you. The novel details the rise and fall of Cassidy Holmes, a.k.a. Sassy Cassy, a member of Sassy Gloss, one of the world's biggest pop groups. Fifteen years after the Glossies' big break, though, her band mates and the world are shocked when Cassidy dies by suicide. Told in multiple perspectives and in different timelines, The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes dives into the darker side of fame. (September 1)

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

In this essential in the #MeToo era story, Jackson delivers a gripping ripped-from-the-headlines tale (based heavily on the R. Kelly scandal) about an aspiring Black singer, Enchanted Jones. Discovered, mentored and then controlled and abused by a legendary R&B artist, she becomes the main suspect when he turns up dead. Grown explores misogyny, racism and the power imbalances within the music industry. (September 15)

One by One by Ruth Ware

The modern-day Agatha Christie is back in action with her latest thriller One by One, which centers on a group of co-workers at a tech start-up getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps. While that may sound charming, the elements—natural and human—aren't ideal, with the group dwindling, as you may have guessed, one by one as the storm continues to rage both inside and outside of the chalet. (September 8)

Eat a Peach by David Chang

Just like the food from his famed Momofuku restaurants is must-devour, Chang's memoir is a must-read for fans of the Ugly Delicious star and celeb chef. Eat a Peach recounts his long and winding journey to becoming one of the world's most influential chefs, including his childhood and his struggles with mental health issues. Plus, he gives rare insight into the complicated world of restaurants and what it truly means to be successful. (September 8)

The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha

Move over Meredith and McDreamy, there's a hot new medical couple in town. Sinha's debut novel follows resident Norah Kapadia as she deals with sleep deprivation, the high expectations of her Indian parents and her complicated relationship with her mentor, the charming chief resident. Inject the TV adaptation of this into our veins STAT. (September 15)

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

Is it truly a reading list without an unputdownable (yep, we just made it a word) new release from Picoult? In the bestselling author's latest, she's exploring Dawn Edelstein's near-death epiphany—made right before a crash airplane landing—that she may have made the wrong choice between men 15 years ago, setting her off on a second chance search for what her life could've been in Egypt. (September 22)

Looking for even more beach reads? Check out our list of previous summer releases that will pair perfectly with your beach bag-and-towel Instagram before we all switch over to snapping shots of our pumpkin spice lattes.

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