Get Your Kindle Ready: 16 Authors Share Their Picks For Your Ultimate Summer Reading List

Clear your schedule because Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jasmine Guillory, Elin Hilderbrand and 13 other bestselling authors are here are here to share the books you need to be buying ASAP.

By Tierney Bricker Aug 09, 2021 7:00 PMTags
Ultimate Summer Reading ListAllie Holloway, Getty Images; Melissa Herwitt/ E! Illustration

We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!

In a reading rut? Don't worry, we've got you covered.

As we head into the dog days of summer, nothing sounds better than lounging the long days away, getting lost in a new book, whether it's a thriller with more twists than an Auntie Anne's pretzel stand or a rom-com that will have you swooning harder than you did when Ryan Gosling pretended to be a bird.

In honor of National Book Lovers Day (Aug. 9), we asked 16 best-selling authors—including Taylor Jenkins Reid, Elin Hilderbrand (a.k.a. the queen of the beach read, NBD!) and Lisa Jewell—to reveal the last book they couldn't put down in an effort to create the ultimate late summer reading list. Consider this the Avengers of literature. 

So, fire up your Kindle or sturdy your bookshelf because you won't be able to resist checking out these reading recommendations from some of this summer's hottest scribes...

Taylor Jenkins Reid

"One of my absolute favorites this summer has been The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta. It is a knockout—full of world-traveling A-list stars, a few juicy scandals, and a fantastic love story. A truly fun one."

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of Malibu Rising.

Elin Hilderbrand

"The Guncle by Steven Rowley: The Guncle (a.k.a. "gay uncle") in this captivating novel is a former sitcom star who has reclused himself to Palm Springs and then finds himself spending the summer with his young niece and nephew after their mother dies and father goes to rehab. Rowley delivers the perfect summer read: The Guncle is relentlessly witty, sweet and heartbreaking. Bonus points for the exquisitely executed Palm Springs setting—the caftans, the mid-century furniture, and of course, the dry martinis."

Elin Hilderbrand is the author of Golden Girl. 

Lisa Jewell

"The ultimate beach read for this summer has to be Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. Air steward, Mena, goes back to work after a break, on the maiden flight of a high speed service from London to Sydney. On board she finds a note telling her that unless she follows further instructions her young daughter in London will be murdered. It's a nail-biting 'what would you do?' dilemma with the momentum of a blockbuster movie and an epilogue that will knock your socks off."

Lisa Jewell is the author of The Night She Disappeared, available Sept. 7.

Jasmine Guillory

"I absolutely adored Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson. It's about two teenage girls who meet at a music festival, about their joys and struggles and loves and hardships, and how music brings them together, and helps them trust one another, and trust themselves. It made me somehow feel like we'll all be able to get through this hard time, together."

Jasmine Guillory is the author of While We Were Dating.

Miranda Cowley-Heller

"Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia: I love the way Garcia is able to combine trauma and lyricism, briars and roses, in the lives of the complex, passionate women at the center of this beautiful debut."

Miranda Cowley-Heller is the author of The Paper Palace.

Jamie Brenner

"The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison is a new must-read. My favorite novels are anchored by a fabulous heroine, and The Show Girl's Olive McCormick, a Ziegfeld Follies star in 1920s New York torn between love and career, is everything we could ask for in a leading lady."

Jamie Brenner is the author of Blush.

Zakiya Dalila Harris

"Survive the Night by Riley Sager: A woman with a complicated past gets into a car with a mysterious stranger. The premise may sound simple, but this book kept me guessing every mile of the way. Adding to the thrill is that the story takes place over the span of one night—all the more reason to binge it in one sitting!"

Zakiya Dalila Harris is the author of The Other Black Girl

Andrea Bartz

"I've loved all of Megan Collins' thrillers, but her new whodunit, The Family Plot (out Aug. 17), is the best one yet. There's a remote island, a creepy mansion, a serial killer, and true crime references galore—all masterfully woven together in a claustrophobic, unsettling mystery marked by Collins's masterful prose."

Andrea Bartz is the author of We Were Never Here.

Kristy Woodson Harvey

"The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel was hands-down one of my favorite reads of 2021. This sweeping, transportive novel sheds light on the thousands of Jewish refugees who survived World War II against incredible odds by hiding out in the forests of Poland. It's a story of love, loss, identity and redemption that should be on everyone's reading list!"

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Under the Southern Sky.

Jessica Goodman

"Don't Breathe a Word by Jordyn Taylor: This propulsive young adult thriller stars Eva, a newbie at an exclusive boarding school, on her quest to get into a secret society. But as she learns more about the school and a scandal that took place in a nuclear fallout shelter below campus in the sixties, Eva becomes inextricably linked to one of the former students who was in the shelter. Told in fast-paced dual timelines, Don't Breathe a Word is a true page-turner."

Jessica Goodman is the author of They'll Never Catch Us

Tahmima Anam

"My recent reading obsession is Katie Kitamura's Intimacies. It is a novel that carries enormous moral weight, attending to themes of alienation, violence, and love, with every page written in the most taut, gripping prose. It will haunt your dreams long after you've turned the last page."

Tahmima Anam is the author of The Startup Wife.

Helen Hoang

"I loved Xio Axelrod's The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes. It's Daisy Jones and the Six meets A Star is Born, with the happily ever after we all wish that movie had, and it totally swept me away."

Helen Hoang is the author of The Heart Principle, available Aug. 31.

Maggie Shipstead

"The Third Pole by Mark Synnott: This account of climbing Mt. Everest from the Tibetan side in search of a climber lost 97 years ago and a camera that might change everything is both a gripping adventure story and an engrossing historical mystery."

Maggie Shipstead is the author of Great Circle.

Chandler Baker

"Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron: Lindsay Cameron plays into our—or at least my—worst snooping impulses, the tantalizing possibility that we might uncover something juicy, if we could just eavesdrop long enough on that colleague/stranger/friend. In her delightfully twisted book, the inbox is the new Pandora's Box. I read it thinking I'd try just one page, then just one chapter, then just one—until I'd inadvertently raced through the end."

Chandler Baker is the author of The Husbands.

Megan Abbott

"My big summer rec is The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer (out Aug. 17), a pulse-pounding, continent-hopping tale inspired by one of history's most mysterious art thefts. Unputdownable!"

Megan Abbott is the author of The Turnout. 

Beck Dorey-Stein

"The Damage by Caitlin Wharer: A tightly-woven family drama, The Damage is a character study AND a page-turner, which makes it the perfect read. Plus, it's set in Maine, so what could go wrong..."

Beck Dorey-Stein is the author of Rock the Boat.