SALT LAKE CITY — Summer (should) mean hot days and, with any luck, a little beach or, at least, pool time. To help you settle into your lounge chair, we've found these five books to keep you entertained as you sip your drink and glance at the water. Happy reading!
For Jane Austen fans who don't mind a twist on the classics:
"Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors," by Sonali Dev, William Morrow, 496 pages (f)
As a big Jane Austen fan, I rarely say no to modern reinterpretations of her work. This one did not disappoint! "Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors" takes the classic tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy and flips it, making the Elizabeth character (called Trisha) the rich snob and Darcy (now known as DJ) the one who feels a bit out of place in high society. Although I've read the original "Pride and Prejudice" more than a dozen times, this version kept me guessing. It was fun to try to figure out what would happen next and then — for the most part — be proven wrong. I highly recommend bringing this book along on your next trip to the pool or beach!
Content advisory: This book includes references to sex and sexual assault, as well as some strong language.
— Kelsey Dallas
For those who like a good scare:
"THE LAST HOUSE GUEST," by Megan Miranda, Simon & Schuster, 352 pages
“The Last House Guest” is a perfect summer thriller. The story's main character, Avery Greer, takes readers into the wealthy, complex world of the East Coast beach town of Littleport, where the Loman's family summer rental company is slowly edging out locals. Littleport is a town of extremes, with crashing surf and narrow mountain roads, and it’s known for taking as much as it gives. Avery’s own parents were killed in a car crash, and the summer before the book begins, Sadie Loman, the heiress of the Loman family and Avery’s best friend, is found dead. Although Sadie’s death is ruled a suicide, the next summer, clues keep piling up and Avery begins to suspect foul play. This page-turner keeps readers guessing with red herrings at every turn as Avery revisits her past and begins to understand more deeply the dark underbelly of the Lomans’ wealth and power.
Content advisory: "The Last House Guest" contains discussions of suicide and murder, but not graphically.
— Kaitlin Hoelzer
For the sports fan — or anyone who loves a good story:
"THEY BLED BLUE: Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers," by Jason Turbow, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 384 pages (nf)
Jason Turbow has created the best possible summer confection with this story of the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers. Everything about "They Bled Blue" is completely delightful: The story’s delightful. The writing’s delightful. The footnotes are a total treat. But Turbow’s book isn’t just for Dodgers fans — it’s for fans of the game, the underdog and just plain good writing. It’s hard not to love every page about Tommy Lasorda, for example, because Turbow has captured him as the larger-than-life character he’s always been. And that’s what makes this book pool-worthy reading this summer: These are true characters who also happen to be Major League Baseball players. Turbow’s wrangled them in all their "Bad-News-Bears"-meets-"Field-of-Dreams" glory and recorded them with the most finger-lickin’ good sports writing I’ve read in a while.
Content advisory: "They Bled Blue" contains mild cursing.
— Amanda Olson
For fans of smart thrillers:
"The Need," by Helen Phillips, Simon & Schuster, 272 pages (f)
Molly, a paleobotanist and mother of two, has been finding things that definitely shouldn't exist. A Coca-Cola bottle with the writing slanting the wrong way. Ancient plants with no place in the prehistoric evolutionary record. A Bible referring to God as "she." And an intruder in a deer mask who knows every last thing about her, from her PIN to where her daughter lost her favorite picture book — things no other human except herself could possibly know. What follows is an existential meditation on motherhood and self. Phillips has created in "The Need" an anxious, sleep-deprived thriller that will keep readers up at night.
Content advisory: This book contains descriptions of breastfeeding and a non-explicit sex scene, along with some mild cursing.
— Valerie Johnson
For kids and grown-ups who romanticize life in New York City:
"ALL THE GRAYS ON GREENE STREET," by Laura Tucker, illustrations by Kelly Murphy, Viking Books for Young Readers, 320 pages, 8-12 years (f)
It's 1981 and 12-year-old Olympia — "Ollie" — lives in a large, open art studio/apartment in a New York City warehouse, where Ollie and her artistically inclined parents are creators and art restorers. But when "All the Grays on Greene Street" opens, Ollie is essentially alone. Her father has mysteriously disappeared to France and her mother won't get out of bed. This sweet tale of a little girl dealing with a depressed parent and the trials of trying to navigate childhood without parental support rises above its heavy subject matter and places readers in a vibrant New York neighborhood filled with interesting characters and thoughtful moments.
Content advisory: "All the Grays on Greene Street" deals with depression, infidelity and absentee parents but in a sensitive way that is suitable for young readers.
— Cristy Meiners