A Buzzy Dozen

Summer reading is upon us! If you don't believe us, just check out our latest round of staff picks. (Or just check the thermostat. There's certainly no arguing with that!) We have stories of summer camp, twisty mysteries, juicy romance, family sagas, and gripping historical fiction on offer  this week. Any one of these books would go down great on a beach, or in a comfortable chair under the ceiling fan. Grab your sunglasses and floppiest hat and dig in.


Ages 8-12

Camp Sylvania: Moon Madness by Julie Murphy & Crystal Maldonado

Maggie and her best friend Nora are back in book two of the Camp Sylvania series. This summer, the camp is under new ownership and Maggie gets to bring Nora along for free. New camp director Luna is much kinder than last summer’s villain, Sylvie, but definitely has some boho-earthy vibes the kids are opposed to. Everything is organic and natural and anything with chemicals, plastics or synthetic food ingredients must go—including snacks from home and even everyone's deodorant! Maggie and Nora are also struggling with some growing pains in their friendship. Nora just wants to fit in with a cool group of campers and is developing a crush on a new boy. Meanwhile, Maggie is determined to get to the bottom of the new weird stuff happening this summer, including the moon water Luna insists the kids use. Told in alternating points of view between Maggie and Nora, this perfect middle grade novel explores friendship, self confidence, growing up, and, of course—werewolves at summer camp!
—Aerie

Read because this is the perfect funny-scary book to read by a campfire.
Pass if you need to catch up with the creepy goings-on at Camp Sylvania — we have book one on our shelves waiting for you!
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Adult Fiction

Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan

Rufus is the future Earl of Greshamsbury, but the legendary Gresham Trust is flat broke. At the wedding of his sister on the Big Island of Hawaii, his mother has concocted a plan for him to fall in love with Solène de Courcy, a French heiress and hopeful answer to all the Gresham's money problems. What follows is disaster after disaster, ending with Rufus declaring his love for long-time family friend (and entirely unsuitable marriage material, in his mother's eyes) Eden. As enjoyable as it is over-the-top, this is another gossipy and decadent page-turner poking fun at the lives of the young and rich and famous. 
—Aerie

Read because Kevin Kwan is irresistible.
Pass if you'd prefer to read about a destination wedding in Italy. (Keep scrolling!)
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The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley

All of the characters from The Guncle return in this absolutely delightful follow up. Patrick's brother Greg is engaged and his kids, Grant and Maisie, struggle with the idea of their father remarrying. Greg asks Patrick to take the kids on a vacation before the wedding in Lake Como. Thus begins a trip through Europe only Patrick O'Hara could arrange that culminates at the wedding. Along the way, Patrick tries to explain to Grant and Maisie why their father might get remarried and all the different kinds of love there are. It's a delight of a novel full of humor, grief, and moving forward.  
—Cathy

Read because nothing this delightful should go unappreciated.
Pass if you're waiting until after our event with Steven Rowley to dive into this one.
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I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue

A freshly funny novel in which main character Jolene barely tolerates her job at Supershop, Inc. Her coworkers behave immaturely and have sluggish work habits. By adding a whited-out line at the end of each email she sends, she vents her frustrations in the snarkiest way. When her bizarre micro-aggressions get exposed, she must attend sensitivity training with the new HR guy, Cliff, and her computer communications get monitored. Immediately, Jolene discovers that the restrictions to her computer actually allow her to read ALL private emails and DM's from every worker in the office. Keeping quiet about this development means Jolene glimpses each person's secrets and insecurities along with getting a clear understanding about upcoming restructuring of the company. Meanwhile, she discovers more about Cliff during their mandatory meetings, which opens a path to healing her crumbling life. At times absurd and at times serious, these quirky, endearing characters will steal your heart. I so didn't want this book to end—it's THAT good!
—Liz

Read if you're looking to spend time with characters you won't soon forget.
Pass if reading the title sent you into an anxiety spiral over all your unread emails.
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Oye by Melissa Mogollon

Told through a series of one-sided phone calls, Oye tells the story of high-schooler Luciana's senior year. Her grandmother, Abue, refuses to evacuate for a hurricane with the rest of her family, a decision that leads to a series of events including a devastating medical diagnosis and having to live in the same room as Luciana. Throughout the year, Abue and the other family members begin to start revealing the truth of her childhood in Columbia, leaving Luciana to deal with the pressure of secrets, as well as the many other problems that she has to deal with—translating at the hospital, dealing with her crazy mother, a sister who avoids coming home, and hiding her sexuality. The format of this book made it so interesting to read and gave the sister a lot of personality despite never giving her side of the conversation. Luciana is a great character, and even the most heartbreaking conversations have some humor. A quick, fun read with a unique format!
—Lucy

Read for the rich characters and beautifully messy family dynamics.
Pass if you'd rather hang up and listen.
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The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

What are the chances that the cases of two missing girls decades apart occur in the same small town—and within one detective's life? Ellie, a troublemaking teen, disappears without a trace after throwing a party at a hotel. Lead detective Chelsey Calhoun has been haunted by this case for two years, in part because it reminds her of the disappearance of her own sister twenty years ago. When Ellie turns up on a trailhead miles from home, the detective and her parents are filled with relief. As the days and inquiries proceed, they realize all is not what it seems. Where has she been and what is going on now that she is home? What I really loved about this book are the first-person chapters from Ellie’s point of view. So, so clever! Plan a day to read this in one sitting, and hold on tight—this book will have you on the edge of your seat, muttering out loud at the huge twists and turns! 
—Christina

Read because this is a thoughtful thriller that will keep you glued to your chair.
Pass if you're worried about getting glue all over your pants.
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The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis

Rory is serving as a "real life" main character in author Ginevra Ex's latest novel. The author's unique process is to find a person of interest for a novel and conduct in-depth interviews with that person, their family, and their closest friend, and then write a novel about real-life people and events. Rory has no idea why she was chosen, but the timing was perfect. She was fired from her job, suddenly lost her long term boyfriend, and was glad to escape. Fast forward months later to a culminating end-of-book bonus trip on the coast of Italy, but her brother, ex-boyfriend and best friend have all been invited and show up out of the blue. Everyone has secrets that Ginevra seems to know about, and Rory is slowly finding out a version of the truth. Are her friends who they seem to be? A great thriller with twists and turns that explode in the last few pages
—Christina

Read if you can't get enough of Paula Hawkins or Ruth Ware.
Pass if the only twists you're looking for this summer can be found on a pretzel.
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Locked in Pursuit by Ashley Weaver

Ellie McDonnell and her family are safecrackers who recently worked for the British government, using their talent for good. After the last mission that left Major Ramsey shot multiple times, Ellie hasn't heard from him! When she reads about a string of local robberies that don't make sense, she knows it’s just the sort of thing he needs to know about. After making a house call, she realizes his injuries are healing more slowly than expected, and he's a bit more grumpy as a result. They discover that the robberies are linked to a spy ring and their investigation grows more dangerous the closer they come to the truth. And then there is the attraction to each other that they continue to fight to ignore. In the midst of the spy catching, Ellie learns more about her parents’ past that leads her down a path that changes her relationship with the Major and how she will work with him in the future. Another great installment in one of my favorite mystery series.
—Christina

Read because this kind of romantic mystery is perfect for summer reading.
Pass if you need to catch up with the rest of the series first.
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The Goddess of Warsaw by Lisa Barr

A powerful story about the past of Hollywood diva, Lena Browning, and how she fought, killed, and loved. She had been an actress until she was sent to live in the Warsaw Ghetto with thousands of other Jews during World War II. How she escaped, helped others, and created a new persona that became a Hollywood legend will have you turning the pages quickly! Lisa Barr has given us another gem of a book that will stay with me for a very long time.
—Christina

Read because this captivating story will keep you guessing until the final page.
Pass if you want a book you'll forget about as soon as it's over.
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Last House by Jessica Shattuck

In 1953, Nick, a former soldier turned company lawyer for American Oil, is asked to travel to Iran by an agent of the CIA. After the operation, Nick returns home to his wife, Bet, and their two kids: Katherine and Harry. The young couple decides to use their new found fortune to purchase a summer home they call Last House, an escape from a world that seems on the verge of ending. This book follows Nick and Bet in the years after Nick's first trip to the Middle East for oil deals and later transitions into Katherine's adult life as an activist in the 60s and 70s. It explores how the childhood of privilege she and her brother experienced impacts their lives and decisions, and how it will lead their family to tragedy. Overall, it was a really good book and balanced all of the different aspects really well!
—Lucy

Read because this incredible family saga is equal parts epic and intimate.
Pass if you're looking for something boring and vague.
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The Wealth of Shadows by Graham Moore

Reading more like narrative nonfiction than fiction, Moore's latest novel is an in-depth look at the economics of World War II, the U.S. attempts to crash the German economy, and the Allies' negotiations to form an economic basis for post-war peace and recovery. The story focuses on the individuals involved in policy-making, primarily on one of the participants, Ansel Luxford, an attorney with the U.S Treasury department. Luxford and a handful of economists worked in a secret research group led by Henry Dexter White, whose historical significance is his ideological opposition to John Maynard Keynes, financial guru of the British government. Using espionage, illegal activities, lying and cunning, White's group tried to devise a politically acceptable means to aid Britain and France while maintaining U.S. neutrality. It's a fascinating look at behind-the-scenes economic warfare. Though few facts are known about Luxford's involvement, the author fills in the gaps with well-researched and credibly imagined scenarios. Recommended to anyone interested in the economic and political history of the mid-20th century.
—Alice

Read if you like your thrillers with a side-serving of learning.
Pass if you think there's nothing to learn from the past.
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A Good Life by Virginie Grimaldi; translated by Hildegarde Serle 

Savagely funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming with two estranged sisters coming to Basque Country for one last summer vacation at their dearly beloved Mima's home. Emma is the older sister and the protector. Agathe is the younger and more unstable. After losing their father to a car accident, their mother, who is already self destructive, goes off the rails. Grimaldi alternates the story with present day conversations and memories of the past. And there is one last story to tell….
—Valerie

Read because we have a feeling that this one is going to be talked about for a long, long time.
Pass if you *don't* want to your book club to think that you have great taste.
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