As the weather warms up and daylight increases, that means summer is just around the corner. Some readers may be going on vacation, relaxing on the beach, and just enjoying some alone time staycationing. What better way to do that than with a great book! Simon & Schuster’s multicultural marketing department has selected seven fun and captivating books that will have readers adding to their ever-growing TBR pile for the summer season. Here’s a look at these exciting summer reads from a great range of diverse authors. There’s something for everyone to enjoy while they soak up some sun.
Akwaeke Emezi’s new novel explores the ways in which a young woman must choose love despite trauma from her past. What excites me about this book is this theme of fighting for love, even when you feel you don’t deserve it. Feyi faces grief while finding ways to let love back in her life. As she navigates a new relationship, she struggles with the possibility of moving on. Love is something all humans crave in many forms, but we tend to stand in the way of our own happiness. This story is sure to be relatable to many readers and will hopefully show them that despite what they’ve been through, they are worthy of any love that comes their way.
A New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and “one of our greatest living writers” (Shondaland) reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.
It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.
Ebony LaDelle’s novel depicts heartwarming young Black love as Dani and Prince fall for each other in only three dates. Dani is an ambitious senior in high school struggling to write her college essay. Prince is a DJ at a hip-hop radio station where he gives listeners advice on love. This book has everything I love about a teen romance novel: a reluctant girl who isn’t looking for love, a lovestruck boy who doesn’t give up on winning the girl over, and high stakes that have you anxiously turning the page to find out if these young lovers finally come together and see they are meant for each other.
Hitch meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this witty and romantic teen novel about a self-professed teen love doctor with a popular radio segment who believes he can get a girl who hates all things romance to fall in love with him in only three dates.
Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers—or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own segment on Detroit’s popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, where he dishes out advice to the brokenhearted.
Prince has always dreamed of becoming a DJ and falling in love. But being the main caretaker for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his little brother means his dreams will stay just that and the only romances in his life are the ones he hears about from his listeners.
Until he meets Dani Ford.
Dani isn’t checking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan: ace senior year, score a scholarship, and move to New York City to become a famous author. But her college essay keeps tripping her up and acknowledging what’s blocking her means dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago.
And that’s one thing Dani can’t do.
When the romantic DJ meets the ambitious writer, sparks fly. Prince is smitten, but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. She gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for.
Three dates for the love expert to take his own advice, and just maybe change two lives forever.
This story depicts an ambitious, hard-working Afro-Latinx young woman who is chasing her dreams of being in the music industry when she meets a handsome but troubled R&B star. When their worlds collide, she finds that her goals of being a songwriter are in jeopardy. In this truly timely book, Ashely M. Coleman shows how goal-oriented, determined women in the music industry are often critiqued more than their male counterparts. It’s a great novel for those who’ve often questioned if they can have it all: love, a career, and success.
For fans of My (Not So) Perfect Life and Jasmine Guillory’s While We Were Dating, a disarmingly fun debut novel follows Carlisa Henton as her life comes undone after a chance meeting with a rising pop star.
Carlisa “Carli” Henton is a musician and songwriter hoping to follow in her father’s musical footsteps. But, biding her time until she makes it big in the music industry, she works as a junior account manager at a big-name media company to cover her New York City rent. Carli meticulously balances her work with her musical endeavors as a songwriter—until a chance meeting with rising star Tau Anderson sends her calculated world into a frenzy. Their worlds collide and quickly blur the strict lines Carli has drawn between her business and her personal life, throwing Carli’s reputation—and her burgeoning songwriting career—into question.
A smart, timely, energizing romance, Good Morning, Love shows us what the glamorous New York’s music scene is really like and takes us into the lives of a rising but somewhat troubled R&B star and a promising protégé who knows her job better than she knows herself.
With fresh and honest prose, Good Morning, Love examines the uncertainty of being a new professional looking to chase a dream while also trying to survive in a world that’s not always kind to ambitious women.
In this story, Monica Ali delves into the topics of class, sexuality, and love in a stunning look at how two families from two very different cultural vantage points come together for a wedding. Yasmin Ghorami, a British-Indian woman engaged to an upper-class white man (Joe Sangster), must deal with the various clashes that occur when their two worlds are about to become one. Readers will enjoy this moving and enlightening story about two people, cultures, and families coming together in the name of love.
Set in London now, Love Marriage marks the magnificent return of Monica Ali, the Booker Prize shortlisted, “splendid, daring, brilliant, refreshing” novelist (The New Republic) “with an inborn generosity that cannot be learned” (The New York Times Book Review).
Yasmin Ghorami in twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father), and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose formidable mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist. The gulf between families is vast. So, too, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe.
As the wedding day draws near, misunderstandings, infidelities, and long-held secrets upend both Yasmin’s relationship and that of her parents, a “love marriage,” according to the family lore that Yasmin has believed all her life.
A gloriously acute observer of class, sexual mores, and the mysteries of the human heart, Monica Ali has written a captivating social comedy and a profoundly moving, revelatory story of two cultures, two families, and two people trying to understand one another.
Monica Ali’s Brick Lane was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic.
From motivational speaker and Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin comes SPEAK, a compelling book that will teach readers to live with purpose. Oyeneyin takes the invigorating energy of her Peloton classes and puts it on the page. She encourages readers to push themselves and shares her own personal stories of lessons she’s learned along her journey. With this book, she hopes she can inspire others to be more proactive in their joy and feel empowered to make the changes they need to live a more positive and happier life.
From Tunde Oyeneyin, the massively popular Peloton instructor, fitness star, and founder of SPEAK, comes an empowering, inspiring book that shows how she transformed grief, setbacks, and flaws into growth, self-confidence, and triumph—for fans of Brene Brown and Glennon Doyle.
On any given day, thousands of devoted people clip into their bikes and have their lives changed by Tunde Oyeneyin. From her platform in a Peloton studio, she encourages riders with her trademark blend of positivity, empathy, and motivational “Tunde-isms,” to push themselves to their limits both on and off the bike. Now, fans and readers everywhere can learn about her personal journey, and discover how they too can “live a life of purpose, on purpose” with Speak, a memoir-manifesto-guide to life inspired by her immensely popular Instagram Live series of the same name.
Taking us through each step of the SPEAK acronym—Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity, and Knowledge—Oyeneyin shares the lessons she has learned about loss, love, body image, and how she has successfully created an intentional, joyful life for herself, offering an accessible blueprint for anyone looking to make a positive change in their lives.
Sidik Fofana’s STORIES FROM THE TENANTS DOWNSTAIRS is sure to entice those who loved Gloria Naylor’s classic novel THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. This book tells stories from the eight different but connected perspectives of characters who live in a Harlem high-rise apartment building. These stories will give readers a glimpse into the hopes, dreams, strengths, and struggles of one residential community, while the characters go through their day-to-day lives.
Set in a Harlem high rise, a stunning debut about a tight-knit cast of characters grappling with their own personal challenges while the forces of gentrification threaten to upend life as they know it.
Like Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, Sidik Fofana’s electrifying collection of eight interconnected stories showcases the strengths, struggles, and hopes of one residential community in a powerful storytelling experience.
Each short story follows a tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income high rise in Harlem where gentrification weighs on everyone’s mind. There is Swan in apartment 6B, whose excitement about his friend’s release from prison jeopardizes the life he’s been trying to lead. Mimi, in apartment 14D, who hustles to raise the child she had with Swan, waitressing at Roscoe’s and doing hair on the side. And Quanneisha B. Miles, a former gymnast with a good education who wishes she could leave Banneker for good, but can’t seem to escape the building’s gravitational pull. We root for these characters and more as they weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and blaze new paths forward for themselves and the people they love.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs brilliantly captures the joy and pain of the human experience and heralds the arrival of a uniquely talented writer.
With Juneteenth officially becoming a national holiday just last year, this cookbook by Nicole A. Taylor is right on time for the summer. She showcases various summertime recipes that you can prepare not only for the Juneteenth occasion but also for any BBQ or cookout that you plan on having this summer. Taylor also masterfully uses each recipe to educate readers about Juneteenth and its historical connection to food and drinks. With many still learning about the holiday, this is the perfect book to teach readers about such an important part of American history while also sharing with audiences the delicious meals that will make any celebration this summer a good time for all communities to enjoy.
The very first cookbook to celebrate Juneteenth, from food writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor—who draws on her decade of experiences observing the holiday.
On June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. A year later, in 1866, Black Texans congregated with music, dance, and BBQs—Juneteenth celebrations.
All-day cook-outs with artful salads, bounteous dessert spreads, and raised glasses of “red drink” are essential to Juneteenth gatherings. In Watermelon and Red Birds, Nicole puts jubilation on the main stage. As a master storyteller and cook, she bridges the traditional African-American table and 21st-century flavors in stories and recipes. Nicole synthesizes all the places we’ve been, all the people we have come from, all the people we have become, and all the culinary ideas we have embraced.
Watermelon and Red Birds contains over 75 recipes, including drinks like Afro Egg Cream and Marigold Gin Sour, dishes like Beef Ribs with Fermented Harissa Sauce, Peach Jam and Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Southern-ish Potato Salad and Cantaloupe and Feta Salad, and desserts like Roasted Nectarine Sundae, and Radish and Ginger Pound Cake. Taylor also provides a resource to guide readers to BIPOC-owned hot sauces, jams, spice, and waffle mixes companies and lists fun gadgets to make your Juneteenth special. These recipes and essays will inspire parties to salute one of the most important American holidays, and moments to savor joy all year round.
Photo credit: iStock / zozzzzo