Books of the summer: Here’s what you should read and why

This summer, you can travel through a variety of emotions in literature, from the attraction of romance to the mystique of mystery, the depths of despair to the humour of satire. From the first to the final page, our hand-picked collection of summer literature guarantees a fascinating experience that will keep you enthralled.

We have a variety of books to choose from; whether you’re looking for a cosy mystery, thought-provoking book, coming-of-age tale, queer romance or even romantic comedy, we’ve got you covered. So spend this summer curling up with one of our books o the summer and letting your thoughts wander.

You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi. 

Books of the Summer - YMAFODWYBThe author fills the lacking areas of queer romance with this tale of grief, revival and betrayal. The story unravels, showing multiple versions of how grief can repossess a person’s light, making them forget who they are and what they have the potential to become. 

The first sentence in the book, “Milan was the first person Feyi had f***ed since the accident”, sets the theme for the novel’s rambunctious protagonist, Feyi. 

Feyi sets out of widowhood, searching for stability and peace five years after the death of her husband. This yearning for life after death strengthens Feyi to step out of her bubble and eventually meet Nasir. 

The part of this book that shook me was when I realised that Nasir was only the catalyst for Feyi’s canon event. The one event that made her wish she had never even met Nasir. One thing that stuck out was the slow burn and the attention to detail in every conversation Feyi had with Alim. The conversations where even nothing was said were written with so much meticulousness. For the most part of the book, I felt like I was living those moments with Feyi, but on the couch and not actually doing anything (side eye)

Every emotion in this book was carefully rolled out to promulgate the author’s thoughts about the characters of this book. At some point, the line between the protagonist and the antagonist is spread so thin that the antagonist becomes the protagonist and vice versa. The intensity of this book will bring you to tears as it did me. Love really does conquer all. 

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Seven Days In June by Tia Williams 

Books of the Summer - Seven Days in JuneIn just seven days, the worlds of erotica writer Eva Mercy and award-winning novelist Shane Hall are flipped over on their side. Awakening the same sweetness and passion they shared 15 years ago. Before their worlds collided, their separate lives were not exactly perfect. Eva suffered from chronic headaches that hindered her from experiencing life in its full glory. However, being accustomed to this physical pain did not stop her heart from bleeding into the 15 books she wrote based on her one-week encounter with Shane Hall. 

This book threw me back and forth through Shane and Eva’s lives, and it was quite the journey. In every aspect, it was astonishing how two people could exist together at the same time and space but experience life differently in those exact moments. It is a very tempting read that allowed me to live through their grievances and feel how much pain they felt while passing through these traumatising events in real-time.  

For the most part, it felt as though Tia Williams was writing about the healing power of friendship, not love, and I was exasperated. But eventually, she did what needed to be done and made the experience quite refreshing.

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Maame by Jessica George 

Maame, derived from the Ghanaian Twi dialect of the Akan language of south and central Ghana, translates to mother, caregiver or woman. As a debut for the author Jessica George into the world of full-time novel writing, Maame is a coming-of-age novel about Maddie, a young woman finding herself outside the role of mother and caregiver. Based on the experiences of the British-Ghanaian author and her family, the story foreshadows the events that lead to the protagonist’s father’s death and the following events. 

Maddie’s experience as a child of immigrant parents is all too familiar to many people. Maddie’s story is most likely to resonate with women who feel obligated to cater to family members while letting go of themselves and giving up everything they desire. Maame is a tale of a young girl becoming a mother before she even matures to the point where she desires motherhood. It is a tale of many African women wrapped into one. The humour of this book is not lost in its sadness. The tone of this book is humorous and witty, regardless of the protagonist’s struggles. Maddie’s story hit a little bit close to home.

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Yellow Face by Rebecca F. Kuang

This satirical portrayal of cultural appropriation by R.F Kuang will have you on your toes, flipping pages eagerly. The story begins with revealing two characters; Juniper Hayward, a white woman seeking a breakthrough in her writing career, and her not-so-friendly Asian friend, Athena Liu, who is, in contrast to Juniper, a successful and prominent writer.

 Athena dies in a freak accident while choking on pancakes. Juniper decides to steal Athena’s manuscript in a selfish attempt for self-preservation and wanting to catch a break in her career. The following pages of the novel acquaint its readers with Juniper’s journey to becoming the worst version of herself. Masking as an Asian woman to appeal to a particular audience. 

This book is one of the messiest, most capturing and time-absorbing books I have ever read. From the author of Poppy Wars, it is quite the shift from her usual style. Yellowface will open your mind to recognising your racist ideologies and perceptions of people. Yellowface is an exciting trip in the dystopian world of forced socio-political correctness that we live in.

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A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo

Marie Claire Nigeria - Books of the Summer - A Spell of Good ThingsMeet Eniola, a tall and mature-looking boy for his age, hustling through life’s challenges as his father grapples with job loss. From running errands for the local tailor to daydreaming about a brighter future, Eniola’s days are a mix of hopes and uncertainties. On the other side, there’s Wuraola, the golden child of an affluent family, now a young doctor navigating her first year of practice and catching the eye of Kunle, a passionate family friend. The unexpected twist comes when a local politician’s interest in Eniola and a sudden burst of violence disrupt a family gathering, intertwining Wuraola and Eniola’s lives in Ayobami Adebayo’s “A Spell Of Good Things.” And yes, this book proves Ayobami’s a literary genius, topping even “Stay With Me” with its beauty and sheer grip.

Sure, some parts might feel predictable, but that’s the Nigerian in me kicking in. We know life can throw curveballs that shatter any semblance of the status quo. But don’t let that stop you from diving in. The book’s familiarity didn’t dull its shine for me. Ayobami’s skill at capturing heart-wrenching truths kept me hooked, even when I should’ve looked away. She could describe a pebble and make it captivating. And this book? It’s the essence of Nigeria, captured like nothing else. The struggles, the highs, the lows are here for us to absorb.

This is your read if you’re into African Literature, especially stories with a raw, societal edge. Trust me; it’s an eye-opener that’ll linger in your thoughts long after the last page.

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Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu

Marie Claire Nigeria - Books of the Summer - Lucky GirlStep into the world of “Lucky Girl,” where Soila’s journey unfolds against the vibrant backdrop of Kenya and the bustling streets of New York City. Her life takes a mysterious turn on her 5th birthday when her father’s passing casts a shadow that no one dares to speak about. Raised by her strict yet enigmatic mother, Soila’s path is paved with gratitude, selflessness, and an unwavering silence about her father’s death. Their wealth and success shield her from the world’s harsh realities, but as college beckons, Soila sets her sights on the US for an education that promises to unravel the cocoon of her sheltered existence.

Venturing into a realm of secrets, courage, and unexpected romance, Soila’s journey in the US unveils her own identity and the complexities of being a Kenyan in a foreign land. It’s a story that grips you from the first page, making you lose track of time as you eagerly uncover her choices and challenges.

Yet, amidst the compelling narrative, Soila’s reluctance to stand up for herself in the face of her domineering mother occasionally sparks frustration. As she tiptoes around her desires, you might yearn to shake her, urging her to grow up and claim her adulthood.

While the exploration of themes like African life in America and mother-daughter bonds adds depth, there are moments where the transition between these discussions and the plot feels a tad forced, resembling academic interjections rather than seamless storytelling. However, don’t be deterred because “Lucky Girl” weaves a tapestry of emotion, growth, and empowerment. Despite the occasional exasperation with Soila, her journey remains undeniably relatable and engaging.

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The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts – Soraya Palmer

Step into the captivating world of “The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts,” Soraya Palmer’s debut novel that’s anything but ordinary. Get ready to be swept away as we journey alongside Beatrice and her family through shifting perspectives that unveil hidden narratives and ancestral echoes that’ll keep you guessing.

From the start, an all-knowing narrator guides us into the lives of Beatrice’s family. Daughters Sasha and Zora take the reins, painting a vivid picture of resilience, self-discovery, and the power of history. Palmer seamlessly weaves Afro-Caribbean folklore into the mix, adding an enchanting layer to the storytelling.

But what makes “Human Origins” genuinely unique is its refusal to serve up easy answers. Instead, Palmer serves up a buffet of ideas, inviting you to create your own interpretations. The novel dances between Afro-Caribbean and European storytelling traditions, letting you explore the mysteries or savour the narrative ride.

Get ready to delve into intricate relationships and emotional landscapes. Reflect on why Beatrice endures or Sasha’s echoes of her father’s beliefs. Uncover the origins of Nigel’s aggressive tendencies. Palmer effortlessly captures these complex emotions, letting you unravel the threads that connect them.

“The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts” isn’t just a book—it’s a journey into the heart of storytelling. Like cherished folklore, Palmer’s narrative trusts the timeless magic of spoken and unspoken stories to convey profound truths across generations and cultures.

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The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Meet Bianca Bridge – a whirlwind of colours, blending big dreams with a touch of messiness, just like your favourite eyeshadow palette. Life takes a wild turn when her affair with a married government bigwig goes public, shattering her writing dreams. On the flip side, enter Obadiah Cortland – a legend in Trinidad’s beauty scene, like a bold red lipstick that demands attention. Known as ‘The God of Good Looks,’ he’s mastered the art of image, hiding a complex past under that confident exterior.

As fate plays its hand, their worlds collide when Bianca’s ex-lover threatens their dreams. Forced into an unexpected partnership, these two opposites must join forces to save what they hold dear. Picture it: Bianca’s chaos meets Obadiah’s precision, societal biases clashing with personal pride.

“The God of Good Looks” isn’t just a story; it’s a dance between facades and truths. It’s a celebration of self-discovery, unmasking our true selves. With humour and heart, this novel unwraps the potential that blossoms when we embrace who we are sans the pretences. Imagine a tale as vibrant as your makeup collection, as bold as your lipstick choice, and as unforgettable as finding your own path. Get ready for a journey as colourful as Bianca’s world and as impactful as Obadiah’s artistry.

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And there you have it…

A tantalising selection of summer reads that promise to transport you through a range of emotions and experiences. Whether you’re craving the allure of romance, the enigma of mystery, the depths of despair, or the lightness of satire, our carefully curated collection has something for every literary palate.

Dive into these pages and journey alongside characters who will enthral you from the opening lines to the very end. From the depths of grief and betrayal to the heights of passion and revival, these stories promise to keep you hooked, turning pages long into the night.

Whether you’re in the mood for a cosy mystery, a thought-provoking tale, a coming-of-age narrative, or an exploration of unconventional relationships, we’ve covered your literary cravings. So, let this summer be a season of exploration and connection – not just with far-off places but with the rich tapestry of human emotions that these books paint so vividly.

You’ve got a ticket to a world of laughter, tears, suspense, and heart – all you need to do is pick up these reads and let your imagination soar. So, grab your favourite spot, a refreshing drink, and let the stories sweep you away on unforgettable journeys.

This summer, let the pages of these books be your passport to new adventures as you uncover the beauty, depth, and power of the written word. Happy reading!


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