Do you guys find that your book choices align with the seasons? I seem to enjoy snuggling up in blankets with a cup of cocoa and a good classic in the winter, while the summer has me reaching for books with a lighter, breezier, fun-to-read vibe. As the founder of the Novels of New York Book Club, I’m always on the hunt for books to read which are set in NYC, and below are 5 books which are on my to-read list for the summer.
Whether you find yourself in search of the perfect NYC beach read, or just something to bring a smile to your commute, I hope you enjoy them as much as I intend to!
If you enjoy a good Brooklyn murder mystery:
Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of being closer to her mother, who might still be living in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn.
Then Rebekah is called to cover the story of a murdered Hasidic woman. Rebekah’s shocked to learn that, because of the NYPD’s habit of kowtowing to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community, not only will the woman be buried without an autopsy, her killer may get away with murder. Rebekah can’t let the story end there. But getting to the truth won’t be easy—even as she immerses herself in the cloistered world where her mother grew up, it’s clear that she’s not welcome, and everyone she meets has a secret to keep from an outsider.
New York City 1992: a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Brooklyn, a black family is brutally murdered in their Crown Heights home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.
Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn’t do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City―not even Saul Katz, a former NYPD cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.
So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.
If you’re looking for the perfect poolside read set in the swanky Hamptons:
Cassie and Peck are half sisters with little in common beyond a shared last name–that is, until their beloved aunt Lydia bequeaths them equal shares of her ramshackle old cottage in the Hamptons with instructions to “seek the thing of utmost value” within it. Cassie and Peck fantasize about discovering a lost Jackson Pollock, or a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, as they revel in one last summer of fabulous parties and nostalgia.
The Summer We Read Gatsby, a perfect beach read, captures the spirit of New York’s most glamorous resort town, and will captivate readers with its spellbinding blend of romance, mystery, and charmingly eccentric characters.
If you’re looking for a post-college, coming to NYC and finding yourself story:
When M. meets Belle at Dartmouth, they become the unlikeliest best friends. Belle is an unapologetic Romantic famous on campus for her bright red accessories and hundred-watt smile, while M. is a tomboyish Realist who insists she’ll always prefer her signet ring to any diamond. Despite their differences, they are drawn together, and after graduation they both move to New York with all the unfounded confidence of twenty-two. M. secures a job at the city’s most prestigious investment bank, and Belle turns her nostalgic aesthetic into one of the first lifestyle blogs, which quickly goes viral. Their future is spread before them, a glittering tableau of vintage cocktails, password-guarded parties, and high-octane ambition. But as they are pulled deeper into their new lives, and into the charming orbit of their Gatsby-esque new friend, Jeremy, style and substance―and dreams and reality―increasingly blur. In this fake plastic world, what do success and love and happiness even look like?
Dazzling, whimsical, and full of yearning, Fake Plastic Love is the transporting story of bright young things tested by the unsentimental realities of post-graduate life. Tipping its hat to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kimberley Tait’s gorgeous, incisive debut is a portrait of millennial Manhattan―equal parts nostalgia and modernity―that explores the timeless question: You will be a grand total of what you spend your time doing, so what do you want to add up to?
If you’re looking for a YA romance, set on the dazzling streets of New York:
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
And in case you missed in…5 of the best books set in NYC I read last year.
Oh! And a tiny shameless plug, but I’m working on a NYC book of my own! If you’d like to be notified when it’s published later this year, please fill out the form below! Besides the obvious (hi, family!), reading and NYC are two of my very favorite things, and I’m excited to share both of these passions with you in the book!