Top 10 Best Books for Summer Reading

Here at Book People, we love summer; what could be better than basking in the sunshine with a brilliant read? However, it can be difficult to find good books to read, so we've put together a list of wonderful books that are simply perfect for summer.

Alt Text

1. A Song for Issy Bradley

Carys Bray

This stunning debut novel effortlessly deals with many profound subjects: faith and belief; relationships and suffering; love, loss and belonging. It tells the story of a Mormon family, trying to work out how to carry on after their world falls apart. It expertly portrays the conflict their religion brings to the members of the household, from the devout father to the unforgettable seven-year-old son who hopes to mend his broken family with a miracle. Heart-breaking yet uplifting, this enriching book will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

Alt Text

2. Days Without End

Sebastian Barry

Set in the mid- 19th century, this compelling tale follows Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, as they go to fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Both men find their days filled with both hardship and wonder, and when a young Indian girl crosses their path, they both sense the possibility of lasting happiness... as long as they can survive. This book won the Costa Novel Award 2016.

Alt Text

3. Before You Go

Clare Swatman

After years of fumbling their way into adulthood together, working in dead-end jobs and enduring chaotic house-shares, Zoe's husband Ed suddenly dies, killed in a tragic road accident. She has no idea where to turn. Her only choice is to survive, but she isn't ready to let go of the memories. As she reminisces on their happy times, she decides she has to tell Ed everything she never got to say to him before - but also wonders if there's any way she can get him back... Tear-jerking and poignant, this beautiful novel will absorb you from the first page to the last.

Alt Text

4. My Name Is Leon

Kit de Waal

This moving story vividly evokes the culture of 1980s suburban Britain and shares the story of 9-year-old Leon. He and his baby brother Jake are taken into care when their mother is struggling to cope. Belong long, however, Jake, a baby born to two white parents, is whisked away by brand new parents, and Leon - born to a white mother and a black father - is left behind. Leon must learn to cope with this, but misses his baby brother intensely. Some things still make him happy, however, like Curly Wurlys and riding his bike really fast downhill - and stealing enough coins so he can rescue his brother and mother someday...

Alt Text

5. Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn

Alison Weir

The second in a series of books about Henry VIII's six wives, this book presents an unforgettable portrait of Anne Boleyn, depicting her as an ambitious individual who ultimately changed the course of history. Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, the flirtatious Anne quickly drew the attention of the English court and embraced the play of courtly love. She wanted the crown and was determined to get it - by any means necessary. Little did she know of the horrifying fate she would ultimately face at the hands of the king who'd sworn to love her...

Alt Text

6. The High Mountains of Portugal

Yann Martel

Booker Prize-winning author Yann Martel returns with an enthralling novel that takes readers on a quest for a lost relic. The journey begins in Africa in the 1600s and culminates in contemporary North America, via a trip to Portugal at the turn of the last century. Funny, tragic and sublime, this novel features topics of faith, responsibility and the courage to face death. Filled with layers, surprises and exploration, it contends with everything from love to suffering, faith to evolution. A remarkable novel, it examines the spiritual and philosophical concerns that make us human.

Alt Text

7. Small Great Things

Jodi Picoult

In this gripping novel, a routine hospital procedure ends in tragedy when a newborn baby dies. There's no doubt who will be held responsible: the nurse who has been banned from looking after him by his father. However, the nurse, her lawyer and the child's father could never have imagined just how much this death would change their lives. This thought-provoking novel examines issues of birth, death, responsibility, prejudice and power.

Alt Text

8. He Said/She Said

Erin Kelly

This twisted and atmospheric thriller follows Laura and her boyfriend Kit, who witness a brutal attack late at night. They call the police shortly after the incident, but this leads to four lives changing almost immediately... Fifteen years later and the couple are still living in fear. Laura believes she was right to speak out, but knows that no-one will ever know the whole truth. She does know someone is hiding something, though - but she could never have guessed what it is...

Alt Text

9. If You Go Away

Adele Parks

In this heartrending novel, set around the outbreak of World War I, young debutante Vivian has been rushed into a pedestrian marriage to cover up a scandal. When her husband enlists on their wedding day, she must take up the management and running of his estate - despite her lack of experience. Meanwhile, young playwright Howard has been hurried to the front to see the horrors of war for himself. When conscription becomes law in 1916, he refuses to join the ranks, and becomes a notorious conscientious objector. He narrowly avoids a death sentence and ultimately agrees to work on Vivian's farm - and it's not long before the two form a bond... This wonderful historical romance novel will captivate readers.

Alt Text

10. The Chalk Pit

Elly Griffiths

This adrenaline-fuelled thriller from CWA Dagger Award winner Elly Griffiths takes readers to the heart of a disturbing case. Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's underground tunnels. When Dr. Ruth Galloway discovers where they were recently buried, DCI Nelson ends up with a murder investigation. Was the boiling merely a medieval curiosity - or something far more sinister? At the same time, DS Judy Johnson is looking into the disappearance of a rough sleeper. She only knows that the lady has gone 'underground'. Is this a figure of speech, or could the recent discovery be linked? Readers are sure to become immersed in this white-knuckle novel.

Alt Text
  • CPEG
    Elly Griffiths
    • £5.99
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £11.00
    Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway comes across another perplexing and disturbing case in CWA Dagger Award winner Elly Griffiths' latest page-turning thriller.

    Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels and when Dr. Ruth Galloway discovers where they were recently buried, DCI Nelson ends up with a murder investigation. It was believed the boiling was a medieval curiosity, but now it's likely it was used for something far more sinister...

    At the same time DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper and the only trace she can find is that the lady has gone 'underground'. Is this a figure of speech or could the recent discovery be linked?

    A local academic is called in to help and he certainly has vast knowledge of the tunnels and their history. Could there be something in his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing?
  • Before You Go - Hardback - 9781509824809 - Clare Swatman
    BFYG
    Clare Swatman
    (1)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £8.00
    Zoe's husband has died and she's not sure where to turn. She and Ed had fumbled their way into adulthood, and although they were on different paths they were always heading in the same direction.

    Eventually after working in dead-end jobs and enduring chaotic house shares over the years, romance finally blossomed - but then the tragic accident happened. While cycling to work, Ed was knocked off his bike and dies. Zoe is left with no choice but to survive, but she's not yet ready to let go of her memories.

    As she reminisces about all their happy times, she decides she has to tell Ed everything she never got round to saying. At the same time, she wonders if there's a way she can get him back...

    Heartbreaking and poignant, Clare Swatman's debut novel Before You Go will leave you in tears and completely absorb you from the very first page.
  • CSCTE
    Sebastian Barry
    (1)
    • £6.99
    • RRP £17.99
    • Save £11.00
    Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2016 and the Costa Novel Award 2016, The Secret Scripture author Sebastian Barry's Days Without End is set in the mid-19th century and follows Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms John Cole as they sign up for the US army and go on to fight in the Indian wars and the Civil War.

    Despite the horrors and hardships, both men find their days filled with wonder. A young Indian girl crosses their path and both men sense the possibility of lasting happiness - as long as they can survive.

    Spanning from the West to Tennessee, this an intensely poignant look at two men and the fates they were dealt during some of America's most fateful periods.
  • HSSS
    Erin Kelly
    (1)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £8.00
    Already optioned by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment for a film adaptation, The Poison Tree author Erin Kelly's He Said/She Said is the twisted and atmospheric thriller that everyone is talking about.

    Laura and her boyfriend Kit witness a brutal attack late at night. They call the police shortly after the incident but this leads to four lives changing almost immediately.

    Fifteen years later and the couple are still living in fear. Laura knows she was right to speak out, but she's also fully aware that no one ever knows the whole truth. She knows someone is hiding something, but she'd never have guessed what it is...
  • IYGA
    Adele Parks
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £13.00
    Book People favourite Adele Parks returns with If You Go Away, a story set around the outbreak of World War I that combines glamorous debutantes with themes of heartbreak and discovering just what it is that is really worth fighting for...

    Young debutante Vivian has been hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover up a scandal, but when her husband enlists on their wedding day she is left with no choice but to take up the management and running of his estate - despite her lack of experience in this field...

    Meanwhile, young playwright Howard has rushed to the front to see the horrors of war for himself - and to observe both the best and worst of humanity. When conscription becomes law in 1916, he steadfastly refuses to join the ranks and becomes one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of all time...

    Handsome, famous and seen as a threat to the government, he narrowly escapes a death sentence and agrees to work on Vivian's farm - when the two meet, they quickly form a bond...

    This is a lovely slice of historical romance!
  • CAFRB
    Carys Bray
    (2)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.00
    A Song for Issy Bradley by debut author Carys Bray is an absolutely beautiful book that effortlessly deals with all the big subjects: faith and belief, relationships and suffering, love and loss.

    The story of a Mormon family trying to work out how to carry on when their world has fallen apart, the book expertly weaves the conflict their religion brings to each member of the household - from the devout father to Jacob, the unforgettable seven-year-old son who plans to mend his broken family with a miracle.

    Thoroughly heartbreaking - so will undoubtedly make you sob - but ultimately uplifting, funny, compelling and enriching, Carys Bray's Song for Issy Bradley leaves readers with an unshakable sense of poignancy - for all the right reasons.

    A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Other shortlisted titles include:
    Academy Street, by Mary Costello - CAFRA
    Chop Chop, by Simon Wroe - CAFRC
    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey - CAFRD
  • HMOP
    Yann Martel
    • £4.99
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £12.00
    In his eagerly awaited new novel, Yann Martel - the author of bestselling Booker Prize winner Life of Pi - takes readers on a quest for a lost relic. It's a journey that begins in Africa in the 1600s and culminates in contemporary North America, via a trip to Portugal at the turn of the last century.

    Funny, tragic and sublime, this novel takes in the topics of faith, responsibility and finding the courage to face death. It is a book full of layers, surprises and exploration. Everything from love to suffering and faith to evolution is touched upon.

    A remarkable novel from a bestselling author that examines the spiritual and philosophical concerns that make people human. A must-read for any fans of contemporary fiction.
  • Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn - Hardback - 9781472227621 - Alison Weir
    ABAW
    Alison Weir
    • £6.99
    • RRP £18.99
    • Save £12.00
    Following the success of Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen last year, historian Alison Weir presents the second book in her fictional Six Tudor Queens series - Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession.

    brilliant novel for fans of Philippa Gregory, it finds Weir presenting an unforgettable portrait of Anne Boleyn and showing that she was an ambitious individual who managed to change the course of history.

    Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne quickly drew attention at the English court and embraced the play of courtly love. She wanted the crown and was determined to get it - by any means necessary...

    The second of Henry's queens, it is common knowledge how she died but this enthralling page-turner of a novel explains how she also lived.
  • CFNVB
    Kit de Waal
    (2)
    • £5.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £7.00
    Kit de Waal's debut novel, My Name is Leon was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016 and is a heartbreaking story of love, identity and loss in 1980s Britain.

    Leon is a 9-year-old boy who has just welcomed a perfect baby brother called Jake. The brothers have gone to live with Maureen, who has funny, fuzzy red hair and a belly Santa would be proud of. However, Leon is aware something is going on - the adults are acting strangely. Could it be something to do with the fact Jake is white and Leon is not?

    Leon struggles to hide his anger but there are still many things that make him happy - Curly Wurlys, riding a bike and hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad). He's also stealing coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum...

    This is a poignant story all about the fierce bond between siblings and how we can find our way home, even when least expect it...
  • SMGT
    Jodi Picoult
    (2)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £14.99
    • Save £10.00
    Jodi Picoult, the author of My Sister's Keeper, examines themes of birth, death and responsibility in her latest page-turner, Small Great Things.

    A routine hospital procedure ends in tragedy when a newborn baby dies and there is no doubt as to who will be held responsible. It's the nurse who has been banned from looking after him by his father. However, the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child will never have imagined just how much this death will change their lives.

    Looking at the issues that both unite and divide us, this is a compelling novel all about prejudice and power.