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Summer Reading 2019: July Prize Books

Special Feature

Summer Reading 2019: July Prize Books

Summer is here! At Bookreporter.com, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We are hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through August 23rd, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

See the prize books being awarded in May, June and August.

Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood by Maureen Stanton - Memoir


For Maureen Stanton’s proper Catholic mother, the town’s maximum security prison was a way to keep her seven children in line. But as the 1970s brought upheaval to America, and the lines between good and bad blurred, Stanton’s once-solid family lost its way. A promising young girl with a smart mouth, Stanton turns watchful as her parents separate and her now-single mother descends into shoplifting, then grand larceny --- anything to keep a toehold in the middle class for her children. No longer scared by threats of Walpole Prison, Stanton also slips into delinquency, all while nearly erasing herself through addiction to angel dust, a homemade form of PCP that swept through her hometown in the wake of Nixon’s “total war” on drugs.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - Fiction


Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her four-year-old son, Hari. Although Hari’s dad, Jaz, is no help at all, his sister Surinder comes to Zoe’s aid, hooking her up with a job: a bookshop on the banks of Loch Ness. And there’s a second job to cover housing: Zoe will be an au pair for three children at a genuine castle in the Scottish Highlands. But while Scotland is everything Zoe dreamed of, everything else is a bit of a mess. The Urquart family castle is grand but crumbling, the children's single dad is a wreck, and the kids have been kicked out of school and left to their own devices. Lottie has her work cut out for her and is determined to rise to the challenge, especially when she sees how happily Hari has taken to their new home.

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis - Historical Fiction


The Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City's creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers and poets who have called it home --- a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine's Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship and even their freedom.

The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry - Fiction


Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home --- until she learns of her dad’s failing health. Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams - Historical Fiction

Newly widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires? But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, Lulu uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly --- and even treasonous --- reality.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center - Fiction


Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First, there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before.

In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark - Historical Fiction


Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of 32 previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh. IN THE FULL LIGHT OF THE SUN explores the trio’s complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities and their self-delusions --- for the paintings are fakes, and they are in their own ways complicit.

Inland by Téa Obreht - Historical Fiction


In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives collide. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life --- her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home. Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West.

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess - Fiction

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed "Book Party" --- where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding by Wendy Wax - Fiction

Prized and stored away for safekeeping, the timeless ivory wedding dress sits gently folded in its box. To Kendra, Brianna and Lauren, it’s a reminder of what could have been. Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree have grown up and grown apart. A successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiancé in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. Now on the eve of her daughter Lauren’s wedding, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. And vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together --- knowing they'll need each other to survive the coming storm.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson - Thriller

Amy Whey's sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one night. Amy knows that something wicked has come her way --- a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did. Roux tells Amy that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for --- what she deserves --- she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. To protect herself and her family, and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall - Psychological Thriller


Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely, life before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love; in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job; he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together. It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls. It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus. It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move, he’ll know just when to come to her rescue.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok - Fiction


Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother --- and then vanishes. Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love. But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers.

Temper by Layne Fargo - Psychological Thriller

After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira Rascher finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? Starring in Temper means working with Malcolm Mercer, a mercurial director who’s known for pushing his performers past their limits --- onstage and off. Kira is convinced she can handle Malcolm, but the theater’s cofounder Joanna Cuyler is another story. Joanna sees Kira as a threat --- to her own thwarted artistic aspirations, her twisted relationship with Malcolm, and the shocking secret she’s keeping about the upcoming production. But as opening night draws near, Kira and Joanna both start to realize that Malcolm’s dangerous extremes are nothing compared to what they're capable of themselves.

Under Currents by Nora Roberts - Romantic Suspense

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back. Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own. Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.

Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber - Fiction


After a messy divorce from her surgeon husband nearly 20 years ago, Jenna Boltz raised her two children on her own, juggling motherhood with her beloved job as a Seattle intensive-care nurse. Now that Paul and Allie have gone to college and moved out, Jenna can’t help but wonder what her future holds. Her best friend, Maureen, is excited for Jenna’s newfound independence. Now is the perfect time to finally book the trip to Paris they’ve been dreaming of since their college days. But when it comes to life’s other great adventure --- dating --- Jenna still isn’t sure she’s ready to let love in…until an unexpected encounter begins to change her mind.

You've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel by Laurie Gelman - Fiction/Humor

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it --- most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home. She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class. But as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.