The 25 Bestselling Novels of the Summer

Posted on August 29, 2016 by

With the sun setting on summer, we’re recapping the bestselling novels that had readers buzzing. These 25 titles entered the top three spots on The New York Times’s Combined Print & Ebook Fiction Bestseller List in the weeks since Memorial Day. We’ve also included one honorable mention — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — which isn’t included on this particular list, but flew off the shelves at a record pace. Check out these books, complete with their official publishers’ descriptions, to see if you read one of the hottest books of the summer!

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life — as she sees it — is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose…

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life — steady boyfriend, close family — who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life — big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel — and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy — but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common — a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

 

After You by Jojo Moyes

After You

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding — the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

 

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The Last Mile by David Baldacci

The Last Mile

In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker — the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller… The Last Mile.

Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution — for the violent killing of his parents 20 years earlier — when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars — guilty or not — a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger — and more sinister — than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

 

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

The Weekenders

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends — and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens… in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.

 

15th Affair by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

15th Affair

Lindsay Boxer has a beautiful baby daughter and a husband she loves unconditionally. She’d always been too focused on her career as a San Francisco police detective to wonder what domestic bliss might feel like, but now she knows, and she’s never been happier. She can’t imagine that a brutal murder at a luxury hotel, and the disappearance of a gorgeous blond woman from the scene, could have anything to do with her own life and marriage — yet soon both are unraveling, and Lindsay can’t ignore disturbing clues that hit very close to home.

Just as bombs are starting to go off in her personal life, an explosive tragedy rocks San Francisco, plunging the city into chaos. Pressed into duty to investigate a criminal plot that stretches around the globe, Lindsay again finds herself following signs that lead to her own front door. Thrown into a tailspin and fighting against powerful enemies trying to protect their operatives and conceal the truth at all costs, Lindsay turns to the Women’s Murder Club for help as she desperately searches for the elusive, and deadly, blonde before she loses Joe for good.

Filled with the pulse-pounding intrigue that has made James Patterson the world’s #1 bestselling writer, 15th Affair is an emotionally charged story that proves all is fair in love, war, and espionage.

 

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

The City of Mirrors

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew — and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy — humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

 

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

 

The Emperor’s Revenge by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

The Emperor's Revenge

Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon face their toughest challenge yet when a violent bank heist during the Monaco Grand Prix decimates the Corporation’s accounts. To get the money back, Juan joins forces with an old friend from his days in the CIA so they can track down a rogue hacker and a ruthless former Ukrainian naval officer. It is only after the hunt begins that the enormity of the plan comes into focus: The bank theft is just the first step in a plot that will result in the deaths of millions and bring the world’s economies to a standstill. The catalyst for the scheme? A stunning document stolen during Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia. But 200 years later, it may be the thing that brings Europe to its knees.

 

Cross Kill by James Patterson

Cross Kill

Alex Cross, I’m coming for you — even from the grave if I have to.

Along Came a Spider 
killer Gary Soneji has been dead for over 10 years. Alex Cross watched him die. But today, Cross saw him gun down his partner. Is Soneji alive? A ghost? Or something even more sinister?

Nothing will prepare you for the wicked truth.

 

Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

Bay of Sighs

Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star.

Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…

And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled — the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.

 

Foreign Agent by Brad Thor

Foreign Agent

Terrorism in Europe has spun out of control. The United States has decided on a dramatic response. Now, the CIA needs a very special kind of operative.

Scot Harvath has exactly the skills the CIA is looking for. He’s a former US Navy SEAL with extensive experience in espionage. Working for a private intelligence company, he will provide the CIA, and more important, the President, with absolute deniability.

But deep within the Russian Caucasus, Moscow also has its own special kind of operative. As a child, Sacha Baseyev endured an unimaginable horror. Today, he lives and breathes for only one reason — to kill. And he will kill as many Americans as it takes to accomplish his mission.

When a clandestine American operations team is ambushed near Syria, all signs point toward a dangerous informant in Brussels. But as Harvath searches for the man, he uncovers another actor — a rogue player hell-bent on forcing America’s hand and drawing it into a confrontation deadlier than anyone could have imagined.

As the attacks mount, and terror is brought to the very doorstep of the White House, Harvath finds himself in the race of his life. From Vienna, Brussels, and Berlin, to Malta, Jordan, and Syria — he will push himself beyond the edge in order to confront one of the greatest evils the world has ever known.

Filled with action, intrigue, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, Foreign Agent is a nonstop thrill ride that reaffirms Thor’s position as the “master of thrillers.”

 

The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Pursuit

Nicolas Fox, international con man, thief, and one of the top 10 fugitives on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a beachfront retreat in Hawaii. What the kidnapper doesn’t know is that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI. It isn’t long before Nick’s covert partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is in hot pursuit of the crook who stole her con man.

The trail leads to Belgium, France, and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against their deadliest adversary yet: Dragan Kovic, an ex–Serbian military officer. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions… and cost thousands of American lives.

Nick and Kate have to mount the most daring, risky, and audacious con they’ve ever attempted to save a major U.S. city from a catastrophe of epic proportions. Luckily they have the help of an eccentric out-of-work actor, a bandit who does his best work in the sewers, and Kate’s dad, Jake. The pressure’s on for Nick and Kate to make this work — even if they have to lay their lives on the line.

 

End of Watch by Stephen King

End of Watch

The spectacular finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers — In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.

In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney — the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding, supernatural suspense that has been his bestselling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.

 

The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

The Games

Rio has spent years preparing to host the world during the Olympic games — but they didn’t prepare for this

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world’s largest Carnival celebration — knows how to throw a party. So it’s a natural choice to host the biggest spectacles in sports — the World Cup and the Olympics. To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But when events are this exclusive, someone’s bound to get left off the guest list.

Two years after the action nearly spilled from the field to the stands during soccer’s championship match, Jack is back in Rio for the Olympics. But before the cauldron is even lit, the only thing more intense than the competition is the security risks. When prominent clients he’s supposed to be protecting disappear, and bodies mysteriously start to litter the streets, Jack is drawn deep into the heart of a ruthless underworld populated by disaffected residents trying to crash the world’s biggest party. As the opening ceremonies near, with the world watching in horror, Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle.

 

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love

A pair of sisters find themselves at a crossroads in this dazzling new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belongand The One & OnlyFirst Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart — wherever that may lead.

First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart — wherever that may lead.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late 30s, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single — and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother — a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew — and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.

 

 

Magic by Danielle Steel

Magic

It starts on a summer evening, with the kind of magic found only in Paris. Once a year in the City of Light, a lavish dinner takes place outside a spectacular landmark — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame… a new setting each time. Selected by secret invitation, the guests arrive dressed in white, with tables and chairs, white linens, flowers, fine china, sparkling crystal, and an elegant dinner. As the sun sets, thousands of candles are lit. And when the night is over, hundreds of white paper lanterns, each with a flame within, bearing everyone’s fervent wishes, are released into the sky. Amid this wondrous White Dinner, a group of close friends stands at the cusp of change.

Jean-Philippe and Valerie Dumas are devoted to each other and their young children. He is a rising star in the financial world, she, an editor at French Vogue. But a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in China may lead to separation — and temptation.

The epitome of a stylish power couple from Milan, Benedetta and Gregorio Mariani run a venerable Italian clothing empire. Gregorio projects strength, but has a weakness that will ignite a crisis in their company and their marriage.

Chantal Giverny, an award-winning screenwriter, and Dharam Singh, one of India’s most successful tech entrepreneurs, are singles paired for the evening. They arrive as friends, but their paths will be set on dramatically different courses before the White Dinner ends.

Spanning the globe, this breathtaking novel follows these indelible characters through a transformative year of successes and heartbreaks until the next White Dinner. From the world’s most beloved writer, here is a tale told with extraordinary tenderness and passion, as Danielle Steel explores what it really means to have magic in our lives.

 

The Trial by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro

The Trial

“I’m not on trial. San Francisco is.”

An accused murderer called Kingfisher is about to go on trial for his life. Or is he? By unleashing unexpected violence on the lawyers, jurors, and police involved in the case, he has paralyzed the city. Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club are caught in the eye of the storm.

Now comes a courtroom shocker you will never see coming.

 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty

The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Liesand What Alice Forgot, about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late.

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: They have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

 

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

The Black Widow

Bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another spellbinding international thriller — one that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind.

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation “since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

Acclaimed novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled, entertained and educated readers with 18 thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back — from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. From its shocking opening to its explosive denouement in Washington, D.C., The Black Widow reveals itself as Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet. Following the success of his smash hit The English Spy, this electrifying thriller showcases Silva’s consummate skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for his multitude of current and future fans.

 

Bullseye by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Bullseye

Caught in the crosshairs of a deadly standoff, Detective Michael Bennett must kill… or be killed.

Snow blankets the avenues of Manhattan’s exclusive Upper West Side. The storm is the perfect cover for a fashionable, highly trained team of lethal assassins as they prowl the streets, hunting their prey. But their first hit is simply target practice. Their next mission may very well turn the Cold War red-hot once again.

Stepping directly into the line of fire, the president of the United States is in New York for a summit at the United Nations with his Russian counterpart. Pulled away from his family and pressed into service, Detective Michael Bennett must trace the source of a threat that could rip the country apart — and ignite a war the likes of which the world has never seen. With allegiances constantly in doubt and no one above suspicion, only Bennett can save the president — and the country — before the assassins’ deadly kill shot hits its mark.

 

Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber

Sweet Tomorrows

The much-anticipated conclusion to Debbie Macomber’s beloved Rose Harbor series, set in the picturesque town of Cedar Cove, Sweet Tomorrows is a vibrant and poignant novel of letting go of fear, following your heart, and embracing the future — come what may.

Nine months ago, Mark Taylor abruptly left Cedar Cove on a perilous mission to right a wrong from his past. Though Mark finally confessed his love for her, innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. The Rose Harbor Inn barely seems the same without Mark, but Jo Marie can’t bear to lose herself in grief once more. Determined to move forward, she begins dating again, and finds companionship when she takes on a boarder who is starting a new chapter herself.

Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular — with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take.

The inn seems to be working its magic again — Emily opening herself up to love, Jo Marie moving on — until Jo Marie receives shocking news.

With Debbie Macomber’s trademark charm and wisdom, Sweet Tomorrows brings to a close the journeys of cherished characters who feel like old friends. Macomber has created an enchanting place in the Rose Harbor Inn that readers will never forget.

 

Insidious by Catherine Coulter

Insidious

Insidious is the 20th thriller in #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter’s FBI series. FBI agents Savich and Sherlock must discover who is trying to murder Venus Rasmussen, a powerful, wealthy society icon. They soon find out that the danger may be closer than expected.

Venus Rasmussen, a powerful woman who runs the international conglomerate Rasmussen Industries, believes someone is poisoning her. After Savich and Sherlock visit with her, someone attempts to shoot her in broad daylight. Who’s trying to kill her and why? A member of her rapacious family, or her grandson who’s been missing for 10 years and suddenly reappears? Savich and Sherlock must peel away the layers to uncover the incredible truth about who would target Venus.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Cam Wittier leaves Washington for Los Angeles to work with local Detective Daniel Montoya to lead the hunt for the Starlet Slasher, a serial killer who has cut the throats of five young actresses. When a sixth young actress is murdered, Cam comes to realize the truth might be closer than she’d ever want to believe.

With breakneck speed and unexpected twists and turns, Coulter’s Insidious will leave you breathless until the shocking conclusion.

 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood — where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned — Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor — engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey — hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Which bestsellers did you read this summer? Let us know in the comments!

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