Play Hard

10 of the best new books to read this summer

Just because we may not be going on holiday doesn’t mean we can’t sort out our holiday reads…

Written by High Life North
Published 12.06.2021

By Dawn McGuigan

Whether you’re finally jetting off abroad or will be embracing a staycation this summer, there’s one must-have item you need to pack: a good book.

Here are our picks of the best new books coming out in June and July to fill your summer with romance, thrills, new ideas and a side helping of escapism.

We Can Do Better Than This edited by Amelia Abraham

Featuring 35 essays from the likes of Olly Alexander, Owen Jones, Peppermint and Wolfgang Tillmans, this book explores how we can create a better world for LGBTQ+ people. Sharing personal stories and new ways of thinking, it covers everything from inclusive sex education in schools to mental health services, ending HIV stigma and safety and visibility.

Published: 3 June 

Buy here


The Getaway by Isabelle Broom

If you’re looking for escapism, this is the book for you. It follows protagonist Kate as she flees to Hvar, Croatia, after her life at home very publicly falls apart. Among the sunshine, pebbly beaches and crystal clear sea she meets Alex – but is he all he seems? And can Kate ever really outrun her past?

Published: 10 June

Buy here


Sunset by Jessie Cave

Ruth and Hannah are sisters. They’re complete opposites but support and make each other laugh like no-one else. But a summer holiday changes everything and Hannah finds herself in self-imposed exile from the world. Sunset is a book about sisterhood and second chances, as a young woman starts to piece her life back together again.

Published: 24 June

Buy here


Animal by Lisa Taddeo

If you’ve read Taddeo’s bestselling book Three Women, you’ll know she’s a writer that doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. Animals, her first venture into fiction, is just as powerful and provides a dark, visceral book that’s been described as having the ‘most provocative and mesmerising narrator of 2021’.

Published: 24 June

Buy here


The Island Home by Libby Page

After two decades in London, Lorna moves with her daughter, Ella, back to the Isle of Kip – the remote Scottish island where she grew up and where her oldest secrets lie. This is a warm and hopeful book about community, family and embracing your past.

Published: 24 June

Buy here




The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

Matt Haig is best known for his non-fiction writing about mental health and novels which explore what we value most in life. With The Comfort Book, he offers a collection of stories, philosophy, memoir and quotes from notable cultural figures to provide comfort when life gets tough. The ideal companion to keep at hand when you need a book-hug.

Published: 1 July

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Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel

Do you like your books to be creepy and full of tension? Buckle up. Other People’s Clothes is a gripping thriller about two New York art students living in Berlin. When they rent an apartment from an eccentric crime writer, they start to believe she is using their lives as inspiration for her next bestseller.

Published: 8 July

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Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

Three Rooms is the story of a young woman trying to establish her life and career amidst social unrest, poor wages and the constant search for affordable living space. It’s a wryly observed and witty portrayal of life as a young person in 21st century England.

Published: 8 July

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Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

Journalist Natasha Lunn speaks to authors and experts to understand how relationships work and evolve over time. It covers falling in love slowly, the science of sex, unrealistic expectations and the psychology of being alone. Insightful, warm and funny, the book is a wonderful conversation about love in all its forms.

Published: 15 July

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How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

A dark, funny and slightly twisted debut novel from the author of bestselling Jog On: How Running Saved My Life. It follows a 28-year-old woman who killed six members of her family but is currently in jail for a murder that she didn’t commit. If you like Killing Eve, you’ll love this.

Published: 22 July

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