The Girls by Emma Cline
Inspired by the Charles Manson affair, The Girls is set in California in the summer of 1969 (think long days and endless heat) and centres around a teenage girl, Evie, who joins a dangerous cult. What happens as the story unfolds is, in short, utterly gripping, and as Lena Dunham has said, “this book will break your heart and blow you mind.” And that it did. A must read.
Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
This is a pitch perfect irresistible read about the highs and lows of adult life. Centred around four university friends we watch as their twenties give way to their thirties, and the friends find their paths diverging as they struggle to navigate broken hearts and shattered dreams – one friend’s triumph coincides with another’s disaster, one finds love as another loses it, one comes to their senses as another is changing their mind, sound familiar? It will ring true with many. Definitely have this to hand on your sun lounger.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
This murder mystery, and eighth novel for Megan Abbott, is a rollercoaster of a read about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy and ambition. The Knox family consists of driven (see pushy) parents Katie and Eric, their daughter, Devon, a talented, determined, rising gymnastics star, and their younger son, Drew. They all seem to have the same goal – make Devon a star – but it’s hard to know what’s driving each of them. It’s a brilliant read that not only questions the morality of a certain type of parent, but is also a wonderful observation of family dynamics.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This is Sweeney’s debut novel and it does not disappoint. The Nest is an enthralling story of simmering family tensions and resentment, primarily between four grown up siblings. As their inheritance, or more specifically ‘The Nest’, a trust fund set up by their father, is in danger of being lost, we watch as the family unravels. Brilliantly written, not to mention funny, The Nest takes the idea of the dysfunctional family to the next level. It’s a captivating read.
Watch Me by Anjelica Huston
Nothing beats a good autobiography and Anjelica Huston’s is pretty un-put-down-able. It charts her rise to stardom, touching on her 17-year-long love affair with Jack Nicholson, and her collaborations with some of the greatest Hollywood directors including Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, as well as more personal events such as the death of her father John Huston, and her marriage to sculptor Robert Graham. It’s honest, laugh out loud funny, and really made us wish we could sit down for a long dinner with Anjelica herself to find out more.
Everyone is Watching by Megan Bradbury
Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, writers Walt Whitman and Edmund White, and city planner Robert Moses and are the stars of this novel consisting of a series of mini stories that explore the creatives, artists and thinkers who have defined New York city. The mini stories are told from the perspective of Bradbury’s chosen creative greats which results in a book that is both complex, rich, and, at times, sordid. Not quite what we were expecting when we picked it up but we very much enjoyed it. Think of it as a love letter to New York.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
We loved Straub’s bestseller The Vacationers, so were excited to read her follow up, Modern Lovers. This novel centres around a tight-knit group of former college friends who, following a wild time in their youth, have now grown up, married, had kids and, well, got sensible, or have they? Now in their fifties with adult children and living in Brooklyn, New York, Modern Lovers explores how their relationships have grown and changed. It’s one of those books that’s packed with secrets and revelations. Total pager turner.