13 Books I Can’t Wait to Read in July

Juicy thrillers abound

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july books uni
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Summertiiiime and the living reading is easy fabulous. This month brings binge-worthy rom-coms about summers in Italy, gripping thrillers charting parallel disappearances in the deep woods and a fascinating investigation into the egg freezing industry. Here are nine new July releases I think deserve a spot in your beach bag.

The 18 Best Beach Reads of Summer 2024

july books moore

1. The God of the Woods by Liz Moore

It’s an early morning in August 1975, and a camp counselor discovers an empty bunk. Its occupant, Barbara Van Laar, the daughter of the family that owns the camp, has gone missing. And this isn’t the first time a Van Laar child has disappeared—Barbara’s older brother similarly vanished more than a decade ago, never to be found. In Moore’s (Long Bright River) latest, the search for the missing girl uncovers the layered secrets and sends shockwaves through an opulent summer estate, the camp that operates in its shadow and the blue-collar community that serves them both.

july books lampert

2. The Big Freeze: A Reporter's Personal Journey into the World of Egg Freezing and the Quest to Control Our Fertility by Natalie Lampert 

Whether you’ve done it yourself or you know a friend, family member or coworker who has, egg freezing has boomed over the past decade and a half. In this fascinating deep dive into the industry, journalist Natalie Lampert (whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and more) investigates egg freezing, as well as the multibillion-dollar femtech industry, to decide the best way to preserve her own fertility. From attending flashy egg-freezing parties and visiting high-priced fertility clinics to touring the facility in Italy where the technology was developed, Lampert’s personal and deeply researched first book seeks to find out whether egg freezing gives women real agency…or just the illusion of it.

july books dent

3. Just One Taste by Lizzy Dent

After Olive and her Italian, pseudo-celebrity chef father became estranged 14 years ago, another chef, Leo, stepped in as his surrogate son and sous-chef. Olive is shocked, then, to find out that not only has her father left her his beloved, and now failing, restaurant—he’s also made it clear that his dying wish was for Olive and Leo to complete his cookbook together. Olive is determined to sell the restaurant, and Leo wants the opposite. During a month-long trip to Italy to work on the book, the two bicker, test recipes and begin to find their attraction to one another undeniable. Olive finds herself wondering whether selling the restaurant is the right thing to do, and if she’s ready to explore the person she’s becoming.

july books brabon

4. Body Friend by Katherine Brabon

While recovering from surgery, an unnamed, 28-year-old woman who has a chronic illness meets Frida, a young woman in a similar health situation, in a hydrotherapy pool. Frida sees her illness as something to overcome and pushes the narrator toward an active life. Around the same time, the narrator meets Sylvia, another young, chronically ill woman. But unlike Frida, Sylvia encourages the narrator to rest. Over the next few weeks, she bounces between these two extremes as Frida and Sylvia mirror, contradict and complicate one another, raising questions about chronic illness and the circular nature of recovery.

july books specter

5. More, Please: On Food, Fat, Bingeing, Longing, and the Lust for "Enough" by Emma Specter

Emma Specter is a writer for Vogue who has dealt with binge-eating disorder. More, Please melds her personal experience with in-depth reporting and interviews with prominent commentators on food, fatness and disordered eating to examine the ways in which compulsory thinness, diet culture and the hard-to-define nature of “wellness” have warped our relationship with healthy eating. It’s thought-provoking and timely in the age of body positivity and Ozempic.

july books dunlay

6. Teddy by Emily Dunlay

Set in Rome in the late ‘60s, Teddy, which is being billed as Lessons in Chemistry meets Mad Men, follows the free-spirited wife of an American diplomat as she tries to contain a scandal. Teddy Huntley Carlyle has just arrived in Italy from Dallas, Texas, with her new husband, and vows to be conservative, proper and polite. Teddy mostly keeps her promise, until the Fourth of July, when her new life explodes. Now, Teddy is in the middle of a mess that even her powerful connections can’t contain.

july books alering

7. Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

In ‘80s Appalachia, sisters Sheila and Angie couldn’t be more different. Sheila keeps to herself despite relentless bullying from classmates, while her fearless younger sister, Angie, is a fierce daydreamer who uses handmade tarot-like cards for divination and protection. When the brutal murder of two female hikers on the nearby Appalachian Trail stuns their small community, the sisters find themselves tangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, and as the threat of violence looms larger, their willingness to trust each other might be the only thing that can save them. Spooky and otherworldly, this debut novel will have you feeling unsettled in the best way possible.

july books akner

8. Long Island Compromise by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

The latest from journalist and best-selling author Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Fleishman Is in Trouble) is about an American family, the dark moment that shatters their suburban paradise and the wild legacy of trauma and inheritance it causes. In 1980, a wealthy businessman named Carl Fletcher is kidnapped from his driveway. He’s returned to his wife and kids less than a week later, and the family moves on with their lives. But now, nearly 40 years on, it’s clear that perhaps nobody ever got over anything. Carl has been secretly seeking closure, his wife has spent her potential protecting her husband’s emotional health and their three grown children aren’t doing much better. Long Island Compromise spans the entirety of a family’s history, winding through decades and generations and confronting the mainstays of American Jewish life: tradition, the pursuit of success, the terror of history, old wives’ tales and the unspoken love and shared experience that unite a family forever.

july books bergstein

9. The Genius of Judy: How Judy Blume Rewrote Childhood for All of Us by Rachelle Bergstein

Judy Blume’s books have sold tens of millions of copies and earned her legions of fans across decades. But what is it about her writing that’s so magnetic? In The Genius of Judy, Rachelle Bergstein (Women from the Ankle Down) shares Blume’s story, from searching for purpose outside of her home in 1960s New Jersey to becoming the country’s most-banned author in the mid-1980s. Thankfully, Bergstein writes, her works have withstood those culture wars and are as relevant as ever today, as sex education is dismissed as pornography and entire shelves of libraries get banned. This behind-the-scenes look at one of the generation’s most notable writers is a tribute to a groundbreaking artist who has empowered fans everywhere.

july books riggs

10. Lo Fi by Liz Riggs

In the sweaty music clubs and late-night house parties of Nashville, an aspiring songwriter tries to make friends, find love and write songs—without losing herself. Alison spends most her time at The Venue, the sweaty music bar where she stamps hands at the door. When she can sneak off, she watches the bands, wondering if she’ll ever finish a song of her own after a disastrous attempt to play in public. Then, when a huge storm hits and her lead singer ex-boyfriend shows up at the door, Al finds herself stuck in a perpetual cycle of new flings and old flames. Sexy and compelling, Lo Fi is an ode to the desire to be heard and the messiness of living as a creative.

july books cobb

11. The Hollywood Assistant by May Cobb

A dream job turns sour (and murderous) in the latest thriller from May Cobb (The Hunting Wives). Cassidy is heartbroken and feeling stuck when she gets the opportunity to move to L.A. and work with famous Hollywood couple, Marisol and Nate Sterling. The director-actress couple is welcoming and by outward appearances picture perfect. At first, Cassidy just has to be available a few hours a week for errands, but soon, Nate takes interest in her, asking her to read scripts he’s written. As their business relationship grows, so does their attraction. Soon enough, though, Cassidy learns she was hired for a different purpose. The Sterlings aren’t the perfect couple, and when one of them is found dead, Cassidy becomes the perfect suspect.

july books franson

12. Big in Sweden by Sally Franson

Paulie has never been much of a family person, aside from her long-term boyfriend Declan and best friend Jemma. But one night, she lets Jemma convince her to audition for Sverige och Mig, a reality show on Swedish television about Swedish-Americans competing to win a reunion with their Swedish relatives. When her drunken submission video wins her a spot on the show, Paulie decides to go for it and hops on a plane to Sweden. There, she and her competitors attempt increasingly absurd challenges—rowing from Denmark to Sweden in the freezing rain, competing in a pickled herring eating contest—and Paulie finds herself growing attached to her Swedish roots and rethinking long-held notions of family, friendship and love.

july books devore

13. The Villain Edit by Laurie Devore

Laurie Devore’s first novel for adults (after three YA novels) centers on Jac Matthis, a romance novelist who has moved back to her South Carolina hometown after her career goes bust. Desperate for a comeback, Jac decides she’s going to be a contestant on the 1, the world’s most popular reality dating show. On set, Jac quickly establishes herself as a front-runner, but she’s shocked to discover who’s actually pulling the strings: Henry Foster, her last one-night stand who’s also a longtime producer on the 1. Henry is similarly surprised…but they can’t keep their hands off each other. As the show progresses, Jac slowly discovers that she’s getting the villain edit, and as her secret plan begins crumbling around her, she wonders if, in trying to save her career, Jac has ruined her life.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...