August 9th is National Book Lover’s Day and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to your local bookstore to pick up some of these amazing new reads! Whether you’re recovering from a busy weekend, lounging by the pool, or relaxing in the park we’ve totally got you covered with this month’s book picks.
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Samantha Casey is one of those people who just oozes joy and optimism. Her wardrobe is even full of whimsical patterns and bright, beautiful colors. As the school librarian at a non-conventional school that focuses on enriching education through creativity, her zest for life serves as a daily inspiration for her students. But unfortunately, Sam has not always had such a positive outlook on life. She has epilepsy and has had some seriously scary experiences that made her want to hide away from the rest of the world forever. It took a lot of perseverance and surrounding herself with the right people in order to come to terms with that part of herself.
When the beloved principal (and her landlord) suddenly and traumatically passes away, the school staff and the principal’s family are shaken to their core. In addition to coping with this monumental loss, the fate of their school rests in the hands of the Chairman of the Board, a man who seems to hate everything that makes this school so special. When a man from Sam’s past is hired as the principal, she is nervous but hopeful that he will bring his notoriously wild spirit to rejuvenate the school during such a dark time. But when the man that shows up is NOT the Duncan Carpenter she remembers (and might have fallen in love with), Sam knows that she has her work cut out for her.
What You Wish For is a beautiful story complete with romance, comedy, redemption, and healing. You won’t be able to put this book down – run, don’t walk to get your hands on this one.
Read More: A Guide to Bookstores in Essex County
Two Nickels by Michael Deconzo
Johnny Romano celebrates his thirtieth birthday in true Italian style, a sinfully delicious meal prepared by his mother, surrounded by his slightly dysfunctional family. This milestone birthday is pretty bittersweet for Johnny. A struggling actor, his only claims to fame are a one-man production of Waiting for Gadot and sneezing in a cold medicine commercial, Johnny is still fighting to make a name for himself. But an out-of-work actor cannot pay the bills by refusing pretty much everything his agent throws at him, which is how Johnny found himself in a bookmaker partnership with a whopping $30,000 debt to local mobster Sally Toasterelli.
When his partner Jackie interrupts his birthday dinner with the odd request to bail a homeless man out of jail, Johnny successfully pisses off his girlfriend and love of his life as he runs out to rescue a stranger. The two form a peculiar pair as they embark on a journey to self-discovery that takes the reader on a sight-seeing tour of Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey with even a mention of Hoboken or two.
Two Nickels is the incredible debut novel from Staten Island native Michael DeConzo. It is impossible not to fall in love with this brutally authentic cast of well-developed, eccentric characters that jump right off the page. Full of humor and witty banter, Two Nickels will quickly become one of your favorite reads this summer.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
What could possibly go wrong with a group of best friends traveling to Portugal for a destination wedding? Well, first there is Rachel’s desire to find out who she is now that her only child has finally left the nest and settled in at university. Then there’s her husband Jack, who doesn’t want her to get a job but is spending longer and longer hours at work. There’s Noah, who is Rachel’s best and oldest friend who knows her better than anyone and who also might feel that she’s the one that got away. Paige is his successful, rockstar lawyer wife and also Rachel’s best female friend.
The one person who doesn’t seem to fit in their close-knit group is Jack’s brother’s fiance, Ali. She’s drop-dead gorgeous and is always the center of attention everywhere she goes. Jack can’t stand her, which is problematic since she happens to be marrying his brother in a few short days. When Jack finally reveals the real reason behind his animosity towards Ali, the rest of the group is shocked – this secret could end this marriage before it even begins. But with each passing hour, it seems that their swimsuits are not the only baggage they packed to bring to Portugal. Will their secrets tear more than just Will and Ali’s relationship apart? Or will they protect them with their lives?
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Such a Fun Age is an intriguing novel about the dynamic between Alix Chamberlain and her nanny, twenty-five-year-old Emira Tucker. Alix is a wealthy, white woman who built a name for herself in NYC as an extremely successful motivational speaker. When her husband’s career as a news reporter relocates them to Philadelphia, she suffers a minor identity crisis. Who is she if not a successful NYC career woman and mother to two precious daughters? Emira Tucker is twenty-five and has no idea what she wants to do with her life, which is precisely how she ends up being the nanny to Alix’s toddler. She quickly becomes a valued member of the Chamberlain household and falls in love with little Briar in return.
Everything takes a turn when Emira is accused of kidnapping Briar in a grocery store one night by a customer and a security guard because of the color of her skin. Another bystander gets the whole altercation on video, much to Emira’s dread. She wants nothing more than to put the whole thing behind her and forget it even happened. When Emira’s path crosses again with Kelly’s, the guy who taped the grocery store incident, she finds herself thinking about him more and more. As their relationship develops, Alix becomes more and more obsessed with forming a tighter bond with Emira herself as the threat of her leaving the Chamberlains looms ominously over Alix’s head.
In a unique portrayal of the upstairs-downstairs trope, Such a Fun Age explores the differences in race, class, and human experience. Emira is such a lovable character and it is impossible not to root for her as if she was your own close friend. Kiley Reid’s debut novel does not disappoint.