Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and dig into the pile of unread books you’ve been meaning to get to — or, you know, to buy a whole new book to devour instead.
Here are our page-turning picks to keep you preoccupied all weekend long.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Alex is the son of the POTUS (the first woman president in this alternate timeline, thank you very much) who’s required to live a life of diplomacy, which also means constantly putting up with his lifelong nemesis, Prince Henry of Wales. But when a public outing goes wrong and the world begins to speculate about the bad blood between the two figureheads, their PR teams whip up a scheme to placate the tabloids: Alex and Henry will have to pretend to be not just friends, but best friends, at least in front of the camera and on social media. But the more time the two spend together, the more they realize they might actually like each other — a whole lot more than either of them intended to. This is a fun, fast, fluffy read full of romance and idealism that will melt the heart of even the most stone-cold skeptic.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Olive is unlucky in love, in career, and in life et. al. At least, that’s how it always seemed. Her twin sister, on the other hand, seems to have all the luck, and is currently preparing to marry the love of her life in a dream wedding she paid for by winning a series of internet contests. Things only get worse for Olive when her sister forces her to spend an entire day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, otherwise known as the best man. She’s just trying to make it through the day, but when the wedding part is hit with food poisoning, in a bizarre twist of luck, the only ones left standing are Olive and Ethan. Now her sister’s Hawaii honeymoon has become an all-expenses-paid vacation for the two of them, and though they swore they’d spend their time on the island avoiding one another, they find themselves having to pretend they’re the ones who got married — and for some reason, Olive isn’t feeling as unlucky as she thought she would. This is a must-read for any hate-to-love story lovers.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones & The Six were the It band of the ‘70s, but no one knew what happened that made them break up at the height of their career. At least, they didn’t until now. Told through a series of interviews, Daisy Jones & The Six explores sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as well as the ultimately flawed characters that have become urban legends in modern society — including the brooding Billy Dunne and the enigmatic Daisy Jones, whose dynamic is the heart of the band and also what could very well be their biggest challenge to overcome. If you’re a fan of music or ‘70s American culture, definitely check this one out — Daisy Jones & The Six are sure to steal your heart, too.
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is ecstatic when she learns she’s made it through a highly competitive selection process to stay at the Farm, a all-expenses-covered retreat that boasts organic food, private fitness trainers, and relaxing massages. In fact, she’ll even get paid for it. The catch? For nine months of her life, she must become property of the Farm as she dedicates her life to producing a baby for her uber-wealthy clients. She’s not allowed to leave the property or make any decisions on her own, and she’s constantly being watched, which wouldn’t bother Jane so much if it weren’t for her own daughter’s well-being. But if she leaves the Farm before her time is up, she risks losing the money she came for — or worse. In today’s political climate, this is just the book you need to get fired up and ready to make a change.
Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak
Stella and Violet have been best friends since they met in college, though it hasn’t always been easy — Stella is beautiful, privileged, and reckless, always ready to live in the spotlight, while Violet has always worked behind-the-scenes to clean up Stella’s messes. When they graduate, Violet is excited to start her life anew in New York, where she works her way up the ladder at a cable news job. She’s excited for her new life, but all that comes crashing down when Stella becomes envious of everything Violet has worked hard for. Stella uses her connections and charisma to land a job at the same company Violet works for, except she’s working in front of the camera, taking credit for all the behind-the-scenes work Violet has thrown her life into. The two go head-to-head to fight for their own success, showing just how far they’ll go to get what they want — even if that means destroying one another. Pick this one up if you want a fast-paced thriller that shows the dark side of unhealthy friendships.
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
When Millie’s kind-of-best-friend-kind-of-girlfriend starts messing around with someone else, she’s devastated, to say the least. She can’t stand the thought of facing her ex every day, so she starts applying for scholarships for boarding schools as far away from home as she can manage. Naturally, when she gets accepted to one of the world’s most prestigious schools, she’s ecstatic — even more so when she realizes it’s located in Scotland. The one problem? When she moves into her new dorm, she finds out her roommate is a princess, both metaphorically and literally. Though they clash at first, Millie soon finds herself becoming kind-of-best-friends-kind-of-girlfriends with the actual princess of Scotland. You heard it here first: this is the summer of LGBTQ royal romances.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
If you haven’t had time to pick up Michelle Obama’s memoir yet, then what’s a more perfect time to do so than this Memorial Day Weekend? Obama recounts her days as the young Michelle Robinson from the Southside of Chicago, as the laser-focused Princeton graduate, as the Harvard law student, and as the smart, dedicated lawyer just trying to figure out her place in this world. Oh yeah, and as her time as Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States. In Becoming, she is a career woman, a mother, a wife, and perhaps most importantly, entirely herself.
Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
Greta Greene was two years old when a brick crumbled from a windowsill above her, striking her unconscious. She is rushed to the hospital, but the damage is done — she’s dead within a few hours. Jayson Greene’s stunning, gutting memoir captures the day with heartbreaking clarity and follows him throughout his ensuing grief as he grapples with the horrifying, unimaginable truth: his daughter is gone, and she’s not coming back. This memoir will break your heart in a million ways, but it’s also strangely hopeful. If you’re hoping for a transformative read that will change the way you look at life, you just might want to give this a try.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
In school, Connell and Marianne pretend they don’t know each other — even though, when they’re alone together, they seem to know each other pretty well. But he’s the popular star of the soccer team, and she’s weird, lonely girl who doesn’t have any friends, so they figure it’s best to keep their budding relationship a secret, especially from Connell’s friends. But as the two grow older and head to college, they find themselves weaving in and out of one another’s lives, constantly drawn to new possibilities but always inevitably finding themselves back to each other. But can the two sustain their maybe-friendship-maybe-relationship as Marianne veers toward self-destruction and Connell looks for new meanings in his life? Normal People is a surprisingly poignant look into the everyday lives of, well, normal people.
Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza
The unnamed narrator, a woman from Argentina, is obsessed with art. So much so that she tells her life story through the things that matter most to her: the paintings she grew to love and the artists who painted them. Optic Nerve is an exploration of art history through the life of a woman who’s living in the now, interweaving the stories of past and present to create an enchanting, captivating read. If you’re a lover of art or even just a lover of interesting prose, do yourself a favor and pick up Optic Nerve when you get the chance.