12 of the best books we're reading on vacation this July

Jul 4 2022, 1:00 pm

With the passing of the solstice, Summer has officially commenced. Many of us are enjoying the ease of restrictions and jetting off on our first well-deserved vacations in over two years.

Whether you’re hopping on a train, boarding a plane, or lying low at home this season, we’ve got you covered with July’s most anticipated reads. From breathtaking memoirs to dazzling works of fiction, and pulse-raising thrillers to investigative nonfiction, our curated list includes something for everyone.

These are 12 books we recommend this month.

Tanqueray by Brandon Stanton and Stephanie Johnson

Followers of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York will be familiar with a striking woman named Tanqueray. A photo of her on his Instagram account in 2019 instantly caught the attention of millions around the globe. Her birth name is Stephanie Johnson, and this is her remarkable story. 

Told through a stream of consciousness to Stanton, Johnson recounts her life growing up in an abusive home to becoming one of the city’s most well-known burlesque dancers in the 1960s and ’70s. This is the tale of an icon that will stop you in your tracks and make you wonder, where has she been all my life?


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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Internationally acclaimed author Gabrielle Zevin’s enthralling and adventurous novel is about the friendship between two unforgettable characters called Sam and Sadie, who met as children and bonded over their love of video games. 

A chance meeting as adults brings them together again. With starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, and a movie in the works, you won’t want to wait until tomorrow to pre-order this.

The Perfect Neighborhood by Liz Alterman

For fans of Liane Moriarty and Lisa Jewell, The Perfect Neighborhood is the latest page-turning thriller on the block. The dark side of suburbia is revealed in the picture-perfect community of Oak Hill when model and actress Allison Langley flees in the middle of the night, leaving her rock star husband behind. 

Gossip spreads like wildfire, then suddenly two young children are abducted, giving the residents something new to talk about. Suspicions rise, and readers’ minds will run rampant until the very last page. Alterman’s latest is unputdownable.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Calling all fans of Bridgerton and Jane Austin, this book is perfect for you. With advanced praise from Taylor Jenkins Reid, who called it “one of the most fun, romantic books” she’s ever read, Sophie Irwin’s debut follows headstrong Kitty Talbot who is abandoned by her fiancé three months before their wedding. 

Without his money to save her family from ruin, she goes off in search of a wealthy bachelor. Kitty doesn’t anticipate an encounter with Lord Radcliffe, who sees her for the fortune-hunter that she really is. But will he burn for her? You’ll have to find out in this positively splendid read.

The It Girl By Ruth Ware

New York Times bestselling thriller writer Ruth Ware is back with another gripping and action-packed tale, shifting through alternating timelines and told from the perspective of happily married Hannah Jones.

Her life is disrupted when she hears that the man who was thought to have committed her best friend’s murder a decade earlier just might be innocent. If he didn’t kill April, who did? 

Groupies by Sarah Priscus

A mesmerizing coming-of-age debut from Canadian writer Sarah Priscus. Take a trip back to the seventies and meet rock ‘n’ roll lover Faun Novak. After her mother’s death, college dropout Faun grabs her Polaroid and hops on a Greyhound to Los Angeles.

She reconnects with a childhood friend and finds herself caught up in the alluring music scene, becoming reckless along the way. Perfect for readers of Daisy Jones & The Six and Mary Jane.

Cults by Max Cutler, with Kevin Conley

What’s your take on cults? Cutler and Conley’s expertly investigated and insightful account is based on the hit podcast Cults. They dive into the lives of some of the most notorious figures like ​​Charles Manson and Marshall Applewhite and tell the stories of how they rose to power and later fell from grace.

Find out what really goes on within these groups, and what makes them so enticing to the everyday human as they search for deeper connection, purpose, and meaning. A must for any true crime fan.

NSFW by Isabel Kaplan

An unnamed protagonist climbing the ranks at a male-dominated TV network forms the arc of Kaplan’s brilliant debut novel. On the outside, she appears to be the vision of success, and at first, the high adrenaline work environment drives her.

When the professional and personal lives of our leading lady collide, threatening both the network and her future, she must decide what to protect. NSFW is a searing exploration of an industry we often only see from the outside.

Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings by Chrysta Bilton

Debra Olson yearned to have a child, but as a single gay woman in the 1980s, she had few options. By chance, she met Jeffrey Harrison, who appeared to be her ideal sperm donor. The two came to an agreement, and Chrysta was conceived. Another daughter came along later. 

It wasn’t until Chrysta was older that she discovered just how much her parents had hidden from her, including one shocking fact, revealed at first through a New York Times article, that her dad had gone on to father many other children. A tremendously moving and absorbing memoir, and a book that will leave you questioning, what is a normal family?

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

One of my favourite things about a book is being able to dive in and escape from reality, and Montimore creates a parallel world where readers can do just that. Acts of Violet focuses on the mysterious vanishing of magician Violet Volk, the result of a trick she performed on herself a decade earlier.

Alternating between the point of view of the sister she left behind and podcast transcripts from a narrator who’s obsessed with the disappearance, this genre-bending work of fiction is well-written and fantastically original. The accompanying audiobook, with a full cast and excellent pacing, is highly recommended. 

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola’s debut novel is a spellbinding love story. Meet Kiki Banjo, a student at Whitewell University and host of the popular radio show Brown Sugar. She’s on a mission to call out “the wastemen of Whitewell” to protect her friends. However, one kiss with a boy she publicly denounced leads to her show being on the brink. 

The two soon find themselves in a fake relationship to salvage their reputations. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, but is she willing to give Malakai a shot at love? Filled with passion, warmth, and humour, Honey & Spice is this month’s ultimate beach read.

Illegally Yours: A Memoir by Rafael Agustin

Have you watched Jane the Virgin yet? Illegally Yours is a special and deeply touching memoir from Rafael Agustin, the TV writer behind the series. Told through a comedic lens, it’s about how Rafael, a junior at high school, came to find out through his parents when he tried to get his driver’s licence that he was actually undocumented. 

Read along as this struggling Ecuadorian immigrant family come together to navigate Rafa’s growing up in America, determined to make the best of their always turbulent, and sometimes dangerous, existence.

Sean LoughranSean Loughran

+ Curated