After pairing books with pajamas, flowers and boots, I knew I wanted to do bathing suits next, as a way of celebrating the beginning of summer and sharing some of my favorite new book releases. I know beach season looks a little different this year, but that’s not an excuse to leave the bikini at home – from sunbathing in the backyard to (responsibly) enjoying your best friend’s pool, there are still swimwear-appropriate occasions, and reasons to support some amazing, sustainable brands. These are my ten picks.
The book: As usual, it was this book’s stunning cover that initially sparked my curiosity. The Comeback tells the story of a young actress raised in the spotlight under the influence of a charming, but manipulative film director. A year after disappearing as a teen on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, Grace Turner is finally back in LA and suddenly has to confront her past, and the man who controlled her life for eight years.
I mean… I can’t imagine a juicier summer read.
The suit: Frankies Bikinis has some adorable swimwear, this two-piece being one of my favorites. If you’ve been blessed with tanned skin that makes pastel swimsuits actually look good on you, I’m jealous, and I highly recommend this bikini (top and bottom).
The book: This debut novel has the potential to be one of the hottest books of the summer.🔥 A Burning introduces us to Jivan, a Muslim girl who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train after writing a careless comment on Facebook. In the meantime, PT Sir is a gym teacher that sees Jivan’s downfall as an opportunity to climb up the right-wing political ladder, and then there’s Lovely, an outcast who has the alibi that could set Jivan free – but sharing that information comes at an extraordinary cost.
The book: You’re gonna want to check out this YA coming of age romance set in the early eighties, because it’s probably everything your teenage self wanted to read and more. Gimme Everything You Got is a “feminist, sex-positive rom-com” about Susan Klintock, a junior in high school with lots of sexual fantasies… but not a lot of experience. Enter Bobby McMann, the charming new coach of the girl’s soccer team at school (and obviously pretty much off-limits). Nevertheless, Susan decides to try out for the team to get his attention… and ends up learning a lot about taking risks, on and off the pitch.
The suit: It’s not like I needed an excuse to share a bikini as cute as this one, but isn’t this the perfect match? Ayla makes the loveliest bathing suits, and nothing screens teen rom-com like a frilled two-piece (top and bottom).
The book: Ready for another beautiful coming of age story? I dare you to read this without imagining two kids happily riding their bikes beneath a bright orange sky. The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones takes us back to Alabama in the summer of 1955, where Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, is spending summer break with his aunt and uncle. For the first time ever, Ethan’s Blackness is front and center, and no one is shy about letting him know he’s not welcome here. Everyone except for Juniper Jones, an open, free-spirited girl who will help Ethan see the beauty in even the ugliest reality.
The suit: My reasoning behind this choice in particular is that I can easily imagine someone wearing a swimsuit like this, with their feet inside a plastic kiddie pool, in a random backyard in Mississippi. It’s from Triangl.
The book: Even though I’m not a big sci-fi reader, The New Wilderness sounds really intriguing. In a world ravaged by climate change, Bea and her five-year-old daughter Agnes have to leave the polluted, over-populated City to prevent the child’s lungs from being destroyed. They then join eighteen other volunteers to live in the Wilderness State, the last swath of open land, as a part of a study to see if humans can co-exist with nature. Living as nomadic hunter-gatherers, the group slowly learns to survive on the new dangerous land, while the members fight for power and control. As Bea and Agnes grow further apart, one unable to let go of her urban past, the other growing closer to the land, the bonds between mother and daughter are tested in surprising ways.
The suit: I wanted to include a simpler, more traditional triangle bikini for those of us who go for what’s easier to mix and match, but the metallic finish on this bathing suit reminds me of those rare, colorful beetles that I’m sure live in the Wilderness State. It’s from Les Girls Les Boys and you can find top and bottoms here.
The book: This book sounds SO GOOD! It’s probably the one I’m the most excited about. Our protagonist is Phyllis LeBlanc, a badass young assassin from Harlem who is hired to use her knives and strike fear among New York City’s most dangerous citizens. She ends up falling in love along the way, and ten years later, ghosts from her past appear on her doorstep. Trouble the Saints is a “dazzling, daring novel—a magical love story, a compelling exposure of racial fault lines—and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.”
The book: If you love reality tv, you need to add this book to your TBR. One to Watch tells the story of Bea Schumacher, a stylish plus-size fashion blogger with a massively broken heart and an addiction to Main Squeeze, a dating reality tv show. When Main Squeeze calls and asks her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections, Bea accepts on one condition – she can’t fall in love. We all know where this is going, don’t we?
The book: If a light book is not what you’re after, The Death of Vivek Oji is the poignant story you need to read this summer. Everything starts one afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, when- a mother opens her front door to find her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric at her feet. And so begins the story of Vivek, a mysterious child raised by a distant father and an overprotective mother. As Vivek grows up, suffering disorienting blackouts and moments of disconnection between himself and his surroundings, adolescence gives way to adulthood and he becomes close friends with Osita, his high-spirited cousin. This is a character-driven page-turner about family, friendship, and love.
The suit: I needed a bathing suit as memorable as this story promises to be, so here’s a bright neon pink trikini.
The book: How to Save a Life sounds like the lovely, heartwarming novel we all need this season. After bumping into Mia, his ex-fiancée, Dom believes they’ve been given a second chance. That is… until Mia dies tragically on their date. Desperate to turn back in time, Dom makes a wish to be given a chance to save her life, and when he wakes the next morning to the shock that she’s alive, he thinks his wish may have been granted, but day after day, she still meets the same terrible fate. Once he starts obsessively looking for answers to save his beloved Mia, he realizes that slowing down time may be the only way to see things clearly.
The book: Well-Behaved Indian Women centers on three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother Nandini, especially when it comes to her “writing hobby”; Nandini suddenly realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s left herself slip away; and Mimi Kadakia, Nandini’s mother and Simran’s grandmother, is determined to finally bring the three of them together.