Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads of
July 2019

by the Brightly Editors

How in the world is it already almost August? Amid the hubbub of back-to-school shopping, last-minute road trips, and finding the shadiest spots at softball games, we hope you have time to squeeze in some quality summer reading. We’ve rounded up the best titles being published this month, from real-life and Austen-like love stories to a guidebook for helping kids manage healthy online lives.

  • Lock Every Door

    by Riley Sager

    Bestselling author Riley Sager delivers another heart-stopping psychological thriller, this time set in an old and exotic New York building. Jules Larsen — 25, heartbroken, and broke — finally catches a break with a new gig apartment-sitting at the Bartholomew. She just has to follow a few rules — namely, no visitors and no overnights elsewhere. She quickly befriends another sitter, Ingrid, who warns Jules that the Bartholomew has a dark side — a warning Jules ignores, until Ingrid disappears. Twisty and terrifying, you’ll find yourself racing to the end.

  • Very Nice

    by Marcy Dermansky

    Rachel Klein returns to her swanky Connecticut home after a year away at her uptight MFA program where she — whoops! — kissed her very handsome, publicly wounded professor, Zahid Azzam. Zahid’s a famous novelist who owns an apricot poodle named Princess, with whom he casually strolls through Rachel’s Connecticut front door. He clearly has a thing for Rachel’s newly divorced mom, Becca, which means the three are in for one tense, badly behaved summer. At least they have a gorgeous swimming pool, right?

  • The Nickel Boys

    by Colson Whitehead

    Award-winning writer Colson Whitehead follows his enormously successful The Underground Railroad with a devastating novel set in the Jim Crow-era South. Young Elmwood Curtis lives with his grandmother in segregated Tallahassee, where he studies the peaceful teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and is about to enroll in college. But when one mistake lands Elmwood in the Nickel Academy, a so-called juvenile reformatory, he’s met with vicious and unrelenting cruelty. Based on a Florida reform school that operated for over a century, Whitehead’s novel is unforgettable.

  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

    by Abbi Waxman

    Abbi Waxman’s delightfully bookish heroine, Nina Hill, is quite set in her ways, thank you very much. And really, what more do you need on top of an endless supply of books, a cat named Phil, and weekly trivia outings? But when only-child Nina learns that her mystery father has died and left her with a wealth of relatives, and her trivia nemesis, Tom, starts showing romantic interest, Nina will have to decide if she’s willing to expand her carefully set boundaries.

  • The Wedding Party

    by Jasmine Guillory

    Jasmine Guillory’s romcoms are known to charm readers’ socks off, and her latest is no exception to the rule. Maddie and Theo despise each other, but they both love Alexa (yes, Alexa from Guillory’s debut, The Wedding Date). So, with Alexa’s wedding drawing nearer, they agree to put their mutual loathing on the back burner. But that leaves room for other things to heat up — like their increasingly frequent, stress-releasing hookups. The wedding, they’ve agreed, is the hard end date to their steamy trysts. Or is it?

  • The Victorian and the Romantic

    by Nell Stevens

    If you loved the intertwining stories of two women across time in Julie & Julia, you’re in for a treat with Nell Stevens’s memoir of unrequited love and her deep-seated admiration for author Elizabeth Gaskell. As a graduate student, Nell started noticing similarities between herself and the Victorian novelist, particularly when it came to their faltering love stories — Gaskell with an American critic, Stevens with an American screenwriter. Through artful prose, Stevens attempts to right her own life as she writes movingly of her comrade in romance and authorship.

  • Raising a Screen-Smart Kid

    by Julianna Miner

    Helping our children navigate technology doesn’t have to be scary, especially with the help of public health expert and Rants from Mommyland blogger Julianna Miner. In Raising a Screen-Smart Kid, she delves into the realities of combining adolescence with smartphones and offers advice for talking to kids about online friendships, bullying, avoiding potential triggers, and so much more. Thoroughly researched and drawing on interviews with multiple experts — including kids themselves! — this is the practical resource you’ll turn to again and again.