Discover more books to read

25 summer reads to discover in bookshops

Whether you're looking for a sunny family activity book, a chilling summer thriller, a scorching beach read, or the latest lit-fic to match your iced matcha, we've got you covered with 25 summer books to discover at your local bookshop.

There are hundreds of brilliant (and brilliantly unique) bookshops across the UK and Ireland, so plenty of options for spending your National Book Tokens over the summer!

For even more inspiration, head to your local independent to pick up your free copy of the Summer Books catalogue, bursting with ideas for your TBR pile...

...

Looking for more inspiration?

Our recommendations all come from this year’s Summer Books catalogue, a brilliant guide to the best books hitting the shelves in bookshops across the UK and Ireland this summer. You can pick up your copy exclusively from independent bookshops – search for your nearest and get ready to discover even more ideas for your TBR pile!

Find a bookshop

Fiction

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Athena Liu is a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. But when June just happens to witness Athena die in a freak accident, she realises now is her chance to find fame. So what if it means stealing Athena’s final manuscript? R. F. Kuang’s bestselling novel recently won Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2024 and Fiction Book of the Year at the Indie Book Awards 2024. 

...

 

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

An electrifying, hilarious and deeply moving tragicomic debut novel following a Jamaican family grappling with a new life in the US. ‘What are you?’ This is the puzzled question that greets a young Trelawny growing up in a Miami where his racial ambiguity is regarded with confusion and suspicion. If I Survive You was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023.

...

 

Restless Dolly Maunder by Kate Grenville 

Dolly Maunder is born in rural New South Wales at the end of the nineteenth century, when society's long-locked doors are just starting to creak ajar for determined women. A subversive, triumphant tale of a pioneering woman working her way through a world of limits and obstacles, who is able - despite the cost - to make a life she could call her own. Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2024.

...

 

Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop by Hwang Bo-Reum

Yeongju did everything she was supposed to, go to university, marry a decent man, get a respectable job. Then it all fell apart. Burned out, Yeongju abandons her old life, quits her high-flying career, and follows her dream. She opens a bookshop. A heart-warming story about finding comfort and acceptance in your life – and the healing power of books.

...

 

Breaststrokes by Margaux Vialleron

Cloe and Gertrude and the Jenkins-Bell sisters, Mathilde and Sarah, have never met. They are strangers who share a city. It is Sunday morning. Cloe has woken-up in someone else’s home; Gertrude starts her shift in the pub kitchen, while Mathilde and Sarah are on their way to lunch. Soon, these four women’s lives will overlap. A novel on consent told in five acts over the course of one weekend. Saturday felt like a normal day, but on Sunday the past will catch-up with them as they realise that there never is only one side to a story.

...

 

One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware

Five beautiful couples. One deadly game. Who will escape alive? Lyla Santiago has spent months working on a research project that could be the key to getting a permanent job in her field. So, she can’t really drop everything to go to a desert island with her actor boyfriend Nico to film One Perfect Couple, a new reality TV show that Nico is sure will lead to his big break – can she? From the bestselling author of The It Girl and The Turn of the Key.

...

 

Kala by Colin Walsh

In the seaside town of Kinlough, on Ireland's west coast, three old friends are thrown together for the first time in years. They - Helen, Joe and Mush - were part of an original group of six inseparable teenagers in the summer of 2003, with motherless, reckless Kala Lanann as their group's white-hot centre. Soon after that summer's peak, Kala disappeared without a trace. A gripping literary page-turner, shortlisted for Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize 2023. Check out our competition to win a signed copy!

...

 

Bored Gay Werewolf by Tony Santorella

Wildly funny and devilishly macabre, Santorella's hugely enjoyable slice of queer horror centres on the feckless Brian's attempts to embrace both adulthood and lycanthropy. Brian, an aimless slacker, works doubles at his shift job, forgets to clean his room and lays about with his friends Nik and Darby. He's been struggling to manage his transition to adulthood almost as much as his monthly transitions to a werewolf.

...

 

Butter by Asako Yuzuki

“There are two things that I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine.”

Inspired by the real case of the convicted con woman and serial killer, "The Konkatsu Killer", Asako Yuzuki's international bestseller Butter is a vivid, unsettling exploration of misogyny, obsession, romance and the transgressive pleasures of food in Japan.

...

 

Weyward by Emilia Hart

Three women, five centuries, one spellbinding story. In the present day, Kate flees a traumatic relationship to the Cumbrian cottage she inherited from her great-aunt; but the cottage hides secrets of its own. In 1942, Violet rebels against her father’s ideas of a ‘proper young lady’... until he takes matters into his own hands. In 1619, Altha is on trial for witchcraft, implicated in the gruesome death of a local man. As seen on BBC Two’s Between the Covers.

...

 

Orphia and Eurydicus by Elyse John

Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she's been forced to learn. A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death? The stunning, gender-flipped novel about love, creativity and the power of speaking out - perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker. 

...

 

Dancing in the Shallows by Clare Reddaway

Isla Wintergreen has not seen her grandfather since she was seven, but when she unexpectedly inherits his cottage on the Isle of Skye, she cannot resist the opportunity to escape her purposeless life. Told through the lives of four generations of Isla's family, all linked by their connection to water, Dancing in the Shallows masterfully explores family relationships and generational inheritance.

...

 

Non-Fiction

Everything is Everything by Clive Myrie

The Sunday Times bestselling memoir, as seen on BBC's CLIVE MYRIE'S CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE. As a Bolton teenager with a paper round, Clive Myrie read all the newspapers he delivered from cover to cover and dreamed of becoming a journalist. In this deeply personal memoir, he tells how his family history has influenced his view of the world, introducing us to his Windrush generation parents, a great grandfather who helped build the Panama Canal, and a great uncle who fought in the First World War, later to become a prominent police detective in Jamaica.

...

 

It's Not That Radical by Mikaela Loach

Mikaela Loach offers a fresh and radical perspective for real climate action that could drastically change the world as we know it for the benefit of us all. Written with candour and hope, It's Not That Radical galvanises readers to take action. WINNER of bookshop.org's Non-Fiction Annual Indie Champions Award.

...

 

Love Vegetables by Anna Shepherd

Love Vegetables is bursting with sumptuous, fresh and repeatable recipes that will transform the way you perceive vegetables. With a focus on teasing out amazing flavour from roots, shoots and leaves with a creative touch, these dishes are both indulgent and satisfying, for a new, vibrant repertoire you’ll want to cook time and again.

...

 

Divine Might by Natalie Haynes

Get ready to meet the goddesses. In Divine Might, Natalie Haynes, the bestselling author of Stone Blind and Pandora's Jar, introduces us to the stories of the Greek goddesses. As fearsome, powerful and beloved as their male counterparts, it’s time to look beyond the columns of a ruined temple to the awesome power within . . .

...

 

Murdle: Even More Killer Puzzles by G.T Karber

Join Deductive Logico as he solves the riddles of the suspiciously disorderly Investigation Institute, wanders the eerie corridors of a tech billionaire's desert retreat and engages with AI supercomputer MORIARTY to uncover the secrets of TekTopia - before it's too late! From the Sunday Times bestselling series comes even more Murdle - the 'utterly addictive' murderous puzzle book for armchair detectives everywhere.

...

 

Children's/Young Adult

Think Green Activity Book by Micaela Tapsell and Lizzie Cope 

The activities, puzzles and experiments in this book will show children how people can help the planet. Follow pigeons as they measure air pollution over London. Investigate how far the food in your cupboards actually travels. Look out for wildlife and count all the pollinators that live near you. Imagine what it would be like if you worked as a marine biologist on a coral reef!

...

 

This Book Will Make You An Artist by Ruth Millington

Paint a still-life like Vincent Van Gogh! Create a cubist collage like Pablo Picasso! Make a polka-dot pumpkin like Yayoi Kusama! This book will make YOU an artist as you explore 25 different art techniques - from cave painting to contemporary performance - inspired by ground-breaking artists from around the world. A Sunday Times "Watch Out For" pick.

...

 

InvestiGators: All Tide Up by John Patrick Green

Laugh yourself silly with the InvestiGators! Crime fighting alligators Mango and Brash are back in All Tide Up – the seventh full colour comic book adventure in the series. When the captain of a cruise ship is found drifting at sea, the search begins for his missing ship and passengers. Did it sink? Was it boat–napped? Are there... supernatural forces at play? Perfect for fans of Dogman and Bunny vs Monkey.

...

 

Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise by Adeola Sokunbi

Destiny can't wait to go for her first ever sleepover at her best friend's house. But she also can't help feeling a little worried ... they're going to camp outside in the garden - in a tent - but also in the dark! A brilliant new highly-illustrated chapter book series. Perfect for readers moving on from Tom Percival's Big Bright Feelings picture books and fans of JoJo and Gran Gran.

...

 

Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

War comes to the streets of Paris and Safiyyah's life changes for ever. Her best friend's family have fled, and the bombing makes her afraid to leave the mosque where she lives. But when her father is arrested by the Nazis for his secret Resistance work, it falls to Safiyyah to run the dangerous errands around the city. Can Safiyyah find the courage to enter the treacherous catacombs under Paris and lead the Jews to safety? Safiyyah's War recently won the Jhalak Children's & Young Adult Prize 2024 and was shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing 2024.

...

 

Rune: The Tale of a Thousand Faces by Carlos Sánchez

In this fantastical graphic novel, best friends Chiri and Dai stumble into a forgotten realm, tormented by the evil Shadow King who yearns to spread terror and unleash wild magic on everyone. But will these best friends, with the help of the druids, warriors, and magical goats they encounter be able to find their way home? And more importantly, can they evade the darkness that was awoken on their arrival and seal the pathway between worlds before it is too late? 

...

 

The Summer She Went Missing by Chelsea Ichaso

From the author of Dead Girls Can't Tell Secrets comes a compelling new thriller! Paige Redmond has always felt lucky to spend her summers in Clearwater Ridge, with lazy days sunning at the waterfalls and nights partying at the sprawling houses of the rich families who vacation there. Beautiful, brilliant Audrey Covington is Paige's best friend. Then one night, Audrey doesn't come home. Tracking down missing girls means entering a world far darker than Paige has ever imagined. And if she isn’t careful, she'll become the next girl to vanish...

...

 

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

An ingenious young adult novel from the bestselling author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are beautiful. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick and you can't get older. Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she is killed in a hit-and-run accident. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Or is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

...

 

WIN £100/€120 National Book Tokens

Buzzing to add all these brilliant summer books to your TBR pile? We're giving away £1,000 of National Book Tokens gift cards this summer!

10 lucky winners will each receive a £100/€120 National Book Tokens gift card so they can enjoy the fun of choosing new books (not to mention the pleasure of reading them).

Enter the draw!

National Book Tokens Discover, the place to be for booklovers.

Sign up today and we'll enter you to win a £100/€120 National Book Token every month!