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The best new paperbacks to read this summer

From romance to memoir to crime, discover the latest page-turning paperbacks that will have you hooked.

Rachel Deeley and Katie Russell
Best new paperbacks

There's nothing quite like the summer months for relaxing and unwinding with that exciting book that you've been meaning to read and take with you wherever you go.

Fortunately, there are plenty of brilliant new paperback releases out this year that make the perfect travel companion – whether you're packing your suitcase or searching for a sunny reading spot closer to home. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best paperback releases of 2024 so far to get stuck into this summer.

Looking for a particular genre? Jump straight to our pick of the best paperbacks in:

Fiction paperbacks

Sam and Nisha lead very different lives, but after a mix-up at the gym they are, quite literally, walking in each others shoes. When a twist of fate lands them in a troublesome caper, the pair must come together to solve their mutual problem, in this joyful love letter to (unlikely) female friendships.

Seventeen-year-old Victoria Nash has her whole world turned upside-down, facing love, loss, tragedy and destruction after a chance encounter with the mysterious drifter Wilson Moon. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of 1940s Colorado, this book is a moving tale of adventure and survival in the face of adversity.

Sally's father has died, and her peculiar way of dealing with his corpse makes national headlines. Being in the spotlight also brings unwanted attention, as she begins to uncover the details of her traumatic past – and the mysterious newcomers who have entered her life...

Yamaye has fallen madly in love with Moose, but when their romance is cut tragically short, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery spanning the raves of 1970s London to the shores of Jamaica. This debut novel, shortlisted for multiple awards, is an explosive story about exploring the past and the present – and what happens when they collide.

Paul Murray's latest critically acclaimed tragicomedy follows the members of the Barnes family. Once a small-town success story, their lives begin to unravel in the face of bankruptcy, a strained marriage, school bullies, and more. All the while, tragedy haunts them, and a threat far greater than them looms on the horizon.

A wife is caught between her husband and her best friend Temi: she loves them both, but they hate each other. Over the course of one single, wine-fuelled day, tensions come to a head and a shocking revelation threatens to blow everything up...

Darley, Sasha and Georgiana are the Stockton women of Brooklyn Heights, each navigating their own challenges with love, class, family expectations and adulthood, within the glitzy world of the one percent. Jenny Jackson's instant New York Times bestseller is a sharp and witty window into the lives of the ultra-wealthy that makes for the perfect beach read.

Crime, mystery, and thriller paperbacks

When Alix agrees to interview lonely local mum Josie for her podcast, she unwittingly lets a woman with dark secrets into her life – and home – with dire consequences. None of This is True was named the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the 2024 British Book Awards and, given its intricate plot, creeping tension and realistic characters, we can see why.

Everyone Here is Lying by Shari Lapena                        

Stanhope is a quiet suburb until 9-year-old Avery goes missing. Her father is a family man on the surface but having an affair in private – and he’s not the only one keeping secrets. As witnesses come forward and neighbours turn on each other, the tension builds to a shocking climax.

In this crime classic, originally published in Japan in 1961, a man’s body is found on the railway tracks and Inspector Imanishi Eitaro is put on the case. His investigation takes him from Osaka to Akita, offering a glimpse into Japanese society in the 1960s, as the detective chases leads and tries to prevent more mysterious deaths.

In the latest book in the Thursday Murder Club series, the gang investigates the murder of an old friend in the antiques business. As the four retirees enter the dangerous world of dodgy dealings and fraudsters, has their luck finally run out? Richard Osman’s charming novels have amassed a huge fanbase – and inspired an upcoming star-studded film.

Jack Reacher is back. Recently demoted, he’s assigned an impossible case: a hospital patient who fell from a twelfth-floor window. As Reacher investigates, he uncovers a conspiracy that stretches back decades and must decide whether to follow the rules or administer his own brand of justice.

Paperback memoirs

In the bestselling follow-up to her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama shares her indispensable advice, wisdom and affirming life lessons on everything from overcoming self-doubt to building meaningful relationships. Candid, witty, and compassionate, The Light We Carry contains the toolkit we all need to live life more boldly.

From landing in an unfamiliar village as an inexperienced English teacher, to traversing all 47 prefectures, British filmmaker and YouTuber Chris Broad recounts an extraordinary decade of living in Japan with wit, fascinating insight and plenty of hair-raising anecdotes.

From tales of fumbled flirting to declaring herself a national treasure under the influence of anaesthesia, this hilarious memoir is a compendium of the many times beloved comedian and author Dawn French has been, well, a bit of a twat. The Twat Files is a collection of brilliant anecdotes, complete with illustrations by Jessika Green, that you’ll want to cherish forever.

Now an award-winning academic, Katriona O'Sullivan was once a 15-year-old mother who had left school and was on the brink of homelessness. Poor is the story of how she turned her life around, at once a personal moving testament to overcoming trauma, and a rallying cry for change in system that continues to fail children in poverty.  

In 2019, middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, a three-times World Champion and two-times Olympic gold medallist, was banned from competing due to a biological condition, in a move that placed her at the centre of a fierce and ongoing debate about gender in sports. In this candid and urgent memoir, Semenya sets the record straight on her personal story and the adversity she has overcome.

Not long after moving to the Shetland Islands, writer and naturalist Sally Huband begins searching for a sea bean – a seed carried thousands of miles by ocean currents – in a beach-combing mission that takes her far beyond the archipelago’s shores. This immersive, heartfelt memoir is a story of human and natural history, recovery, and resilience.

Romance paperbacks

Harriet and Wyn broke up six months ago, but still haven’t told their friends. Now, thrust together on a trip for their best friends’ impromptu wedding, they’ll have to keep up pretences for one more week… Happy Place is a gorgeous second-chance romance, brimming with Emily Henry’s trademark wit. We also recommend her latest book, Funny Story, which is one of our favourite new romance titles.

This moving love story follows best friends Will and Rosie from adolescence to adulthood, as the pair grow apart and back together again and again, all in the shadow of a past tragedy. It’s a tale of first loves and what-ifs in the form of a beautifully written debut novel.

Whether you’ve seen the Prime Video adaptation or not, this steamy romance is one to add to your reading pile. Thirty-nine-year-old single mother Solène Marchand has a whirlwind romance with 20-year-old heart-throb Hayes Campbell, the lead singer in a British boy band. But can their attraction withstand public scrutiny?

Needing a break, Lily enrols in a retreat on the Scilly Isles – and immediately regrets it. She can’t stand the slower pace of life or the retreat's leader, Sam. But could this break be just what she needs? This escapist read, with its warm characters and gorgeous setting, is one to pack in your suitcase.

Historical fiction paperbacks

It’s 1914, and war is a far-off concern for the schoolboys of Pershute – including close friends Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood, who harbour hidden feelings for each other. But as they and their classmates make their way to the front lines, the horrors and atrocities of the trenches will both separate and bring them closer, in this deeply moving epic about love and loss.

The second novel in Conn Iggulden’s Golden Age series follows Pericles as he seeks to galvanise a divided people and lead them into war, in a ruthless bid to quash the looming threat of Sparta and secure the fate of the Athenian Empire.

The year is 1951, and a disturbing series of events begins to emerge in a small French town: animals are dropping dead, there are strange sightings at night, and an unfamiliar madness seems to be taking hold. All the while, baker’s wife Elodie is drawn into the world of newcomer ambassador and his wife Violet, in a game of desire that soon turns dangerous – but for whom?

Immersive and beautifully written, this award-winning debut is inspired by the true story of two men who bravely authored a ground-breaking academic study of homosexuality, reimagining the timeline of their work to coincide with the explosive Oscar Wilde trials of the 1890s.

As men leave to fight in the Great War, women embrace new and unexpected freedoms at home. For Peggy, who works in the book bindery at Oxford University Press, that means the possibility of an exciting future. But the sacrifices of war, and difficult choices in front of her, will make pursuing her dreams far from easy.

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