Flowers in full bloom, warm breezes, brilliant sunlight — nature offers us the flawless qualities of summer. And this summer, especially, we are eager to leave behind the ever-present blue light of our computer screens for the blue skies of New England’s shortest season. With vaccinations up and pandemic restrictions easing, we summer readers are ready to take our novels out for a day on the beach, explore literary adventures under the shade of a tree, or venture back into the nearest public library. And three of our local librarians are here with 2021’s best stories — from fantasy worlds to real-life social dilemmas — it’s our annual summer reading special.

Susannah Borysthen-Tkacz — senior librarian at the Cambridge Public Library
Robin Brenner — teen librarian at the Public Library of Brookline
Veronica Koven-Matasy — reader services specialist at the Boston Public Library


Susannah Borysthen-Tkacz:
"Butter Honey Pig Bread," Francesca Ekwuyasi
"Filthy Animals: Stories," Brandon Taylor
"Whereabouts," Jhumpa Lahiri
"The Happiest Girl in the World," Alena Dillon
"Something Unbelievable," Maria Kuznetsova
"Second Place," Rachel Cusk
"Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas," Alexi Pappas; foreword by Maya Rudolph
"Migrations," Charlotte McConaghy
"The Secret to Superhuman Strength," Alison Bechdel
"Heaven," Mieko Kawakami
"Milk Blood Heat: Stories," Dantiel W. Moniz

Robin Brenner:
"The Project," Courtney Summers
"The Girls I’ve Been," Tess Sharpe
"Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating," Adiba Jaigirdar
"The Power of Style," Christian Allaire
"Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet," Laekan Zea Kemp
"Not So Pure and Simple," Lamar Giles
"Mister Impossible," Maggie Stiefvater
"Apple: Skin to the Core," Eric Gansworth
"Girl Haven," Lilah Sturges, Meaghan Carter and Joamette Gil
"Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong," Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks
"Jukebox," Nidhi Chanani

Veronica Koven-Matasy:
"Black Water Sister," Zen Cho
"One Last Stop," Casey McQuiston
"While Justice Sleeps," Stacey Abrams
"The Tea Dragon Tapestry," Katie O'Neill
"She Who Became the Sun," Shelley Parker-Chan
"The Witness for the Dead," Katherine Addison
"The Premonition," Michael Lewis
"The Devil Comes Courting," Courtney Milan
"Dial A for Aunties," Jesse Q. Sutanto
"Velvet Was the Night," Silvia Moreno-Garcia