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NYC Summer Reads
Image: Time Out/Tom Hislop

Six great books to read this summer set in NYC

Beach reads, but keep the plot in the city

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Summer reading season is here, and whether you're curating your summer holds list at the New York Public Library or getting ready for a shopping spree at your favorite local bookstore, the options can feel endless. This summer, plenty of excellent breezy and thought-provoking page-turners take place within the five boroughs, so even if you're leaving the city to get in a good reading sesh, or just laying out on the Great Lawn on a summer Friday, you can delve some city-set summer fiction. Because why let your mind travel anywhere else? 

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

An inside, provocative look at the racial inequality within one of New York's signature industries, with just a dash of magical realism, Harris' debut novel is a must-read for anyone interested in the city's publishing scene. The story follows Nella, the only Black woman employed at her major publishing house, as she begins working with Hazel, a new Black, female coworker who can be an incredible ally or frenemy. When mysterious threatening notes start appearing on Nella's desk, she wonders just how much of this toxic corporate culture she can tolerate, and who is really rooting for her along the way. 

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Perhaps the most commuter-friendly read you've ever picked up, McQuiston's sophomore novel dives into the Q train, where her protagonist, August, a contemporary Brooklyn student and server at a beloved Flatbush diner, crushes on a fellow straphanger.  Jane, her subway crush, is quite literally trapped on the Q line, a mystery tied to the summer power outage of 1977, and a major problem in sustaining a relationship off the rails. 

Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

While the main characters are now Los Angeles transplants, much of this novel takes place in Manhattan and upstate New York, where the protagonists attend an annual immersive theatrical performance, led by their theatre troupe, Good Company. In the book, Flora, a voice actor, finds her husband's long-lost wedding ring just before her only daughter's high school graduation party, unraveling a series of questions, mysteries and potential steps forward for the next stage of her life. 

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Nothing says romance like the beginning of a sticky summer in Brooklyn. Seriously. Bestselling vampire romance author Eva Mercy is fighting chronic illness while raising her daughter in Brooklyn, when a man from her past reappears at a literary event. The book fluctuates between this June and a June in the past, exploring the ties between these characters as they dip into their history and try to explore their future.

Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler

Anne of Green Gables meets New York City in this contemporary retelling, in which Anne ditches her childhood on Long Island for a new adult adventure on the isle of Manhattan - grad school. Of course, she and her longtime nemesis share an advisor, but her archenemy in academia may not be so bad after all. Or is he? 

Edge Case by YZ Chin

Edwina's husband Martin unexpectedly disappears, leaving her with a trove of mysteries and questions that continue building on each other as she re-evaluates everything about her life -- her identity, her life in New York, her relationship, immigration status and more. It sounds heavy, but there's plenty of humor and astute observation to carry readers through Edwina's multi-week personal journey. 

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