> Skip to content

Article  •  12 December 2023


Staff recommends: Summer Reads

It's been a fantastic year in books for Penguin HQ! Here are some of our favourite reads from 2023 which we think would be perfect for kicking back with this summer.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

A chemistry-filled 'second chance love' rom-com from the Tiktok sensation, Emily Henry! 

Perfect summer reading spot: by the pool

"If you're finding the dreariness of 2023 especially tiring by now, Happy Place will provide you with the escape you've been looking for. Emily Henry's books are the perfect palate cleanser. Her settings? Dreamy! Her characters? Loveable! She consistently nails the balance between drama and the endings you're hoping for."

- Sacha, Digital Marketer



Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

THE breakout debut novel of 2022. Now a multi-million copy bestseller and a hit tv show. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for??

Perfect summer reading spot: a sunny garden with snacks and a cold drink!

"Deservedly a phenomenon! This book has it all – flawed yet (mostly) lovable characters, plenty of plot, a talking dog, enraging sexism, the triumph of friendship and unconventional families. A great book for people who like intelligent yet relaxing reads. Caution though, may make you cry on the beach.”  

- Becky, Director



Good Material by Dolly Alderton

From agony aunt and reluctant expert on millennial love, heartbreak and friendship, comes this sharply funny and relatable second novel.

Perfect summer reading spot: everywhere! Just keep it in your tote bag because you'll want to read it every spare moment you have.

"I adored Dolly's first novel, Ghosts, but she's topped it with her second. I loved reading a novel about heartbreak from a man's perspective, and the character of Andy was so believable; loveable, sort of pathetic and struggling to solve a puzzle familiar to so many of us, that of a break-up. The characters feel so lived in, the dialogue rings true (and hilarious), and the plot zips along in such a way that you'll find yourself just as invested in the why's of this broken relationship as Andy is."

- Naomi, Marketing Manager



None of this is True by Lisa Jewell

Queen of the unexpected, sometimes bonkers but never unenjoyable plot twist, Lisa Jewell is for you if you're after some suspense this summer.

Perfect summer reading spot: On a comfy couch in your relative's highly air-conditioned sunny sitting room

"Outlandishly dark and creepy - utterly unputdownable. I was immediately absorbed into Lisa Jewell’s writing & finished this within a day! I then immediately proceeded to recommend it to every thriller lover I know - proud to say I’ve now got not only myself, but my friends and family hooked on Lisa Jewell too."

- Summer, Children's Publicist



Or, hit play on your summer read with an audiobook! Try:

How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid

Read by Coco Solid herself, here's a summation by a reviewer from Audible: "Glorious, painful, crack up a true oceanic dream. Feels like a story me and my girls would retell"

Perfect summer listening spot: an early morning hike (before it gets too hot!)

"I love it when authors read their own audiobooks, but often works of fiction use actors. Not so for polymath Coco Solid!! This vibrant, bestselling novel is brought to life by the author herself. Listen as you roam the city streets at the same time as these ferocious, hilarious characters do."

- Grace, Senior Commissioning Editor and Audiobook Producer



More features

See all
Look inside Blank Spaces

Sneak a peek into the unofficial Taylor Swift fan journal.

Our Favourite Literary Relationships

From trad-romance to machine love, here's a rundown of some of our favourite romances, relationships and couplings in literature.

Real Readers Review: The Book of Doors

What do fans really think of The Book of Doors?

Ali Abdaal’s best tips for goal-setting in 2024

We caught up with productivity expert Ali Abdaal to get his best advice for smashing our 2024 goals, overcoming challenges and enjoying each step of the process.

What you should read in February and why

Thrills, romance, fantasy and a novel collaboratively written by a collection of literary legends; check out our top reads for February!

A series guide to Orphan X

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. If you're searching for your next thriller obsession, and you haven't checked out the Orphan X series, read on!

Books to read after Atomic Habits

Love Atomic Habits but don’t know what to read next? Never fear, we’ve got the perfect guide for you.

4 books that will immerse you in the world of Willy Wonka

Four books featuring the master chocolatier to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Get ready to meet a whole new side of Willy Wonka

Everything you need to know about the new Willy Wonka movie and book.

The Penguin Summer Reading Club Chapter Sampler

Dive into our summer reading picks to decide which Penguin (or Penguins) you want to escape with this summer!

Real readers review: Water

What do NZ fans really think of John Boyne's latest novel?

Music from My Name Is Barbra

Did you know there's a Spotify playlist with music from My Name is Barbra?

Looking for more articles?

See all articles