> 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
Top May Picks

Thrills, romance, contemporary fiction and more; check out our top reads for May!

Penguin Authors at Auckland Writers Festival

We've got some amazing authors appearing at this year's Auckland Writers Festival, so we thought we'd collate all of their events in one place. Hope to see you there!

A guide to Marian Keyes

Want to read Marian Keyes’s books but aren’t sure where to start? Check out this run-down on the bestselling author and her many wonderful works.

Where to start reading Harlan Coben

With more than 80 million books sold worldwide, Harlan Coben is one of our most influential crime writers. Here are six of his best books to get you started.

Ageist Language We Need to Ditch

As we head into midlife, we can’t ignore the fact of gendered ageism.

Generate a husband

Generate a husband in honour of Holly Gramazio’s debut novel, The Husbands.

Get School Holiday Ready!

Books and activities for the kids these school holidays

Books to keep older kids busy this Easter

Easter is just around the corner, and more and more parents are opting to gift books instead of chocolate.

How well do you know Formula 1?

Author and motorsport journalist Andrew van Leeuwen shares some surprising facts (and fictions) about the sport.

What we'll be reading on the long weekend . . .

A long weekend means bonus reading time! Here's what the PRH team recommend picking up this easter break.

Win a trip for two to Waiheke Island

Win big with the brand-new novel from the International No 1 Bestselling phenomenon and author Marian Keyes

Real Readers Review: The Space Between

Find out what readers really think of Lauren Keenan's historical fiction debut The Space Between

Looking for more articles?

See all articles