A look at what’s steaming up the shelves this month.
May is my birthday month. Guess what I want for my big day? (You probably already know.) Yep, more books! Of course, I don’t need an actual reason to buy more books, right? A random Tuesday? That’s a good day to buy one. When it’s raining? Ditto. Beach vacation coming up? Of course! You see where I’m going with this.
Here are a couple of heartwarming, romantic, and utterly charming books I recently read. If you’re like me, you’re already clicking, “Add to cart.” YOU ARE MY PEOPLE! Happy May and happy reading!
Ten years after she thought she graduated from college, a bestselling author has to return to her alma mater and face her ex-boyfriend in Suzanne Park’s The Do-Over (Avon).
Korean American author Lily Lee has made her mark in career empowerment. She wrote the bestseller How to Be a Work Supernova and has just been offered an executive position at a top firm. She plans to spin her newfound success into another book, How to Land Your Dream Job. There’s only one problem: The background check for the new gig uncovers the shocking news that Lily never actually graduated from college. To preserve the offer and protect her credibility as a career expert, Lily packs up and heads back to her old school. All she has to do is knock out those last few credits and get her degree — without anyone, including her mother, finding out.
The last person Lily expects to run into on campus is her ex-boyfriend, Jake Cho. He’s a Ph.D. candidate and the teaching assistant for Lily’s computer science class, and he’s only gotten hotter since college. Jake broke Lily’s heart — at least, that’s how she remembers it — but they reconnect in unexpected ways that only complicate her already chaotic life. Lily and Jake are both older, wiser, and maybe more ready to confront their personal issues now, but will it make a difference?
Returning to school in her 30s gives Lily an opportunity to see her past in a new light and to ask herself how she might do things differently this time around. Layered amid the funny, relatable scenes of college life and the rekindling romance between Lily and Jake are deeper explorations of family expectations and mental health. Park has crafted a beautiful, memorable tale of second chances in love and life.
With her trademark humor and thoughtful approach to complicated histories and relationships, Emily Henry returns with another delightful summer read with Happy Place (Berkley).
According to their closest friends, Harriet Kilpatrick and Wyn Connor are the couple most likely to stay together forever. What their pals don’t know is that they broke up six months ago. This makes for an awkward reunion when their tight-knit group gathers for an annual summer trip to a cottage in Maine. Harriet is completely blindsided when she arrives at the house and sees that the man who broke her heart is also there. How dare he!
Wyn was supposed to skip this year’s trip but was persuaded to attend due to unexpected but convincing circumstances. (Henry knows how to do forced proximity right!) They can’t tell their friends they’ve broken up because it’ll ruin the week for everyone, so Harriet and Wyn agree to keep their split under wraps. Unfortunately, their friends have put them in the same room, so there’s no escaping each other. And though they’re no longer together, the attraction is still strong — in between petty arguments and embarrassing encounters, that is.
Harriet is on a career path she’s not sure she wants anymore, and she very much needs this time at her “happy place” to rest and reset. She’s still devastated over Wyn dumping her for reasons unknown, and all she wants to do is get through the week without breaking down. Emotions are running high for everyone as they’re forced to acknowledge how their lives and relationships have changed. Will this time together strengthen their bonds, or is it a last hurrah before they all go their separate ways? Alternating between past and present, Henry crafts a tender, bittersweet story about the bonds that help define us and the inevitability of change.
Kristina Wright lives in Virginia with her husband, their two sons, two goldendoodles, a ginger cat, and a green parrot. She’s a regular contributor at BookBub and a lifelong fan of romance fiction. Find her on Twitter at @kristinawright or on Bookshop, where she features her book recommendations.