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St. Louis librarians share their best 2024 summer reads

An illustration of a woman running around stacks of books.
Jackie Lay

In just three days, it will be – officially – summer 2024. If you need suggestions for your warm-weather book list, we’ve got you covered!

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we talked top picks with people who select books for libraries in St. Louis: St. Louis County Library associate Tammy Albohaire and St. Louis Public Library materials selector Ted Reidy.

Their beach read recommendations are listed below, along with brief notes about each title.



“This Could Be Us” (2024) by Kennedy Ryan
“In ‘This Could Be Us,’ we meet Soledad Barnes, a woman who has it all — or does she? After her husband does the unthinkable, Soledad must rebuild her life, and through rebuilding, she discovers herself and the love that she has been longing for. If you enjoy modern romance, then this book is for you.”

“Children of Anguish and Anarchy” (2024) by Tomi Adeyemi
“This is one of the most anticipated books of the summer! The final book in the Orïsha Series is sure not to disappoint. Zélie has seized the palace, and the maji reign again. Zélie is trapped on a foreign ship and is taken away from her homeland. When she meets King Baldyr, her true captor, it will take everything she has to save herself and her people.”

“Children of Anguish and Anarchy” by Tomi Adeyemi
Henry Holt and Company
“Children of Anguish and Anarchy” by Tomi Adeyemi

“Glory Be” (2023) by Danielle Arceneaux
“Glory is a small-time bookie who runs her business in a local coffee shop. When her friend is found dead in her apartment, police call it a suicide. But Glory is not convinced. She sets out as an amateur sleuth in the bayou to find her friend’s killer but ends up finding much more. This book was very entertaining — and who doesn't love a small-town sleuth?”

“Mistakes We Never Made” (2024) by Hannah Brown
“Emma and Finn aren’t getting along, and their friends are getting married while they are pretending to like each other. When the bride goes missing, Emma and Finn hit the road in hopes of finding her, all the while rekindling a romantic relationship. If you like enemies-to-lovers stories, this one's for you.”

“Burn Baby Burn” (2016) by Meg Medina
“This is a young adult novel about coming of age in 1977, during the time of Son of Sam. Nora is about to turn 18, and summer is heating up in more ways than one. There is a serial killer on the loose, and New York City is about to experience a blackout. Follow Nora as she faces her fears, all the while planning for her future.”

“Just for the Summer” (2024) by Abby Jimenez
“Emma and Justin can’t seem to find love. They come up with a plan to date each other in hopes of finding love. Will it be forever or temporary?”

“Crash Landing” (2024) by Janice Kay Johnson
“While on a flight back to home base, EMS paramedic Gwen and her patient — an undercover DEA agent — survive a plane crash and become instant fugitives, on the run in the unforgiving wilderness. With limited supplies, will they survive, or will they be captured?”


“Life on Other Planets: A Memoir of Finding My Place in the Universe” (2023) by Aomawa Shields, PhD
“After being told that she didn’t belong in a PhD astrophysics program, Aomawa Shields leaves the program to study acting for a decade. But, working a day job for NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope draws her back to the stars and her quest to find joy — and a place to belong — while she studies the universe outside of the solar system.”

“We Are Never Meeting in Real Life” (2017) by Samantha Irby
“Samantha Irby is hilarious. She has a way of telling her truth and bringing laughter that jumps from the pages. If you enjoy reading essays, then this book is for you!”

“Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues” (2021) by Andrea Williams
“This is a true story of the first and only woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It is a great read, and a great history lesson.”

“Growing Up St. Louis” by Jim Merkel
Reedy Press
“Growing Up St. Louis” by Jim Merkel


“Growing Up St. Louis” (2020) by Jim Merkel
“I love nostalgia, especially when it’s about my hometown. Explore all the good things about growing up in St. Louis and maybe learn some fun facts about St. Louis that you didn’t know.”

“St. Louis Sound, An Illustrated Timeline” (2020) by Steve Pick with Amanda E. Doyle
“This book is the perfect coffee-table book! Learn about the early days of St. Louis music — from the fiddlers to Nelly, and everything in between. This book is like walking down a musical memory lane, and it’s sure to be a hit with your friends.”



“Moonbound” (2024) by Robin Sloan
“A mix of fantasy and sci-fi with a wildly colorful cast of characters. The reviews reminded me of the Oz books I read as a child. ‘Moonbound’ takes itself seriously but understands that it’s fantastical and an off-kilter, friendly book.”

“Horror Movie” (2024) by Paul Tremblay
“A cult hit horror movie gets a big Hollywood remake. I’m still waiting on hold for this one, but Tremblay is always a great read. He brings horror into the modern age better than many other contemporary horror authors.”

“Moonbound” by Robin Sloan
“Moonbound” by Robin Sloan

“My Favorite Thing is Monsters: Book Two” (2024) by Emil Ferris
“A sequel to the fantastic semi-autobiographical graphic novel by Emil Ferris, the incredible colored pencil art of classic monsters — combined with a grounded version of 1960s Chicago — helps bring the reader into Ferris’ mind.”

“Beautiful Days” (2024) by Zach Williams
“A book of short stories that seem to center around uncertainty and change. Beautiful prose but not for those who dislike ambiguity. ‘Wood Sorrel House’ is a story about a new family in a summer vacation house they can’t escape — and how terrifying it is to be a new parent.”

“Parade” (2024) by Rachel Cusk
“This is not a typical summer read, but my preferred style. ‘Parade’ is meditative, filled with beautiful prose and far more questions than answers. It’s experimental and exquisite.”

“James” (2024) by Percival Everett
“This is a retelling of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ told from Jim’s point of view. It’s a page-turner that holds its own against the original, and it manages to create a worthy companion to the classic Twain novel.”


“The Demon Of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War” (2024) by Erik Larson
“A story about the five months leading up to the Civil War, based on journals, letters, etc., all brought together to make something that reads more like horror fiction than a history lesson.”

“The Puerto Rican War: A Graphic History” (2024) by John Vasquez Mejias
“A graphic novel telling of the 1950s Puerto Rican nationalist revolution, using hand-carved woodblock prints for the artwork — stunning!”

“Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell” (2024) by Ann Powers
“An excellent biography of a folk music legend, following not only her musical evolution but also her personal life and inner workings.”

“Hip-Hop is History” (2024) by Questlove
“A wonderful history of a still-evolving art form. Questlove’s familiarity with the past and present of hip-hop provides a holistic perspective of the genre, as well as how it reflects and magnifies the cultures that produce it.”

“Cull of the Wild: Killing in the Name of Conservation” (2024) by Hugh Warwick
“Ecologist Hugh Warwick discusses human meddling in the natural world, philosophically and scientifically. Warwick doesn’t prescribe solutions as much as he tries to present both hard and soft truths about our relationship with the animal kingdom.”


“7 Years in the City” (2024) by Janet Muhm
“A book by the creator of the popular Year in the City calendars that collects all the art and includes a story for each picture. It’s great for new city residents or anybody who wants to explore St. Louis.”

“Subterranean by Design” (2023) by Josh Levi 
“Collected works by local artist, musician and designer Josh Levi about the American DIY scene. It’s mostly about St. Louis, but a lot of other cities are included.”

Tammy Albohaire and Ted Reidy share this year’s best summer reads, and their all-time beach read favorites, in this episode of St. Louis on the Air. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or YouTube, or click the play button below.

Discover your next beach read

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Ulaa Kuziez, Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Roshae Hemmings is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.