Goodreads' Top Reviewers Pick the 'It' Book of Summer

Posted by Cybil on May 4, 2020

The Goodreads community is, of course, exceptional when it comes to finding great books. So, this summer we turned to some of the top book reviewers on the site to ask them to pick the book that will become the season's "It" read: that breakout hit everyone will soon be discussing.

Check out their bold predictions! You can also click on each of their names to follow them for more of their reviews. Be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf!


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"As an avid reader of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels, I've read just about every type of story in the genre. Rarely does an author come onto the scene and change the game so thoroughly while grabbing the attention of the majority, but that's precisely what Riley Sager did in 2017 with Final Girls. Now, with his fourth book, I'm putting my money on Home Before Dark being the must-read story of summer. With the author's three previous novels all being bestsellers, it's the most confident bet I'll make all year," says Chelsea Humphrey.


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"If you think that My Dark Vanessa constitutes a 21st-century Lolita; if you think that My Dark Vanessa is an engaging, challenging look at a subject that affects large numbers of women; if you think that My Dark Vanessa is a moving story written by an exciting new novelist, one with the literary skill of a veteran; if you think that My Dark Vanessa has already earned a place on the list of best books of 2020; and if you think that My Dark Vanessa, pending the release of other outstanding 2020 fiction, of course, might just possibly be the best novel of 2020, well you are not alone because, ya know, me, too," says Will Byrnes.


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"My prediction for the biggest book of the summer is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. This is a hugely anticipated book that will act as a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. The book will be the first time readers get to revisit Panem since the series ended ten years ago, so I'm expecting a lot of buzz and discourse over the summer, especially with how the themes of this prequel may relate to our world today," says Cindy Pham.


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"So much is packed into these 336 pages! A haunting contemporary-but-feels-dystopian story reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale, a gritty character drama that explores the relationship between mothers and daughters, and a thoughtful coming-of-age tale about what it is to grow up and reevaluate everything you've been taught to believe in. Godshot made me feel so many emotions that I just had to talk about it immediately," says Emily May.


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"Silvia Moreno-Garcia blends fantasy with horror and suspense in 1950s Mexico in her highly anticipated novel, Mexican Gothic. No one will be able to resist the story of Noemi, a brave socialite, drawn to the treacherous secrets of the isolated mansion her newly married cousin finds herself living in. Upon arrival, the house soon invades Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Readers will soon be seduced by the horrifying world of High Place, and enchanted by Noemi's unlikely quest to save her cousin," says Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick).


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"When I think of summer, I think of the beach, and Kristy Woodson Harvey authors beach reads filled with heart and Southern charm. At the top of my agenda for this summer is Harvey’s newest, Feels Like Falling!" says Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.


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"This is the summer thriller that we have all been waiting for. I cannot remember the last time I felt my heart actually race as I read a book. The way Harrison layered all those spooky elements and the way she depicted the characters so vividly. It was amazing. I couldn't sleep because I NEEDED to know what happened...and then I couldn't sleep because I KNEW what happened.... In short, I don't think I will ever sleep again. On the plus side, that will give me lots of time to read more books!" says Miranda Reads


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"While it's hard to figure out what book will be the buzz of the book world this summer, one that I would love to see more people reading is Don't Read the Comments. This story has everything I love in a book! It has incredibly layered characters with strong backstories and personalities. It has a focus on the world of video games, which makes my nerdy heart happy. On top of everything, it's an incredibly well-written and well-paced story! I highly recommend giving it a go," says Jesse (JesseTheReader)


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"Repo Virtual is coming out in April, and it is one of my most anticipated books of the year. Why, you may ask? Well, because it sounds like a crazy combination between Ready Player One and I, Robot, with a heist subplot added for good measure. I mean, what's not to love?" says James Trevino


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"I think the book we’re all going to be eating up this summer is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins! It’s been a long time since we’ve read something new from Collins, and we need it now more than ever. I’m currently rereading the Hunger Games trilogy, and it is somehow better than I remember: thrilling, compassionate, and full of heart. In these trying times, it will be wonderful to escape on an adventure in the world of Panem that reminds us to be brave and strong in the face of difficulty," says Ariel


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"This much anticipated concluding volume to Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy is finally here. I love the way that Mantel has resurrected and reimagined this self-made man of history into a living, breathing person. Though Cromwell has accomplished miracles in the past for his king, it will only take one misstep for him to find himself in jeopardy with a king known for his 'off with his head' pronouncements. Ripe with intrigue, changing alliances, and compelling conspiracies, this is a titillating and riveting saga that will be the sizzling read of the summer," says Jeffrey Keeten.


Want to play along? Which new books and upcoming books do you think will soon become hits? Let's talk books in the comments!
 

Comments Showing 1-50 of 96 (96 new)


message 1: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Amazon is trying to hype Collins so hard, it's in every one of these lists, and being pushed in this one twice.


message 2: by Joe (new)

Joe M Elena Ferrante's highly-anticipated The Lying Life of Adults (6/9) and David Mitchell's Utopia Avenue (7/14) are both authors with a huge fan base that will likely win over more this summer. As for two newcomers, Megha Majumdar's debut A Burning (6/2) has a red-hot cover that's sure to grab attention and is a propulsive page-turner for those seeking a thinking-person's beach read. If she can make the leap over the pond from Ireland, I'll go with Exciting Times (6/2) by Naoise Dolan as my sleeper hit pick for the summer. Dolan's deadpan sense of humor is dark and hilarious, and there's a lot of young, hip readers looking to scratch that Sally Rooney itch, whose beloved novel Normal People has been a point of comparison.


message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan Joe wrote: "Elena Ferrante's highly-anticipated The Lying Life of Adults (6/9) and David Mitchell's Utopia Avenue (7/14) are both authors with a huge fan base that will likely win over more this summer. As for..."

Good choices! Thanks for sharing.


message 4: by Janet (new)

Janet Martin Tanya wrote: "Amazon is trying to hype Collins so hard, it's in every one of these lists, and being pushed in this one twice."Even if it weren't being pushed, there are so many fans out there that I think its sales will be spectacular whether it's even good or not.


message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark Johnson The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes is listed twice by the way


message 6: by Amber (new)

Amber I think Glenn Rolfes new Horror novel Until Summer comes Around that releases this month will become a hit because it's perfect for 80s fans, set in the 80s and reminded me of the film the lost boys. Also All the Broken People releasing in June is going to be a hit because it was a pretty good thriller. Those are my top picks of books I've reviewed and enjoyed.


Psychowellnesscenter These collections never fail to impress me. Good one.


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura A list of the Top 10 and yet it's more like Top 9 because Hunger Games is listed TWICE. Seriously? You couldn't add another book on here that needs attention?


message 9: by Billie (new)

Billie Wayne Jodie Sinclair’s memoir, “Love Behind Bars: The True Story of an American Prisoner’s Wife,” officially released on April 28, 2020. It chronicles her daunting 25-year effort to free me from the Louisiana prison system—something she accomplished after I served more than 40 years.

Sister Helen Prejean wrote the Preface to Jodie’s memoir and is now promoting it on Twitter, saying: “I wrote the preface for Jodie Sinclair’s new book—Love Behind Bars—because it’s an extraordinary story of love that endures. The writing is excellent and the story is gripping. Please order it from your local bookstore or on Amazon. You won’t be able to put this book down! Jodie’s book is gripping on two levels: (1) It’s a story about her husband, Billy Sinclair, having the courage to blow the whistle on prison corruption; and (2) It’s a story about the love between two people, a prisoner and a woman on the outside.”


message 10: by Jay (new)

Jay Kindervater Not looking forward to the Collins book. I’m not into those fantasy-saga things.


message 11: by Jo (new)

Jo Sé Hunger Games prequel, it’ll sell like hot cakes but be just as poorly written and plotted as the original trilogy


message 12: by Jo (new)

Jo Sé For me it’s either The Mirror & The light or Ali Smith - Summer which I believe is released...this summer


message 13: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Tanya wrote: "Amazon is trying to hype Collins so hard, it's in every one of these lists, and being pushed in this one twice."

I mean, she wrote the Hunger Games lol


Gerald The Bookworm I agree with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. I preordered it and I am extremely excited to go back in Panem! I know that following Snow causes doubt to the fans but I have trust with Suzanne Collins. Let us see how it reflects the situation we are in today.

And again... I am excited!!!


message 15: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Dargain Gerald The Bookworm wrote: "I agree with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. I preordered it and I am extremely excited to go back in Panem! I know that following Snow causes doubt to the fans but I have trust with Suzanne Co..."


Chuckle chuckle


message 16: by Jordy (new)

Jordy I agree they’re trying to push Suzanne Collins book because it’s a “summer reading” list ... but the book comes out in the Fall....


message 17: by Megan (new)

Megan Jordy wrote: "I agree they’re trying to push Suzanne Collins book because it’s a “summer reading” list ... but the book comes out in the Fall...."

It comes out May 19th.


message 18: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Flores So many great recommendations ..... can’t wait to dive in! Although Collins’ book is getting a lot of hype right now I still plan on reading it, just out of pure curiosity. However, my ‘IT’ summer book it still under investigation.


message 19: by Adam (new)

Adam Mark wrote: "The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes is listed twice by the way"

It's because this list was a number of different people's picks, and two people picked "Ballad."


message 20: by Elisa (new)

Elisa Hadly Who’s up for some robots? 🥳


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) Considering how some of these have already been released and it's not yet summer...

Considering how at least 4 of these are already 'hits' (released or not) there is nothing 'breakout' about them...

Considering how one of the books is duplicated...


message 22: by Fer (new)

Fer Prz Tanya wrote: "Amazon is trying to hype Collins so hard, it's in every one of these lists, and being pushed in this one twice."

she's the cash cow


message 23: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Dargain Elizabeth wrote: "Who’s up for some robots? 🥳"

Dystopia robots for the summer . chuckle chuckle


message 24: by Mairy (new)

Mairy Top Reviewers picked this list?? Really? None of those books have a summer vibe to me.


message 25: by Clara (new)

Clara Taylor How about J D Barker's "She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be". Even the title is intriguing. I ordered mine weeks ago, still waiting with great anticipation.


message 26: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. All Adults Here. Emma Straub knows how to write a summer book. Light but not mindless, complex but not mind-bending. I love that her families are truly multigenerational not just in the sense that there are characters of different ages that are described by a precocious teen or a sandwiched 40 year old woman or a disappointed 50 year old man, but in that there are characters of different ages whom we really know and we see things through the lenses of each.


message 27: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. Jo wrote: "For me it’s either The Mirror & The light or Ali Smith - Summer which I believe is released...this summer"

The Mirror and the Light was so good. It absolutely lived up to the standard set by the first two Cromwell books. That said, it is definitely not a conventional beach read.


message 28: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. Joe wrote: "Elena Ferrante's highly-anticipated The Lying Life of Adults (6/9) and David Mitchell's Utopia Avenue (7/14) are both authors with a huge fan base that will likely win over more this summer. As for..."

I was not a huge fan of Normal People but I enjoyed it enough. These are great suggestions. Thanks!


message 29: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Tanya wrote: "Amazon is trying to hype Collins so hard, it's in every one of these lists, and being pushed in this one twice."

Because her books are wildly popular. Doesn't mean you personally have to read them.


Your Local Zannie The ballad is listed twice. I am very excited for it, though.


message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary There isn't a book on the list of interest. Snore.


message 32: by Luka (new)

Luka Red, White and Royal Blue is already a big hit xD


message 33: by Christine (new)

Christine (Queen of Books) It came out this spring, but I hope more people find Wow, no thank you by Samantha Irby this summer! Truly a perfect book for our times.


message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim Huh. Predicting is tough, so any one of these could be the right choice (yes, naysayers and book snobs...). Still, most of them seem oversafe and hardly risky to choose. Still, this site is owned by Amazon, so anyone expecting novelty (pun intended) or unique choices is just being a smartass. GR and Amazon want to sell their books, so please tone try to tone down the vitriol about the selections. Better idea: find your own book(s) and enjoy them. Then share those books with fellow GR members. Hard to choke the capitalist monster, but there are ways :)
Simply, just read what you want and be thankful you can. Life is short and shitty, revel in it whenever possible. Always.


Your Local Zannie Mary wrote: "There isn't a book on the list of interest. Snore."

Do you really think that’s necessary?


message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim Elizæ’s wrote: "Mary wrote: "There isn't a book on the list of interest. Snore."

Do you really think that’s necessary?"


Agreed. not to be my Grandma, but if you "don't have anything nice to say (read: constructive, at least)", then just don't .


message 37: by Celia (new)

Celia Jo wrote: "Hunger Games prequel, it’ll sell like hot cakes but be just as poorly written and plotted as the original trilogy" YES. Thank you! Have you read any of the Maze Runner books? HG is bad, but MR is beyond bad.


Your Local Zannie Jo wrote: "Hunger Games prequel, it’ll sell like hot cakes but be just as poorly written and plotted as the original trilogy"

I’ve got to disagree with that. I mean, you are allowed to have your opinion about The Hunger Games series, but I thought it was very good in terms of writing, and it gave an incredible perspective on the just war theory. It was written to educate people about violence and morals in war.


message 39: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Stoltey I highly recommend Kenneth Harmon's lyrical, well-researched novel In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow. The novel is set in Japan just before the bombing of Hiroshima when a pilot dies in a crash near the city. He attaches to a young widow and her child through their dreams. The story is beautifully written.


message 40: by Richard (new)

Richard West Once again this Summer, a Giles Kristian novel - this time "Camelot" - will be widely acclaimed as being one of the best books of the year. Once again Goodreads will ignore it. That's why these lists are so ridiculous - they ignore what people like and put on them what they're pushing.


message 41: by Gene (last edited May 14, 2020 08:01PM) (new)

Gene Borowski I put "Home Before Dark" on my TBR list back in January when I first got wind of it. It'll be the 1st book I read come Ghostober.


message 42: by Silvi (new)

Silvi I wish there would be more diversity in the books. Listing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes twice as if there are no other great books around is kind of sad. Also, it's basically just a money maker and afterthought to the original series and thus probaly not even good.


message 43: by Claudia (last edited May 16, 2020 07:21AM) (new)

Claudia I understand that fiction is a large part of what people read - especially since there are so many varieties of it.
But there is nothing amidst these choices for those who enjoy non-fiction.
Yes, I read fiction occasionally to clean the proverbial palate, but it's not a major meal.
No, nope, nothing tempting


Your Local Zannie Silvi wrote: "I wish there would be more diversity in the books. Listing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes twice as if there are no other great books around is kind of sad. Also, it's basically just a money mak..."

It’s not fair to say that when it has not even been released yet.


message 45: by Tony (new)

Tony da Napoli Mark wrote: "The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes is listed twice by the way"

It is?? Thanks :-)


message 46: by Leaf (new)

Leaf Grabenstetter Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work is gorgeous, I can’t wait for this one


message 47: by Kim (new)

Kim Jay wrote: "Not looking forward to the Collins book. I’m not into those fantasy-saga things."

Love this comment! I totally agree!


message 48: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Dargain Mairy wrote: "Top Reviewers picked this list?? Really? None of those books have a summer vibe to me."

Same .


message 49: by Peter Browne (new)

Peter Browne Ballad is on the list twice because 2 different reviewers picked it.


message 50: by Beulah (new)

Beulah Cat Dear Edward and My Dark Vanessa are two very different books but both are my top picks to read anytime!


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