Thanks to more daylight, vacation days, and long weekends, summertime is the slower-paced season for devouring books. We asked five Scouted bookworms for their current favorite reads, and this list of page-turners delivers. So head to your favorite local bookshop, purchase these online from the small businesses featured, or pull out your library card, because these books are begging to be added to your summer stack. To find a Scouted bookstore near you, browse The Scout Guide Directory.

Lady Vowell Smith, owner of The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang. “If you like books about books, want to take a peek inside the world of publishing, or just want a page-turner, add Yellowface to your summer reading stack. When a star writer dies unexpectedly, her so-called friend, June, decides to steal the manuscript for her next novel. R. F. Kuang had one of last year’s breakout fantasy novels, Babel, and this new book proves she can write thoughtful thrillers, too.”

The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel. “Kristin Harmel writes riveting historical fiction that is beloved by book clubs. Her newest novel transports readers to Paris, where two young mothers, Juliette and Elise, and their little girls become fast friends, in a beautiful, quiet bookshop belonging to Juliette. When World War II overtakes their city, Elise is separated from her daughter. Years later, this becomes the story of a mother’s quest, beginning in Paris and ending in New York, to find the daughter that she lost, and to maintain her hope and courage in the face of uncertainty.”

Swamp Story by Dave Barry. “It might be easier to describe what’s not in this side-splitting novel by Florida author Dave Barry. It’s a zany mix of buried treasure and tourist traps, reality TV stars and TikTokers, politicians and presidential candidates, made-up monsters and real-life alligators. The Everglades swampland has never seen such hijinks!”

The Snail on the Wall appears in The Scout Guide Huntsville.

Sarah Jackson, co-founder of The Book & Cover in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey. “Superficially this is a story about a widow who throws herself into the writing of her beloved, if secretive, partner’s biography after her death. Peering more deeply, the book is a multifaceted narrative offering readers, through dazzling prose and epic structure, many lenses through which to examine the nature of love and genius.”

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson. “A deliciously witty story about a family of Brooklyn blue bloods navigating generational wealth, heartbreak, and what it means to belong. It is a testament to Jackson’s writing that a story about the moneyed Stocktons is both tender and laugh-out-loud hilarious—and that our entire bookshop staff now wants to take up tennis.”

American Mermaid by Julia Langbein. “Both an acerbic Hollywood satire and a heartfelt magical realist mermaid tale, a combination that is fully winsome and hilarious. A story of a writer whose debut novel about an ecowarrior mermaid is being adapted into a Hollywood screenplay, and about the concessions and compromises we make to tell our stories.”

The Book & Cover appear in The Scout Guide Chattanooga.

Brittany Butler, author of The Syndicate Spy based in Charleston, South Carolina

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon. “It’s hard to know where to start with Lawhon’s brilliant WWII female-forward spy novel. I absolutely adored the main character, Nancy Wake. She is strong, smart, and determined but has a lot of depth and complexity as she navigates the French resistance. The author also interweaved Wake’s romance with a French industrialist, Henri, which is a nice reprieve from some of the more intense moments in the book.”

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. “Originally published in 1978, I cannot think of a more relevant or poignant spy novel that has been written since.⁠ I finished this book in one week because I couldn’t put it down and found myself mourning for the characters and wanting to be drawn back into their tale even after I finished the last page.⁠ The best part of this novel is that the heroine was a woman and a mother—a literary work that was truly before its time.”

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. “This was a raw, intimate portrayal of women in espionage that can easily be compared with what it’s like to be a female spy today. The descriptions of World War II era espionage were extremely interesting and riveting. I highly suggest this book if you are interested in female-centric stories and female empowerment.”

The Syndicate Spy by Brittany Butler. “Of course, as an author myself, I have to promote my book. This fast-paced novel centers around a strong female heroine, Syndicate spy Juliet Arroway and her best friend, Mariam, a progressive Saudi princess, are tasked with hunting down terrorists and putting an end to a global energy war responsible for her father’s death and too many others. Memorable characters, twists and turns, and international settings keep you racing to the shocking conclusion. It’s a gripping story with an empowering message.”

Brittany Butler appears in The Scout Guide Charleston.

Carroll Gelderman, co-owner of The Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans, Louisiana

Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch. “Dishy and scandalous, but with depth and a moral(ish) center, this novel captures the golden age of Hollywood in all of its debaucherous glory as we follow an actress turned gossip columnist who finds herself embroiled in the scandal of the decade.”

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson. “Escape the heat and dive into this ski chalet-set mystery that’s Clue meets Knives Out. An already-strained family reunion takes a turn for the worst when they find themselves snowed in…with a dead body.”

The Garden District Book Shop appears in The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Amanda Vincent, founder of Studyville in Baton Rouge and Alexandria, Louisiana

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney. “This is a thriller with a twist, so creepy and yet fun, if I can use the word fun for a wicked thriller. It will keep you awake turning pages, and then it will keep you awake afraid to turn off the lights. I absolutely adored this book and the author’s creativity.”

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. “Never in a million years did I think I would love a book about video game design, but it turns out, I do. I love the characters in this book, they are so well developed and so real and lovable, you know them. When one character says about the other, ‘Sam would never do that,’ I was agreeing aloud ‘Of course Sam would never do that!’ because I felt like I knew him just as well as the others in the book did. Zevin deeply realizes the characters in a way too few authors do anymore; it is well worth the read.”

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle. “This book has so many plot twists and turns it will give you whiplash… in a good way. It’s a psychological whodunit, and you literally do not know until the last word of the book. My sister had to re-read the last page because she couldn’t believe how it ended, and then I said, ‘No! You didn’t read the last sentence!’ It. Is. Good.”

Studyville appears in The Scout Guide Baton Rouge.