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The contenders for book of the summer


Lev Grossman at Time Magazine asks how exactly does a book become a summer smash-hit. He also makes some recommendations for books that could become summer bestsellers. He remembers American Psycho‘s huge impact in the summer of 1991 and Gone Girl from two summers ago.

Here are his predictions for this summer’s summer reading sensation:

Odds: 2-1
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Pros: Single mom plus nerdy millionaire equals unlikely romance. And there’s a road trip!
Cons: Very few killer sharks.

Odds: 2-1
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Pros: Blind daughter of a locksmith meets reluctant Nazi engineering whiz! What more do you want?
Cons: Complex, lyrical historical fiction may not have the necessary mass appeal.

Odds: 3-1
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Pros: Small-town girls hit by mystery syndrome. Tense, erotically fraught, has Gillian Flynn blurb.
Cons: Much adolescent angst. Are the stakes high enough?

Odds: 4-1
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Pros: Rich people on an island; sharp, funny-sad writing; a head-snapping fourth­quarter reveal.
Cons: It’s a YA novel, so some adults might pass.

Odds: 4-1
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Pros: Keen psychological insight, irrepressible humor and a supernatural twist: a woman can call her husband in the past.
Cons: Relative lack of violence, perverse sex.

Odds: 5-1
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Pros: Child kidnapping victim grows up to become ass-kicking vigilante looking for other missing children. Boom.
Cons: A thriller but maybe not a rule breaker.

Odds: 6-1
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Pros: Set in lovely, lush Victorian London. Plus: vampires, vampires, vampires.
Cons: Owen’s pacing is slow and artful—maybe too slow for some.

I would add to this list The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée – you can have non-fiction summer hits too! Here is The Guardian’s review from last week.

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Richard Davies

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