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As always, time flies! It’s time to talk about the best books of the year so far now that we are halfway through 2024. (Even though it feels like I just wrote about my most anticipated books of the year.) You’ll find a nice mix of crowd-pleasers below plus some backlist favorites, so let’s get literary!

best books of the last five years with bookends.
My favorite books from each of the last five years

Best Books of the Year 2024 So Far

As of the date of publishing this post, I have read 51 books so far in 2024, most of which were published in 2024. I placed only 5 of those at the top so far.

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Best for fans of light romances

My Review: ★★★★★

Just For the Summer proves that Abby Jimenez’s books can continue to deliver everything her readers love.

Justin feels cursed. Every woman he dates finds her soulmate just after breaking up with him. In a twist of fate, he meets, Emma, who is similarly “cursed.” Together, they create a plan to date each other and break up, so they can go on to live happily ever after with someone else.

A traveling nurse with her friend, Emma gets a nursing job and rents an adorable cottage on Lake Minnetonka near Justin to bring this plan to life.

Emma and Justin connect deeper than expected over their “mommy” issues. (trigger warning) They just may be the perfect pair. But, the chaos left by Emma’s mom seems too complicated to make the plan work.

This summer romance novel features my favorite couple in Abby Jimenez’s books. They are quirky, loveable, have great chemistry, and support each other through difficult life issues. There is also one spicy scene for steamy romance lovers!

The supporting cast, including some characters you’ll recognize and a dog (of course), round out this “slightly more complicated than normal” romance. It’s great for those who like a little bit of realistic drama in their escape reads.

It’s one quick and very enjoyable summer-themed read that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it a few months ago.


Margo’s Got Money Troubles by Rufi Thorpe

Best for fans of contemporary fiction and audiobooks

My Review: ★★★★★

Margo’s Got Money Troubles is not just one of my favorite books of the year but also one of my favorite audiobooks (narrated by actress Elle Fanning). It’s about a college student who drops out after being impregnated by her teacher. To get by, she starts an Only Fans account and lets her former pro wrestler dad into her life.

Thorpe is one of my favorite writers, so I had high expectations for this novel, and it delivered. This book says a lot about modern motherhood while never being too preachy. I devoured it.

By the way, Fanning is set to star in the adaptation and trust me when I say this screenplay is going to write itself. This book is perfect for film!


Mercury by Amy Jo Burns

Best for fans of family dramas and/or Rust Belt stories

My Review: ★★★★★

Have you ever heard the advice not to blend family and work or love and work? The Joseph family broke all these rules in Mercury, and the tensions simmered like a pressure cooker about to pop throughout this dramatic and intricately woven tale. It’s just my kind of book, period.

In the 1990s, a teen named Marley and her single mother roll into the Rust Belt town of Mercury, Pennsylvania. There, she begins to date the oldest of the three Joseph brothers, Baylor, but when the relationship goes sour, she turns to his younger brother, Waylon. This act changes the family forever.

The Baylor family is spearheaded by Mick, a hardheaded, selfish roofer, who insists on his boys joining the flailing business, and Elise, who’s lost herself in her roles as wife and mother. The eldest Joseph brothers are constantly at odds, and the youngest, Shay, struggles with self-acceptance. Marley’s own role in the family is… complicated.

Did I mention there’s also a dead body?! Early on, a dead body is found near the roof of the town church, and there’s an ominous sense there’s much more to the story and the Josephs’ connection to it. This mystery works as a great thread for the overall narrative, which centers on how this family got to this point, why, and where they will go from here.

It was one of my first reads of the year, and it still remains at the top of my list!


Swan Song by Elin Hilderbrand

  • #1 Instant New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of salacious beach reads

My Review: ★★★★★

Elin Hilderbrand’s final book, the aptly titled Swan Song, introduces an extravagant new couple, the Richardsons, to Nantucket. But before summer’s end, their flashy multi-million dollar estate burns to the ground, and their personal concierge goes missing.

This swiftly thwarts longtime police chief Ed Kapenash’s retirement plans, who becomes embroiled in the investigation one last time.

I always find stories that begin with a house burned to the ground immensely propulsive, and this one certainly did not disappoint. Elin Hilderbrand blended everything her readers crave into one final narrative: characters we know and love, Nantucket references, pop culture references, summer fun, drama, romance, mystery, and “rich people problems.”

In addition, she incorporated the most extravagant parties I’ve ever read about. The pink and white party absolutely blew me away as a reader!

While the loose ends of the mystery tied up a little too quickly and neatly for me, the final chapter was exquisite. I’m tearing up just thinking about the last few sentences!

Related Post: Swan Song Book Club Questions | Elin Hilderbrand’s Best Books | Elin Hilderbrand Books in Order | Elin Hilderbrand’s Nantucket Series of Books


The Women by Kristin Hannah

  • #1 bestseller: The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times

Best for fans of feminist historical fiction

My Review: ★★★★★

The Women is a Vietnam War story about women’s experiences during and after the War. It’s one of Kristin Hannah’s best books to date. Readers can expect the same blend of historical fiction, strong female leads, and emotionally charged events she so often gives us. But this time, it’s all just a bit more impactful.

In The Women, Hannah excels at covering just about every major issue surrounding the Vietnam War. She does this in a very realistic way, all through the eyes of Frankie, a duty-driven young American woman who follows her brother to the War by enlisting as a nurse.

There, the realities of war are more horrific than she could have imagined. She copes by entertaining a few male suitors while saving lives.

Back in America, however, not only is she not deemed a hero but she’s also discarded and mistreated as a veteran. This affects her physical, mental, and emotional health and demands a reckoning.

The reader walks away with both a comprehensive understanding of the controversial nature of this War and a profound respect for the women (and men) who served in it.

The audiobook version, read by the beloved narrator Julia Whelan, was an especially immersive experience. It brought the reader closer to the action and Frankie’s emotions about her shocking experiences.

Not just beloved by me, it’s easily been one of the most popular and beloved books of the year globally so far.

Related Post: The Women Book Club Questions

Best Backlist Books I Read in 2024 So Far

  • ACOTAR: This 2015 fantasy romance retelling of Beauty and the Beast had a resurgence thanks to social media. It totally nursed my Fourth Wing book hangover.
  • The Covenant of Water: This Oprah’s Book Club pick has now sold over 1.5 million copies. It’s very long, but very beautiful, and totally worth it.
  • The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store: This Barack Obama book recommendation has my heart. It also recently reached the 1 million sales mark (very rare). It’s loaded with characters (100+), but it both breaks your heart and make it swell again. It will remain a favorite of mine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular book in 2024?

The most popular book in 2024 so far is Kristin Hannah’s new release, The Women. This Vietnam War story follows a female nurse during and after the War. It’s been well-liked by countless readers worldwide.

What’s everyone reading in 2024?

In 2024, everyone is reading books like The Covenant of Water and The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, which each topped the rare one million sales mark. The 2015 fantasy romance novel A Court of Thorns and Roses has had a massive resurgence in popularity. Readers are also picking up Kristin Hannah’s new release, The Women.

What is trending in reading in 2024?

In 2024, fantasy romance series are trending. Readers can’t get enough of popular titles like A Court of Thorns and Roses and Fourth Wing, which are extremely popular on social media.

Conclusion

The best books of the year so far include an array of popular new fiction as well as bestselling backlist fiction. It’s hard to narrow them down, but if I had to, I’d say these are the best of the best to add to your reading list:

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