Mom Must-Read: Our Book Critic's Picks for Summer

*By Kristen Kemp

These captivating page-turners will keep you occupied during long road trips or while lounging on the beach. Even if you can't get away this summer, these stories will be sure to give you a mental escape.

The Rocks: A Novelby Peter Nichols Opening with an estranged 80-year-old couple fighting to their cliffside deaths, the novel jumps between 1948 and 2005 to unravel a secret that leads to the fateful moment. With dreamy Mallorca, Spain, as the backdrop, a series of events—from a shipwreck to a drug bust—take off and tie together. Think of this story as a juicy, literary soap opera.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North How far would you go to pursue your dream? Title character Sophie reaches for success at the expense of her relationships and her sanity. Her mesmerizing pursuit—told from the viewpoints of people who knew her best, and never by Sophie herself—has gorgeous yet catastrophic consequences.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume In her first adult novel in more than 16 years, Blume focuses on a real-life series of airplane crashes in the early 1950s in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The main character, Miri, shows how these tragic events transformed the community. But the book is more of an epic tale that weaves together deeply human characters who are involved in relationships, conflicts, and triumphs.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik This breathtaking fantasy novel opens with The Dragon, a wizard who protects the people of a quiet village from the nearby evil Wood. In exchange for his services, The Dragon chooses one young woman every ten years as his payment. When he takes the main character, Agnieszka, she discovers her talent for magic—and whether she has what it takes to be a heroine.

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