Summer Reads with Ashley Audrain

Summer Reads with Ashley Audrain, Author of The Push

The term ‘summer read’ might suggest light and easy, but for me, the perfect book for the dock, beach or poolside is something completely consuming and thought-provoking that you can binge like a favourite television show—and then pass along to a friend, because you need to discuss it with someone! Here are my top picks (all written by women, might I add!) for your summer reading pleasure:

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune (out May 10)

Toronto author Carley Fortune drums up all the first-love nostalgia in her sparkling debut novel, set in Ontario cottage country—and it’s endorsed by legends like Emily Henry and Jodi Picoult. This is such a fun read and will bring you right back!

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Warning: This book will not leave your brain (in a good way). It’s about a Chinese American woman’s quest to get her child back after she’s sent to a government reform school for Bad Mothers. I don’t know any mother who won’t feel seen by this novel. Original and tense and important, and one of the best final chapters I’ve read.

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

This is one of my favourite reads ever and I’ve been recommending it to everyone since its publication earlier this year. Kukafka deconstructs the story of a serial killer on death row through the eyes of the women in his life. It’s alive and poetic and beautiful. I wish I could read it again for the first time.

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez (out June 7)

I absolutely loved this debut and it delivers on so many levels. Told through alternating perspectives and timelines, this is a thoughtful and gripping exploration of motherhood and marriage, the complexity of female desire, and the consequence of our obsession with true crime. I didn’t want it to end.

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh

Part thriller, part mystery, part heart-wrenching love story, this book is one you can gobble up in a day and get properly swept away with. It delivers some great twists and really beautiful writing—a perfect choice if you enjoy both!

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan (out July 5)

If like me, you just finished binging Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal, then you’ll love Sarah’s Vaughan’s latest feminist courtroom drama. This one is a gripping examination of the dangerous double standards women in the public eye are held to, and it satisfies on all the levels that Anatomy does (I’m betting we’ll see this one on screen, too!)
Run Towards the Danger by Sarah Polley

I’m reading this now and savouring every last word. Polley explores pivotal moments in her remarkable life through six personal essays, and it’s a treat to be in her brilliant mind. Even if you don’t normally gravitate towards non-fiction, this is a must-read by a treasured Canadian artist.

Wahala by Nikki May


Everyone loves this book and compares it to Sex in the City—fun and juicy, with depth! You can’t go wrong with that. It follows three Anglo-Nigerian best friends in their 30s and a glamorous but troublesome fourth woman who infiltrates their group.
These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany (out June 7)

An addictive portrait of three young Muslim women moving through a pivotal time in life, this is a ‘sisterhood’ book that will capture your heart—and covers many taboo subjects around religion and sex that is so refreshing and important to see on the page.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (out July 12)

I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s in my TBR pile because I haven’t heard raves like this for a novel in a long time. Two friends come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, love, tragedy, and joy—the reviews for this future bestseller are phenomenal, and although I’m far from being a gamer, I’m here for this one!

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The ANI+WREN Team had to sneak Ashley's debut novel onto this list as a summer must-read.