Summer Reading Staff Picks

Looking for a great summer read? Ask an AAPLD staff member! We love books—reading them, talking about them, and recommending them!  Since summer is prime reading season, members of the Adult Services staff would like to share some of our favorite recent reads, and audiobook listens.

If you haven't signed up for 2022 Summer Reading yet, learn more here, or stop by the Adult Services desk.


I enjoyed The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James, It was an intriguing mix of psychological thriller and haunting mystery. The main character's interest in writing about true crime and cold cases leads her to a close, and uncomfortably chilling, involvement with a manipulative murder suspect. Recommended by Anne Kunzen, Information Services & Genealogy Librarian

Young Adult/Historical Fiction

The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina  Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” a special-operations agent with an audacious plan to resist a new and even more dangerous enemy sweeping in from the East. When Tomek disappears, Maria is determined to find him, but the only person who might be able to help is a young Ukrainian prisoner and the last person Maria trusts―even as she feels a growing connection to him that she can’t resist. Recommended by Holly Eberle, Teen Librarian


Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. With Gladwell, you can’t go wrong. This book is about the importance of both talking and listening, and how communication is a two way process, a really relevant lesson for our time. What’s more, the audiobook uses actual clips of the people being quoted, so you can hear why their words are so insightful. Recommended by Henry Sadowski, Adult Services Librarian


Beneath The Stairs by Jennifer Fawcett. In a small upstate New York town, teens dare one another to enter an abandoned house with a sinister history, hidden deep in the woods. In the summer of 1994, best friends Clare and Abby take the dare, and are never the same. Fawcett takes familiar horror elements--haunted houses, creepy dolls, dark basements-- and gives them a fresh twist, weaving a scary page-turner I couldn’t put down. Recommended by Elizabeth Harmon, Adult Services Library Associate

Literary Fiction

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they expect civilized adventure: Fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive.

What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: A kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: To see the sun rise one more time. A fast paced, well written literary thriller with interesting characters and a strong sense of place. Recommended by Meghan O'Keefe, Adult Services Librarian

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle - A perfect read for summer. Katy was supposed to go with her mom on a trip to spectacular Positano, Italy, where her mother lived as a young woman, but tragically, she passes away before they go. Katy decides to take the trip anyway, to heal and feel closer to her mom. While she is there enjoying the town -- Mom appears in the flesh as her 30 years old self, and the two become friends! The magical quality of this story is what I love the most -- the food, the view, and the ambiance of the coastal setting, all brought to life by the author's gorgeous writing. It sweeps you up and away to another world! Recommended by Wendy Theehs, Adult Services Library Associate


Glitterland by Alexis Hall. This British novel brings together two unlikely lovers; Ash, an upper class author, whose severe anxiety and depression have derailed his life and career, and Darian, a big-hearted male model from working-class Essex, England. Hall’s depictions of mental illness are gripping, and he wisely avoids an unrealistic “healed by love” trope. Yet the story is touching, funny and hopeful. Told with wit and tenderness, it’s a great read for Pride Month, or any month. Available in ebook on Hoopla. Recommended by Elizabeth Harmon, Adult Services Library Associate

Relationship Fiction

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews This author is my go to summer read. Her books are set in a sunny locale and they usually have a touch of whimsy. This book was all that and more. The main plot was a mystery that really keeps you guessing. I liked its emphasis on the power of trusting people and letting love come in to your heart. Recommended by Karin Litwin, Adult Services Library Associate






The Guncle by Steven Rowley - This is a funny, heartwarming story about a gay uncle who takes care of his niece and nephew for the summer, after they lose their mom to a long illness, and their dad goes to rehab for painkiller addiction. I listened to this audiobook as well. The author was the narrator and did an excellent job. Recommended by Lisa Mayoras, Adult Services Library Associate

Enjoy A Reader-Recommended Book!

The Spring Fling Reading Challenge invites participants to review a book they've read, and our patrons have responded!

If you're looking for an intriguing new read, why not give one of these "Favorite Flings" a try? Browse online, call the library to place a hold, or stop in and check out our Favorite Flings display in the Adult Services department.

If you've read something you loved, grab a Spring Fling review card from the Favorite Flings display, or at the Adult Services desk. You can also log into your Beanstack account, click Book Reviews, and tell us about your pick. You might see your new favorite on display soon!


Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson - From America’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller—a thriller about a young singer/songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive.

Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

Fits Spring Fling challenge square: Read a book with flower in the title.

Patron Review: "I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was very thought-provoking as I wanted to continue reading for the next adventure she embarked on. It was heartwarming with her success at the end of the story. Loved the short chapters." -Anonymous

Go Tell The Bees I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon - The ninth installment in Gabaldon's beloved "Outlander" series! Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same. It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible. Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s teakettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.

Spring Fling Reading Challenge squares: Try it as an audiobook!

Patron Review: "I loved this latest edition of the Outlander series. Roger, Brianna, and their kids are reunited with Claire and Jamie on the Ridge! But it wouldn't be outlander without some twists and turns (and tears)." - Outlander Fan

The Last Exiles by Ann Shin - Jin and Suja met and fell in love while studying at university in Pyongyang. She was a young journalist from a prominent family, while he was from a small village of little means. Outside the school, North Korea has fallen under great political upheaval, plunged into chaos and famine. When Jin returns home to find his family starving, their food rations all but gone, he makes a rash decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, miles away, Suja has begun to feel the tenuousness of her privilege when she learns that Jin has disappeared. Risking everything, and defying her family, Suja sets out to find him, embarking on a dangerous journey that leads her into a dark criminal underbelly and will test their love and will to survive.

Spring Fling Reading Challenge squares: Read a book with flowers on the cover, Debut Novel, Staff Pick

Patron Review: "This novel gives a look inside the secretive world of North Korea. A country filled with fear, distrust, and little control over one's life. Yet, the power of love and determination changes the fates of the brave characters in this book. An enjoyable and informative read." - Cecelia G.

Join The Spring Fling Reading Challenge!

Spring forward into a new reading challenge for adults, running April 1- May 15 at Algonquin Area Public Library.

The Spring Fling Reading Challenge invites you to give your reading a seasonal refresh, with a BINGO game that combines reading and simple activities, to complete up to five horizontal, vertical, or diagonal rows. For each completed row, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card from a local restaurant. (Drawing is exclusively for AAPLD cardholders).

To get started, log into Beanstack and select the Spring Fling Reading Challenge. You can also pick up a BINGO card at the Adult Services desk, or at the Eastgate Branch. After reading one book, you'll receive a Jersey Mike’s coupon. Track your progress on paper, or in Beanstack. The Challenge concludes on May 15. All BINGO cards/squares must be recorded in Beanstack or at the Adult Services desk by May 16 to be eligible for the gift card drawing.

The Spring Fling Reading Challenge display at the Main Library features books that fit many of the themes on the BINGO card.  Each book on the display contains a bookmark that shows which theme the book fits. For more suggestions, just ask a staff member, or browse our Spring Fling Reading Challenge online catalog to place a hold.

Bonus tip-- some books fit more than one theme, so you can count the same book for up to two different squares!

Read on for some book suggestions.

Library Reads Pick

The Maid by Nita Prouse - Molly Dunn throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. But Molly's orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what's happening, Molly's odd demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect and she finds herself in a web of subtext and nuance she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, a medley of friends she didn't realize she had refuses to let her be charged with murder--but will they be able to discover the real killer before it's too late? (This also counts as a Debut Novel).

Debut Novel

Carrie by Stephen King -  Even mega-bestselling authors have to start somewhere! This 1974 novel about a lonely misfit teen girl whose telekinetic powers unleash terror and death at her high school prom, launched Stephen King's career, and brought horror fiction to the mainstream. If you've never read this one, here's your chance. (This book also counts as a Book with Flowers on the Cover)

Set In Illinois or Written by an Illinois Author

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson - It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past. (This book is also a Debut Novel, and a Library Reads Pick)

New Release Book Newsletters

Have you always wanted a quick, easy way to know about the best, upcoming new releases in adult fiction? The library has your back! Subscribe to one of our new book newsletters here. New book newsletters are a great way to keep track of the most popular upcoming books so that you can be among the first to place a hold. Just click on a book cover to be taken directly to the library catalog! Subscribe to as many or as few newsletters as you’d like. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter e-mail. Keep reading for more information on our current newsletter offerings, and make sure to check back often as we will be rolling out additional genre-based newsletters in the future!

Fiction A to Z

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Fiction A to Z features upcoming new releases in contemporary, literary, and mainstream fiction. This is where you’ll find anything that falls into the general fiction category but isn’t by a blockbuster author like James Patterson. Monthly.

Bestselling Authors

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Subscribe to this newsletter to be among the first to know when your favorite bestselling author releases a new book. This newsletter is home to the biggest authors around, like James Patterson, Danielle Steel, David Baldacci, and many more! These authors often have long hold lists. Get your hold in early with this newsletter. Monthly.

Library Reads

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Library Reads books are chosen by librarians all around the country. They represent a collection of each month’s most popular, well-liked books. Do you have trouble deciding what to read next? Let the Library Reads newsletter help you out! Monthly.

New York Times Fiction Bestsellers

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This weekly newsletter showcases the hottest selling fiction books as determined by The New York Times. Don’t miss your chance to read one of these books that everyone is talking about. Weekly.

New York Times Non-Fiction Bestsellers

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This weekly newsletter showcases the hottest selling non-fiction books as determined by The New York Times. Don’t miss your chance to read one of these books that everyone is talking about. Weekly.


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Drawn to puzzles? These books will provide you with a steady stream of who-dun-its for your solving delight. Features all types of mysteries from police procedurals to cozies. Monthly.

Other Genres Coming Soon

Check back often as we will be adding more genre newsletters in the near future, including horror, romance, historical fiction, inspirational fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers/suspense.