Books
May 27, 2024

Our 2024 Summer Reading Picks

Bringing in a mix of old and new, these are Press Pass LA’s summer reading picks for 2024.

“Two years after her stellar debut memoir Maid—which was adapted into the Netflix miniseries of the same name starring Margaret Qualley—Land returned to shelves with her excruciatingly candid follow-up about her final year studying at the University of Montana.”

“When Stephanie Land set out to write her memoir Maid, she never could have imagined what was to come. Handpicked by President Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2019, he called it an “unflinching look at America’s class divide…and a reminder of the dignity of all work.” Later, it was adapted into the hit Netflix series Maid, which was viewed by sixty-seven million households and was Netflix’s fourth most-watched show in 2021, garnering three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Stephanie’s escape out of poverty and abuse in search of a better life inspired millions.”

Maid was a story about a housecleaner, but it was also a story about a woman with a dream. In Class, Land takes us with her as she finishes college and pursues her writing career. Facing barriers at every turn including a byzantine loan system, food insecurity, the judgments of professors and fellow students who didn’t understand the demands of attending college while under the poverty line—Land finds a way to survive once again, finally graduating in her mid-thirties.”

Class paints an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of motherhood as it converges and often conflicts with personal desire and professional ambition. Who has the right to create art? Who has the right to go to college? And what kind of work is valued in our culture? In clear, candid, and moving prose, Class grapples with these questions, offering a searing indictment of America’s educational system and an inspiring testimony of a mother’s triumph against all odds.”

CLASS

“For twenty-six-year-old Adelaide Williams, an American living in dreamy London, meeting Rory Hughes was like a lightning bolt out of the blue: this charming Englishman was The One she wasn’t even looking for.”

Is it enough? 

“Does he respond to texts? Honor his commitments? Make advance plans? Sometimes, rarely, and no, not at all. But when he shines his light on her, the world makes sense, and Adelaide is convinced that, in his heart, he’s fallen just as deeply as she has. Then, when Rory is rocked by an unexpected tragedy, Adelaide does everything in her power to hold him together—even if it means losing herself in the process.”

When love asks too much of us, how do we find the strength to put ourselves first?

“With unflinching honesty and heart, this relatable debut from a fresh new voice explores grief and mental health while capturing the timeless nature of what it’s like to be young and in love, with your friends, with your city, and with a person who cannot, will not, love you back.”

ADELAIDE

An illuminating and “wholly refreshing” (David Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author) biography of the young Jackie Bouvier Kennedy that covers her formative adventures abroad in Paris; her life as a writer and photographer in Washington, DC; and her romance with a dashing, charismatic Massachusetts congressman who shared her intellectual passion.

Camera Girl “shines with wit and intelligence” (Library Journal, starred review) as it brings to life Jackie’s years as a young, single woman trying to figure out who she wanted to become. Chafing at the expectations of her family and the societal limitations placed on women in that era, Jackie pursued her dream career as a writer. Set primarily during the years of 1949 to 1953, when Jackie was in her early twenties, the book recounts in heretofore unrevealed detail the story of her late college years and her early adulthood as a working woman.”

“Before she met John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier was the Washington Times-Herald’s “Inquiring Camera Girl,” posing compelling questions to members of the public on the streets of DC and snapping their photos with her unwieldy Graflex camera. She then fashioned the results into a daily column, of which six hundred were published.”

“Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian and leading expert on First Ladies, draws on these columns and previously unseen archives of Jackie’s writings from this time, along with insights gleaned from interviews he conducted with her friends, colleagues, and family members. Camera Girl offers a fresh perspective on the woman later known as Jacqueline Kennedy and Jackie O, introducing us to the headstrong, self-assured young woman who went on to be one of the world’s most famous people. “For anyone of any age, the Jackie in Camera Girl offers an example of intentional living” (Hillary Rodham Clinton).”

CAMERA GIRL

“Called “one of the most disruptive brands in beauty” by Forbes, Glossier revolutionized the beauty industry with its sophisticated branding and unique approach to influencer marketing, almost instantly making the company a juggernaut with rabid fans. It also taught a generation of business leaders how to talk to Millennial and Gen Z customers and build a cult following online.”

“At the center of the story lies Emily Weiss, the elusive former Teen Vogue “superintern” on the reality show The Hills turned Into the Gloss beauty blogger who had the vision, guts, and searing ambition needed to launch Glossier. She cannily turned every experience, every meeting into an opportunity to fuel her own personal success. Together with her expensive, signature style and singular vision for the future of consumerism, she could not be stopped. Just how did a girl from suburban Connecticut with no real job experience work her way into the bathrooms and boudoirs of the most influential names in the world and build that access into a 1.9-billion-dollar business? Is she solely responsible for its success? And why, eight years later, at the height of Glossier mania, did she step down?”

“In Glossy, journalist and author Marisa Meltzer combines in-depth interviews with former Glossier employees, investors, and Weiss herself to bring you inside the walls of this fascinating and secretive company. From fundraising to product launches and unconventional hiring practices, Meltzer exposes the inner workings of Glossier’s culture, culminating in the story of Weiss herself. The Devil Wears Prada for the Bad Blood generation, Glossy is not just a gripping portrait of one of the most important business leaders of her generation, but also a chronicle of an era.”

GLOSSY

“Mickey Hayward dreams of writing stories that matter, but, for now, her days are filled with listicles about lip gloss and click-bait articles about celebrity haircare. Still, the job is flashy and her girlfriend is steady and supportive. The path may be long, but Mickey’s well on her way, and it’s far from the messy life she left behind in Maryland. Everything finally seems to be falling into place—until she finds out she’s being replaced.”

“Distraught and enraged, Mickey fires back with a detailed letter outlining the racism she’s endured as a Black woman in media, certain it will change the world for the better. But when her letter is met with overwhelming silence, even from her usually-encouraging girlfriend, Mickey is sent into a tailspin of self-doubt. Forced to reckon with just how fragile her life is, she flees to the last place she ever dreamed she would run: her hometown.”

“Back home, Mickey is seduced by the simplicity of her hometown—and the flirtation of a former flame—but she soon learns that you can’t outrun your past. In the newfound quiet, she is forced to reflect on the sacrifices she’d made for an industry that never loved her back and pick up the pieces of the life she thought she’d left behind for good. After all, when the walls of success you’ve carefully built around yourself come crumbling down, what—and who—are you left with?” 

“A meditation on identity, self-worth and the toll of corporate racism, Homebodies is a portrait of modern Black womanhood with a protagonist you won’t soon forget.”

HOMEBODIES

“An invitation for membership to the exclusive Legacy Club in New York City is more than an honor. It gives lifetime access to power and wealth beyond any prep school doors, as Legacy Club members always look out for their own. That is, after you make it through a rigorous week of events and the extravagant gala, the Legacy Ball.”

“It’s not surprising when Excelsior Prep seniors Bernie Kaplan, Isobel Rothcroft, and Skyler Hawkins are nominated as Legacies; their family pedigrees have assured their membership since birth—even if they’re all keeping secrets that could destroy their reputations. But scholarship kid from Queens Tori Tasso is the surprise nominee no one saw coming. She’s never fit in this world of designer bags, penthouse apartments, and million-dollar donations. So what did she do to secure her place?”

“The evening of the Legacy Ball arrives, and everyone expects a night of luxury and excess, haute couture, and plenty of hushed gossip. No one expects their secrets to come out. Or for someone to die trying to keep them hidden.”

THE LEGACIES

“After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.”

“To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish—into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.”

Shadow and Bone meets Lore in Rebecca Ross’s Divine Rivals, an epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love.”

DIVINE RIVALS