The Cuckoo's Calling

by Robert Galbraith |

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

NOVEL

When this debut mystery was published in April, it won admiring reviews but sold dismally. What a difference a pseudonym makes. Thanks to an anonymous tweet informing Britain's Sunday Times that author "Robert Galbraith" is actually J.K. Rowling, the book has now shot to the top of bestseller lists. So will Harry Potter fans go cuckoo for a crime caper? There's no magic involved this time out, but Rowling switches genres seamlessly, telling a gritty, absorbing tale about a down-on-his-luck London P.I., Cormoran Strike, whose fortunes begin to shift when he's hired to look into the supposed suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. (Those Hogwartsian names should have given us a clue.) Rowling told the Times she wishes she could have kept her secret a little bit longer, but she promises a sequel from "Robert." He will, however, "probably continue to turn down public appearances."

Big Girl Panties

by Stephanie Evanovich |

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

NOVEL

This first novel by Janet Evanovich's niece is a fun and fluffy, if somewhat predictable, read. Like her aunt, Evanovich the Younger uses a tried-and-true story line (32-year-old Holly loses husband, gains weight, hires trainer, loses weight, beds trainer) and a perky, accessible writing style that fairly defines the term "beach read." The plot sometimes strains credulity (would hunky Logan really fall for chubby, grieving Holly?), but Big Girl Panties has wit and heart.

& Sons

by David Gilbert |

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH

NOVEL

The shadow of decline hangs over aged literary lion Andrew Dyer, the author of a midcentury prep-school novel called Ampersand (wittily echoed in Gilbert's title) who shares with J.D. Salinger a curmudgeonly distaste for public life and worldwide fame. Dyer's two adult sons have proven to be disappointments and his marriage is a wreck, but renewal beckons in the person of his teenage third son Andy. Conceived under mysterious circumstances and startling in his resemblance to the old man, young Dyer is a lively one, full of the frustrations and embarrassments of youth yet in possession of an old soul that may herald more artistic greatness in the family. This throwback literary novel is slow-paced, but its rueful, poetic vision of faded WASP grandeur is frequently heartbreaking.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com

NATALIE MORALES

And the Mountains Echoed

by Khaled Hosseini

"It's just so beautifully written, and it's a great story. I loved The Kite Runner too—I've read every book he's ever written."

DAN STEVENS

Integral Life Practice

by Ken Wilber

"Ken Wilber's a philosopher, and it's a philosophy book. I'm pretty far in, and it's very, very interesting. "

KYLE RICHARDS

Fifty Shades Trilogy

by E.L. James

"By the end of the third book I was like, 'Oh please, no one wants to have sex that much! Enough already!' "

The bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow and Some Assembly Required shares the books she tells People she's "foisting on everyone this summer."

THE SILENT WIFE

by A.S.A. Harrison

It's this summer's Gone Girl—I gobbled it down in one sitting, and because of the wonderful writing, I did not feel one speck guilty.

STATIONS OF THE HEART

by Richard Lischer

A gorgeous, profound, deeply spiritual nonfiction story about a professor of divinity whose son is expecting his first child while dying of melanoma.

GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY, HOLLYWOOD, AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF

by Lawrence Wright

Wright (The Looming Tower) is a brilliant investigator and storyteller. It's totally compelling—airplane heaven.

THE SHINING GIRLS

by Lauren Beukes

Just started this last night, accidentally, and it has already ruined my life. Stayed up for hours—crime thriller with a sci-fi angle, and such good writing. Am hooked, and jealous.

ME BEFORE YOU

by Jojo Moyes

A hilarious, heartbreaking, riveting novel about a young woman taking care of a larger-than-life man in a wheelchair. I will stake my reputation on this book.

People EXCLUSIVE! LIVE CHAT

JOIN US FOR A LIVE CHAT WITH ANNE LAMOTT, JULY 24 AT 1 P.M. ET AT PEOPLE.COM/ANNELAMOTT!