Reading roundup: best of summer 22

Grace Hare, Life & Arts Reporter

Any avid reader can be guilty of watching their bedside stack of books grow to an embarrassing, unmanageable size as new novels get published and broadcast across social media feeds. This summer is no exception, with many tantalizing new stories ready to enthrall eager readers. The Daily Texan compiled the best three publications of the summer to add to any book collection.

“Carrie Soto Is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Despite awaiting publication until Aug. 30, powerful, raving reviews of early copies of “Carrie Soto is Back” are sparking excitement in reading circles nationwide. Reid’s characters leap off of the page during their triumphs and trials. Soto is a voracious competitor, and her thirst for claiming title after title in the world of competitive tennis leads her to the life of a lonely victor. However, a new challenge is rising —  fierce younger tennis icon, Nicki Chan. When Soto re-enters as a competitor with the sole purpose of overthrowing Nicki’s accomplishments, she is greeted by the same press that always condemned her brutal playing style. As Soto rises in the ranks, she discovers she may not be fighting Chan for the right reasons. “Carrie Soto Is Back” makes for a riveting story of love, loss and drama that spins the luster of one tennis player’s inner ambitions and the heat of her passion for her sport into a masterpiece. 

“Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional” by Isaac Fitzgerald 

This novel reads just as its title might suggest —  dirty, gritty and bold. The novel follows Fitzgerald’s early years as a homeless child in a Boston shelter. From beginning with the knowledge of Fitzgerald being a child born of an affair, to his older years working as a bartender across the U.S., he remains unapologetically himself. Remarkably, a huge part of Fitzgerald’s story comes from his success as a notable children’s author. Written with a sense of humor and remarkable optimism, this autobiography delivers a strong read for fans of nonfiction or satirical humor. 

“The Bodyguard” by Katherine Center 

Center’s latest novel is a breakthrough, serving as a pleasant surprise for fans of her previous works. Usually, Center’s writing sides on the edge of safe and peaceful, not daring to press against creative boundaries or walls. However, this latest work brought unbounding amounts of gusto and energy to the author’s catalog. The novel’s main character has an intentionally unlikable edge to her, ironically making for a strong suit of this new novel. While the heroine has depths, it is even more shocking to behold in the story’s love interest — Jack, the undeniably attractive, but also gentle and complicated, actor. At the end of the story, readers might want to frame the cover due to its traditional sweet and warm Katherine Center ending. Center reveals her edgier writing style and sharp-witted sense of humor, making this the author’s most memorable story to date.