Sure Things for Shore Reading

Heading to the beach? Whether you bring a digital edition or old-school print, these Jersey-related summer reads will brighten your day.

All the Summer Girls
by Meg Donohue
(William Morrow)
Three childhood friends at various stages of life—one pregnant and recently dumped, another a bored stay-at-home mom, the third, a party girl who can’t keep a job—decide to reconnect at their favorite spot on the Shore. As kids, they spent two weeks together every summer in Avalon. Reprising the experience, they realize the choices they made one fateful night might have changed the direction of their friendships and their lives. Author Meg Donohue, who grew up in Philadelphia and spent her summers in Avalon, has woven a moving tale of friendship and secrets.—Amanda Staab

In The Godfather Garden: The Long Life and Times of Richie “The Boot” Boiardo
by Richard Linnett
(Rutgers University Press)
This well-researched biography follows the notorious and long-lived Newark gangster (on whom Tony Soprano was in part based) from a Naples orphanage to a job as a Newark milkman to the sprawling Livingston estate where the brutal boss liked to putter in his garden. Linnett profiles the underworld characters who surrounded Boiardo as he bested rivals like Abner “Longie” Zwillman, built a Prohibiton empire and entertained politicians, cops and celebrities at his palatial restaurants.—Brett Savage

Palisades_Park_tPalisades Park
by Alan Brennert
(St. Martin’s Press)
You may remember author Alan Brennert from his national bestseller, Moloka’i. In Palisades Park, Brennert tells the multigenerational story of an American family using the late, lamented New Jersey amusement park as the setting for much of the action. The details of the park itself are the main attraction.
—Dylan Runco

Sight Reading
by Daphne Kalotay
(Gallery Books)
A professor and conservatory student have a devastating affair, which melts into a stew of tragedy, heartache and lies. As if sight-reading—the perilous act of playing a piece of music for the first time—Kalotay’s characters navigate the uncertain waters of life.
—Sophia Ahn

All I Need
by Susane Colasanti (Viking)
A young couple meet on the beach in Sea Bright. She is from a wealthy background; he is…not. They enter a long-distance relationship, struggling with class conflict and the stresses and challenges of coming of age in today’s America. A delightful coming-of-age story for the young-adult reader.—BS


When She Was Gone
by Gwendolen Gross (Harper)
On a summer day, a beloved high school senior vanishes with the morning dew. As the days tick by, the fragility of the little suburban universe from which she disappeared becomes apparent. Neighbors spy on each other. Nerves become frayed. In the midst of the crisis, members of the community—the queen bee of the housewives, the recluse piano teacher, the eccentric misfit, the heartbroken teenager—begin to reevaluate their place in the suburban order.—SA

Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks
by Peter Filichia
(St. Martin’s Press)
What do Gypsy, West Side Story and Camelot have in common? Not one took home the Tony Award for best musical. In Strippers, Showgirls and Sharks, Star-Ledger theater critic Peter Filichia makes a convincing case for the significance of the snubbed musicals, documenting their stellar moments and lasting impact.—DR

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