Summer is well underway, and that makes it the perfect time to finally settle on a big summer read. Jimmy Fallon wants your help picking one. The Tonight Show host kicked off the show’s second annual summer book club on Thursday night, describing five different books and asking viewers to vote for their favorites online. The options are: The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz; Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane; Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner; The Chain by Adrian McKinty; and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Last year’s winner was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
The Gone Dead is Benz’s first novel, and focuses on a woman named Billie James returning to her childhood home in Mississippi. Her father died there when Billie was just 4 years old, but she has little memory of it. As she asks friends and family around town about what happened that day, the mystery only deepens. In EW’s review of The Gone Dead, David Canfield writes, “The first-time novelist captures human interaction with the polish of a seasoned dramatist, armed with a bevy of tools — a feel for smooth dialogue; a rich sense of place; a knowledge of history and its impact on individuals, families, and communities — that charge her words with authenticity.”
Ask Again, Yes is about the relationship between two families that begins with Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope meeting each other as rookie cops in New York City in 1973 and then becoming neighbors in a suburb just outside the city. Their children Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope become close friends, but eventually calamity strikes. In EW’s review, Leah Greenblatt writes, “Keane (Fever) writes about mental illness and substance abuse with acute sensitivity, and her characters are consistently, authentically lived-in.”
Fleishman Is In Trouble is a “Great American Divorce Novel,” according to EW’s Greenblatt. The title character, Dr. Toby Fleishman, is just starting to acclimate to a world of post-divorce dating app adventures when one day his ex-wife Rachel drops their kids off early for his weekend with them, and then…doesn’t come back. “Brodesser-Akner, a New York Times journalist already famed for a certain kind of irreverent celebrity profile (Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow), aims a perfect gimlet eye at the city’s relentless self-regard — the women with their aggressively botulized foreheads and tank-top spirituality, the status symbols that signal nothing and everything in their Darwinian social world,” Greenblatt writes in her review.
The Chain is a buzzy summer thriller with a truly creepy premise: Parents getting calls that their kid has been kidnapped, and the only way to save them is to kidnap another parent’s child. “What would you do to save your kids? The Chain asks this of a series of characters who realize themselves capable of far worse than they ever imagined,” Canfield writes in EW’s review of the book.
The Silent Patient‘s title has a far more intense meaning than it seems at first. Protagonist Alicia Berenson was seen as a happily married artist, until one night she brutally murders her husband and stops speaking at all. The resulting mystery captures the public imagination, and forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber becomes obsessed with figuring out why Alicia did what she did. You can read the first chapter via EW.
Vote now for the book you’d like Fallon to pick.