BOOKS

USA TODAY's bestselling books of the last 10 summers: How many have you read?

Mary Cadden
USA TODAY

What does it take to become the book of summer? We looked back at summers past on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list to see what titles broke out, and whether we could crack the code. Judging from the summer standouts of the past 10 years, it takes thrills, chills and a whole lot of buzz to lead the pack. After all, what makes for a good summer read is its ability to transport us away from the world with page-turning prose while we simultaneously tell everyone who will listen, "You have to read this book! "

So what will be 2022’s book of summer? It's anybody's guess. But until we know, might we recommend revisiting the summer breakouts of old. How many have you read?  

The Last Thing He Told Me," by Laura Dave

2021: 'The Last Thing He Told Me,' by Laura Dave

In this mystery, Hannah thinks she’s found the love of her life in Owen Michaels – until he disappears. A Reese Witherspoon book club book, the novel would spend a total of 48 weeks on the list and finish the year as No. 6 on USA TODAY's bestselling books of 2021. 

2020: 'Midnight Sun,' by Stephenie Meyer

In 2005, "Twilight" launched a series in which a young woman, Bella Swan, is torn between vampire Edward Cullen and shapeshifter Jacob Black. The original novel, along with its three follow-ups, would reach No. 1 and remain on the list for more than four years. This retelling, which shows the story from Edward's perspective, debuted at No. 1 in August and remained on the bestsellers list for more than a year. 

6 things to know about 'Midnight Sun,' the new 'Twilight' book told from Edward Cullen's perspective

More:Stephenie Meyer says more books coming in 'Twilight' saga

"Where the Crawdads Sing," by Delia Owens

2019: 'Where the Crawdads Sing,' by Delia Owens

The novel revolves around a young woman, Kya Clark, who is suspected in the death of the popular Chase Andrews. "Crawdads," also a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, was the top-selling book for 2019 and hit the top spot nine times while spending more than three years on the list. The coming film adaptation, produced by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine and starring "Normal People" breakout star Daisy Edgar-Jones, is set for a theatrical release in July. 

Best-selling book of 2019:'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens is No. 1

More:'Crawdads,' 'Bridgerton,' 'Antiracist Baby' book sales surge thanks to Netflix, Ted Cruz and Taylor Swift

2018: 'The President Is Missing,' by James Patterson and Bill Clinton

The novel, in which the U.S. president disappears as a cyberterrorist threat grips the nation, was a collaboration between the author and former President Clinton, debuted on the bestsellers list in June and remained on the list for 33 weeks. While the novel garnered OK reviews from USA TODAY, it proved to be so successful, the pair teamed up again in 2021 for "The President's Daughter."

'The President Is Missing'! Can superhero prez save the day in Clinton/Patterson thriller?

More:Bill Clinton and James Patterson team up again for 'The President’s Daughter'

"Camino Island," by John Grisham.

2017: 'Camino Island,' by John Grisham

The novel, about a charismatic Florida bookseller who becomes a suspect after daring thieves steal the original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels from Princeton, garnered a rave review from USA TODAY, which called it "a most agreeable summer destination." It debuted in June at No. 1 and stayed there the rest of the month. The book would stay on the list for 39 weeks. 

More:Grisham is No. 1 with 'Camino Island'; Kevin Hart lands at No. 4

More:5 books not to miss: John Grisham’s ‘Camino Winds,’ epic Andy Warhol biography

2016: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two,' by J.K. Rowling

While not a thriller per se, it was a thrill for Harry Potter fans when this book came out in the summer of  2016 and remained on the list well into the next year. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy try to find their places in Hogwarts the way their fathers, Harry and Draco, did before them. Written in script form, the book was made into a stage play in London in July of the same year. 

'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins

2015: 'The Girl on the Train,' by Paula Hawkins

The psychological thriller about the disappearance of a young married woman took the summer by storm and resulted in Hawkins being named USA TODAY Author of the Year. Though published at the start of the year, the novel dominated the bestsellers list not just all that summer, but for more than two years. A USA TODAY review warned readers to hang on tight: "You'll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend."

2014: 'The Fault in Our Stars,' by John Green

Stories of young love are popular in summer, but Green's hits hard: He writes of a girl with terminal cancer who finds love in a support group. A tearjerker, to say the least. The book broke into the top 10 in time for the film's release in June. Thanks to the film and the buzz, the book would eventually land the top position 13 times during its three years on the list

2013: 'Inferno,' by Dan Brown

After waking up in a Florence hospital with no memory of the past few days, Robert Langdon enters a mysterious world centered on Dante's "Inferno" while trying to retrace his past few days. The novel followed three others featuring Langdon: "Angels & Demons," "The Da Vinci Code" and "The Lost Symbol." All were USA TODAY bestsellers. 

2012: 'Gone Girl,' by Gillian Flynn

When Nick Dunne’s wife Amy disappears on their fifth anniversary, he is considered a suspect. And when readers picked up "Gone Girl," they were hooked. Was it that infamous twist? Perhaps. The novel debuted on the list at No. 7 in June and remained on the list for more than three years. The novel eventually hit No. 1 when the 2014 film adaptation starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike was released.