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Our Summer Reading List, ft. six local bookstores

Already burned through your BookTok recs? Check out this list crafted by local indie bookstores.


Need an aesthetic spot to do your reading? Try Monstera’s Books. | Photo via Monstera’s Books

This goes out to any adult bookworms who miss the thrill of being called a “voracious reader.” We see you and we hear you.

If you’re looking to recapture the thrill of devouring your school’s summer reading list, look no further than KCtoday’s adult-friendly version. With recommendations from local indie bookstores across the metro, we’ve got everything from saucy romance to riveting autobiographies.

Pro tip: Want to remember these on your next bookstore run? Bookmark this guide to keep tabs on KCtoday’s ever-growing Summer Reading List.

The official selection

Under the Cover recommends “Bright Lights and Summer Nights” by Kat Singleton

  • The third book in this local author’s “Black Tie Billionaires” trilogy comes out Thursday, June 20 — but don’t worry, “it can be read as a standalone.” Grab a copy from Under the Cover, included with a release party ticket, and bring it next door to El Torreon for a night of book signing + fangirling.

Flagship Books recommends “The Summer Book” by Tove Jansson

  • From co-founder Ty Melgren: “It’s a quietly strange novel about a young girl and her grandma exploring a small island off the coast of Sweden, contemplating insects and moss and grouchiness and God and mortality while crawling around in the bushes and staring at the sea. I re-read it almost every summer.”

Flagship Books also recommends “Show Me Justice” by Alvin Lee Sykes

  • Interested in autobiographies? Try “Show Me Justice” by self-educated Kansas City civil rights lawyer Alvin Lee Sykes. “When he died in 2021, his obituary said that Sykes ‘changed the face of American law, and he learned it all in a Kansas City library.’”

Monstera’s Books recommends “Treehouse Town” by Gideon Sterer

  • Illustrated by Kansas City’s own Charlie Mylie, “Treehouse Town” is a “rhyming story about a town where children and animals live together atop the trees. And the illustrations will blow you away! Perfect for ages 3-6.”

Monstera’s Books also recommends “The Wedding People” by Alison Espach

  • “The Wedding People” is a “comedy of errors [starting] in St. Louis and [ending] in Newport, RI where one unexpected wedding guest makes surprising connections that help her start anew. It’s the perfect balance of serious and fun and what every reader needs this summer!”

Bliss Books + Wine recommends “Before I Let Go” and “This Could Be Us” by Kennedy Ryan

  • “We’re diving into the heat of the summer with some heat for our hearts [...] The recently released ‘This Could Be Us’ is the second book in the bestselling Skyland series, following the journey of Soledad, one of the three sister-friends from ‘Before I Let Go.’” Read this roller coaster love story + its happily ever after before the TV adaptation is released.

Helianthus Books recommends “Bindle Punk Bruja” by Desideria Mesa

  • This Latin historical fantasy novel is set in Kansas City during its infamous Prohibition era. “It tackles some serious issues in a way that doesn’t feel heavy and ends up really being a fun and satisfying read.”

Rainy Day Books recommends “In Memoriam” by Alice Winn

  • “In Memoriam is a beautiful and heartbreaking love story about two soldiers in World War 1. An unflinching and intense depiction of the brutality of war and an intimate look at the mind of these young men on the front lines. Several of our booksellers read this book this past month and have all fallen in love with it!”

Have any recommendations of your own (or just want to brag that you finished)? Drop us a line and we’ll be sure to check it out.

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