Already have an account?
Get back to the

FIRST Book Club: Kristan Higgins’ New ‘Look on the Bright Side’ Is ‘Compelling’ Plus More Book Releases

FIRST has more romance, science fiction, and health title recommendations for May 24 through May 30

Summer is almost here, and while many of us are excited to post up by the pool with a good book, it can be hard to know where to search for new titles and releases. Luckily, FIRST Book Club’s recommendations for May 24 through May 30 are here, and Kristan Higgins’ anticipated fiction, Look on the Bright Side, tops the list!

FIRST executive editor Patty Bontekoe couldn’t put it down, calling Look on the Bright Side “complex” and “compelling,” in addition to a number of praises. Or if you’re in the mood for a romance that’s brimming with drama, heart and heat, Yulin Kuang’s debut novel, How to End a Love Story, could be the read you’re looking for.

On the other side of the book recommendation spectrum is The Full-Body Fat Fix, a health page turner that will change your perspective on gut health. If a mystery is more your speed, a Lucy Burdette title is on our list.

Keep scrolling for FIRST Book Club’s recommendations for May 24 through May 30.

Women’s Fiction: Look on the Bright Side

by Kristan Higgins

FIRST Book Club: Look on the Bright Side by Kristan Higgins
‎ Berkley

“As soon as I saw Kristan Higgins released a new book, I was thrilled! She writes rich, compelling stories with strong female characters — and this one was no different,” says Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor. In this novel, medical resident Lark Smith is floundering in all aspects of life. So when her co-worker, a renowned surgeon with an attitude, asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend for the summer in exchange for some career-changing introductions, she says yes, and soon finds herself falling for his estranged brother. “This story was surprisingly complex, exploring family drama, grief and self-love,” says Patty. “And the dreamy Cape Cod setting was a bonus!” (Berkley, 2024)

Science Fiction: The Other Valley

by Scott Alexander Howard

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard (FIRST BOOK CLUB)

“The unique premise of this time-travel tale intrigued me from the start,” says Sienna Sullivan, FIRST Editorial Assistant. The story centers on 16-year-old Odile, who has grown up nestled between two identical valleys, except one is 20 years in the future, while the other is 20 years in the past. She hopes to be on the Conseil, upon whose discretion citizens are permitted to pass between valley borders. This hope, along with a personal tie to the consequences of passing between valleys, makes Odile face several moral dilemmas. “I was enthralled by the plot and quick-witted characters,” raves Sienna. “This is a spellbinding sci-fi book that made me think!” (Atria, 2024

Romance: How to End a Love Story

by Yulin Kuang

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang (FIRST BOOK CLUB)

“Two of my go-to romances are Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry,” says Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “So when I heard that Yulin Kuang — the screenwriter and director behind Henry’s books, which are both being made into films — wrote her own novel, I swiped it up so fast.” The story follows Helen Zhang, who hasn’t seen Grant Shepard in the 13 years since the accident that changed their lives. Now, Helen is a bestselling author. Her most recent gig? A spot in the writer’s room of the TV adaptation of her young adult novels. She tries to shake off new-job nerves and focus on the fact that no one knows her, or her past, in L.A. But years ago, Grant moved across the country to start over and he’s now working as a screenwriter. When Grant and Helen come face-to-face again, they are forced to deal with the past and the present — and all the chemistry crackling between them. “A tale of love in all forms, this incredibly romantic novel stayed with me long after I finished it.” (Avon, 2024)

Related: 5 Star-Studded Celebrity Book Clubs + Their Favorite Picks: From Mystery to Romance!

Historical Fiction: The Lost Book of Bonn

by Brianna Labuskes

The Lost Book of Bonn by Brianna Labuskes (FIRST BOOK CLUB)
William Morrow

“For the past few months, I’ve been on a major historical fiction kick,” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “And this literary-themed story is a new favorite!” In this WWII epic, American librarian Emmy Clarke is sent to Germany to help catalogue the books the Nazis seized during the war. But on her first day of work, Emmy finds a poetry collection by Rainer Maria Rilke and is determined to discover who wrote the heartfelt dedication inside. Says Carissa, “This story has mystery, heart and a page-turning adventure.” (William Morrow, 2024

Health: The Full-Body Fat Fix

by Stephen Perrine 

The Full-Body Fat Fix by Stephen Perrine  (FIRST FOR WOMEN BOOK CLUB)
St. Martin’s Press

“When I first saw this title, my initial thought was ‘What have I got to lose?’,” says Melissa Gotthardt, FIRST Contributor. “And now I know: belly bloat, inflammation and brain fog.” This book, by the bestselling author of The Whole Body Reset, looks at how the microorganisms that live in our gut govern both brain and body health, and each page breaks down the science in an understandable way. “This 7-day plan, plus the book’s dozens of recipes, helped me attain my health goals easily!” (St. Martin’s, 2024)

Family Saga: Hello Beautiful 

by Ann Napolitano 

Hello Beautiful  by Ann Napolitano (FIRST Book Club)
The Dial Press

“My three sisters and I just started a book club and a librarian suggested this novel about a close-knit group of four sisters. How perfect!” says Tammy French, FIRST Copy Chief. When William Walters meets Julia Padavano during his freshman year of college, he thinks it’s fate. Her family is so warm and welcoming — and his is not. But when ghosts from William’s past show up, Julia and her sisters are met with a catastrophic shift that might threaten their bonds forever. “I love Little Women, and this story is the perfect homage to that book.” (The Dial, 2023

Cozy Mystery: A Clue in the Crumbs

by Lucy Burdette

A Clue in the Crumbs by Lucy Burdette (FIRST Book Club)
Crooked Lane Books

“I’m a huge fan of cozy baking competition shows,” says Lauren Blum, FIRST Associate Editor. “So when I saw this tale takes place on the set of a U.K. baking show that’s filming in Key West, I dove in.” Violet and Bettina Booth, sisters and hosts of the The UK Bakes! — Key West Edition, arrive in Florida only to find the place they’re supposed to stay on fire. Then a contestant’s husband is found dead, and the weapon links the sisters to the crime. Says Lauren, “I enjoyed this mystery’s beachy setting and the delicious recipes.” (Crooked Lane, 2023

For more FIRST Book Club picks:

FIRST Book Club: Ruth Ware’s New ‘One Perfect Couple’ Release Will Thrill You! Plus More Titles

FIRST Book Club: ‘The Paradise Problem,’ ‘Good Material’ and More Recommended Reads for May 10 to May 16

FIRST Book Club: 6 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love for May 3rd – May 9th

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.