It’s almost holiday time! Having time to read is one of the great pleasures of a holiday. Books are essential holiday survival gear, in my opinion. Not only do they get you through hours of sitting on planes, trains, but they’re also the perfect escape for when quality family time gets to be just a little too much.

My selection encompasses ancient and modern, fiction and non-fiction. All they have in common is that we’re confident that if you take any one of these on holiday, you are in for a huge treat. Happy trails!

We Could Be Beautiful  by Swan Huntley

This psychological thriller has been racking up raves thanks to its juicy premise: Fancy 43-year-old Manhattanite Catherine West has everything—a designer wardrobe, personal trainer, West Village apartment, hefty trust fund—except the family she’s always wanted. Then, at an art gala, she meets charming William Stockton and they’re engaged within months. However, Catherine’s mother—suffering from Alzheimer’s—shuts down at the mention of William’s name. Why? Why, too, is William so alarmed when Catherine sifts through his stash of childhood photos? And what’s the meaning of the note from her former nanny, neatly taped in her mother’s old diary—“we cannot trust anyone to care for us fully”?

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided  by Diane Guerrero

Guerrero—who you’d probably recognize from Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, writes a beautiful memoir that, at its center, is the story of undocumented immigrants in the US—and she speaks from experience. Guerrero was 14 years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the US, Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on family friends who took her in.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

A follow-up to 2013’s laugh-out-loud satirical send-up Crazy Rich Asians, which centered on super-rich, vapid, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. In China Rich Girlfriend, we have our two protagonists—ABC Rachel Chu and wealthy Nicholas Young—preparing for their own wedding while Chu searches for her birth father.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Reviews of Danler’s buzzy, sexy new novel, set in the New York City food world during the mid-2000s, have been not only fast and furious—everyone from the New York Times to Goodreads users are talking about it—but also effusive. The writer worked for years as a waitress, including at the famous Union Square Café—the model for the book’s fictional restaurant—but it’s not just a juicy tell-all about food-world hierarchy; there’s also plenty of sex, drugs, and a love triangle. If you still need convincing, Sweetbitter’s already number 14 on the Times’ list of best-selling hardcovers—a coup for a new author and a brand-new book.

An Innocent Fashion by R.J. Hernandez 

Described as The Devil Wears Prada meets The Bell Jar, this novel follows Elián San Jamar, who—desperate to escape to his middle-class Texan upbringing—gets a full ride to Yale and befriends Madeline and Dorian, both wealthy and privileged students. With their help, he reinvents himself as Ethan St. James and lands a job at leading New York fashion magazine Régine. Starting at the bottom—and dealing with his identity and sexuality—Ethan eventually begins to unravel.

Images © DearMilano