With cuffing season long gone, summer is a time for flings and romance鈥 right? While that may聽or may not be true, there鈥檚 one undisputed fact:聽The pool boy may be for now, but the lady聽telling you to聽go for it聽is forever. This summer, BFFs and sisters rule fiction, from the lightest beach reads to the darkest, most contemplative stories. This week鈥檚 book club features women who are deeply affected by each others鈥 presence, whether they鈥檙e separated by a continent or living just down the street.

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1. A Dangerous Age by Kelly Killoren Bensimon ($17): It鈥檚 a formula that never gets old: Four friends navigate the treacherous waters of Manhattan, bickering, bonding and making bad choices. In Kelly Killoren Bensimon鈥檚 A Dangerous Age, the heat of the summer threatens to melt the longstanding friendships, careers and even lives of four artistic besties. And who can tell the tale better than a former聽Real Housewives of New York聽cast member?

鈥淚鈥檒l be forty-two next month and I didn鈥檛 see this coming. I鈥檓 sitting in the same apartment with the same friends, having a version of the same conversation we鈥檝e been having for twenty years. The rearview mirror looks more like a halfhearted quickie than the sultry, slow striptease I鈥檇 imagined.鈥 Narrator Lucy is struggling with a failing long-term marriage to a famous artist more than twenty years her senior and a long-dead modeling career, all her hopes riding the support of her friends.

Billy, broke and single, has quit her restaurant critic job to write and sell a book about cocktails, all while running an 鈥渁dventure supper club鈥 out of her apartment. Sarah鈥檚 rich and engaged, riding atop the Page Six world of charity galas (but for how long?). Art dealer Lotta鈥檚 forty-five, divorced and still at the club to closing every night, with a drug habit that鈥檚 becoming less recreational and more full-time. With their youth behind them in a youth-worshipping society, the women have entered a dangerous age, but it鈥檚 more dangerous to go alone. If you鈥檙e a fan of witty banter and drama, this book聽belongs on your bookshelf.

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2. Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi ($17):聽Homegoing,聽an epic novel spanning seven generations, starts with the separation and journey of two half-sisters who find themselves leading two completely different lives in the parallel worlds of 18th聽century Ghana and America. The book shows us how these sisters鈥 divergent fates 鈥 and the seemingly insurmountable barriers of classism and racism 鈥 have huge, sprawling repercussions for their descendants.

Effia is brokered in marriage to an Englishman and knows privilege and comfort in Cape Coast Castle, while Esi winds up a casualty of the repugnant American slave trade.聽鈥淗e knew then that the memory of the fire that burned, then fled, would haunt him, his children, and his children鈥檚 children for as long as the line continued,鈥 Gyasi writes. In Ghana, British rule and the brutality of slavery caused hundreds of years of war. The American experience of a family sold into slavery, from the 1800s聽to the present day, might be a little more of a familiar story to readers, but it鈥檚 told in fascinating and powerful detail, with richly developed characters who aren鈥檛 simple heroes and villains.

Comparisons have been drawn between first-time novelist Gyasi and legends Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. Ta-Nehisi Coates calls Homegoing 鈥渁n inspiration,鈥 saying, 鈥淚 think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible.鈥 Homegoing promises to be a searing, necessary take on the effect of captivity on both a familial and national scale.

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3. Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes ($17):聽In this book of eleven short stories, set along the coast of Maine, relationships blossom between women and girls as the tales weave together. Noyes writes聽tales of pain, loss and hardship, but also love and strength.

In 鈥淗ibernation,鈥 Joni tries to figure out why her husband threw his possessions, then himself, into the quarry behind their house. 鈥淲erewolf鈥 shows a woman struggling to atone for blaming an innocent, intellectually disabled family member for childhood sexual abuse. 鈥淭he Quarry鈥 features two sisters in a discussion of identity and social standing. In 鈥淒rawing Blood,鈥 a possible bond between two girls from wildly divergent social classes in the early 1900s is tested as they initiate a painful affair, and in 鈥淭his Is Who She Was,鈥 an important relationship is forged between a young woman and her boyfriend鈥檚 mother.

The stories revel in the small details of overwhelming situations, like the difficulty of picking out the proper clothing when you鈥檝e just lost your husband. 鈥淛oni knew she was OK, even if her thinking wasn鈥檛. She had clean hair,鈥 Noyes writes. 鈥淪he had a fruit bowl filled with nectarines, and a row of books on the shelf arranged from large to small.鈥 These beautiful women don鈥檛 always make beautiful choices, but their intricate聽lives make for gorgeous聽reading.

What books are your BFFs? Tag us in your next sisterly read @BritandCo.

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