Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Jennifer Weiner's 'That Summer,' Your *IDEAL* Beach Book

Jennifer Weiner’s books are probably staples in your summer reading collection: Big Summer? Hell yeah. Mrs. Everything? Loved it. In Her Shoes? A classic.

This month, the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author is back with another compulsive novel full of secrets and complicated female friendships. This one’s called That Summer and it follows Daisy Shoemaker, a mother, wife, and cook who seems to have her life totally together. But… she can’t sleep. Like at all. As she tries to figure out what the hell is going on, she starts receiving emails meant for someone else—Diana Starling—and she starts to wonder more and more about this mysterious woman’s seemingly glamorous life. Soon, the two meet and readers learn their introduction to one another was not really an accident. Dun dun dun!

Ahead of That Summer‘s release on May 11, Cosmopolitan has an exclusive first look at the novel with a scene from the opening chapter and a clip from the audiobook read by Younger‘s Sutton Foster (!).

Before diving in, Weiner’s here to explain how she found the inspo for That Summer:

Chapter 1

Daisy sat up and swung her legs out of bed, sliding her feet along the floor until she found her slippers with her toes. She moved noiselessly through the darkness with the ease of long practice. From the chaise lounge against the wall, a piece of furniture that existed to be a repository for clothes and for baskets of laundry, she picked up her robe, pulling it around her shoulders as she padded down to her desk just off the kitchen. She pulled her laptop free from its charger and carried it to the living room, opening her email in-box. Saks was having a sale; the local library needed volunteers to run the book drive; and she’d been invited to a fiftieth birthday party in Marin County. Brad and I hope you’ll join us for a glorious weekend of wine, food, and reminiscing! read the text, beneath the picture of a verdant vine- yard in the honeyed glow of a setting sun. Daisy read on, learn- ing that the party would be at the Vintage Wine Estates, that there was a bike ride planned and a spa day for those who didn’t want to ride, and that cedar-plank salmon and filet mignon would be served at the Saturday night dinner. She felt a little guilty even looking, because this invitation, of course, was not for her. Daisy’s real name was Diana, and she’d used it as part of the email address she’d claimed way back in high school— [email protected] This other woman, the other Diana, was [email protected] For the last six months, Daisy had been receiving emails that she realized were intended not for her, but for the other Diana.

The other Diana’s emails were innocuous things—an invitation to a tennis tournament or a dinner or to grab drinks at a bar. Enough to give Daisy a sense of the contours of the other woman’s life, and to realize that, of the two of them, the other Diana seemed to be having a lot more fun.

As Lester navigated the stairs on his stumpy legs and heaved himself effortfully onto the couch beside her, Daisy sent the birthday-party invitation email back with a brief note—sorry, I’m the wrong Diana. She was about to open up Facebook and post some obligatory comments—so cute!—on her brother’s latest photographs of his kids when her in-box pinged. A note from the other Diana, with sorry!!! in the memo line, had arrived.

Daisy clicked it open. “I’m so sorry you keep getting my emails. I apologize on behalf of my friends.”

Daisy stared at the missive, and then, before she could over- think, she wrote back. “No worries,” she typed. “I’m enjoying liv- ing your life vicariously (in lieu of having my own).” The instant she’d hit “send” she was instantly awash with regret. Had she sounded too flip? Too snobby? Did anyone say “in lieu” anymore? Should she have included an emoji, or at least written “LOL”?

She’d been on the verge of panic when her in-box had dinged again. “LOL,” the other Diana had written. “I’m a corporate consultant based in NYC. It’s nonstop glamour.” With the rolling- eye emoji after that.

“Anything is more glamorous than my life,” Daisy typed. “I have a teenager who hates me, a husband who’s never home, and an old dog with digestive issues.” She hit “send” before she could rethink it. “Sorry, Lester,” she murmured. Lester gave her a mournful look, loosed a sonorous fart, and rearranged himself against her leg, where he promptly went back to sleep . . . and, then, again, her in-box was pinging. This time Diana had sent three emojis, all of the scrunched-up, tears-coming-out-of-its- eyes laughing face. “I don’t have any children, but I have teenage nieces. I truly believe that teenage girls are God’s revenge on women for what they did to their mothers,” she wrote.

“I know she doesn’t really hate me. She’s trying to be independent. It’s what she’s supposed to do,” Daisy wrote back. After three different people had recommended it, she’d read a persuasive book that made the case about teenage girls and the work of separation, and she was trying hard to believe the words as she typed them.

“You’re right,” Diana replied. “But it still must be hard.” “She’s probably going to be expelled from her school,” Daisy typed. “My husband and I are leaving first thing in the morning to drive to New Hampshire to meet with the headmaster.” Daisy, who’d been raised casually Jewish, had never been to a confessional, but she imagined the rite to feel something like this, sit- ting in the dark and tell all your sins to a stranger.

“Yikes,” wrote Diana. “Is that why you’re awake at two in the morning?”

“I have insomnia,” Daisy wrote. “Me and every other middle- aged woman.”

“Same here,” wrote Diana. “It’s the worst. And I’m sorry about your daughter.” Daisy appreciated that the expression of sympathy wasn’t paired with a request for information, a demand to know what Beatrice had done to get in trouble. “Do you feel like you’re the one who’s been called to the principal’s office?” Diana wrote.

Headmaster, not principal,” Daisy typed, rolling her eyes, even as she felt grateful. For all his complaining, for all of his fury at Beatrice, Hal hadn’t seemed to realize that Beatrice’s expulsion had left Daisy feeling like she’d been the one found lacking. “And yes. I feel judged.”

For a moment, there was nothing. Then another email appeared, “I bet you could use a treat. If you’ve got a free night and can meet me in New York, I’ll buy you the best Bloody Mary of your life.” And again, Daisy barely hesitated before she typed the word Yes.

Audio excerpt courtesy of Simon & Schuster Audio from THAT SUMMER by Jennifer Weiner, read by Sutton Foster. Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc. Used with permission from Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc. From the forthcoming book THAT SUMMER by Jennifer Weiner, to be published by Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed by permission.

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