NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

Jenna Bush Hager Reveals Her June 2024 Book Club Pick (DETAILS)

Kick off summer reading season with a fantastic recommendation from the TODAY host.

By Chris Phelan

Summer's right around the corner, and Jenna Bush Hager has the perfect book to add to your reading list.

How to Watch

Watch TODAY weekdays at 7AM ET on NBC.

The longtime TODAY co-anchor's June book club selection is Essie Chambers' debut novel, Swift River. Read all about the enthralling novel, below!

Jenna Bush Hager's June 2024 book club pick

"Swift River is a story filled with secrets: community secrets and family secrets," Hager announced. "It is a book that made me cry and then filled me with enormous hope."

The story follows young Diamond Newberry growing up as the only Black person in her Massachusetts hometown. As a teen who is frequently bullied and experiences racism, her journey is a delicate balancing act of yearning to leave her hometown and feeling pressure to stay for her mother's sake.

Speaking to TODAY, Chambers revealed the thought process behind writing her first novel. "I feel like the Diamonds of the world often don't get to be the center of a story and they're not humanized," she explained. "I wanted readers who were Diamond to feel seen and heard and respected. I wanted people who aren't like her to have real empathy and understand what it feels like to move through the world in her body."

Through the uplifting and often heartbreaking story, Chambers also explores the parental dilemma of a mother who — despite her best efforts — cannot fulfill her daughter's needs.

RELATED: All 67 Books in Jenna Bush Hager’s Book Club, Read With Jenna

A split of Jenna Bush Hager and the book Swift River by Essie Chambers

"I think that there is something heartbreaking and poignant about parental failure coming from a particular parent like this who loves her child so much, but it's failing her so profoundly," she revealed.

The novel touches on many topics that will cause moments of self-reflection in any reader, like racial issues, family relationships, and growing up feeling like the black sheep of your town. There's a little Diamond Newberry in all of us, and bringing those emotions to light is what Chambers does effortlessly throughout Swift River.

Ultimately, Chambers centers her story around one thought-provoking question that many people have mused throughout their lives.

RELATED: Jenna Bush Hager Reveals Mom Laura Bush's Ultimate Comeback for Your Bored Kids

"I think that that's what all of the characters are struggling with: Is home where you came from, or is home where you want to go?"

Hager called Swift River "a powerful exploration of identity and love," and we're sure fans will agree. 

We can't wait to get our hands on this book. Hager's recommendations never fail to captivate, and we can't think of a better thought-provoking novel than Swift River to kick off our summer reading list!

Read more about: