27 summer books to read on the beach this year
Well, here we are friends, the season of beach reads. And, while the beach is a little less accessible, summer reading is not. In fact, summer reading is going strong over here – and not all of these titles are brand new, which means many of them should be easily accessible via your local library.
Or, perhaps even at used book stores nearby if you’re looking to save $$$ (I don’t blame you, an avid reading habit can be quite…expensive). However you procure these books is up to you. The only suggestion I can make is that you carve out some time to read them. And, I mean ASAP.
Most of these books are easy to digest, beachside books. Some are filled with underline-worthy quotes that catapult you into some introspective thoughts (cough cough, The Vanishing Half). While others are filled with rom-com hilarity that’s sure to entertain you.
Whichever you prefer, there’s something here for everyone.
If you’re looking for books that aren’t necessarily “summer books”, I highly recommend checking out this ost of the top 50 recommended books by Bookstagrammers.
Anyways! Without further ado, I give you,
The Summer Demands drops you right into an abandoned summer camp, the one Emily’s late great aunt owned with her husband. Emily has just inherited the now-defunct camp on the verge of her 40th birthday and following a tragic miscarriage. In fact, it’s the very same camp she visited as a child in the 80s.
Flip over a few pages and Emily happens upon a young woman living on the camp’s property. And get this – she’s been there for a month. This one’s not a thriller, not a mystery, not a love story. It’s about the prose. It’s about ambition, desire, the act of aging, and how it subtly shifts over time until it’s all entirely different.
If you’re looking for a beachy read with a twist right in the middle of the book, Big Summer‘s it. The second half positively flies by as you’re racing to see who the culprit is…and why. Buckle up and get ready for one heck of a ride.
A family that already doesn’t get along all that well, stuck on a cruise ship? What could go wrong, right? Well…the answer is…nearly everything. Secrets are revealed, family members show off their true colors – all while celebrating a birthday. The Floating Feldmans is a true summer delight.
Felix Love has never been in love–and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many–Black, queer, and transgender–to ever get his own happily-ever-after. – Bookshop
This one is selling out like crazy. My advice? Check-in with your local bookshop to see if they’re doing socially distant pick-ups! Maybe they can order a copy for you 😊
I flew through this one, and do you know what the best part of that is? The second installment is already published! Gosh, don’t you just love when you adore a book and you can read the second…or third…book in the series right away?
It’s like a special little treat. Anyways, this one is deliciously predictable in that way rom-coms are meant to be. Plus, it’s got that small-town vibe (even though it takes place in Columbus, OH – which isn’t the smallest town out there), so you know I was all about it.
I want to say this about all the books, but Beach Read has to be my favorite of the many summer books releasing this year. Again, it checks off the small-town “must”. And, it’s a book about writers. Ugh, I just love books about books SO darn much. It’s like I just can’t get enough of reading a book, I also want it to be about a book. Ha.
Anyways, prepare to fall in love with Augustus and January. I’m telling you right now, it’s going to happen.
As soon as I read the summary for Little Eyes, I knew I needed to snag a copy. While I’m waiting on my own to come in, here’s what this one’s all about so you can decide if you want to read along with me:
“If Black Mirror is your thing, Little Eyes is a book for you. “Kentukis” are the little eyes of the title: somewhere between webcam, robot and ghost, they allow people to peer into the lives of others and travel halfway around the world just to walk down the street. Schweblin is the master of the almost-familiar yet definitely-uncanny, and this book is no different.” – Remezcla
I read Sonya Lalli’s The Matchmaker’s List last year, and adored it. Now her next book is out and I am *so* ready to read it.
Goodreads claims it’s “A delightfully modern look at what happens for a young woman when tradition, dating, and independence collide.” Love, love love.
A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation – Goodreads
Gentleman…who read romance novels? And then also sometimes solve crimes? Yeah, I’m into it. The latter happens more in the follow-up novel, Undercover Bromance, which is inexplicably even better than the first installment. Buckle up for some major romance, hilarity, and sleuthing. This one is a perfect fit for a “summer books” list – read it by the pool or ocean with a cocktail in hand (you know…safely and from 6 feet away from anyone else).
The Margot Affair is our July Literary League pick and I couldn’t be more excited to read and discuss. A book that features a secret child? I’m there. Oh yeah, and it takes place in France. And they say the perfect book doesn’t exist 😉
I read The Proposal years ago and it still stands up because Jasmine Guillory is a GENIUS rom-com author. The Wedding Date series is hilarious and endearing. You’ll be cheering on her characters in no time. The Proposal is technically the second installment in the series, but you don’t have to read them in order!
As much as it pains me as a Virgo to say that, it’s true. I’ve read The Proposal and Royal Holiday so far. Excited to get the rest of the series soon, too.
If you’re not yet a Sally Rooney stan, you will be soon. Sally’s writing is blunt and authentic. She’ll have you grappling with your own relationships and what it means to be in love in oh, about 10 minutes.
If you are new to the Sally Rooney fan club (welcome!), start with Conversations With Friends or even her delicious short story, Mr Salary. From there, jump into Normal People. These, of course, aren’t instructions. They’re merely suggestions. Now go, read on!
Karen Russell is a master short story writer. Her quirky, albeit odd (in the best darn way) stories transport you entirely. I’m only a few short stories in to her collection, Orange World, and I can already tell you that I’ve got Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Swamplandia! on my shelves just waiting to be devoured.
A young Emmie Blue sends a balloon off into the abyss with a paper note containing her email address, name, and a secret. Cue dreamy, hopeful music. Why? Because guess who finds it – none other than Lucas Moreau.
What ensues is a lifetime of mixed signals, love, and perhaps something a little more. Dear Emmie Blue will fill you with love, hope, and the idea of maybe even sending your own email address off in a balloon for some gentleman or gal to find (😂).
Okay, if there’s anything convincing you to read this book it HAS to be the cover. Oh yeah, and also that it’s all about California and cults. There you go, the winning duo, right? Gosh I just love a good cult plot, and based on the reviews Godshot has received lately, it’s a winner.
I almost want to write nothing here other than READ. THIS. BOOK. It was one of my favorite books of 2019 and ever since its author, Casey, announced a sophomore effort was in the works, I’ve been waiting anxiously to read it.
Red, White, & Royal Blue offers a glimpse into a better world. One where we see a woman president in power (a direct response to the 2016 election) and one heck of an interesting relationship with frenemies Alex (the first son) and Henry (a prince, no less).
A thriller set in misty, foggy Ireland over the course of a wedding weekend, need I say more? This one’s got a mighty quick pace and one heck of a good twist (okay, more like a few twists). Sure, you may see a few coming, but there’s one that got me REAL good.
I loved the dreary setting, it’s atmospheric and it feels as if you were sitting there, in that odd little hotel by the cliff. Pick this one up when you’re ready to be transported.
Cozy mystery? Family ice cream shop? Small town? HECK yes. A Deadly Inside Scoop has it all. And, I devoured it in a few days. Just as Win is preparing to re-open her family’s homemade ice cream shop (in winter, of course) she stumbles upon a bit of a surprise – a dead body.
Cue small-town cop drama as she attempts to uncover what really happened, all while the town suspects her father – a surgeon, no less – of being involved in the murder. That sure is one kick in the behind to try to solve a murder all while running your own little business.
What even is summer without rom-coms? A sad summer, that’s for sure. Head Over Heels by the delightful, Hannah Orenstein, whisks you into the world of….gymnastics. Follow along as Avery, Ryan, and Hallie go for gold…and a few other things along the way.
Who knew I’d so, inexplicably, find myself infatuated with former professional gymnasts? Fictionalized, of course, but they felt real the entire time I was immersed in the tumbling haven that is Summit.
You may have seen this one around on “Bookstagram” in May – it was definitely one of those books. It made a splash and, rightfully so. It was my favorite Emma Straub title yet! I loved being immersed in the world of the Strick family, with all their miscommunication and imperfections. They feel…real.
And, for my fellow small town fans, this summer book takes place in a quaint New York town – major check for the small town category.
I’ve been anxious to read this one for a few months now – as Goodreads says, “Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’s Diary in this funny and irresistible debut novel about the pursuit of happiness, surviving one’s thirties intact, and opening oneself up to love.”
Convinced? Me too.
“Over the course of one summer that begins with a shocking tragedy, three generations of the Adler family grapple with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Manhattan Beach and The Dollhouse.” – Goodreads
If a sweet, bookish rom-com set in sunny California sounds up your alley, well, I’m here to tell you that The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is for you. Again, books about books are the best (right?). And, Nina is a sweet protagonist who you want to befriend immediately.
She’s an avid reader, works in a bookshop, and finds herself in quite the pickle when she finds out she’s included in a stranger’s will. This one is fun, easy to digest in oh…about a day or two, and straight-up calling your name.
The Vanishing Half is an absolute masterpiece. Brit Bennett has completely outdone herself with this work of art. When you open its pages, you find yourself in Mallard, a small southern town with a common belief system rooted in racism and colorism. Its well-known set of twins, Desiree and Stella, soon take off and you’re transported back to the 50s, as they make their separate ways. Desiree forges on while Stella decides to pass as a white woman and leaves Desiree to navigate life as a young girl in New Orleans on her own.
If there was ever a novel to get your highlighter (or phone & notes app!) ready for, this is it.
Whew! We made it. So tell me – which books are at the top of YOUR list this summer? And, if it’s more books you’re looking for, here’s one of my latest must-read books lists.