The Best Beach Reads for Summer

Sand is optional with these page-turners.

The Best Beach Reads for Summer
The Best Beach Reads for Summer

Whether or not you are in a position to make it somewhere close to the ocean otherwise you’re merely lounging in pajamas underneath a throw blanket within the air-con, we may all use a transportive page-turner now greater than ever.

From romances you’ll be able to toss in your canvas tote earlier than a sunny stroll, to younger grownup favorites, and non-fiction, we have rounded up a few of the finest Beach reads—which will likely be out in time for any spring break journeys or heat climate dips in your (inflatable) yard pool.

Escape into a love story with Talia Hibbert’s Act Your Age, Eve Brown or Leesa Cross-Smith’s extra bittersweet This Near Okay, which you will discover therapeutic. For a literary thriller that can have individuals speaking, try Abigail Dean’s Woman A. Retellings of classics abound on this record with The Wife Upstairs (a tackle Jane Eyre) or The Charmed Wife (a Cinderella remix). And that is only the start. Irrespective of the place you might be this summer, you’ll want a good ebook to keep you company. Here are a few of the finest Beach reads to have by your facet.

Have you ever already torn by means of most of those? For extra choices, try 2021’s most anticipated novels, historic fiction, and LGBTQ books, too.

What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers by Jessica Pearce Rotondi

When Jessica Pearce Rotondi’s mother died, she left her a box of secrets. The box, full of newspaper clippings and letters, was evidence of a long-held family mystery: The disappearance of her uncle Jack in the 1970s. Following the paper trail, Rotondi discovered her family’s involvement in a little-known, CIA-led secret war in Southeast Asia. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, and completely engrossing, What We Inherit is not a book you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

The final installment in Talia Hibbert’s warm, witty, and critically acclaimed trilogy follows Eve Brown, the youngest of three sisters, as she gets a love story of her own. Eve is floundering after her millionth failed job attempt (or what seems like it) when she winds up at a charming B&B. Jacob Wayne, the hotel’s owner, is everything Eve is not: Focused and no-nonsense. They’re perfect opposites, but they can’t deny that when they work together, magic happens. Bring the other two books in the series with you on vacation—trust us, you’ll want to read more.

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Kwana Jackson’s much-buzzed-about romance novel introduces us to Jesse Strong, a man who loves dating women just as much as he does his adoptive mother, Mama Joy. But when her unexpected passing leaves him and his family to take charge of her small shop, Strong Knits, Jesse soon finds his priorities changing.

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

In search of a beach read that will give you all the feels and then some feels you didn’t know you needed? Start with Leesa Cross-Smith’s heartfelt novel This Close to Okay, a story of how human connection and healing are often intertwined. The novel begins when Tallie Clark, a newly divorced therapist, stops a man from jumping off of a bridge. This Close to Okay might not seem like an obvious beach read, but in Cross-Smith’s deft hands, the plot is as powerful as its emotional revelations.

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

When Reese Witherspoon selected The Jetsetters for her Hello Sunshine Book Club earlier this year, she called it a “fun read,” and we agree. The journey of 70-year-old Charlotte and her three estranged children heading on a cruise together after their matriarch wins a “Become a Jetsetter” contest is the exact kind of hilarious, drama-filled read that will keep you hooked this summer.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Darren’s big break comes while he’s making espresso for white-collar New Yorkers on their way to the office. After impressing the owner of an up-and-coming company, Darren is offered a job. The rest of the satire proceeds at breakneck speed as Darren falls in and out of love with his workplace. A Jenna Bush Hager Book Club pick, Black Buck weaves in commentary about gentrification, class, race, and the American dream in between its punchy jokes.

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

Andrea Bartz breathes new life into the psychological thriller by setting her novels in modern settings. Her first book, The Lost Night, is set in Williamsburg’s party scene; The Herd is a biting satire of a women’s workspace like the Wing, and the darkness that may lurk behind that perfectly coiffed sitting room.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

One of our most anticipated books of 2021, Infinite Country is the story of people in search of a safe place to call home. Elena and Mauro meet in an unstable Bogotá, Colombia. But in the U.S., where they move and have children, they encounter a new set of difficulties. At only 200 pages, Infinite Country can be read in one sitting, but its effects on you will far outlast a vacation tan.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Read the book that everyone is going to be talking about this summer. Curtis Sittenfeld writes Rodham from the perspective of Hillary Clinton (yes, the First Lady, Secretary of State, and Democratic presidential candidate—that Hillary). Part thought experiment, part page-turner, Rodham imagines what would have happened to Hillary if she had turned down Bill Clinton’s marriage proposal.

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

The author of Crazy Rich Asians returns with his latest, a sparkly tale that begins on the Italian island of Capri. Lucie Churchill is the daughter of a white father and an American-born Chinese mother, so when she finds herself torn between two men—one who will appease her American family, and one who intrigues her—readers follow along on her journey to stay true to herself in love.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White and Royal Blue is like literary candy. The rom-com is set in an alternate version of 2016, in which a woman wins the presidential election. Alex, the president’s charming son, falls for Henry, the brooding prince of England—and an instant classic is born. Find out why this book was in everyone’s beach bags in 2019.

The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin

What happens when the fairy tale doesn’t turn out as you’d planned? The Charmed Wife is the off-kilter Cinderella retelling that will have you both turning pages and reconsidering what constitutes a happy ending in your book.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

Set on the beaches of Cape Cod, Wild Game is a memoir that oozes summer. In fact, most of the important scenes take place at the house where Adrienne Brodeur spent the season with her mother, brother, and step-father. That’s where her mom, Malabar, woke 14-year-old Brodeur up and revealed she had just kissed her stepfather’s best friend. From then on, Brodeur became her mother’s closest confidant and keeper of destructive secrets. In this riveting memoir, Brodeur captures an unforgettable mother-daughter bond.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is a telenovela star who suddenly finds herself plastered all over the tabloids thanks to a very public breakup—and she is over looking for love. But when she finds herself cast in a romantic comedy in New York City with a hunk for a co-star…well, need we say more?

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

At the heart of this thriller is a husband and wife who are bored in their 15-year marriage. But the lengths to which this couple is willing to go through to liven things up in their relationship is as unconventional as it comes. Instead of sending each other flirty text messages, role playing, or planning a dream vacation together, Millicent and her husband engage in murder to keep their marriage alive and kicking.

Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers by Helena Dea Bala

Do you ever want to know what’s going through strangers’ minds? Helena Dea Bala got the chance. Craigslist Confessional initially began as a whim, as Dea Bala explains in the forward to this real-life page-turner. She set up a CraigsList ad, offering to hear people’s secrets. The venture turned into a popular online column and website, and eventually into a book you’ll tear through with utter fascination. Everyone has a story in them—and with this book, you’ll hear some.

Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen

Regular readers of Cosmopolitan magazine will love Renée Rosen’s latest. Tracing the origins of the popular women’s magazine and the feminist movement of the 1960s, Park Avenue Summer follows Alice, a young girl who moves from Ohio to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a photographer. As she climbs the career ladder, her first gig is a secretary for former editor-in-chief of Cosmo, Helen Gurley Brown. Part fantasy and part reality, readers get to see how Brown’s pioneering novel, Sex and the Single Girl, was created through Alice’s point of view.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

A romance novelist who stops believing in love meets a literary writer…who happens to leave just a few houses away from her summer beach getaway. Yes, this read is as indulgent—and perfect for summer—as it sounds.

Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

It might take a few chapters before settling into Speaking fo Summer, but this mysterious novel is well worth the wait. The core of the book revolves around a woman named Autumn who is consumed with searching for her missing twin sister Summer. Everyone else, including the authorities, aren’t as hell-bent on finding Autumn’s sibling. As a result, Autumn slowly starts to unravel, taking comfort in the wrong people and things, while coping with the recent loss of their mother.

Outlawed by Anna North

Outlawed is set in the familiar dusty, sprawling country that inspired so many Western novels and books—but its story is wholly modern. At 17, Ada expects her life to follow a clear path. But when she fails to bear her husband a child, Ada must leave her community before accusations of witchcraft drown out any version of self defense she could offer. And so, Ada hits the road, joining a band of outlaws and blossoming into a steely, irresistible heroine.

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Once again, Megan Abbott crafts a dark tale of suspense in this 2018 thriller. Diane Fleming and Kit Owens are two young girls who formed an unlikely bond when they were teenagers, based on their shared career interests. But the two friends soon become rivals when Diane shares a dark secret with Kit.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her debut The Poet X, a YA novel told in poetic verse. After her followup With the Fire on High, Acevedo is back with Clap When You Land, the story of two sisters—one in the Dominican Republic, one in Washington Heights—who have no idea how a tragic plane crash is about to impact both of their lives. Inspired by the true events, this lyrical story will have you connected to this story of grief, love, and sisterhood until the very last word.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides’ new psychological thriller will keep you guessing right until the very end. Trust us, you won’t be prepared for the shocking conclusion after reading pages of psychotherapist Theo Faber’s obsession with his mute patient, Alicia Berenson. Alicia was committed into a mental health facility after being charged with killing her husband. Though she hasn’t spoken since the murder, you learn about her story through Theo’s observances.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett’s 1960s-set novel tracks the diverging paths of Stella and Desiree Vignes, identical twins who leave their small Louisiana town at the age of 16. Whereas Desiree moves home with a baby girl, Stella disappears—and chooses to live as a white woman. A multi-generational epic, Bennett expertly captures the long-lasting ramifications Stella’s decision has on her sister, her daughter, her niece, and herself. The Vanishing Half is as thought-provoking as it is engrossing.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Another selection for Goodreads’ “Best Books of 2018,” Circe effortlessly blends Greek mythology with fantasy. The book highlights the life of a lesser-known female god named Circe who wills herself to power through the use of dark magic and witchcraft—and finally puts a strong yet flawed heroine front and center.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

You’ll never want to say goodbye to the Strick family of All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s charming fourth novel (which has already been optioned for a TV show). The book is set over one transformative summer for Astrid Strick and her three adult children. Though they’re neighbors in a small Hudson Valley town, the Stricks never really connected—until the summer Astrid’s granddaughter, Cecelia, comes to stay. Want to learn more? You can read an excerpt here.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

There’s a reason why Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 buzzy novel was handpicked by Reese Witherspoon as her latest book club selection. If you’re nostalgic for the days when high-octane rock ‘n’ roll ruled the world, you’ll get your fix in this ’70s-themed book. Reid weaves a tale about a fictional rock band that mirrors the story of Fleetwood Mac’s rise to fame—and their breakup, as well as the pitfalls of stardom.

Girl A by Abigail Dean

Girl A is a propulsive literary thriller with a ripped-from-the-headlines premise. Debut novelist Abigail Dean was inspired by stories of parents who hold their children captive, like Louise and David Turpin. The novel’s narrator, Lexie Grace, and her many siblings become near celebrities after the story of their harrowing upbringing is shared with the world. Girl A is concerned not only with how they grew up—but how they let go.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth’s latest domestic suspense novel is told from two points of view: Lucy, the daughter-in-law, and Diane, her mother-in-law. As with most in-law stories (think: Jennifer Lopez’s Monster-in-Law film), Lucy tries her best to impress Diane to no avail. Unfortunately for Lucy, it becomes even more difficult to win Diane over when Diane turns up…dead. But did she really commit suicide? You’ll just have to flip through this one to see.

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

As people who love nothing more than a gymnastics floor routine, Hannah Orenstein’s third rom-com was written specifically for our interests. Follow along as gymnast Avery Abrams redefines her life after her Olympic dreams are shattered for good. Orenstein sticks the landing with this one.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

Chanel Cleeton’s beach reads are often lit by the sun of places like Florida and Cuba, and her latest doesn’t dissappoint. Her follow up to Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba features Mirta Perez, new to the Florida Keys after a business-arranged marriage in Cuba, and Elizabeth Preston, a New York woman in the Keys attempting to save her family’s fortune.

Island Affair: A Fun Summer Love Story by Priscilla Oliveras

When social media influencer Sara Vance’s boyfriend cancels last minute on her family vacation, she convinces Cuban-American paramedic Luis Navarro to play the role of the fiancé who is head-over-heels for her. But set against family activities in beautiful Florida, the two quickly find the lines blurring between what’s pretend—and what’s not.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins’s clever page-turner transplants Jane Eyre into modern day Birmingham, Alabama. Seeking a sense of stability, Jane is drawn to the brooding widower Eddie Rochester (and his mansion doesn’t hurt, either). Once she moves into his home, she finds his wife’s presence still looms large. This modern Gothic novel proves that creaky houses that harbor big secrets never go out of style.

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