17 Summer Beach Reads to Bring with You on Vacation
Summer is here, and you know what that means—it's time to sit back and enjoy a juicy beach read. We've rounded up 17 of the season's hottest books that would be welcome additions to any beach bag. To make it easy, we've separated our picks into five categories: humor, romance, suspense, family, and friendship. Scroll down to see what tickles your fancy.
For a Laugh
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan ($27; amazon.com)
A follow-up to Kevin Kwan’s 2013 bestseller Crazy Rich Asians, the sequel China Rich Girlfriend picks up where the first installment left off. On the eve Rachel Chu is set to marry Nick Young, the heir of one of the greatest fortunes in China, she discovers that her mysterious birthfather may be beyond anything she could imagined. Filled with the same trademark humor and witty dialogue, the wickedly funny novel once again gives readers a peak at what it’s like to be unimaginably wealthy in China.
Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland ($12; amazon.com)
As any working woman with a smartphone knows, staying connected can be anti-social—not to mention exhausting. So when this book's protagonist, Evie Rosen, decides to go cold turkey with technology, we can't help but marvel at her valiance and keep reading to find out how she fares. Not surprisingly, Rosen quickly finds that living in the moment, although sometimes scary, is something worth striving for (YOLO, right?) and, consequently, we found ourselves inspired to do the same.
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot ($12; amazon.com)
Just like Meg Cabot's young-adult installments, the first-ever adult version of The Princess Diaries series is filled with plenty of laughs. Apropos with America’s current royal obsession, Royal Wedding brings us back to Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they attempt to pull off the perfect wedding while keeping it under wraps from the press, and prove to the world that Mia’s ready to one day take the throne as Queen.
For a Sexy Escapade
Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian Grey by E L James ($16; amazon.com)
This is the book that Fifty Shades of Grey fans have been waiting for. Told through the eyes of enigmatic leading man Christian Grey, you’ll get to relive E L James’s captivating first novel through his perspective. From the first time he meets Anastasia to their romantic, over-the-top dates, you’ll finally understand the man in the suit. Needless to say, it’s pretty sexy.
The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry ($26; amazon.com)
A little white lie can’t hurt, right? That’s what Hunter and Ella tell each other when they first meet. He’s a screenwriter looking for a comeback posing as a historical author, and she’s pretending that her fiancé died in a sailing accident instead of owning up to being left for her best friend. As they begin to fall for each other their lies come eventually surface. Can they overcome the deceit that their relationship is based on?
Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews ($19; amazon.com)
Ready to kick off beach-read season? Look no further than Mary Kay Andrews’s aptly titled Beach Town. Set in—you guessed it—a beach town, the novel tells the story of Los Angeles-based movie scout Greer Hennessy who’s down on her luck after a set disaster during her previous film. Determined to put that behind her, she’s been tasked to find the perfect undisturbed seaside town. Upon discovering Cypress Key, Florida she knows it’s perfect for the big-budget blockbuster, but unfortunately the city’s charming yet stubborn mayor has other plans in mind.
Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer ($19; amazon.com)
While you're sipping your first frozen drink of the season, crack open Nancy Thayer's delightful beach read. Set in Nantucket, the story follows a recently single mother of two and a widowed father who accidentally rent the same beach cottage for the summer. Determined to not let this snafu ruin their vacation, they decide to share the house. As the summer heats up, so does their attraction, but will they be jump back into love so soon? That's what you'll have to find out.
For a Bit of Suspense
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll ($25; amazon.com)
When Reese Witherspoon touted this as a “huge summer read” during InStyle's May cover shoot video, we quickly jotted down the title. Now, with Luckiest Girl Alive hitting bookshelves this month, we have to agree with Witherspoon: It’s going to be big. Reminiscent of Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl, this too is one of those books you just won’t be able to put down. As Knoll weaves her story about Ani FaNelli, a seemingly perfect magazine editor with a dark past, you’ll find yourself plowing through the pages to discover her truths. When the final revelations eventually come to light, prepare to be shocked.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King ($15; amazon.com)
King has made a name for himself in the literary world for his mind-bendingly scary titles, and his latest is no different. Equally as dark and suspenseful as his last novel, 2014’s Revival, Finders Keepers tells the story of a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer takes a dangerous turn. It’s a meta meditation on how literature changes people’s lives—for better or worse.
Summer Secrets by Jane Green ($19; amazon.com)
From the first page of Jane Green's latest novel, Summer Secrets, you'll be hooked. Set both in London and Nantucket, the page-turner leaps between the present day and the past to weave a story about a woman struggling to right the wrongs of the one fateful summer. Now a middle-aged adult, she embarks on a journey to make amends with those she hurt. Along the way she must confront not only her own dark secrets, but the secrets of the women she once called family.
For a Reprieve from Your Family Drama
The Rocks by Peter Nichols ($28; amazon.com)
The Rocks begins with a secret—what happened in 1948 that caused two honeymooners to end all communication for more than 60 years? That’s what you’ll want to figure out. Set on the gorgeous Spanish island of Mallorca, the story begins in 2005 and moves backwards towards the inciting incident. Through the decades you'll pick up tidbits as you experiences not one but two tragic love stories. Thanks to Nichols’s expert storytelling, you’ll be captivated by his characters all while feeling as if you’re a step away from the Mediterranean.
The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang ($16; amazon.com)
Loosely based off of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Maya Lang’s debut novel puts a modern twist on the classic work. Told from the viewpoint of three characters, brothers Leopold and Stephen Portman and Leopold’s fiancée Nora, the trio comes together on June 16, 2014 for a funeral and then the Portman’s annual Bloomsday party. As old tensions bubble to the surface, they must confront their pasts and in turn their hopes for their futures.
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume ($18; amazon.com)
From the author who brought us YA classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Blubber comes this page-turning, adult-only novel about three generations of people whose lives are influenced by unlikely events. Fun fact: The ones in the book mirror actual happenings that Blume experienced first-hand growing up in the early 1950s.
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave ($13; amazon.com)
Did you know that it takes 800 grapes to make one bottle of wine? You'll learn that and a whole lot more in Laura Dave's latest novel. Set on—you guessed it—a vineyard, the novel tells the story of 30-year-old Georgia Ford, who discovers a week before her wedding that her fiancé has kept an explosive, life-altering secret from her. Unsure how to cope, she returns to her family's vineyard for comfort but soon discovers that her future husband wasn't the only keeping a dark secret.
For You and Your Bestie
All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank ($27; amazon.com)
Anyone who is lucky enough to have a strong group of girlfriends will relate to this fun beach read from perennial New York Times bestselling author, Dorothea Benton Frank. When Lisa St. Clair’s favorite patient Kathy loses her battle with cancer, she forges a strong bond between the other two women who are always at her side. As they begin to settle Kathy’s affairs, the three women embark on their own journeys to secure their futures.
The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke ($15; amazon.com)
What if you could change your life by simply updating your Facebook status? It may seem hokey, but the fantastical premise makes for a page-turner that will resonate with social media addicts everywhere. When Kate discovers that she has the power to manipulate her past with her Facebook status, she tries to rewrite her history—mainly the devastating breakup with her fiancé. However, as you might expect, changing your fate isn’t as easy posting on your favorite platform.
It's You by Jane Porter ($15; amazon.com)
After suffering a devastating loss, protagonist Alison McAdams is struggling to get her life back on track. Feeling lost, she decides to go and help take care of her ailing dad. As she becomes more involved in his community, she sparks a friendship with a 90-year-old woman whose own journey about love and heartbreak helps her put the broken pieces of her life back together.