There’s nothing quite like being at the beach. Picture it, you’re lying in the warm sun, listening to the waves crash in front of you as the beautiful breeze keeps you cool; it’s pretty much every person’s dream day. The only thing that can make it even better is having the perfect beach read to really help you kick back and relax. Well, get ready because we’ve got the perfect list for all of those gorgeous summer beach days coming up.
Here are 25 of the perfect books (in no particular order) that you definitely NEED to have in your beach bag.
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The Girls In The Garden by Lisa Jewell (Atria Books, June 7, 2016)
This one has been on every starred review list possible and we have to agree with them all. Everything a summer beach read should be, The Girls in The Garden sets up a tale of intrigue that entwines the lives of both adults and children when a 13-year-old Grace is found unconscious and bloodied in the rose garden. But this neighborhood is one that has not an ounce of mistrust and everyone is 100 percent safe. Or so it seems. Secrets abound and characters will surprise you in this crazy fun page-turner.
In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Strong, Smart Women by Jerramy Fine (Running Press, March 2016)
Princess everything takes over this awesomely funny book about the Cinderella obsession and Fine’s unapologetic love for pink, frills, fantasies and happily ever afters. But her point of it all is: none of this in any way diminishes the worth and strength of a female. To be girly does not mean you can’t be successful. So put on your tiara, paint your nails pink and grab this awesomely inspiring read, because when you’re done, you’re going to want to go conquer the world, all while waiting to meet Prince Charming — just wash that sand out of your hair first!
She by Michelle Latiolais (W.W. Norton & Co., May 2016)
The narrator, a nameless 15 year old, has run away in the city of Los Angeles and the journey is one we get to embark on with her. Ever wonder what one finds when they leave everything behind? You can find out as She becomes a search for identity and takes your heart for a ride in the process. It’s sad, thought-provoking and beautiful in its own way and you won’t be sleeping reading this book as you listen to the waves crash on the sand, that I can promise you.
When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards (Mira Books, May 2016)
Richards is back with a story of “love, loyalty and the deep bonds of sisterhood.” You know how you read with your sunglasses on when you’re on the beach? Well, you’re going to be glad because you may ugly cry with this book. Life, lies, secrets and nightmares take over this gorgeous book. You may be thinking this sounds a bit too heavy for the beach, but really, I think you just need to read it. So keep it on your bedside table, throw it in your beach tote, and whenever you have a moment, READ this book until you’re done. Then you’ll see what I mean.
Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them From Movies Anymore) by Hadley Freeman (Simon & Schuster, June 14, 2016)
This is a book of absolutely mastery. Freeman brings together a guide of ’80s movies and exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and stars of the movies we all fell in love with. So what’s the point? The movies are today are NOTHING like those of The Eighties. Society has changed and so has the way we watch films. Dubbed a “highly personal, witty love letter to the eighties movies,” I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it and I wish I could read it again for the first time.
The Ex by Alafair Burke (Harper, January 2016)
Suspense and intrigue will keep you cool under the hot summer sun and The Ex has all of that and more. What happens when the people in your life may not actually really be who you thought they were? Olivia Randall is about to find that out when she defends her former fiancé Jack for a triple homicide. This one was a wild ride that you’ve got to check out as you sunbathe.
The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (William Morrow, February 2016)
Mix tapes, murder and hipsters are at the center of this noir which sends Jett and Sid on an adventure through Brooklyn determined to find KitKat’s killer. This beach read is as nutty and amazing as it sounds and you won’t be disappointed when you pick up a copy. From bakeries to night clubs and everything in between, it’s a story that you probably haven’t read before but definitely need to.
I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love by Emily Maynard Johnson (Nelson Books, March 2016)
Let’s be clear, if the word “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” is in the show title, I’m watching it. As someone who has seen every single season of ABC’s reality TV series The Bachelor, and it’s spinoff, The Bachelorette, I literally did a happy dance when I found out tell-alls were being released. So let’s start with Maynard’s. After appearing on both shows with no romantic success, she ultimately found the love of her life home in North Carolina and is now happily married with three kids. I ATE this book up. Learn what happened for Emily before, during and after the craziness of reality television and fall in love with sweetheart Emily Maynard all over again!
It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman (Gallery Books, May 2016)
Having said all of that, as much as I was a Maynard fan, I had a harder girl crush on Dorfman. Talk about one of the coolest, bad ass girls around. When she told off Juan Pablo on national TV, I stood up and clapped. And then she got engaged to Josh and I kind of wept when he put the ring on her finger, because their chemistry was OFF THE CHARTS. But what you see on TV isn’t usually the whole story and come to find out, there is a STORY to be told there. Have I sucked you in yet? Never mind a beach read, this book is meant to be read in all climates, with a glass of wine and no plans in sight. Enjoy every second of it, I know I did.
Tall Tail: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (Penguin Random House, May 2016)
What better to bring to the beach than a good ol’ mystery? Mrs. Murphy, Pewter and Tee Tucker are back and tackling the latest murder in Crozet, Virginia. I’m a cat lover and the fact that Brown co-authors with her furry friend, Sneaky Pie, warms me to the core so this is a series I absolutely adore. If you haven’t read the other Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, you’re going to want to go on a shopping spree before hitting the sand and surf this summer!
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Washington Square Press, June 7, 2016)
Pearl Harbor (the movie), anyone? What happens when your husband is found alive after missing for years and you’re already engaged to someone else? I can’t imagine the turmoil, but Emma Blair is about to go through the craziest time in her life and Reid is taking us along for the ride. There’s nothing more difficult in life than having your heart pulled in two different directions and now Jesse, Emma and Sam’s lives are about to change forever. But who gets the girl? You’re going to want to re-read this one, I promise.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Grand Central Publishing, April 2016)
Excited doesn’t begin to explain what I felt for this book when I received it. The Go Fug Yourself girls (who have never been quiet about their love for everything royal) have out-done themselves with this new novel. We’re talking adventure, princes, princesses, the British throne, a royal wedding and broken hearts all in one amazingly drama-filled read. Put your sunscreen on, because I’m betting you’re not moving until you finish this one.
Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon (Emily Bestler Books, June 21, 2016)
Remember when you met that perfect guy in college and you thought you’d be together forever? Then, just like that, it’s over. What if he came back into your life? When things start to unravel for Maggie, she decides to head back home and comes fact-to-face with Cameron, the boy that got away and who just happens to also be home for the summer. It’s beautiful in Connecticut in the summer and this read will make you want to take a little road trip, once you find out what happens with Maggie and Cameron, of course!
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s Press, May 2016)
Touted as the “First official beach read of the summer,” The Weekenders is the perfect combination of summer fun and intrigue. What takes place on Belle Isle, North Carolina is a shock to both Riley Griggs and her island friends. With a missing husband, and a dead body found on the shore things are bound to get very interesting and the summer is definitely not going to turn out the way she ever expected. Andrews lands another perfect summer novel.
The Darkest Torment: Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter (HQN Books, May 2016)
Showalter returns with the latest in the Lords of the Underworld series and boy is it delicious. Book 14 (yes, you read that correctly!) delivers everything you love about the warriors plus so much more. What happens when Baden and Katarina cross paths? Prepare for an explosion of passion and despite needing to keep their distance, the two are pulled closer and closer together until heartbreak seems to be inevitable.
Tough Luck Hero by Maisey Yates (HQN Books, June 28 2016)
If you are a fan of the Cooper Ridge series, Tough Luck Hero might become your new favorite read this summer. The story between Colton and Lydia is amusing, impulsive and romantic and certainly not to be missed! The only thing you should be asking is, is it true what they say: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”?
Discovering You by Brenda Novak (MIRA, May 2016)
Brenda Novak is known for her masterful writing skills, and in her new book, Discovering You, it completely exceeds expectations. The characters and stories will have you seamlessly flipping to the next page at the beach from sunrise to sunset. Let’s be honest, we’ve all dated the “bad boy,” right? Well, Rod Amos will have you remembering those backseat motorcycle rides before you flip to page 10. You MUST read this!
The Given World by Marian Palaia (Simon & Schuster, April 2016)
Summer is the season of road trips. Whether you’re packing up your car with a certain destination in mind and an hours-long playlist ready to go or you’re hitting the open road with your closest friend to find that next big adventure, being on the road can be both inspiring and thrilling and this is the perfect read for you. The Given World will have you bitten by the wanderlust bug, dreaming of coastal highways and vagabonds. Riley’s story of leaving everything behind to discover herself is something everyone can truly appreciate and, quite honestly, envy her for it.
HER by Harriet Lane (Back Bay Books, October 2015)
Two words: Lifetime movie. When I finished HER all I could picture is seeing this as the summer movie we all secretly record for girl’s night while finishing a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The story of two women at two completely different times in their lives find a friend in one another. But is this friendship really just a coincidence? Can you trust anyone you meet, no matter who they are? Harriet Lane’s book is written from Emma and Anna’s perspective in alternating chapters, allowing you to be in the minds of both females as they endure this thrilling friendship. What it all comes down to: Do you really know who your true friends are?
Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner (Bantam, April 2016)
My dirty secret: I love Christian Grey! And let me tell you, Dallas Sykes, provocative bad boy, has given him a run for his money in J. Kenner’s first book in the new S.I.N. trilogy, Dirtiest Secret. As you turn each page, you begin to peel back revelations that will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next secret to pour off of the page in this tangled love story. WARNING: Make sure you’re floating in the water while reading this hot, sexy book because you’ll be sweating from beginning to end.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2016)
We’ve all asked ourselves, whether it was meeting someone by chance or turning down that last minute adventure, What if? Regardless of if you believe in fate and destiny, what we all should know is that an answer of “yes” or “no” to any question is already written in the stars “forever…and forever… and forever.” But inside Laura Barnett’s latest contemporary literature is an effortlessly unique novel showing what might happen when those answers are allowed to change and you get to play out different scenarios in order to see what might have been. This book (out now in paperback) will have you questioning all the choices you’ve made in your life and possibly making a phone call to the one you left behind.
Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince Book 1 by John Claude Bernis (Disney-Hyperion, March 2016)
If you are looking for the ultimate read with your kids on the beach or underneath the stars during the family camping trip, this is it. John Claude Bernis takes a classic and turns it into a magical, automaton-mystery. The rich language will have both you and your child engaged in Pinocchio’s journey from start to finish.
What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (Disney-Hyperion, May 2016)
With The Jungle Book and Tarzan hitting theaters, I have jungle fever and Eric Dinerstein’s lyrical story written in poetic prose has satisfied my appetite. If I could be raised by any animal an elephant hands down is what I’d pick! I mean come on, they’re brilliant majestic creatures after all! Nandu’s journey of family and beauty will have any young reader appreciative of these majestic mammals.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books, May 2016)
Grady Hendrix figured out how to combine my two favorite things: the ’80s and The Exorcist. Yes, this book is actually about a teenage exorcism, not used as some simile to describe teenage angst. You’ll find yourself terrified, all while dancing to songs of The Eighties, seeing as each chapter is titled after one, i.e. “We’ve Got the Beat”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Dancing in the Dark.” If you’re looking for a ghost story to share around the bonfire, My Best Friend’s Exorcism will have every one of your friends hiding under their blankets!
The Progeny by Tosca Lee (Howard Books, May 2016)
New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee is back again with another fast-paced thriller that will take you on a quest through the secret underground of Europe as you follow Emily Porter, the Progeny of a serial killer. If you can’t beat them, you join them, right? Well, not in Emily’s case. She’s running and saving the lives of the ones she loves. As you reach the end of each chapter you’ll be holding back everything to savor this historical book filled with dark, twisted turns throughout Europe until the sequel arrives. You certainly won’t be needing to go to any roller coasters this summer when you have this book in your hands.