No matter what your plans are for the summer, chances are, there’s a book involved. What’s a day at the beach (or the pool!) without a book in your hand? The best beach reads will make you feel like you have your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand, all without ever leaving your own backyard, if need be.
That being said, there’s nothing better than a pretty book cover, a stunning landscape, and a witty Instagram caption. While there’s so many wonderful new books coming this summer, there are definitely already released titles that excite as well. No matter where you’re at this summer, here’s a few summer beach reads to get you started. From a cute romance to historical fiction to the next best fantasy novel—we’ve got you covered.
The Lifeguards by Amanda Eyre Ward
With it’s cute (and bright!) cover, readers might mistake The Lifeguards for a romance. Yet, this story is anything but. Ward brings to life three friends, raising their boys in a seemingly perfect neighborhood–or so they think. When the boys come home one night to share a secret the mothers never thought they’d hear, the women will have to jump into action. This quick summer read will have you on the edge of your beach chair as you follow along and learn how far a mother will go to protect her child’s innocence.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
If you haven’t read Book Lovers yet, you’re seriously missing out. This well-written romance brings to life the story of Nora, a cutthroat literary agent living in the city. Nora’s the master at meet cutes–she spends all day, reading them, after all. But, she knows she’s destined to be the “other woman,” never really having a meet-cute of her own. When Nora’s sister drags her to a small town in the hopes of finding Nora’s perfect match, the two are more than caught off guard when the only man Nora keeps running into is Charlie Lastra, her work nemesis from the city. In this enemies to lovers plotline, Charlie and Nora’s romance is one that will surprise you the whole way through.
Already read this book? Check out my review on it here!
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
In this new release (and debut novel!), Sara Foster hasn’t had the easiest life. As a 16-year-old runaway, Sara is familiar with loss and she’s not one to trust easily. On the other side of town, Emilie is in her seventh year as an undergraduate and she’s struggling to commit. On a whim, she takes a job at a flower shop where she meets none other than Sara, who is already married. Though the two have an immediate connection, they both have to overcome their previous paths before they can make any new plans for the future. This poignant LGBTQ romance is sure to keep you hooked until the very last page.
The Wild One by Colleen McKeegan
A coming-of-age thriller with a dark childhood secret that binds three lives together–The Wild One is a June 2022 release sure to make your best beach reads list for this summer.
Amanda Brooks has a life most women would be envious of–a cozy apartment, graduate school, a committed boyfriend. Yet, no one knows the deadly secret she’s been hiding for years: the one where a man died in the woods at her childhood camp. When Amanda’s past catches up with her, she has no one to turn to except the two other girls that witnessed the crime. Yet, reuniting with old friends just makes her want to put the past to bed more than ever. The Wild One is filled with unique twists and turns that will be sure to keep you engaged no matter where you read it.
When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Possibly one of the books I’m most excited for on my best beach read TBR list, When We Were Birds is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy mashup that follows the story of the St. Bernard women. For generations, the family has lived in a house up on a hill, tasked with helping souls into the afterlife. Yet, when Yejide’s turn comes, all she can think of is her tumultuous relationship with her mother and she’s completely unprepared for her destiny. When Darwin comes into the picture, looking for a job as a grave digger, the two characters have an unexpected connection and a common goal–to help the lost souls. Exciting and immersive, When We Were Birds is a book about inheritance and healing.
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
This TikTok famous romance novel has taken BookTok by storm–and with good reason. In It Happened One Summer, Piper is a socialite that has had one too many bad photo ops and her step-father has had enough. With no other options, he sends her to a small town in Washington, hoping she can get her life together. Yet, Piper’s determined to show her step-father that she’s not just a pretty face; she can work, too. Though, when Piper meets Brendan, a big-bearded sea captain, there’s an undeniable attraction that might just throw her summer plans right out of the water (pun intended!). This cute summer romance is sure to thrill as you enjoy a day at the beach this summer. Best of all, there’s a sequel for when you finish this one!
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Writing duo Christina Lauren always has trending books–from The Soulmate Equation to The Unhoneymooners(also some of the best beach reads!). Though, I’ve noticed that this 2018 release, Love and Other Words, has been trending for a few weeks now and I’m sure it’s going to continue to hit bestseller lists.
In this poignant romance novel, Macy is a pediatrics resident settling to marry an older, financially secure man. She should be happy, right? Yet, when she runs into Elliot, the first and only true love of her life, the perfect world she has created starts to dissolve in front of her.
This book is told in alternating timelines as Macy struggles to accept the past and build a new future.
The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
This summer TBR list wouldn’t be complete without one historical fiction novel, and we all know that it’s the genre that brings some of the best beach reads for the summer.
In Bloomsbury Girls, bestselling author Natalie Jenner crafts the story of an old-fashioned bookstore that’s been run by men for years. Yet, it’s 1950 and the world is changing–Vivian, Grace, and Evie are going to run the bookstore, securing it’s future. Together, the girls meet literary figures of the time and create goals and dreams that society deemed unusual at the time. This exciting novel about friendship and ambition will keep you entertained the whole way through.
The Book of Night by Holly Black
This highly rated fantasy is a debut novel and perfect for a summer beach trip. Protagonist Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bar tender in a world where shadows can be altered. Trying to avoid the underground shadow trading, Charlie gets odd jobs to keep herself afloat. That is, until a terrible figure from her past reappears. Determined to survive, Charlie faces murder, secrets, and shadow thieves, among other conflicts.
The Maid by Nita Prose
Filled with suspense, The Maid is highly-rated and flying off shelves this summer. This criminal centered contemporary fiction novel follows the plotline of Molly Gray, a character that struggles with social difficulties. She’s successfully relied on her Gran to help her, until her Gran passes away and Molly is left to deal with the world’s complexities on her own. Working as a hotel maid, Molly finds comfort in her day-to-day routine and she doesn’t often have to communicate with others. That is, until she enters the suite of a wealthy Charles Black, who is dead on his bed, the suite in disarray. Molly’s unique behavior leads the police to believe that she’s a suspect, though she has no clue what’s happened or who Charles Black is. In this exciting thriller, Molly finds unexpected friends that help her discover clues that prove her innocence–and help her to find who the REAL killer is.
While these are some of the best beach reads, we’ve come across for this summer, what are your favorite summer reads? Let us know in the comments below what books you’ve enjoyed and which covers scream “summer” to you.
Looking for more recommendations? Be sure to check out our Book Reviews page for ideas for your summer TBR list, or check out this article from CBS from last summer with 2021 book recommendations.