Beach days are the perfect opportunities to fully immerse yourself in a hot new summer read. You'll feel like you're right in the middle of the action with the sun on your back, the sand in your toes, and the constant threat of seagulls circling your head. Whether you're in the mood for a summer scare, a fun new fling, or a bit of friendly advice, there are summer beach reads by your favorite authors perfect for your summer kind of wonderful.
Kasie West is a YA rom-com machine. Her last teen romance was released in February 2019, and she already has another swoon-worthy novel to keep us entertained during the warmer months coming out in early July. This time, our young protagonist works for her small town’s florist, and she runs into a guy working for the local caterer at every big event during the year. Obviously, the pair are meant to fall in love, but will it be at the Forth of July cookout, the Valentine’s Day ball, or a New Year’s Eve bash?
Fans of Royals by Rachel Hawkins will love Debbie Rigaud’s new novel about falling in love during summer school. Zoe Emerson didn’t expect to get along with the hyper-privledged students at her prestigious summer program, but a shockingly down-to-Earth prince turns out to be just her type. When he asks her to be his date at his older brother’s royal wedding, she naturally says yes, but being whisked away to Europe isn’t all fun and games in the midst of royal chaos.
If summer lovin’ isn’t having you a blast, try a dark, tense look into the minds of mean girls at a New England MFA program. The scariest part isn’t even that they’re literal MFA candidates who still think being a Queen Bee is cute — it’s the deadly magic they wield off-campus at their ritualistic “Workshops.” Oh, and the fact that these grown-ass women all call each other “Bunny.” Really not sure which is worse, the possible murder or the twee nickname. When Samantha pulls a Veronica Sawyer and ditches her only friend to hang with the cool kids, her reality is altered in a way she never thought possible.
It wouldn’t be a summer story if there wasn’t a cheesy tour through Europe. Aubree Sadler has to take her older sister Elizabeth’s place as a guide in a senior citizens bus tour for her summer job after Elizabeth gets into Big Trouble. Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before she manages to get stranded with nothing but the tour company owner’s son. Seriously, not even a phone. Of course, she falls for him, but there’s the small issue that he thinks she’s her sister, and no one can know Elizabeth has gone AWOL.
University of Texas Press
If you’re the type of person who likes to see and be seen on the sand, dazzle with your bikini bod and your mind with Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest. Hanif Abdurraqib’s book of essays to (and about) A Tribe Called Quest will open your mind to music history, racial inequality, and personal growth in a genre-bending collection that will change the way you see music. It’ll also give you major clout, since the book was a New York Times bestseller, a Most Anticipated Book at Buzzfeed, Vanity Fair, and Nylon, and an IndieNext Pick. And A Tribe Called Quest will be the perfect soundtrack to your summer. Can you kick it? Yes, you can.
For readers who dug Bunny’s dark vibes but are craving a traditional thriller, Karen M. McManus writes YA mysteries that would make the Pretty Little Liars quake in their Steve Maddens. While her newer novel, Two Can Keep a Secret has been compared to the whisp fave Riverdale, One of Us Is Lying has won more YA Book of the Year titles than we could reasonably type out. The John Hughes-ian concept is simple: five students walk into detention, and only four walk out. The murdered student was planning on spilling some major tea about his four fellow delinquents, which makes everyone a suspect.
This isn’t your average summer road trip. Mim Malone gets dragged to the middle of nowhere, Mississippi, with her dad and her new stepmother after her family randomly implodes. Clearly, Mim wasn’t *thrilled* at this new development to begin with, but when she learns that her real mom has fallen ill, she takes a one-way Greyhound all the way back to Cleveland to be by her side. A thousand-mile solo journey is never easy, and her fellow travelers will make Mim question what it even means to be sane.
As it turns out, a good summer thriller is *not* hard to find. Reading The Cheerleaders while you’re far, far away from school isn’t just a luxury, it’s an act of self-preservation. Five years before this story takes place, the entire Sunnybrook cheerleading squad dies. No, not all at once. That would be too obvious. Two wrap their car around a tree, two are murdered by the man next door for reasons we will never know, and after Monica’s sister commits suicide, the cheer squad is disbanded for good. Just as the town is ready to forget the past, Monica realizes that just because the cheerleaders are gone doesn’t mean anyone is safe. As clues mount, she realizes that she’s at the center of a much more tangled web.
Hay House Inc.
I have a confession to make: I’ve never actually read a self-help novel. I say this so you know that unlike in most things, I’m no expert here. Still, there’s no better time to become a new you than in the long break between school that’s 90% tanning and 10% shopping. How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People) combines Christian and Buddhist mysticism in a dialogue on all types of love, from romantic and sexual love to deep friendships and self-worth, that might just make this skeptic re-think the entire genre.
If you wish Eat, Pray, Love had a little more hoeing and a little less appropriation, you’ll love City of Girls. Written by the same author as Eat, Pray, Love, City of Girls is told from an older woman’s point of view as she remembers her coming-of-age in New York City’s theatre scene during the 1940s. Vivian Morris was sent to NYC after being kicked out of Vassar in the least harsh punishment for flunking out of college we’ve ever seen. One mistake in her brave new world becomes a professional scandal, but it leads to the love of her life (which, honestly, we're assuming ends up being another woman, but that's just a guess) and an understanding of the freedom she craves.
Simon & Schuster
For reality TV lovers who thought UnReal didn’t go far enough, The Favorite Sister puts two sisters in a house of five hyper-successful women for a girl-powered reality show. You meet fan favorite LGBTQ cycling magnate Brett, whose sister Kelly joins the cast much to the chagrin of the veteran members. Kelly might have been the favorite, but now she’s the keeper of Brett’s most shocking secret. Drama brews between Brett and Stephanie, former BFFs, during a season that *we* know ends in murder. Sure, masked killers are scary, but so are gender roles, former friends, and the pressures to stay young and hot in America.
After reading Go Ahead in the Rain, you’ll probably want another musical world to immerse yourself in before going back to school in the fall. In Daisy Jones & The Six, you can go right into the mind of a rockstar in a ‘70s-era epistolary novel about a poor little rich girl from L.A. who’s paired with a hard-rocking band with their own set of problems by a label that just sees the bottom line. They become the biggest band of the decade, but no one knew why they split at the height of their fame... until now.
A summer road trip across Tuscany sounds pretty good right about now. Following our favorite literary trope of using a deceased loved one’s journal as a spirit guide through some far-off place, Love & Gelato’s protagonist goes to Italy to meet her distant father because it was her mom’s dying wish, but there was more to the request than meets the eye. Her mother’s journal leads Lina and her love interest through a hidden world where some secrets have been buried for a little too long.
New Yorkers typically want to be anywhere *but* the city once the July humidity hits, but Park Avenue Summer might make us rethink our new Hamptons rental. In 1965, Cosmopolitan shocked the world by daring to talk about things women were actually interested in. Photographer Alice jumps into this brave new world under the employ of the magazine’s first female Editor-in-Chief, Helen Gurley Brown. Staff members are quitting, confidential information is being leaked, and Helen is being sabotaged at every turn for daring to have it all. Alice is determined to see her boss succeed in the lavish NYC dreamland without forgetting she has her own dreams too.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Stay Sweet is exactly like the ice cream its lead characters sell: yummy and easy to consume. The Meade Creamery has been run exclusively by local girls since World War II, but when its proprietress dies (in a totally not thriller-y way, FYI), her hot grandnephew Grady steps in to take control of the store. The stand’s young manager Amelia isn’t happy about this changeup, especially when Grady tries to change decades of history before the end of the season. These two will have to work together to keep the lakeside stand running without its longstanding leader, even if they couldn't be less alike.
Rom-coms are fun, but ~romance~ fans already know and love Sarah Dessen, the indisputable GOAT of teen chick lit. Seriously, she’s won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to YA literature, *and* the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. A lot of Sarah’s novels take place in the sleepy beach town of Colby, and The Moon and More’s heroine is a Colby native. Too bad she’s falling for a city boy who’s just passing through town with a documentary film crew. It's a Sarah Dessen romance, so expect a few epiphanies, some tears, and at least one major swoon.
Sleepaway camp is, like, the *only* thing that TV, books, and movies have gotten right. The first real taste of freedom for many American teens is when they’re shipped off for the summer (or at least a few weeks) to a magical place where arts and crafts are mandatory and you *will* learn to make the perfect campfire s’more. Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training on a whim and learns that camp is a bit more than she bargained for when she encounters mean girl Ashley, hot surfer Hunter, comfortable Cole, and her BFF girl gang, the Sleepaway Girls.