15 Beach Reads You Won't Be Able to Put Down This Summer

Without a doubt, the best time of the year to read is summer. There’s no pressure to finish that monstrosity of a book for a lit class, and you finally have time to tackle that massive book bucket list you’ve compiled.

Whether you’re in the mood for heavy historical fiction or some fluffy contemporary romance, you definitely deserve some uninterrupted, intense reading time this summer. Below are 15 beach reads that you won’t be able to stop cruising through before school starts again. 

1. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

To be fair, any Sarah Dessen book is an excellent beach read, but going off the assumption that you grew up obsessed with her books, you’ll want to read her newest book this year. In this story, a girl works at her mom’s wedding planning business, making it a perfect read for June when everyone is getting married.

2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Just because school isn’t in session doesn’t mean that you should stay away from challenging content that puts things in a new light. Follow Ifemelu as she moves from Nigeria to the United States in pursuit of education and discovers new things about love and race along the way.

3. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Interestings is about a group of longtime friends that initially meet at a summer arts camp and then try to pursue artistic lives as they grow. If you have younger siblings who still get to go to camp while you’re stuck in a full-time job, live vicariously through this long but immersive read!

4. Us by David Nicholls

From the same author who wrote One Day, Us is another somewhat serious read about a couple and their teenage son touring Europe after the wife has told her husband that she may want a divorce. This definitely will fulfill your summer wanderlust, but the gorgeous writing and flashback scenes will keep you so invested in these characters.

5. Queen of Babble series by Meg Cabot

You probably devoured Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series back in middle school, but how many of her other books have you read? She has so many great works to choose from, but her Queen of Babble books cover a blabbermouth fashionista’s post-college adventures, so collegiettes are definitely the perfect audience for these.

6. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

How would you react if you ended up on a summer road trip with your mom’s friend’s cute son before moving cross country? Fans of the slow-burn romance trope will love Matson’s novel that’s complete with actual road trip playlists.

7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

If you want to shake in your sandals at the beach this year, then the classic creepiness of Rebecca is for you. The unnamed narrator marries a rich man whose mansion feels haunted by his dead first wife. Alfred Hitchcock adapted this book into an Oscar-winning film, so check out the movie once you’ve finished the book!

8. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

The third and final book of this fluffy trilogy was just released, so in honor of the narrator finishing high school in the last book, these are ideal reads if you’re starting college soon and dealing with a lot of change this summer.

9. To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

I recommend anything by British author Jill Mansell, whose books feel like a written equivalent of films like Love Actually. To the Moon and Back is about Ellie building a new life to cope with her husband’s sudden death. It has everything a good read should have—a relatable narrator, cute love interest, enviable English setting and a fun best friend with her own entertaining subplot.

10. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

If you’re a history fan, Life After Life is a must read. Something magical happens when Ursula is born in 1910, and the reader begins to explore several alternative timelines of her life, eventually delving into both World Wars. Treat yourself with this one!

11. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

In need of a quick but satisfying read? Comprised of short vignettes about married life from a wife’s perspective, Dept. of Speculation is perfect for a rainy day at the shore or one of those steamy afternoons that are way too hot for you to do anything else.

12. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Chances are you already read Moyes’s tearjerker Me Before You, but her other books are definitely worth a try too. In The Girl You Left Behind, the narration flips between France during World War I and modern London, telling the stories of two women who are connected by a painting. Any book that counts as historical and contemporary is a win for me.

13. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Our favorite Gilmore Girl most recently wrote her memoir, but before that, she tried her hand at fiction writing with Someday, Someday, Maybe. Loosely based on Graham’s own experiences, the book introduces a struggling New York actress trying to make it big before her self-imposed deadline to change her career.

14. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

You might not want to lug this one to the beach, but checking out the behind-the-scenes insight into this American musical phenomenon is definitely a great way to spend a few lazy hours.

15. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

If you’re lacking in your own summer romance this year, try out Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari’s in-depth look at love in today’s culture. Whether your romantic struggles start from texting with a crush or trying online dating, the book provides a funny and scientific exploration into what love means today.