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Sunshine and Spring Reads: 8 Beach Reads to Add to Your TBR List

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

As the weather continues to warm up and bring us all out of our seasonal depression, more and more Northwestern students have been flocking to the beach to soak up the much-missed sun rays. The perfect beach day can be described by some as an intense beach volleyball tournament with their friends or a cozy picnic lit by the sunset. For others, the perfect beach day consists of a good book and the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. This article is for the latter group. I have been endlessly searching for the perfect book to read on the beach to take my mind off of midterms and the looming last month of school, so I reached out to my reader friends and asked for their recommendations on the best beach book. Here is what they recommended, and some of my own personal recs, in no particular order:

the summer of broken rules, by K.L. Walther

It is no surprise that this book came recommended by three of my friends. Filled with Taylor Swift references, The Summer of Broken Rules follows Meredith Fox and her annual family trip to Martha’s Vineyard. However, this summer is different because it is Meredith’s first summer back to Martha’s Vineyard since her sister died. After being dumped by her boyfriend, the only thing she has to look forward to is her family’s annual game of Assassins, and it just so happens that her target this year is a super cute groomsman. Sparks fly, but Meredith wants to protect her recently broken heart. This book is perfect for those who want a cute and light read and love Taylor Swift!

lessons in chemistry, by bonnie garmus

Now an Apple TV show starring Brie Larson, Lessons in Chemistry is perfect for STEM girls and chefs alike. Called the “Catch-22 of early feminism” by Stephen King, this book follows aspiring chemist Elizabeth Zott and her all-male lab at Hastings Research Institute in the 1960s. Elizabeth is disrespected and looked down on by all the men in her lab — well, except for one brilliant and lonely Calvin Evans. They have instant chemistry, but life does not go as expected for Elizabeth. She soon finds herself a single mother and the star of Supper at Six, a beloved cooking show across America. With her unorthodox chemistry-filled approach to cooking, she teaches women across the country not only how to cook, but how to challenge the status quo. This book is perfect to read on the beach and a perfect watch for those late summer nights.

the guest list, by lucy foley

Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s work, The Guest List is a wicked murder-mystery thriller that will have you on the edge of your beach towel. The seemingly perfect couple, a charming rising television star and smart ambitious magazine publisher, are hosting their remote and lavish wedding on an island off the coast of Ireland. During the picture-perfect wedding party, resentments and jealousies begin to bubble to the surface, and someone soon turns up dead. Lovers of murder mysteries will find The Guest List to be the cherry on top of their perfect beach day.

the spanish love deception, by elena armas

The Spanish Love Deception is a favorite of BookTok and many of my friends. Catalina Martín has found herself caught up in a white lie about her perfect American boyfriend, and now she is expected to bring her white lie to her sister’s wedding to impress not only her family, but her ex and his fiancée. With only four weeks to find the perfect date, Catalina needs to find someone who is willing to make the journey from New York to Barcelona when her condescending colleague Aaron Blackford offers to be the solution to her problem. Even though she could think of no worse date, she is desperate and reluctantly agrees to bring Aaron to the wedding. This slow-burn romance is a great addition to the beach read list.

the geography of bliss: one grump’s search for the happiest places in the world, by eric weiner

The Geography of Bliss follows Weiner’s journey to some of the happiest places in the world, such as Iceland, Bhutan, and India. On his year-long journey, Weiner sets out to answer the question, What makes people happy? This book is a great addition to your library and a nice break from some more orthodox beach reads.

better than the movies, by lynn painter

One of my personal favorites, Better Than the Movies is another cute and lighthearted romance that is perfect for the beach and rom com lovers (it’s also another one filled with Taylor Swift references). Liz Buxbaum is a habitual daydreamer and vivacious rom com lover. She has had a crush on her childhood friend Michael for forever, but he moved away before he developed feelings for her, too. Now, he’s back in town and Liz begins to develop feelings again. She enlists the help of her pain-in-the-butt neighbor Wes Bennett to help her get noticed by Michael before prom and hopefully secure her old flame as her date. Better Than the Movies is perfect for Nora Ephron lovers and is sure to give you butterflies on the beach.

we were liars, by e. lockhart

Another thriller that is soon to be released as an Amazon Prime series (starring Mamie Gummer, Caitlin FitzGerald, and Candice King), We Were Liars was highly recommended to me. This psychological thriller explores the theme of dealing with the consequences of one’s actions. It follows the wealthy and “perfect” Sinclair family on their annual private island summer vacations. Full of secrets and destructive relationships, We Were Liars is a favorite of anyone who reads it.

carrie soto is back, by taylor jenkins reid

If you saw Challengers and can’t get enough of tennis (like me), Carrie Soto Is Back is the perfect summer read for you! From the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six, this book follows Carrie Soto, a retired tennis player who is arguably the best tennis player ever. That is until the 1994 US Open, when her record was taken from her by British player Nicki Chan. Wanting to reclaim her record, Carrie comes out of retirement, even if she may not be as good as she once was. This story about female ambition, determination, and spirit is a must read for the summer.

Annie Kopp

Northwestern '27

Annie is a first year at Northwestern University studying biomedical engineering on the pre-medical track with a minor in theater! She is from Phoenix, AZ and loves to read, spend time outdoors, and hang out with her friends.