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My Summer Reading List: Three Moderately Beachy Reads I Loved

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

As temperatures drop, leaves begin to change, and we transition into the rhythm of fall, I reflect back on my summer, including the books I read. When I left school in May, I made a *soft* goal to “read more books.” When the semester is underway, I have almost no time to read for fun. My younger, bookish self would be dismayed by the number of books that sit unread on my shelf (and would probably shake her head at my meager three finished books). But the point of this goal wasn’t to be ambitious or to guilt myself into reading; it was to allow myself to fall back in love with stories, to indulge in time for myself that didn’t involve my phone or a TV show, and to read whatever I wanted, no matter how cheesy or easy it was. So, I give you my summer reading list: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

The first book, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, was a gem. It was quirky, sad, and lovely, with a plot that makes you think and an ending that made me mourn finishing the book. I love those kinds of stories, where you’re sad you don’t get to spend time with the characters anymore. 30-year-old Eleanor, who has lived the same routine since she was 18, and Raymond, who flips that routine and her life upside down, are exactly the types of characters that suck you in and leave you wanting more. I loved this book because it forces the reader to consider life and human relationships. Fair warning, there is significant talk of depression, suicide, and trauma. While the book explores difficult topics, it is well worth the read and ultimately left me feeling good. Trust me: my summer reads were intentionally lighthearted and easy. 

State of Terror

Second, I read Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny’s State of Terror. A fictional political thriller about a U.S. Secretary of State written by a former Secretary of State — kind of perfect. In a rush to stop an impending bomb detonation following several terrorist attacks across the globe, this book has it all, complete with conspiracy, espionage, and the Russian mafia. Clearly very different than Eleanor Oliphant. Following the plot and keeping the characters straight required some thought, but it was well worth the effort. I am such a fan of crime shows and political dramas, so this was the perfect book. To top it off, the characters were clearly based on people Clinton and Penny knew in real life (which was even mentioned afterward) and, likely because of this, were so well developed.

The Soulmate Equation

Finally, I read The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. This one was definitely more of a light read than the previous two, but it combines science and love, which I can totally be down with. The story follows Jess, a data scientist and single mother, who gets herself involved with a new dating app called GeneticAlly, which matches people based on DNA. On a whim, and with the influence of her wild best friend, Jess sends in her DNA swab and ends up 98% matched with the company’s founder, River. The story that follows is cute, sexy, romantic, and not without plot twists of its own. Definitely a beach read, definitely worth it.

The Love Hypothesis

What am I reading now, you might ask? Good question. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood has got me hooked currently. For all my fellow STEM girlies out there, this one is for you. Olive, a Ph.D. candidate in biology at Stanford, starts fake-dating a tenured professor in her department in order to convince her best friend she is completely over her ex. Needless to say, the story goes from there and it is incredibly hard to put down. Read it with me! 

Overall, I feel pretty satisfied with the books I read this summer. I had a good mix and a good time getting back into reading. And while they are “moderately” beachy, they are all definitely books you can cozy up with in the evening with a cup of tea. After all, good characters are good company, and these books are certainly worth your time. Happy reading!

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Abigail Grimm

U Mass Amherst '24

Abby, Events Director of HC UMass Amherst, is a current junior honors student studying public health and health policy. Besides HerCampus, she spends time exercising, outside on her bike or with her dogs (especially in her home state, Vermont), playing music, and drinking absurd amounts of coffee. Find her on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/abby_324/