Beach reads mean something different to everyone. Some readers want to sunbathe and enjoy a lighthearted comedy, while others relax beneath an umbrella and dive into a gripping mystery. To celebrate beach season, we’ve asked 13 authors to share the books they’re bringing to the shore this summer. You might want to make some extra room in your beach bag; there are some great picks here.
“I can’t wait to dig into The Hypnotist’s Love Story by the queen of summer reading bliss, Liane Moriarty. It’s one of her older books, but based on how much I loved Big Little Lies and Truly, Madly, Guilty, I already know I am in for a treat. Moriarty always strikes the perfect balance between saucy socializing and a murder or mystery that keeps the pages turning. I just feel sorry for the people around me because once I start one of Moriarty’s books, there’s no talking to me until I’m done. This one involves a beachfront home, a boyfriend, and a stalker. See you when I reemerge.” — Stacy Kravetz, author of She’s So Boss
“My perfect beach read would include a bit of romance and a bit of mystery, and so Jillian Cantor’s The Lost Letter fits the bill perfectly. I’m also a bit of a history nut, therefore, Cantor wraps into one complete package my ideal novel. Set in both the 1980s and World War II Austria, and marrying the stories of a more modern day woman, a lonely, recent divorcee who is trying to discover the history of her aging father’s stamp collection with a World War II stamp engraver working for the resistance, Cantor easily captivates readers from the first to the very last page, as we wait on pins and needles to discover how these storylines will converge. Replete with romance and characters who will stay with you long after you finish reading, it’s one to be sure to grab before heading to the beach this summer.” —Mary Kubica, author of Every Last Lie
“Between the two of us, it was really hard to come up with just one (one!?!) summer beach read, we’re only human you know! Here is a list of some of our favorite beach reads–hopefully one will strike your fancy!
For swoons: Rule (and then the rest of the Marked Men series) by Jay Crownover or Anna and the French Kiss. It’s an old fave and a super fast read. Christina remembers reading it start to finish in the tub because she couldn’t put it down!
For mystery: You absolutely can’t go wrong with the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), and the In Death series by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) could seriously keep you busy the entire summer.
“Don Winslow, the acclaimed author of The Cartel and The Power of the Dog, researches his books intensively, offering readers a unique opportunity to delve into world’s darker places. Deep characterizations, rich settings, and authenticity are all guaranteed. In my beach reads, I look for entertaining escapism paired with learning—that’s how I can justify time away from the keyboard. In Winslow’s case, he never disappoints, and I can’t wait to let those turquoise waters lap at my toes as I enjoy a mind-bending ride-along with Detective Sgt. Denny Malone, a corrupt NYC police officer, in The Force.
“I’ve been addicted to this series about the super-wealthy Singaporean set ever since Kevin Kwan’s first novel, Crazy Rich Asians. It’s scandalous, snarky, snobby, and spectacular! A real beach read—glossy with sharp claws. The series is about a multi-generational family with ties to every prominent family in Asia, filled with characters who’d rather sleep on the floor of a friend’s apartment than spring for a hotel room but then would easily shell out $30,000 for a pet goldfish’s plastic surgery. Yes, you read that right. Read the entire trilogy and then join me in waiting for the movie version, which is filming now.” —Melissa de la Cruz, author of Alex & Eliza
“I love historical fiction and this novel hits two of my sweet spots: early twentieth century New England and old New York! My home state of Rhode Island has never seemed so glamorous as it does in this delicious summer read. Beatriz Williams brings the seashore, populated by old money families and their ramshackle cottages (and prejudice) vividly to life with early morning ocean dips, tense exchanges at the country club, and illicit evening strolls. The scenes in Manhattan add intrigue, glitz, and a surprising twist. Williams serves up the perfect ending when the hurricane of 1938 hits and the Rhode Island paradise is almost wiped from the map, leaving the reader to wonder if true love can survive the most challenging circumstances.” —Leila Howland, author of Hello, Sunshine
“My pick for the ultimate summer read is If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak. This is a dreamy, sun-drenched summer romance, with two incredibly loveable leads, charming writing, and an engaging storyline that makes it really hard to put down. If you’re looking for a warm, beautifully written book filled with swoony romance and impossibly cute moments, this is the summer book for you.” —Cale Dietrich, author of The Love Interest
“As a lifelong goth, my idea of a perfect beach excursion is at dusk, or under light rain, or under a wide umbrella for maximum shade. Ideally, a clear night view of a beach while inside with firelight is my idea of a summer haven. My most memorable beach read was under stormy skies along the North Carolina coast when I finished Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell, a slowly unfolding, densely beautiful work of art, made more hypnotic by tumultuous waves. Were I to pick a good midsummer night’s read today, preferably sitting by a bonfire while moonlight casts a shoreline in silver, I’d return to some classic Daphne du Maurier as a source of profound inspiration for dark, stormy nights.” —Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Perilous Prophecy
“Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. For anyone who is or ever was sixteen this novel about a midwestern girl trying to fit into an elite boarding school full of bitchy blondes and square jawed jocks mixes just enough bitter with the sweet to make you glad high school is firmly in the past.” —Grant Ginder, author of The People We Hate at the Wedding
“This sexy, super fun contemporary romance with a dash of oh, my gosh, I can’t believe that just happened paranormal is perfect for a day of reading at the beach. After a terrible accident, an everyday, average woman wakes up to realize she’s the heroine of a romance novel, and the author holds her fate in her type type-typing-hands. For someone used to control, the lack drives our heroine crazy… until she meets the bad boy hero. As the author changes her mind about his job, his eye color, and all the things the heroine is falling for, an awful realizations sets in. Will the evil author allow the heroine to keep her man, or will there be a plot twist?” —Gena Showalter, author of The Darkest Promise
“This wonderful Southern book about sisters, moms, and daughters, and marriage pairs perfectly with a sweet summer white and endless sunshine. Set in the charming coastal town of Peachtree Bluff, I couldn’t stop reading about these complicated women as their secrets bubbled to the surface and how they found their way through the loss and disappointments life threw at them. Grab a big, floppy hat and some sunscreen, because you won’t want to leave the beach until you’ve finished reading.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of The Simplicity of Cider
“Rich People Problems is a king-size serving of bright, snappy fun. Like a pack of pop rocks… made of diamonds. Billions of them.
In this rollicking tale of billionaires-gone-wild, the Shang-Young matriarch hovers between life and death as family members scattered across Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and New York City converge at her doorstep to participate in The Inheritance Games—may the schemes be ever in your favor. Careening from a 64-acre Singaporean estate run by a staff of 32, to a mystical island in the Sulu Sea, to a pink-sanded Caribbean beach, Kevin Kwan treats us to deliciously generous helpings of couture gowns, coconut rice cake balls, and snarky humor—’Right in front of Bishop See Bei Seen!’ Along the way, you’ll pick up some insights into Asian culture—funerary rites, family dynamics, garbled texts straight from my mother’s WeChat (‘4?Z Nicky# p lease cakk me at once!’)—and some useful Hokkien insults featuring variations on dog excrement.
The Shang-Youngs may be proof of Biggie’s declarative hypothesis (‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’) but at the center of the fiasco—ironed shoelaces, diverted 440-passenger flights and all—is a heart of 24-karat gold. These rich people are real people. They’ve known pain and heartbreak. Su Yi’s memories of the Japanese occupation and Nick’s devoted love for his grandmother are quietly poignant anchors as we jet across a sea of glitz.” —Sophie Chen Keller, author of The Luster of Lost Things
“For me, the ideal beach read is one hundred percent about the inability to put a book down, since it is, after all, competing with the ocean for my attention. I recently devoured Monsters: A Love Story by Liz Kay whole. Frothy, and yet still smart and sharply observed, it’s packed chock full of humor and wit and plot and more than a little warped wish-fulfillment. Goes well with any and all beach bags.” —Julie Buxbaum, author of What to Say Next