We don’t know about you, but when we head to the beach, the first thing we pack is a good book (or three). There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than lounging in the sand, soaking up some rays, and getting totally lost in the pages of a novel. Here, we’ve rounded up the season’s best beach reads. These titles were selected for their addicting, impossible-to-put-down nature. Reader, be warned: These books are so good that you might forget to reapply your sunscreen. For even more fiction recommendations, check out our fiction preview!
Food for thought
Chef Deacon Thorpe isn’t just foodie-famous; he’s a bona fide celebrity. But when he dies, the situation is anything but glamorous, as his ex-wives, widow, and friends convene at his Nantucket home to come to grips with their loss. To say that Laurel, Scarlett, and Belinda—all of whom have spent part of their lives married to Deacon Thorpe—don’t get along would be a massive understatement. Still, in the wake of the tragedy, the women gather per Deacon’s wishes to bid farewell and to work through some of their disagreements. This book will transport you to Nantucket, and welcome you into a family on the mend. Kirkus said it best: “No one captures the flavor and experience of a summer place—the outdoor showers, the seafood, the sand in the floorboards—like [Elin] Hilderbrand.”
On shelves: June 14
You already know who Emily Giffin is. Her novels, including Something Borrowed, have been finding their way into beach bags (and readers’ hearts) for years, and rightfully so. Her newest novel takes readers into the lives of the Garland sisters, Meredith and her older sister Josie. As is often the case between sisters, Meredith and Josie don’t always get along with one another. They have shared some hardships together, including losing their brother years ago. With the anniversary of his death fast approaching, emotions are running high between the two sisters, and both are evaluating where they are in their lives. Will revisiting the tragedy strengthen their bond, or tear them apart? You’ll have to read First Comes Love to find out.
On shelves: June 28
Dressed for success
To Elián San Jamar (or Ethan St. James, as he would prefer that you call him), there is nothing as glamorous as the glossy pages of the fashionable Régine magazine. Ethan has long idolized the magazine and its glamorous editors, and has gone to great lengths to lead his life in a way that is informed by its pages. After graduating from Yale, he begins to pursue his dream of working at the magazine. But life at Régine isn’t what Ethan expected, and he will have to come to grips with the idea that his dream job might not be a good fit for him. Those of you who have interned at magazines are probably nodding knowingly reading this, but this novel will appeal to a much broader section of readers who are interested in how we forge our identities as adults.
On shelves: July 5
Professional wrestling fans, this is the book for you. In this new novel from Chad Dundas, wrestler Pepper Van Dean has run into some tough times. He was a highly respected lightweight wrestler, but has been on a losing streak recently, and strikes a deal with a gang in Chicago in hopes of turning things around. The agreement? He has to train Garfield Taft, who dreams of winning the heavyweight wrestling champion title. This story is set in the 1920s, in the midst of Prohibition, which provides a vibrant backdrop for the tale of an ambitious athlete and a former champion hoping to redeem himself. Readers won’t be able to help but root for Pepper and Garfield in this winning debut.
On shelves: July 12
The devil wears… Nike?
In all likelihood, you know Lauren Weisberger as the author of The Devil Wears Prada (and if you’re hankering for fashion magazine antics, we recommend checking out An Innocent Fashion above). Now, she’s back with a new novel about a professional tennis player who rebrands herself after a serious injury at Wimbledon. Charlotte Silver, known as Charlie, has always been a rule follower, but she is determined to become the bad girl that no pro tennis player wants to cross. Meanwhile, she begins a sizzling relationship with one of the hottest players on tour. Will Charlie’s transformation propel her to new heights in the tennis world? Only time will tell.
On shelves: July 12
The year is 2020, and things are not looking so great. The weather has gotten crazy–snowstorms and melting ice caps are wreaking havoc, and a huge iceberg is floating towards Scotland. With the iceberg’s arrival looming, a group of people have gathered to wait out the veritable ice age together. Dylan has traveled from London toting the cremated remains of both his mother and grandmother. He is in bad shape emotionally, but perks up when he meets Constance and falls head over heels for her. Constance is dealing with challenges of her own, not least of which is caring for her daughter, Stella, who is trans. Will these characters and the rest of their clan survive the brutal weather, or is the apocalypse truly on its way? Hard to say. The future as described in Jenni Fagan’s novel may feel remote, until readers remember it is only technically set a little over four years from now.
On shelves: July 19
The Inseparables is a book, or, to be more specific, a book within a book. In Stuart Nadler’s new novel, Henrietta Olyphant has written a tome by the same name. The difference is, unlike Nadler, Olyphant doesn’t particularly want to be known for having written it. Olyphant’s book is more than a little risqué. But in her 70s, when cash is hard to come by, she lets her publisher reprint it. Her husband has recently died, and she has to do it to stay afloat financially. While all of this is happening, her daughter deals with the fallout from a messy divorce, and her granddaughter is struggling with a situation at school involving some personal photos and the internet. As three generations of women work through these problems, they ponder their collective past, present, and future.
On shelves: July 19
Flipping a home is stressful. For those of you who don’t regularly watch real estate reality shows, no, we don’t mean picking it up and turning it upside down; we’re talking about buying one and improving it and then selling it for a better price. This is exactly what Nick and Phoebe are trying to do in this new novel from Joe McGinniss Jr., Carousel Court. Nick and Phoebe are married and living in Southern California, but the relationship has been floundering for a while now. The stress of flipping a home has only amplified the existing issues in their union, and their money problems are just making things worse. Soon, foreclosure becomes a very real possibility, and both Phoebe and Nick need to come up with a plan to turn their luck around without turning on one another. This is a dark read, but we think readers will find it totally addictive.
On shelves: August 2
It is the late 19th century, and husband and wife Allen and Sophie Forrester are both pushing their limits. Allen is forging ahead in Alaska as an explorer, and Sophie is diving into the field of photography to distract her from a recent loss. The two keep journals of their travels and experiences, and this novel is comprised of entries from both. All the while, both Sophie and Allen worry about whether or not Allen will return home safely. To the Bright Edge of the World will inspire readers to look outward—at the world around them and all of its wonders—and also inward, as they consider Allen and Sophie’s love and determination. For readers who have always wanted to explore the Alaska wilderness, it is hard to imagine a more perfect book to bring to the beach than this one.
On shelves: August 2
Hate how much I love you
Some of you might have traveled to the beach for the sole purpose of escaping the office, but we think this funny and romantic workplace comedy just might change your mind. Lucy and Joshua hate each other, and it isn’t a casual hatred—it’s a no-holds-barred, I-must-destroy-you kind of loathing. Ever since their companies have merged, they’ve had to spend an awful lot of time together, and it is making them both insane. They play a series of competitive games designed to show who is better at their job, and are fighting over a promotion. But then, they kiss, and Lucy is floored by how much it rocks her world. Could these two enemies actually have the hots for one another? It’s looking like it, and we know you’ll find their story entertaining and sexy.
On shelves: August 9