Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

The summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean beach reads aren’t just as fun to dive into. There’s honestly just something about the beach reads category that evokes a strong mental image of sunshine, warmth, adventure, and romance. Beach reads aren’t always serious or literary masterpieces – they’re often guilty pleasures, page turners, and a story so perfect you wish the pages never ended.

Whether you’re on the hunt for an end of summer reading list or are just looking for a novel to dive into, this list of books will keep you and your book club entertained long after the warmth of summer has passed.

Beach reads don't have to be for summer reading lists only. These page turners will keep you enthralled year round.

The Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan

I didn’t just read, but devoured this entire series on one of our trips to Mexico. I couldn’t get enough of this love story meets family drama. Kwan does an amazing job of bringing the reader into an entire world of glamour and family politics. I highly recommend hitting up the airport bookshop to snag at least one of the books in this series before your next trip – or if you just want a perfect beach read kind of vibe from the comfort of your own home.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl has topped the New York Times bestseller list and book club pick lists alike. It’s really not hard to see why. Black stories matter and this is a compelling story only a Black author could tell. Color me unsurprised that this page turner has been topping best summer reads lists this year.

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is basically the best beach reads chick lit queen. Reid is responsible for many much loved summer beach reads (such as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I read Hugo last year and picked up Malibu Rising a few weeks back. This book has been soaring to the top of all the top beach reads 2021 lists.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over – especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud – because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own – including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them…and what they will leave behind.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

This book ruined all other books for me this summer. I wish I was lying – I’m not. I loved The Martian when I read it several years back. Usually science fiction isn’t really my genre, but Andy Weir’s novels are always so approachable and focus on the character development and adventurous plot rather than the science fiction of it all. Project Hail Mary was just as page turning as The Martian. I found myself racing to get home to my book, bringing my copy with me wherever we went, trying to sneak in pages in between a busy schedule. I was addicted to this book. This book, dare I say it, might be one of my best beach reads of all time.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone. Or does he?

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I haven’t read this book yet myself, but have seen it all over Instagram and YouTube. The cover and title alone are reason enough to convince me it would make a great beach read!

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

TJ Klune has quickly become one of my favorite authors this summer. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an emotional story of a man discovering, well, LOVE. Pitched against a gorgeous backdrop, this love story is great as a beach read or for a cozy Fall morning.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

I discovered this book on the Barnes and Noble YA book club pick list and read it in less than seven days. This is an adventurous love story with a fantasy twist. The plot is intense enough to keep the pages turning, but light enough to make for a pleasant, low stress beach read.

Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life in isolated Amity Falls, surrounded by an impenetrable forest, has a predictable sameness. Her days are filled with tending to her family’s beehives, chasing after her sisters, and dreaming of bigger things while her twin, Samuel, is free to roam as he wishes.

Early town settlers fought off monstrous creatures in the woods, and whispers that the creatures still exist keep the Downings and their neighbors from venturing too far. When some townsfolk go missing on a trip to fetch supplies, a heavy unease settles over the Falls.

Strange activities begin to plague the town, and as the seasons change, it’s clear that something is terribly wrong. The creatures are real, and they’re offering to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand, for just a small favor. These seemingly trifling demands, however, hide sinister intentions. Soon Ellerie finds herself in a race against time to stop Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves from going up in flames.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

If you’re looking for a date with a guilty pleasure book, look no further. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is the first in a series of three books by Holly Jackson. You may think the last thing you need is a YA mystery thriller – but trust me, you need it. This book has a fast pace, compelling plot, and characters to really invest in.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

This book was actually a book club pick from a friend of mine. I don’t typically reach for these types of books – non YA fantasy books with a hefty focus on character development. But this book actually made me cry. Each and every character in this story goes on their own journey of self discovery and watching the process unfold was beautiful.

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed.

So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This year it was Michaelides’ The Maidens that was topping all the bestseller charts, but his first book was The Silent Patient – and dare I say it his first book was much better than his second. Don’t get me wrong, Maidens was plenty fun. But honestly it all seemed like it was heavily inspired by his first child: The Silent Patient. If you’re into mystery thrillers, this book is for you. You’ll love the twists and turns.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another best beach reads 2021 by Reid. I told ya, Reid is the ruler of the chick lit beach read. The story of Daisy Jones and the Six is packed with rumor and romance. What’s extra fun is it’s inspired by a true story and written in documentary/interview format.

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary was right up my alley: fantasy genre, adventurous, and with a mysterious twist at the end. I love fantasy books where you think you know where the story is going, but the author adds twists and turns at the end.

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Drop your beach reads recommendations in the comments below! Check out my other reading lists blog posts here.

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