Ready For The Beach? These 16 Books Will Put You In Summer Mood

Even though I like autumn with it’s orange coloured leaves and golden sunsets, pumpkin pies and walks in the crisp mornings, if I could live in eternal summer, I would. There’s just something about warm sand, floaty dresses and the promise of boat trips I can’t get enough of.

I grew up in a country where we had proper seasons, and I lived two minutes away from a riverside where we spent almost every day, eating ice cream, swimming, and reading under the umbrella. That of course all stopped when I moved to England, and now I’m just happy if I don’t have to wear my leather jacket in June.

I still take at least one trip a year to a beach, but my dream is to one day live on one, and have my morning coffee with sea view. One can always hope!

So, here I am, having my morning coffee with an acceptable view of the communal garden, trying to get into summer mood. All the books I picked for this list are set either on a beach, or take place during summer.

This year I’m going to Malaga and some yet to be decided part of Greece, and will sure as hell read a few of these on the beach while sipping ice coffee.

Women’s Fiction

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people–an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin–with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony–everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield – and no couple is perfect.


Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. What begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny’s boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt–but the emotional damage is overwhelming. Questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.
As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents – secrets kept, promises broken, hearts betrayed.


The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner

When a young widow’s reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.
Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.
Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she’s forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.
One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future.


YA Contemporary

Perennials by Mandy Berman

At what point does childhood end and adulthood begin? Mandy Berman’s evocative debut novel captures, through the lens of summer camp, a place that only appears to be untouched by the passing of time, both the thrills and pain of growing up.
Rachel Rivkin and Fiona Larkin used to treasure their summers together as campers at Camp Marigold. Now, reunited as counselors after their first year of college, their relationship is more complicated. Rebellious Rachel, a street-smart city kid raised by a single mother, has been losing patience with her best friend’s insecurities; Fiona, the middle child of a not-so-perfect suburban family, envies Rachel’s popularity with their campers and fellow counselors. For the first time, the two friends start keeping secrets from each other. Through them, as well as from the perspectives of their fellow counselors, campers, and families, we witness the tensions of the turbulent summer build to a tragic event, which forces Rachel and Fiona to confront their pasts and the adults they’re becoming.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.


Toxic by Nicci Cloke

Hope has never been happier. She’s on her way to Crete, after a group of her friends have made her an honorary ‘lad’ and let her tag along on their boys’ holiday. There’s a slight complication in that one of those boys, Logan, is Hope’s ex-boyfriend, but they’re still friends and Hope’s pretty confident it won’t be too awkward.
The next couple of days are exactly what Hope was hoping for – lazy days in the sun, and long, drunken conversations. She can’t help but notice that Logan’s flirting with her. Logan and Hope end up alone and Hope is horrified when, after she leans in to kiss him, Logan completely rejects her.
Embarrassed and annoyed, Hope is on a mission to get drunk, and with the alcohol flowing, and the sun going down, Hope’s starts having a great time.
The next thing Hope knows, she’s being woken up on the beach by two strangers. It’s 9 o’clock the next morning and she can’t remember anything about the previous night . . . what on earth happened?


Thriller, Mystery

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told.
Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.
Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.
When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.


The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.
To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.


Sunburn by Laura Lippman

One is playing a long game. But which one?
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.
Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.
Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?
Something—or someone—has to give.


The Girls by Lisa Jewell

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?

Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?


Tangerine by Christine Mangan

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.


The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.
When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn’t expect him to turn up a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy.
Fielding, the son of Autopsy, finds the boy outside the courthouse and brings him home, and he is welcomed into the Bliss family. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal — and riled by the feverish heatwave baking the town from the inside out — there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be.
But whether he’s a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child — and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.


The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

There’s trouble in paradise. . .
For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.
Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?


Beach Lawyer (Beach Lawyer #1) by Avery Duff

After five grueling years, Robert Worth is just days away from making partner at a powerful Santa Monica law firm. When a client confides in him that senior partner Jack Pierce sexually assaulted her, Robert breaks two of his mentor’s cardinal rules: Never let yourself get emotional about clients. And never make an enemy of Jack Pierce.
Robert crosses Pierce and is fired on the spot, losing not only his job but also his reputation. Advised to go quietly, Robert vows revenge against the ruthless man who betrayed him. But his investigation uncovers a twisted shadow world of sex, infidelity, and deception, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. Only one thing is clear: Pierce will go the limit to keep his secrets.
This straight shooter will need to use every angle if he hopes to win. But could victory come at too high a price?


The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.
For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.
Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.


Contemporary

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.

Do you like reading on the beach? What kind of books do you like to take with you on holidays?

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47 comments

  1. I’m drawn to ALL the books you listed in mystery and thriller, except The Honeymoon because I already read it. I liked that one but didn’t love it. I love to read on the beach and maybe I’d choose some chicklit or contemporary romance to read on the beach, something a bit lighter, that you can put more easily away too if you have to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I looove reading on the beach. Preferably when the boyfriend is behaving like a child in the sea so he doesn’t bother me at all, haha. Last time I went to the beach was during my roadtrip in September. I took all my sequels with me. Not really summer reads, but.. I really had to finish some series. :’) [Still do, but hey..]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Apart from Tangerine, I haven’t read any of them. Some of them sound really interesting.

    I love the outdoors but am not a lying on a beach type of person. I have to climb sea cliffs or learning how to surf (or rather how not to drown) whenever I’m on a beach. 🙂 I would happily read somewhere near a beach though hiding in a shade under a pine tree in a comfy hammock. 🙂

    PS. I dream about living by a coast one day too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, i can see how climbing on a cliff would interfere with reading 😀 Still, it must be a lot of fun! I’m totally scared of most things, so not for me.

      I usually stay under the umbrella and just read there. When i’m there, even the noise doesn’t bother me usually.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alex

    That’s quite the collection of beach reads, I haven’t even thought about summer holidays let alone what I want to read. I guess I’m more impulsive on the books I buy in the moment, which is not always a good thing. Maybe I need to make and stick to a list.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice list! I’m interested in the Last Mrs Parrish too, I didn’t know it’s related to summer 🙂 I love summer, but in shade 😀 I love going to the seaside and this year I’m going to a yet to be decided part of Greece too hahaha 😀 I’ll probably take some light reads with me, and preferably on my kindle, as I always overstuff my suitcase 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. emmareadstoomuch

    ooh yay for summery books! i read all contemporary all the time in summer. something about that genre just feels like summer to me!! (how many times can i say the word summer in this comment.) great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love summer reading! So many good mysteries and thrillers 🙂 People get up to so much trouble in the heat! I haven’t read any of these yet but Tangerine, Sunburn and We Were Liars are sitting on my Kindle for soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Where I grew up it used to rain pretty much every season, even during summer, so the beach was always a “meh” option for me. So I just frolicked off into the forest to go hiking and “tracking” (aka stomping through the brush in random directions). And this reminded me that I still need to read The Summer That Melted Everything…:D

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post! I have only read one book on this list but I am interested in all the thrillers that you listed. I have never heard about the Lisa Jewell one, it looks good! I have a copy of The Summer that Melted Everything and been meaning to read it for ages but yet to get the chance.

    There are no seasons where I come from. It is either cold, hot, sunny or rainy and that can happen at any time of the year. Right now its freezing so summer does sound like a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, sorry to hear about the weather. I’m kinda freezing too. Can’t believe it’s mid June and i need a jacket. 😦
      I discovered Lisa Jewell only recently and The Girls was the first i read by her. But since then i bought 2 more of her books 🙂

      Like

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  12. Great list! I 100% agree with We Were Liars, it’s an excellent summer read. I also had to do a double take at The Girlfriend and The Last Mrs Parrish because the covers look so similar! I’ll definitely be checking a lot of these out The French Girl sounds especially interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person

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