Sharing is caring!
Whether you’re relaxing next to the ocean or in a lounge chair on your back porch, your summer reading will be more enjoyable with one of these books in your hand and another in your beach bag.
What type of book makes a good beach read?
We want our summer books to be very engaging, but not super-deep. The kinds of books that keep the pages turning are key, especially when there are light, fun moments to counter serious scenes. Sometimes we want a love story, sometimes a family drama, and sometimes we want a gripping novel full of suspense. Our favorites are often those that allow us to escape to a different world for a few hours…usually one with more sand and more waves. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on an island for a while?
With that description in mind, we gathered some of our past favorite beach books as well as fun new titles for 2022 to give you a good book selection that will keep you entertained all summer long.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we may earn a referral fee from qualifying purchases.
The Best Beach Read Books
These 2022 books were our favorites last year. We'll update this post soon with the new 2023 beach read releases that we're most looking forward to reading!
The Hotel Nantucket
by Elin Hilderbrand
If you dream of relaxing days summering on Nantucket, you can grab any of Elin Hilderbrand’s books. The newest, The Hotel Nantucket, takes place at a recently restored hotel with quite a history.
In 1922, the hotel had a tragic fire, which killed a 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace. It degraded from a gilded gem to an abandoned eyesore in the following years. Thankfully, it has finally been restored by a billionaire from London.
He hires Nantucket native Lizbet as the general manager. She’s in charge of restoring the reputation of the hotel. This job can be complicated since it involves making sure the staff gets along with each other, the guests, and the ghost of Grace. Grace is determined to keep up her shenanigans until someone acknowledges that her death in 1922 wasn’t an accident.
by Emily Henry
Emily Henry has become a dependable master author of contemporary romance novels. Her newest summer release, Book Lovers, is about a literary agent named Nora. When Nora’s little sister, Libby, begs her to take a month-long summer trip to a small town in North Carolina, she envisions all the possible romance novel tropes that could happen in her own life. Why couldn’t she run into a handsome country doctor and find her happily ever after?
Instead, Nora runs into Charlie, a brooding editor she has encountered several times back in the city. While neither of them is the ideal heroine or hero, they kept being thrown together in unlikely situations and must confront the stories they’d told themselves about who they are.
PS: If you're looking for more books about book lovers, we've got you covered in this post!
Every Summer After
by Carley Fortune
For six summers, friends Percy and Sam were inseparable. They spent every moment possible together in Barry's Bay, often curled up with books. As they get older, their connection leads to more than friendship.
But after Percy makes a big mistake, she spends the following ten summers in the city guarding her heart. However, when she gets the terrible news that Sam's mother has died, she returns to the lake for one weekend. Her chemistry with Sam is still undeniable, but is the past too much to overcome?
The Book Girls Say...If you're looking for an unputdownable, slow-burning summer romance, this one is for you!
The Unsinkable Greta James
by Jennifer E. Smith
Greta James had musical talent from childhood, but her parents had different visions of where that talent would lead. While her mother was her biggest fan, her dad could only see the likely pitfalls of a music career.
She has spent years trying to prove him wrong and reached the point of appearing on magazine covers and playing sold-out shows. However, with the pressure of a sophomore album and the shock of her mother’s recent death, Greta has an on-stage meltdown that goes viral.
As an escape from media coverage and real life, she agrees to join her dad on an Alaskan cruise. Onboard, she meets Ben, a historian with his own personal drama.
The Book Girls Say…We’ve seen readers say this is a good pick for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette!
by Mary Kay Andrews
Hattie’s had a rough time over the past several years. Her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident at 25. She works for her father-in-law carrying on the family restoration business, but she also dreams of taking on bigger projects. So, she used his life insurance proceeds to flip a small house. Unfortunately, the proceeds from that house went into another, which turned into a disaster. In addition to losing money, she lost her confidence.
When Hattie gets the rare chance to star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, it could be what she needs to turn everything around. Will the male lead on the show be a friend or foe?
The Love of My Life
by Rosie Walsh
If you prefer a page-turning mystery as your poolside read, try The Love of My Life. Marine Biologist Emma and Obituary Writer Leo have been married for ten years and have a young daughter named Ruby. When Emma becomes seriously ill, Leo copes the only way he knows how - researching her life for her obituary.
However, nothing he finds is what he expects, and nothing he knows about his wife is real. Her name isn’t even Emma. Despite her entire past being a dark secret-filled lie, she loves Leo and Ruby. Can she convince him that the love is real?
This thriller is full of suspense if you’re looking for a book that will keep you up reading well past bedtime.
The Summer Getaway
by Susan Mallery
Robyn is a single mom of grown kids, and she desperately needs an escape. Her daughter is in bridezilla mode. Her son isn’t following the college path she expected. Her best friend has major marital issues, and her ex is making a terrible decision.
Luckily, Robyn's free-spirited great-aunt, Lillian, has invited her to Santa Barbara for the summer. The sunshine is just what she needs to reset. But then, one by one, everyone follows her. However, the different environment and influence of Lillian help Robyn see all the problems from a new perspective.
The Suite Spot
by Trish Doller
Looking for a summer beach read with a less tropical vibe? How about a tiny island on Lake Erie, instead.
When Rachel is fired from her job at a Miami Beach luxury hotel - for something she didn't even do - the single mom needs to find a new job as soon as possible. She hears about a position at a brewery hotel on Kelleys Island. The man who offered her the job over the phone sounded incredibly grumpy, but she's desperate so she packs up and makes the move.
When she arrives, she finds that the owner, Mason, knows a lot about brewing beer, but almost nothing about running a hotel. If you can even call it a hotel - it's barely more than foundation and studs. But the job offers her a chance to rebuild her life, and that's exactly what she needs.
The Book Girls Say... Trish Doller also wrote Float Plan - one of our favorite beach reads of last summer. Rachel from The Suite Spot is the fictional sister of Float Plan's Anna.
One Italian Summer
by Rebecca Serle
Carol and Katy have planned a mother-daughter trip to Positano, the magical Italian seaside town Carol spent a summer long ago. But when Carol dies before the trip, Katy is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
As soon as Katy steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, however, she can feel her mother's spirit. She's taking in the beautiful views and delicious food when her mother appears. However, it's not the older mother she just lost. Instead, it's a healthy, tanned, younger version of her mother. Throughout the summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mom but as the young woman her mother used to be.
The Book Girls Say...As you may have guessed by the plot, you'll need to suspense your disbelief as Katy runs into her mother as a young woman. Some people classify this book as time travel/magical realism because of this plot point, but to us, it reads more like women's fiction.
We both enjoyed One Italian Summer but weren't sure how we would rate it as we read the first half. The main character wasn't our favorite, but we loved her mother. By the end, we rated it as four stars and loved the detailed descriptions of Positano.
PREVIOUS SUMMER PICKS
Looking for a book you might have a better chance of snagging at the library without a long wait?
These are our favorite summer reads published before 2022.
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The successful Riva siblings are always the envy of those around them in Malibu. Their father is legendary singer Mick Riva, but each of the four siblings found success of their own in pursuits, like professional surfing and photography.
The book is set in 1983 at sister Nina’s famous end-of-summer beach house party. By midnight, the party is out of control. Before dawn, Nina’s mansion has been burned to the ground.
During this unforgettable night, each sibling has secrets revealed.
We both enjoyed this summer novel by the author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!
People We Meet on Vacation
by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex became unexpected best friends on a car share ride home from college, but they have nothing in common. Poppy is an extroverted wild child and Alex is a pragmatic introvert. As the years go by, Poppy has a good life in New York City while Alex remains in their small hometown. The duo reunites each summer for a glorious week of vacation together.
But two years ago, everything changed. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she could want in life, but remains discontent and knows the last time she was truly happy was her last trip with Alex. So, in a desperate attempt to find joy again, she contacts Alex hoping for one more trip to make everything right.
The book pops between present-day and past trips and is perfect when you’re craving some chick-lit romance reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally.
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
by Elle Cosimano
Struggling novelist and divorced mom of two, Finlay Donovan is BARELY holding things together. Each day has new challenges, like her ex-husband firing the nanny with no warning right before an important meeting.
Money is running out, and her next novel is way behind schedule. While meeting with her agent and attempting to buy more time, she receives a mysterious envelope with an offer of quick cash for a job.
Desperation and intrigue lead her to follow up with the number on the note, and before she knows what’s happening, she’s agreed to be a contract killer for a woman with a truly terrible human of a husband. Whoops.
While that sounds pretty dramatic, this book is witty and hilarious versus gory or scary.
The Book Girls Say...We both loved this book last summer and already devoured the newly released sequel: Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead.
by Elin Hilderbrand
The main character, Vivian Howe, is an author of beach novels herself. While out jogging on Nantucket, Vivi is killed in a hit-and-run accident.
After her death, Vivi is granted the opportunity to watch what happens to her family for one final summer. In addition to watching, she gets three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on Earth. Between troubles for her children, the investigation into her death, and a childhood secret wrapped into the final novel she was writing, Vivi must be cautious with her nudges while learning to let her family make decisions without her.
The Book Girls Say...This would be a good summer book club pick because it has many good discussion points!
by Trish Doller
Float Plan takes you to the sunny Caribbean with Anna as she sets off on the boat that she inherited after losing her fiancé. While Anna initially begins her adventure alone, she quickly realizes that she’s in over her head. She hires Keane, a professional sailor dealing with his own struggles as he faces a future that looks much different from what he had planned.
Anna initially intends to follow the exact sailing route that she and her fiancé had planned to take together. Along the way, she discovers that she’ll have to chart her own course - both aboard the boat and in her life. Likewise, Keane is navigating rough waters both aboard Anna’s boat and in life.
The Book Girls Say...We both love a good beach read, but this book took Angela by surprise because it has so much more depth than she expected. Both main characters are authentic, flawed, and well-developed. In the end, it turns a sad start into an uplifting story about grief and second chances.
Additionally, Trish Doller paints vivid descriptions of the islands visited, paying attention to what makes each island unique.
by Steven Rowley
When family tragedy strikes, uncle Patrick needs to take custody of his niece and nephew for the summer. GUP - Gay Uncle Patrick, is a former sitcom star and loves the kids, but is used to them going home after a weekend.
His career is stalled, and his lifestyle isn’t exactly ideal for a 6 and 9-year-old. He quickly realizes that having the kids longer than a few days means he needs to be more of a parent figure and that treats may not solve everything.
In order to help the kids, Patrick will also have to figure out how to help himself. This means facing some difficult memories from his past and deciding what his future will hold.
Full of laugh-out-loud humor, heartwarming moments, and happy endings as the family explores grief, this is a well-rounded novel with characters you’ll adore.
by Jennifer Weiner
While many books on the list focus on romance, That Summer is friendship-focused.
Daisy Shoemaker has a great life, with her own business and a beautiful home. Except she’s still discontent with her distant husband, typical teenage daughter, and a lack of a close friend. While she’s dealing with these relatable challenges, she starts getting emails for Diana, a successful single woman with a very similar email address.
The women begin to build a relationship over the misdirected emails, but then Daisy finds out the connection was NOT accidental. Who IS Diana? With page-turning wit, the book explores past, future, and the power of sustained friendship.
The Book Girls Say...Jennifer Weiner just released her 2022 book, The Summer Place, which you may also enjoy. It's a family drama full of secrets, with a large cast of characters and a non-linear timeline.
by Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Kay Andrews has been called the Queen of Beach Reads and this year’s new release is no expectation. Letty’s sister Tanya made her promise that if anything happened to her, Letty would take Tanya’s daughter Maya and run.
When Letty finds Tanya dead, she knows the murderer is Tanya’s ex, Evan, so she follows Tanya’s instructions to get out of town. Tanya left behind a go-bag of cash, and massive diamond ring, and a faded magazine article about a small mom-and-pop hotel in a Florida beach town.
She heads south to Florida with four-year-old Maya, trying to comfort the child and unravel her sister’s secrets while keeping a low profile among the locals, including the handsome police chief Joe. Sisterhood, romance, and mystery intertwine throughout almost 500 pages, which is great if you’re looking for a longer option.
By Katherine St. John
With secrets, scandals, steamy relationships, and stormy weather approaching a Caribbean Island, The Siren will quickly immerse you into the characters' lives as you go behind the scenes of a blockbuster movie set. The producer and lead actor, Cole, also owns the island. His son Jackson wrote the script and is directing the film. What could go wrong when Jackson hires his dad’s ex-wife, Stella, to star opposite him on screen?
The story is told from three different woman’s perspectives. First, Stella, who desperately needs a hit film to revitalize her career. Second, Taylor, a young producer who left her previous company in a scandal. And finally, Stella’s assistant Felicity, who comes to the island with her own secrets.
Warning: While the overall tone of the book has a vacation feel, it does address some darker topics as well, including rape and substance abuse.
by Angie Hockman
When we saw Shipped recommended for fans of The Hating Game and Unhoneymooners, we were instantly intrigued. Who doesn’t need a steamy romance in their beach read pile?
Henley and Graeme are up for the same promotion at a cruise line. While they’ve never met, they’ve exchanged more than a fair share of snarky emails.
To determine who will receive the dream job, their boss requests that they each prepare their best proposal on how to increase bookings for the Galapagos Island cruise. To give them each an equal chance, their boss sends them on the cruise to experience it for themselves. Obviously, because this is a rom-com, they’re forced to travel together.
Soon, Henley realizes Graeme MIGHT not be as terrible as she thought. This classic troupe is always entertaining when done well, and Angie Hockman pulled it off. You’ll be left with a reinforced belief in the power of second chances.
Meet Me in Paradise
by Libby Hubssher
Marin has lived life as safely as possible, never even stepping foot outside Tennessee. Her concern started after her journalist mother was killed on assignment. The tragedy had the opposite effect on her sister, Sadie, who travels the world as a photographer.
After returning from a tough assignment, Sadie convinces Marin to join her in a spa weekend on the island of Saba. Marin is skeptical about leaving home, even for a girls' weekend, but agrees. Her fear of travel is confirmed when Sadie misses the flight. Then, a stranger steals her sister’s seat on the plane, and Marin’s luggage is mixed up with another passenger's.
Luckily, the seat stealer is handsome! Lucas ends up being the perfect travel mate. Marin begins to discover more about herself through each adventure.
Although the cover of this book looks like standard rom-com fare, this book is a blend of romance with heavier themes. Reviewers describe this book as an enjoyable rollercoaster of emotion but warn that you'll want to keep the tissues within reach!
It Had to Be You
by Georgia Clark
Liv has run a successful NYC wedding-planning business for twenty years with her husband, Eliot. When he dies unexpectedly, Liv is shocked to learn that he's left his half of the company to his young girlfriend, that Liv knew nothing about. Much to Liv's chagrin, Perky Savannah shows up on her doorstep eager to be her partner and protege.
In addition to Liv and Savannah, we are introduced to many wedding vendors they work with - the florists, a caterer, servers, and musicians. In a Love Actually-style narrative, this book follows each of them as they navigate love and friendship, and we see their lives overlap at weddings throughout the city.
With five different storylines, we were worried that we'd be left feeling like we didn't get enough of any of them, but the characters were very well developed. Each sentence in the book moved the story and characters forward, and we were both sad to reach the end. This book was especially lovely in its representation of so many different types of love stories.
Arsenic and Adobo
by Mia P. Manansala
Do you spend a good portion of your summer vacation planning looking at restaurant options? If so, Arsenic and Adobo may be your perfect summer pick. The Filipino food descriptions incorporated throughout the book will make your mouth water!
The main character in this cozy mystery is Lila, who has returned from her life in Chicago to help her Tita Rosa’s restaurant. But then Lila’s ex-boyfriend, a food critic, visits the restaurant and dies in his dessert shortly after an argument with Lila. She’s the prime suspect. In order to clear her name, she’s determined to find out what really happened.
The Book Girls Say...This culinary cozy mystery reminded Melissa of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. If you love a light-hearted and amusing whodunit-style novel, grab this one.
If you've already read this one and enjoyed it, be sure to pick up the sequel Homicide and Halo-Halo or preorder book #3, Blackmail & Bibingka.
The Road Trip
by Beth O'Leary
Beth O’Leary stole our hearts with The Flatshare, her first book, and we bet she will warm our hearts again with The Road Trip.
Ex’s Addie and Dylan haven’t spoken in two years, but are both headed to their friend's wedding in Scotland. When their cars crash into each other, they have no choice but to carpool if they want to make it to the wedding on time. In addition to Addie and Dylan, Dylan’s best friend, Addie’s sister, and a random guy from Facebook who needed a ride are cramped into a Mini for the long ride across England.
Along the way, Addie and Dylan are forced to explore the events that tore them apart. The book features a “Now and Then” split timeline and is said to be a bit more somber than the author’s first two books, while still incorporating some humor.
by Elin Hilderbrand
In 1993, Mallory inherited a beach cottage in Nantucket and decided to embrace the unexpected gift and move to the island full-time. Shortly after, she hosts a bachelor party for her brother and meets his friend from college, Jake.
After things go wrong for other attendees, Mallory and Jake are left alone for the rest of the weekend. They have undeniable chemistry. After watching the classic movie, Same Time Next Year, they decide that they'll continue getting together one weekend every summer, no matter what.
The book follows their story from 1993 to 2020, and you'll keep the pages turning to find out how their lives change individually and together each year. The chapters each start with a fun recap of what was happening in the world each year. You'll be transported through time as their lives move forward.
The Book Girls Say...This was a 5-star book from the queen of summer reads for both of us. Just keep the Kleenex ready for the ending.
by Emily Henry
Set on Lake Michigan, Beach Read has moments of cute sitcom comedy while also digging deeper as the main characters try to overcome family betrayals and writer's block.
January arrives at a family lakeside house with her heart broken by her father and a looming deadline. She's not thrilled to find a brooding neighbor with his own deadline. Eventually, the two authors decide to swap genres, leaving a romance writer researching a local cult and an often-cranky literary author writing a love story.
Melissa fell in love with the characters and would love to see a sequel.
One to Watch
by Kate Stayman-London
Are you a fan of The Bachelorette? If so, One to Watch might be your perfect match.
Bea is a plus-sized fashion blogger tired of watching casts full of size 0 models. After a drunken post about the un-realness of the reality dating show Main Squeeze, she gets a shocking call asking HER to be the next star of the show.
Can she trust the male contestants with her heart, or is it safer to remember she's on the show mainly for her career?
As the season progresses throughout the book, you'll forget about the real-life craziness of 2020 and root for Bea to find love.
The Book Girls Say...Melissa enjoyed that the story varies between the narrative/ standard book format and snippets of podcast dialog, emails, etc. ABOUT the show as fans watched. All the aspects came together and served as a great way to help your brain fully engage in the story.
The Boyfriend Project
by Farrah Rochon
Does reading about summer vacations make it feel worse that you're working all summer? This workplace romance might be a good alternative!
Samiah is getting ready for a date when her sister starts reading a ridiculous Twitter thread about someone else's terrible date. Soon Samiah realizes that the woman is out with the same guy she is supposed to be dating. And she's not the only other girlfriend. A third woman also thinks she is exclusively dating the jerk.
The three women decide to team up instead of hating each other, and then decide that they will work on themselves before dating again.
Samiah is totally on board with the plan until a hot new guy appears at work. But he isn't at all what she thinks.
Melissa enjoyed this one!
by Jennifer Weiner
After six years of not speaking to her best friend, plus-size influencer Daphne is shocked when she's suddenly asked to attend her big society wedding. On top of that, her former friend begs her to be maid-of-honor.
The prospect only tempts daphne because the offer comes with a weekend in a Cape Cod mansion and might help her business. The friends have changed over the years, but will the wedding finally help them reunite as best friends?
Entertainment Weekly called this new release “The beach read to end all beach reads," so we can't wait to read it!
We Came Here to Shine
by Susie Orman Schnall
We both love historical fiction novels but usually gravitate toward those in the fall and winter. However, this 2020 release set in 1939 is the perfect summer escape.
The main characters are Maxine, who dreams of being a journalist for the New York Times, and Vivi, who wants to be an actress in LA.
When Vivi is given a chance to be the star of the Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular at the World's Fair, the lives of these two big-dreaming women collide. They navigate a summer of opportunity and adversity together as friends who what to achieve so much more than society expects.
More Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List
If you love reading light and fun romantic comedy books in the summer as much as we do, you can browse lots of great rom-com book recommendations all in one place.
- Books That Take Place On an Island
- Summer Cozy Mysteries Set on the Beach
- Summer Mystery Books & Beach Thrillers for 2022
- Best Beach Reads – Best 2022 Summer Books
Have you read any great books for summer this year? Share them in the comments below!
Love reading as much as we do?
Join us for more free content, reading challenges, & discussion in the Book Girls’ Guide Facebook Group!
Best Books to Read in Spring
Saturday 11th of March 2023
[…] the best spring break books to read while lounging in the sand, be sure to check our list of the best beach reads for even more great springtime reading […]
Books to Read in the Fall of 2022
Friday 10th of March 2023
[…] also agreed that fall is a season of deeper reads after the light beach read season. Thrillers and mysteries for Halloween, back-to-school themes, and books with cozy fall […]
Saturday 17th of September 2022
Read Homewreakers and The Hotel Nantucket this 2022 beach reading season. Both were excellent! Didn’t want to get of the beach.
Thursday 23rd of June 2022
Read this second volume short story; The Ritual. Its was funny and lighter than the first full novel which I love. The Ritual can be read without reading the first novel, it stands on its own. The Ritual: Volume Two of The Eulogist https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Y9J4SVM/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_8WAF58B1222FK9KGPF4W
This is his first book: The Eulogist https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VJLJ5W4/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_M9G3NDCBKGF2NDRDBH7V
Thursday 22nd of July 2021
Great list! I've read several of these. The Guncle has been my favorite this year. I really liked Shipped, Beach Read, People We Meet on Vacation, and One to Watch too. I've got The Siren and Road Trip on my list! I've started Big Summer a couple times, but I haven't gotten into it. I'm reading Dial 'A' for Aunties right now. I finished a fun beach read last week called The Layover.