Summer Books to Read on the Beach in 2024

There’s nothing more relaxing than cracking open a beach read on a warm summer day. Our 2024 summertime book recommendations are full of novels that allow us to escape to a different world for a few hours…often one with sand and waves. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on vacation for a while?

The Best Summer Reads of 2024

Summer Book Club book cover

Book Summary

Best friends Laurel and Paris have a summer book club with three simple rules: (1) no sad books; (2) no pressure; and (3) yes to wine. It’s meant to be an escape from the chaos of their business and family lives. And this summer, they are excited to welcome Cassie to the club.

These three women don’t have the best luck with men. Laurel is recently divorced and fears that her skepticism of men will rub off on her daughters. Cassie is only drawn to men who need “fixing.” Paris is reeling from her last relationship.

Can the heroines of their heartwarming book club pick inspire these friends to take big chances in writing their new chapters—in life and love?

Swan Song book cover

Book Summary

Ed Kapenash has been the Chief of Police on Nantucket Island for 35 years. He’s tired of the stress and ready to retire, but with only 3 days left until his freedom, he receives a shocking call. A twenty-two million dollar summer home has burned to the ground. The home’s new owners, the Richardsons, are safe, as they were having a lavish party on their yacht at the time of the fire.

However, their personal assistant, Coco, has vanished. Due to the high profile of the case and Coco’s being best friends with his own daughter, Chief Ed stays on to handle one final case. To solve the mystery, he’ll have to string together the lives of several characters, including local real estate agent Fast Eddie and the town gossip Blond Sharon.

The Book Girls Say…

Swan Song reads well as a stand-alone but is officially part of The Nantucket series. Elin filled the book with Easter Eggs for her long-time fans and you may recognize many characters, including Chief Ed, from other titles.

Elin Hilderbrand has long been called the “queen of the beach read” and has announced that this is her final beach read as she is retiring to pursue other interests. However, she is co-authoring a book with her daughter, which will be set at a boarding school. We can’t wait to learn more about that project!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Elin Hilderbrand Books: The Ultimate Author Guide

Guncle Abroad book cover

Book Summary

In the Guncle, Patrick’s career was struggling, but after taking care of his nephew Grant and niece Maisie, he was inspired. Now he’s the star of a sitcom, Guncle Knows Best. But as he approaches 50, he’s lonely.

When his brother Greg announces that he’s getting remarried in Lake Como, Italy, Patrick looks forward to spending some time with Grant and Maisie. When he arrives, he quickly butts heads with the kid’s newfound Launt (Lesbian Aunt). As the kids try to adjust to a new normal, Patrick tries to regain his role as their favorite relative.

The Book Girls Say…

While we each have a stack of new releases by our favorite authors that we can’t wait to read this summer, we both consider The Guncle Abroad our most anticipated read. The Guncle was our favorite book of 2021, and we’ve been waiting to read more about Patrick, Grant, and Maisie ever since.

Darling Girls book cover

Book Summary

As young girls, Jessica, Norah, and Alicia were rescued from terrible homes and constantly told how lucky they were to have been rescued by Miss Fairchild. They lived on her idyllic farming estate and, from the outside, had a happy family life.

But the truth was much different. Miss Fairchild was unpredictable and was never to be crossed. In desperation, the trio of girls managed to escape and believed they were free, though their foster mother always lingered in the back of their minds.

When a body is discovered under the old farmhouse, the foster sisters become key witnesses…or are they the suspects?

The Book Girls Say…

We can always count on Sally Hepworth to pull us into a page-turning and twisty world far from our own!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in Australia and New Zealand

Husbands & Lovers book cover

Book Summary

Single mom Mallory receives a devasting call that her son ingested a poisonous mushroom at summer camp. He’s alive but needs a kidney transplant. When she finds out that neither she nor her sister are a match, the hunt is on to find a donor. Her mom was adopted from an infamous Irish orphanage in 1952, so Mallory does an Ancestry.com-style DNA test, hoping to find more blood relatives.

In 1951, Hungarian refugee Hannah made a new life for herself after the war. Her husband is a British diplomat, and they’re currently stationed in glamorous Cairo. However, everything is at risk when an unexpected encounter with the manager of a spy-filled hotel leads to a passionate affair. As Cairo’s streets buzz with possible revolution, Hannah is snared in a game of intrigue between two men.

The Book Girls Say…

While this book is not part of a series, Mallory’s storyline is set on fictional Winthrop Island, which you may recognize from Williams’ other books, including The Summer Wives and The Beach at Summerly.

Happier Life book cover

Book Summary

Keaton needs a fresh start, so she jumps at the chance to travel to Beaufort, North Carolina to put her mom’s childhood home on the market. Keaton’s never seen the home, as her grandparents died in 1976, in a tragic car accident. When she arrives in Beaufort, she soon has more questions than answers, even with help from her charming next-door neighbor, his precocious ten-year-old son, and a flock of endearingly feisty town busybodies.

In a second timeline told through journal entries, we see the life of Keaton’s grandmother, Becks. For forty years, she’s been the best hostess in North Carolina, with locals and out-of-towners clamoring for invitations to her stunning historic home. But in 1976, she faced a major dilemma and was forced to make a decision she didn’t want to make.

Every Time I Go on Vacation Someone Dies book cover

Book Summary

Like the author of this book, Eleanor is a writer with a popular Vacation Mysteries series. She’s headed on a 6 city book tour across Italy, but instead of looking forward to the adventure, she’s excited to get back home and kill off the main character, Connor, in her next book.

Connor is based on a real person, the handsome but infuriating con man she got mixed up with ten years ago. Life begins to imitate art when someone tries to kill him. Now, he needs Eleanor’s help to solve the case.

Eleanor quickly discovers that it’s hard to be a good writer turned detective when you’re also dealing with literary rivals, rabid fans, a stalker, and an ex-boyfriend.

The Book Girls Say…

This is the first book in a funny cozy mystery series, but the film rights have already been sold to Fox TV for a series, also to be written by Catherine Mack.

Novel Love Story book cover

Book Summary

Literature professor Elsy loves to lose herself in a fictional good happily ever after. She feels safest in the world of romance novels because fictional men never leave you at the altar.

When her car breaks down on her way to her annual book club, she finds herself stranded in a quaint small town straight out of a book. Literally. Somehow she seems to have ended up in Eloraton, the fictional town from her favorite romance series. Everything is perfect – from the candy store to the local bar and the afternoon rain – but also perfectly frozen.

The author passed away before finishing his last story and Elsy is beginning to think it’s up to her to write the final happy ending. The only problem is the town’s grumpy bookstore owner. He’s the one character that Elsy doesn’t recognize from the series, and it seems that he doesn’t want Elsy to finish the book.

The Book Girls Say…

Author Ashley Poston is a master of the magical romance genre. We loved The Dead Romantics and The Seven Year Slip, and this new novel is at the top of our TBR.

Just for the Summer Book Cover

Book Summary

Every woman Justin goes on a date with seems to find their soulmate right after breaking up with him. It’s his curse, and now, thanks to a Reddit thread, EVERYONE knows.

However, his viral embarrassment may have a silver lining. Emma has the same problem and has sent him a message. The solution is obvious. They’ll date each other, break up, and then destiny will bring them each their own soulmates.

Traveling nurse Emma finds a job in Minnesota and rents a cute cottage on Lake Minnetonka for her summer fling with Justin. But when Emma’s toxic mother shows up, and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they’re suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected. Will these challenges quickly rip them apart, or does fate have other plans?

The Book Girls Say…

We love Abby Jimenez’s books because she’s so good at writing romance that features realistically flawed characters facing real-life challenges. Her books never fail to make us laugh out loud, but this is much more than just a breezy beach read. It also deals with many complex, heavy topics.

While this new book is not in the Part of Your World series, readers of that series will enjoy the cameos from some of their favorite characters from the “Part of Your World” universe.

Summers at the Saint book cover

Book Summary

Once upon a time on a particular stretch of the Georgia coast, there were the Saints and the Ain’ts. These terms delineated those who grew up spending their summers at the landmark St. Cecelia hotel and those who grew up on the “wrong” side of the river.

Traci was an Ain’t because her family wasn’t wealthy enough to summer at the hotel. But one fatefully summer she got a job at the hotel and ended up marrying the boss’s son. Years later, she is now the widowed owner of the historic hotel. Despite financial woes, staffing challenges, and a greedy brother-in-law who wants to see her fail, Traci is determined to return the Saint to its glory days.

With just one summer to turn things around, Traci hires a motley crew that includes her former best friend’s daughter. But will new information about a long-ago drowning at the hotel threaten everything? It will take everything she has to put past wrongs right in order to save the Saint.

The Book Girls Say…

We look forward to a new Mary Kay Andrews title every summer, and this one is no exception!

Join the Summer Reading Challenge

Our free self-paced reading challenge will keep you reading engaging books all summer long. To make it easy and fun, we include highly-rated book recommendations for each of the six summer reading prompts.

Summer Romance book cover

Book Summary

For Ali, life in her 30s isn’t going the way she’d expected. Her mom died, then her husband left. She’s a professional organizer whose pantry is a disgrace, and she can’t remember the last time she wore real pants.

When Ali finally takes off her wedding ring, fate is on her side. On a trip to the dog park, her dog pees on a man. But rather than getting upset, the man looks at Ali and seems to like what he sees. The last thing Ali needs is to make her life any messier, but a summer romance could be just what she needs – fun, brief, and no one gets their heart broken. What could go wrong?

The Book Girls Say…

We’re excited about this new release from the author of Nora Goes Off Script and Same Time Next Summer!

Sylvia's Second Act book cover

Book Summary

Sixty-three-year-old Slyvia hated her Boca retirement community before she discovered that her husband was cheating on her. Now, she has the perfect excuse to move back north to the city of her dreams, NYC, and pursue her best life. Her glamourous, widowed, best friend Evie is joining her for the new start.

In addition to losing his integrity, Slyvia’s husband lost her life savings, so moving to Manhattan isn’t going to be easy. But Slyvia and Evie are determined and have no problem pawning jewelry and moving into tiny apartments. To create an income, Slyvia restarts an old wedding plan business, partnering with a former rival. Maybe Slyvia’s second act can be successful in business (and in her sex life)!

The Book Girls Say…

If you’d rather vacation in Manhattan than Palm Beach, this is the book for you!

We love that Slyvia appreciates the wisdom and perspective that have come with age. She’s ready to embrace a new world and fresh start using everything she has learned over time. What an inspiring message tucked into this humorous book that one reviewer described as “Sex and the City with Seniors.”

Paradise Problem book cover

Book Summary

Anna and Liam “West” Weston didn’t have much in common in college. He was a buttoned-up heir to a grocery chain and she was a free-spirited artist. Their college marriage was a sham to get her access to subsidized family housing at UCLA. She thought their divorce was finalized at graduation.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist while West is a Stanford professor. He has little interest in joining the family business, which he views as a heartless corporation, but he is interested in receiving his inheritance.

When it turns out that a clause in his grandfather’s will requires him to be happily married for five years before receiving one hundred million dollars, West thinks his marriage to Anna puts him in the home stretch. But now his family is pressuring him to meet his mysterious spouse. First, he worries about how his family will react to paint-splatter, foul-mouthed Anna. Then he begins to worry that introducing her into his toxic world of wealth will corrupt his pure-hearted fake wife.

The Book Girls Say…

If you love the fake relationship trope, be sure to check out our list of the best fake dating rom coms.

Rom-commers book cover.

Book Summary

Emma has spent her life as an aspiring (and talented) screenwriter, but a past family tragedy keeps her in Texas as a full-time caregiver. However, when the opportunity of a lifetime is presented, it may finally be her chance to pursue the career of her dreams.

Emma’s screenwriting idol, Charlie Yates, has written his first romance script – and it’s terrible. His agent wants to bring in Emma to help with the rewrite, but there are problems. Charlie is cranky, he doesn’t work with co-writers, and he doesn’t believe in love.

Can Emma convince him that romance and love exist? And, can her younger sister handle caring for their dad while she is away?

The Book Girls Say…

Like Emily Henry, Katherine Center’s books bring a page-turning mix of humor, emotion, and serious chemistry between the characters. You’ll love and hate almost every character at different points because she writes in a way that makes you care about each one. Like the rest of us, they’re flawed humans who don’t always say the right thing.

While this is a rom-com by every definition, be warned that there are also enough meaty topics to make it a stellar book club pick. The final chapters are especially lovely, with a perspective on grief that is likely to trigger some reflection.

Jenny James Is Not a Disaster book cover

Book Summary

Sometimes in life, the worst of times can lead to something good. But this was pretty hard to even imagine for Jenny, whose week had turned into something that no one should have to bear all at once.

She’s a single mom who has just lost her job. Her car won’t start, her son is a teenager with a teenage attitude, and it won’t stop raining, which makes her cottage literally fall off a cliff. And it’s not just her house that’s now gone—it’s all her possessions, including her son’s baby photos.

With nothing left, Jenny leaps into a new start as dramatic as her devastating week. She and her 18-year-old son, Charlie, join their nomadic neighbor, Luke, and his dachshund, Betty, in his campervan on a road trip around England. As Jenny moves forward on this unexpected adventure, she’s reminded of long-forgotten dreams, and her mind is free to begin dreaming about her future for the first time in a long time.

Seven Summer Weekends book cover

Book Summary

After a disastrous Zoom derails Addison’s successful ad agency career path, an unexpected inheritance from her aunt provides the perfect excuse to escape Manhattan for a while.

The Fire Island property comes with a guest house, an artist studio, and – to Addison’s surprise – a list of eclectic guests spanning seven summer weekends. Before Addison can decide whether to sell the property, she’ll first have to host her aunt’s friends. The neighbors are hoping that as she becomes intertwined in the laid-back beach community, she’ll be convinced to keep the house rather than sell it to new buyers who want to tear it down and build a monstrosity in its place.

Addison is determined to get her career in the city back on track, but between the revolving door of weekend visitors and the guy next door (with the adorable dog), she’s finding it harder to imagine leaving Fire Island.

Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books book cover

Book Summary

Beverly is on the local schoolboard and her archrival Lula has turned into a local celebrity as she’s been on a mission to rid the public libraries of all inappropriate books—none of which she’s actually read.

To counteract the “pornographic” books housed in the local library, Lula starts a little library in her front yard, full of “worthy literature”.

At night, Beverly’s adult daughter Lindsay sneaks over to Lula’s little library and replaces the books, but swaps the dust covers. Suddenly, Our Confederate Heroes actually contains Beloved and The Southern Belle’s Guide to Etiquette turns into The Girl’s Guide to the Revolution.

As Beverly and Lula’s rivalry intensifies when they run against each other to replace the major, the townspeople who have been changed by borrowing the books from Lula’s begin to reveal themselves. Everyone from the postman to the prom queen have something to say, eventually forcing Lindsay to confess.

The Book Girls Say…

This work of satire digs into what so many communities across the US have faced when people blindly fight for books to be removed from libraries without even reading them. While it addresses serious issues like racism, misogyny, antisemitism, and the frightening rise of neo-nazism, the humor incorporated keeps it in beach-read territory. One reviewer called it “a love letter to the power of banned books”.

This Summer Will Be Different book cover

Book Summary

The first time they met, Lucy was a tourist vacationing at a Prince Edward Island beach house and Felix was the local who showed her a good time. But when Lucy found out that Felix was also her best friend’s younger brother, she vowed that it could never happen again.

Unfortunately, their chemistry was electric, and staying away from one another was easier said than done. Each summer, Lucy escapes to PEI for the fresh air, the oysters, and the company of her best friend, Bridget. And each summer, she promises that she won’t wind up in Felix’s bed. Again.

This year, however, Bridget is in crisis when she flees Toronto a week before her wedding. Lucy drops everything to follow her to PEI. It’s more important than ever that Lucy resist her connection to Felix.

Burnout book cover

Book Summary

Sasha is burned out with life. At work, she’s tired of “urgent” emails that don’t matter and other corporate ridiculousness. She hasn’t seen her friends in months and even cooking dinner feels like too much effort.

Desperate to feel better, she books a solo trip to the seaside resort that made her so happy as a child. Sadly, it’s as depressed as she is. The building is in shambles and the workers are all quirky. It’s the offseason, so there’s only one other guest on the beach, Finn. He’s in the same burned-out state as Sasha.

As they both continue to struggle, messages begin appearing on the beach, seemingly addressed to Sasha and Finn. Can these mysterious notes help the unlikely duo find themselves again?

The Book Girls Say…

Going back to the year 2000 and her hilarious book Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella has made us laugh out loud with her imperfect characters and silly situations that are pure entertainment.

She recently revealed that she has been undergoing treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer. In our effort to support her and thank her for every smile she’s brought to our faces over the years, we’ve ordered The Burnout for our own summer reading stacks.

Kiss Countdown book cover

Book Summary

Amerie is a newly single, out-of-work event planner who’s about to lose her apartment. Vincent is an astronaut with an upcoming mission and a loving but overly involved family.

After a chance meeting involving spilled coffee, the two strike a mutually beneficial deal. For the next three months, they’ll pretend to be dating to appease his family and Amerie will get to live rent-free while she invests in her struggling start-up.

This simple, short-term plan suddenly becomes more complicated when Amerie is drawn in by Vincent’s gravitational pull. A potential life with an astronaut feels too risky and unpredictable, but finding happiness might require her to shoot for the stars.

The Book Girls Say…

If you need a summer escape so much that you’d love to leave the planet instead of just your city, this is a fun rom-com.

Bridesmaid for Hire book cover

Book Summary

Maggie is enjoying a well-deserved vacation from her wedding planning business. She’s determined to relax and not think about work. But that’s before she hears that the wedding of the century is happening right there in Bora Bora. If only she had an in, this could help her take her business to the next level.

Unfortunately, that ‘in” comes in the form of the absolute last person she wants to bump into on vacation. Brody is her brother’s best friend and her sworn enemy. It turns out his boss’s daughter is the one getting married and he’s in Bora Bora for the wedding in hopes that it will earn him brownie points toward a big promotion.

Maggie and Brody decide to put their hate for each other aside and pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend for the sake of the wedding. What could go wrong?

The Book Girls Say…

While some readers compare this book to the ever-popular Unhoneymooners, others find the characters immature and frustrating. Many reviewers say that the audiobook, with dual narration by Jason Clarke and Erin Mallon, adds to the hilarity of Maggie and Brody’s unlikely situations.

Tourist Season book cover

Book Summary

After her exhausting years of law school, Ismay was looking forward to a relaxing summer at her fiancé’s family beach house on Mariners Island, near Cape Cod. She’s the first to arrive, and before Remy can join her after the conclusion of his med school exams, a hurricane bears down on the island. While she’s alone, she makes a disturbing discovery in Remy’s childhood closet.

Ismay is relieved when Bo, the property caretaker, stops by to check in on her. His home was damaged by the storm, so he takes shelter with Ismay until the arrival of one of Remy’s family members forces Bo back to his own place.

Ismay continues to find herself drawn to Bo and to the sense of security that he provides. She wonders if she might prefer a different future than the one laid out before her. But when she finds out that Bo has secrets of his own, she questions if she can trust any of the men in her life or even her own heart.

The Book Girls Say…

This novel is told through the alternating point of view of both Ismay and Bo, giving readers two perspectives as the story unfolds.

The Other Side of Disappearing book cover

Book Summary

A decade ago, hairstylist Jess Greene’s mother ran off with a man she barely knew. Since that time, Jess has been raising her younger half-sister, Tegan. Now 31 years old, Jess has also been keeping a secret all these years. She always known that her mother’s boyfriend is an accomplished con man that has since been featured as the subject of a popular podcast. But what Jess didn’t expect was for Tegan to figure that out for herself.

Now that Tegan knows, she plans to leave the safety of the home her sister has provided for her in search of their mother. She doesn’t plan to search alone, though. She’ll be accompanied by the prying podcaster and the podcaster’s handsome producer, Adam. Jess doesn’t want Tegan to go, but since she can’t stop her, she reluctantly agrees to go along.

As the four make their way across the country they work to unravel the mystery of where the couple went, and why. For the first time in a long time, Jess is discovering what it’s like to step outside the walls she built up around her. She’s surprised to feel a connection with Adam – something she didn’t even realize she was missing in her life.

The Book Girls Say…

Kate Clayborn is the author of the popular Georgie, All Along, although readers say this book is a heavier and shows Clayborn’s versatility as an author. While this book is categorized as mystery and romance, it also offers themes of the grief and healing, bonds of sisterhood, complex family dynamics, and self-discovery. It’s perfect for fans of true crime podcasts.

Last Murder at the End of the World book cover

Book Summary

While most of the world was destroyed by a deadly fog, one island shelters 122 villages and three scientists in an idyllic setting. But when one of the scientists is murdered, it triggers a lowering of the security system that has been keeping them safe. The remaining inhabitants of the island have to solve the murder within 107 hours to restore the security system and stop the encroaching fog.

Unfortunately, the security system has also wiped out everyone’s memory of the night before. It’s possible that the murderer doesn’t even know that they are to blame.

The Book Girls Say…

If you love both locked-room thrillers and dystopian science fiction, this new release from the author of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle should be added to your TBR ASAP!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Mysterious Thriller Books Set on Islands

A Note About Diversity in Beach Reads

We strive to include diverse authors and characters on each of our book lists. However, while the publishing industry has improved in recent years, there are still noticeable gaps within some sub-genres, including summery books. We see people of all backgrounds on our summer vacations and would love them to be better represented in our beach reads. Feel free to leave book suggestions in the comments below the post of any books we missed during our research.

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.

Have you read any great books for summer this year? Share them in the comments below!

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Comments on: Summer Books to Read on the Beach in 2024

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12 Comments

  1. I believe a few Bookstagram folks are going to publish some Black and/or POC centered beach reads soon! But off the top of my head: You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, Nearly All the Men in Lagos Are Mad, Summer on the Bluffs, Drunk on Love and Olga Dies Dreaming

    1. Melissa George says:

      Thank you so much!

  2. I haven’t read them yet but Sunny Hostin’s books are on my TBR list for more diverse beach reads.

  3. The wrong author is listed for Famous in a Small Town above, it lists Wade Rouse but the link takes us to Famous in a Small Town by Viola Shipman.

    1. Melissa George says:

      Despite the very different sounding names, it’s the same person! Wade uses his grandmother’s name (Viola Shipman) as his pen name. But, that’s definitely confusing – we normally match it to the name on the book cover and much have been on autopilot thinking about him. We’ll update it!

  4. Have you read Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting? It would be a great add to this list.

    1. Melissa George says:

      Oh thanks for the recommendation! Melissa has it on her shelf and we have it on another book list but didn’t realize it had a beach read feel too.

  5. Read Homewreakers and The Hotel Nantucket this 2022 beach reading season. Both were excellent! Didn’t want to get of the beach.

  6. Beth Gentry says:

    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.

  7. Sarah Vogel says:

    I am halfway through “Big Summer” and it just took a major twist that I did NOT see coming! It’s really good. It is actually sitting right next to me, awaiting my return! 🙂 I love all of Jennifer Weiner’s books. I have actually read a lot of your prior recommendation from the Book Club and have never been disappointed! I also have read “Evvie Drake Starts Over” and enjoyed it. Before I pick up “Big Summer” and find out what happens, I’m going to request quite a few of these recommendations for summer reading from my local library. I don’t have the space to accumulate purchased books now, so this is a great alternative. Thank you again for proofreading for us so we all know what’s worthwhile and fun!!!

    1. Melissa George says:

      Oh good! I heard from another friend last night that they just finished Big Summer and loved it too. Now I’m extra excited to read and find the twist! My pile to read is outrageous at the moment, but Big Summer is towards the very top. – Melissa