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51 Best Beach Reads for a Relaxing Summer 2024

Updated: May 21, 2024

Summer is practically built on great beach reads. So sit back, grab your sunglasses and relax with a good book.

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Beach reads that deliver the perfect summertime escape

When it comes to picking the best beach reads, I want books that sweep me off my feet and help me detach from reality a little. I’m talking about sweeping romances, laugh-out-loud comedies and the sort of heart-racing thrillers that make me stay up late into the night. That’s why I’ve scoured the shelves to bring you titles that are the perfect summertime distractions—trust me, you won’t be able to put these books down. Best of all, you don’t need to wait until your next official vacation to read escapist stories. These beach reads are perfect anytime you want to lose yourself in a book.

This curated list of beach reads includes my personal favorites, selections from Reader’s Digest book editors (look for the “Reader’s Digest Editor’s Pick” seal), fan favorites that raked in rave reviews, anticipated novels that have tons of buzz and some of the best books from readers’ favorite authors.

Join the free Reader’s Digest Book Club for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.

Genre: Romance

Release date: May 18, 2020

For fans of: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Can I kick off a list of the best beach reads with anything other than this novel by the queen of summertime rom-coms Emily Henry? While not the spiciest book on the list, Beach Read practically vibrates with sexual tension and a few much-anticipated steamy scenes. (Older teens might love this novel, but I wouldn’t call it appropriate for your 13-year-old.) The plot goes like this: Romance author January isn’t sure she believes in love anymore. Literary fiction superstar Gus is deep in the muck of writer’s block. When the two end up at neighboring beach houses for the summer, they agree to help each other escape the rut. Their witty banter and angsty pasts give way to pure, heartwarming romance as the summer unfolds.

Genre: Thriller

Release date: Aug. 6, 2024

For fans of: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I prefer reading scary books in well-lit public spaces. That makes Emma Bamford’s 2024 thriller one of the best books to read by the beach this summer. A Gothic-esque setting in the Scottish Highlands? Check. Mysteriously unreliable characters? Check. A compelling premise that totally sucked me in? Check and check. Eye of the Beholder opens when writer Maddy Wright travels to the estate of a world-famous cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Angela Reynolds, to ghostwrite the surgeon’s memoir. But instead of spending time with Angela, Maddy is stuck inside the remote glass-walled house with Angela’s moody business partner, Scott. As Scott and Maddy strike up a hot-and-cold relationship, Maddy wrestles with the suspicion that they’re being watched. Why did Angela send Scott to join Maddy? And how can Maddy ghostwrite a memoir without getting to know her subject? I fell head over heels for this chilling novel inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Vertigo.

Looking for your next great book? Read four of today’s most compelling novels in the time it takes to read one with Fiction Favorites. And be sure to join the community!

Genre: Romance

Release date: June 6, 2023

For fans of: Happy Place by Emily Henry

When I got my hands on a copy of Annabel Monaghan’s ultimate beach read earlier this year, I knew she’d created something special. Same Time Next Summer perfectly bottles the aching pain and passion of teenage love and asks readers to imagine what would happen if you got a second chance at your first love. What if, as an adult, you got to try it all with that special someone again? Samantha Holloway is engaged to a guy who’s perfect for her. But when she goes on vacation and runs into her first boyfriend, she can’t deny how her heart speeds up and her stomach flips. Is it just a strange resurgence of teenage hormones, or should she question everything?

Once you’ve closed the book on this novel, check out the author’s latest summery romance, aptly titled Summer Romance. It comes out on June 4, 2024 and combines a must-read mix of first-love swoons and an exploration of grief, plus a look at what it’s like to date as a single parent.

Genre: Nonfiction

Release date: Feb. 27, 2024

For fans of: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Any list of great beach reads is bound to be full of lighthearted summer romances and edge-of-your-seat thrillers. The whole point of reading a book on the beach is to be entertained while you relax—and sometimes that means not having to think too hard while you’re lulled by the sun or chilled out with a drink from the pool bar. This nonfiction book recommendation is for anyone who could use a break from fiction. Kara Swisher’s Burn Book pulls back the curtain on Silicon Valley’s most powerful. The privilege, psychology and politics. The almost mythical parties of the rich and infamous. And, of course, the way their tech innovations have changed—and are still changing—the world forever.

Genre: Romance

Release date: July 2, 2024

For fans of: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

It’s hard for a romantic comedy to stand out from the crowd these days. But in The Love of My Afterlife, Kirsty Greenwood has delivered one of the sweetest—but not cloying!—love stories I’ve read in quite some time. Meet Delphie. As if being socially awkward isn’t enough, she is now embarrassingly dead after choking on a burger while alone at home. In the Afterlife’s waiting room, she has a brief encounter with the most dazzling, sexy man she’s ever met. Their connection is electric and seemingly eternal until the man is abruptly returned to Earth. But then she’s given the ultimate opportunity: Spend 10 days back on Earth, find her soulmate and get him to kiss her. If she can do it, she’ll get another chance at life. This romance novel endeared me with beautifully imagined story lines of found family, second chances, coming-of-age and even a delightful love triangle.

Genres: Women’s fiction/Southern fiction

Release date: June 25, 2024

For fans of: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Kristy Woodson Harvey’s latest summer read, A Happier Life, features two timelines in the same house on Sunset Lane in Beaufort, North Carolina. In the present day, Keaton Smith has traveled to Beaufort to sell her mother’s childhood home. But the longer she spends in town, the more hesitant she is to leave the house—and the handsome next-door neighbor—behind. In 1976, Rebecca “Becks” Saint James struggles to maintain her facade of perfect housewife and neighbor while facing a major life decision. The book’s warm relationships and breezy setting infused with themes of love and friendship make it a fun, heartwarming summer read.

Genre: Coming-of-age

Release date: May 23, 2023

For fans of: The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela

Summer reading doesn’t have to be light and fluffy. Pick up a copy of Booker Prize finalist Brandon Taylor’s latest if you want something to sink your teeth into by the pool. The Late Americans is an LGBTQ+ read about a group of friends fighting to survive and stick together in the brutal waters of modern America. Rife with themes of sex, abuse and chosen family, this one will stick with you for a while.

Genre: Romance

Release date: April 25, 2023

For fans of: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Not all great beach reads are effervescent from beginning to end. If you love an emotional story à la Colleen Hoover or Jojo Moyes, you need to snag a copy of Only Love Can Hurt Like This, a 2023 Reader’s Digest Book Club pick. After a heart-shattering breakup with her cheating fiance, Wren flees the U.K. for the summer. She ends up smack dab in the middle of Middle America, where the corn grows higher by the week as she slowly opens her heart to the widowed farmer next door. It looks like a breezy summer fling until you realize her love interest is harboring a devastating secret.

“I picked up this book for the romance and was sucked in by the mystery, but what really stood out to me were the well-crafted family relationships,” says Tracey Neithercott, Reader’s Digest book editor and host of the Reader’s Digest Book Club. “As she’s falling in love, Wren is also mending strained relationships with her father, stepmother and half sister. The nuanced relationships and tough moral questions really elevate the story.”

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release date: July 30, 2024

For fans of: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

If you like your beach reads with a helping of heartache, you’re going to want to pick up Amy Neff’s The Days I Loved You Most (and a box of tissues). Centered on the sweeping romance between a couple now in their 70s, this tearjerker asks tough questions, like “What would you do if the love of your life received a terrible diagnosis? Could you go on without the most important person in your life?” Spanning decades and brimming with love, this book will move you and change you. Fair warning: The plot centers on the couple’s plans to end their lives together. Neff handles the topic with care, making for a bittersweet yet memorable read.

Genre: Domestic fiction

Release date: Aug. 1, 2023

For fans of: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

It’s been more than 20 years since Ann Patchett gave us Bel Canto, cementing her as one of America’s favorite authors. She’s published several books since then, of course, and like the others, Tom Lake flew off shelves. Here’s why: It’s set in the spring of 2020 (enough said). It takes place at a cherry farm in northern Michigan, a blissful summertime setting like no other. And of course, it’s a beautiful story. The Nelson girls have come home for the summer, and ready or not, they’re about to hear about another heartachingly beautiful summer … back when their mother dated a movie star before he got famous.

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: May 30, 2023

For fans of: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Whether you’re a fan of the ’80s movie The Big Chill (which no doubt inspired The Celebrants) or simply love books that warm your heart while making you laugh and cry, you’re destined to adore Steven Rowley’s latest book about friendship. There’s a good reason The Celebrants is on our list of unbeatable beach reads, and it’s not just because this New York Times bestseller was one of the most recommended books of 2023. Our books editor says it’s one of the best books she read last summer. “Rowley has created such living, breathing characters that the heartbreaking truth—this is a book about a character’s impending death—is truly devastating,” says Neithercott. “I kept Kleenex in business while reading this book, but I also laughed a whole lot. It’s the sort of heartwarming story that makes me want to ring up my pals for a much-needed visit.”

Genre: Romance

Release date: May 7, 2024

For fans of: Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan (and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, of course!)

It’s no secret that Carley Fortune writes great sexy summer reads. And her latest novel, This Summer Will Be Different, is no exception. I adored the forbidden love trope, Anne of Green Gables references and coastal setting in this spicy romance. But fair warning: The book will make you want to travel to Prince Edward Island, stat.

Lucy and Felix have been here before—locked in each other’s arms and whispering the sweet nothing that would’ve made Anne Shirley’s face blush to match her hair. But this summer, they’re determined to set some ground rules. They’re sticking to the friend zone for the sake of someone they both love: Lucy’s best friend, who also happens to be Felix’s big sister. They can resist temptation … can’t they?

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: May 9, 2023

For fans of: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Though main character Clover Brooks is a death doula—someone who grants last wishes—The Collected Regrets of Clover is a life-affirming, feel-good story. “I went into this book expecting something sad,” says Neithercott. “And it is a story about death. But it’s also a wonderfully hopeful story about living your life.”

Readers rave about the joy of watching Clover face her fears and let herself wish for something bigger. Give this one a read if you’re looking for a delightfully heartwarming book that gives you a reason to keep hoping for the best.

Genre: Romance

Release date: May 16, 2023

For fans of: Books Lovers by Emily Henry

What makes Jenn McKinlay’s Summer Reading one of the best picks for beach season? Let us count the ways: There’s the sunny setting of Martha’s Vineyard. A comedic meet-cute on the ferry to the island. Vacation vibes throughout, topped with a hot summer fling between a librarian and a chef. And did we mention that wholesome sibling bond that will warm hearts? But this novel also goes beyond ticking all the “summer reading” boxes. The book includes themes of familial love and grief, plus sensitive neurodivergent representation. When it comes to adding new books to your beach bag, you won’t want to overlook this rom-com.

Genre: Satire

Release date: May 16, 2023

For fans of: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Bestselling fantasy book series author R.F. Kuang is back, this time with a diabolical satire full of in-your-face cultural appropriation and racial tension. Meet bestselling Asian American author Juniper Song. Or don’t, because her name isn’t really Juniper. And she isn’t actually Asian. Oh, the tangled webs she’s weaved to cover her tracks after stealing a former classmate’s manuscript. The question is not if, but when or how, she will be caught red-handed.

Genre: Science fiction

Release date: April 4, 2023

For fans of: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Heads up: Camp Zero is no summer camp adventure. Set in snowy northern Canada in the not-so-distant future, it’s a dystopian thriller perfect for fans of postapocalyptic page-turners like Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. But sci-fi stories can also make excellent beach books, especially if they’re as intensely transportive as this one. The journey begins when Rose arrives at Camp Zero, an off-the-grid community for climate change refugees and researchers. But of course, the camp’s illustrious architect has an agenda of his own. What is his ultimate plan, and who can Rose trust in this strange new place? Michelle Min Sterling’s novel brilliantly explores how gender, class, home and power intersect on a rapidly warming planet.

Genre: Romance

Release date: June 13, 2023

For fans of: The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman and Summer Friends by Holly Chamberlin

Fans of nostalgic small-town charm and quirky characters will love Viola Shipman’s latest book for summer, Famous in a Small Town. There’s Mary Jackson, an 80-something woman who has built her life around the Very Cherry General Store in Good Hart, Michigan. She knows she needs to give up the business soon, but she’ll be darned if it has to be put into the hands of a—shudder!—man. Then there’s 40-year-old Becky Thatcher. Down on her luck and searching for meaning, she shows up to help at the general store for the summer. That is when Mary wonders if the stars might align after all.

Genre: Historical thriller

Release date: April 11, 2023

For fans of: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This summer, escape to 1934 and climb aboard the Morro Castle, a luxury cruise ship carrying New York’s rich (and wannabe rich) to Havana. In The Cuban Heiress, the lives of an heiress and a jewel thief intertwine as they realize someone wants one of them dead. As the ship goes out to sea, the noose seems to tighten. Who can you trust, and will justice be served at the end of this thrilling historical fiction novel?

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: May 30, 2023

For fans of: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

With its whimsical, escapist plot—a sort of bookish, adult take on The Westing Game and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—Meg Shaffer’s The Wishing Game is bound to be one of your favorite beach reads this year. A mysterious, ultrarich children’s book author welcomes four strangers to his island for a chance at a life-changing competition. But of course, the game isn’t easy. Puzzles and plot twists await the quartet of acquaintances, who are in for revelations and lessons more personal than they ever anticipated.

“The Wishing Game may not contain any magic—this is a whimsical tale, but it’s grounded in reality—yet there’s a sense of magic about the book,” says Neithercott. “It has everything I love wrapped up in one nostalgic, heartwarming tale: clever riddles, found family, a little romance and a lot of books.”

Genre: Thriller

Release date: May 21, 2024

For fans of: One by One by Ruth Ware and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Blockbuster thriller writer Ruth Ware is back at it with her riff on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Ware drops five couples onto a tropical island as part of a new reality TV show, One Perfect Couple. But not long after filming kicks off, things start to spiral. Tensions are high after a confusing first challenge, then a massive tropical storm knocks out power and leaves the contestants isolated and locked into a life-or-death battle with the elements—and one another. I appreciated that this fast-paced read didn’t try to thwart me, the reader, with wild twists or smoke and mirrors. It’s just a good old-fashioned thriller that’ll keep you entertained while wondering who will die next.

Genre: Psychological thriller

Release date: Jan. 3, 2023

For fans of: The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins and All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Rachel Hawkins’s riveting summer read takes place in an Italian villa with a gruesome past. Emily and Chess were childhood best friends. Now writers in their 30s, they decide to reconnect by joining up for a girls’ trip in Orvieto, a dramatic walled city clinging to the Umbrian cliffside. Emily is fascinated and inspired by the history of murder in the villa. Perhaps it could be the seed for her next novel? But now Chess is also interested, and the more Emily learns, the tenser their reunion gets. Don’t forget the sunscreen, because this scintillating mystery novel will absorb your attention for hours.

Genre: Psychological fiction

Release date: June 13, 2023

For fans of: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This debut novel from Keziah Weir, senior editor at Vanity Fair, found its way onto countless lists of the top summer reads the year it came out. Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Mythmakers is “a nesting doll of a book,” according to the publisher—an apt description for books with multiple timelines and stories for the reader to untangle as the plot unfolds. This one focuses on floundering journalist Sal Cannon, who discovers a short story that seems to be about her. Intrigued, Sal sets off to uncover the story behind the story from the author’s widow. As they trace the tangled threads of history, the lines between muse and creator blur even more.

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: April 18, 2023

For fans of: The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley

A road-trip romp in the Florida Keys? Sounds like summer reading fare. Lee Smith’s Silver Alert isn’t a romance that will make you weak in the knees. It isn’t a fast-paced thriller that will make you wonder if that bead of sweat on your brow is from sunlight or adrenaline. Instead, it’s a sweet, charming friendship story about an octogenarian’s last hurrah with anyone who’s willing to tag along—even if that is his dying wife’s manicurist. If you loved Colleen Oakley’s The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise (a Reader’s Digest Book Club pick), you’ll enjoy the wild ride that is Silver Alert.

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: May 30, 2023

For fans of: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

If you love music or second chances at life, reach for beach reads that celebrate new beginnings. Michelle Hoffman’s The Second Ending is just the book for you. As a kid, Prudence Childs was a musical prodigy. Now in middle age, she spends her days on soulless advertising jingles. Twentysomething Alexei Petrov is a classical music superstar who has sacrificed his social life for success. When Alexei’s dueling-pianos reality show books Prudence for the competition, it’s a battle of the Comeback Kid versus the Reigning Champ. And it gives each a second chance to realize their dreams and live their lives on their terms.

“I absolutely adored this book. It’s packed with quirky characters you can’t help but love, including our two leads—both of whom deserve to win,” says Neithercott, who named The Second Ending a Reader’s Digest Book Club pick. “And if you’re on the fence about the music element, know this: It never bogs down the narrative. I can’t even play ‘Chopsticks’ on the piano, but I found Hoffman’s descriptions of music easy to follow and fascinating.”

Genre: Mystery

Release date: March 7, 2023

For fans of: The Maid by Nita Prose

Mysteries and crime books make fun beach reads too! That’s certainly the case for Balli Kaur Jaswal’s 2023 novel, Now You See Us. Meet Corazon, Donita and Angel. They’re Filipino domestic workers eking out a living in glitzy Singapore. And when a murder is committed in their network, they decide it’s up to them to get to the bottom of it before an innocent housekeeper or caregiver takes the fall for a crime she didn’t commit. Though Now You See Us explores serious themes of racism and classism, it’s also threaded with heartwarming friendships and good humor.

Genre: Thriller

Release date: Aug. 8, 2023

For fans of: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Some of the best books for summer are gripping psychological thrillers, and this is one that’ll appeal to anyone with a taste for true-crime podcasts. In None of This Is True, podcaster Alix Summer takes a chance when a perfect stranger, who happens to be her birthday twin, offers an intriguing topic for the series. As Alix gets to know her new muse, things get darker and darker. When the woman suddenly disappears, Alix has to wonder: Is she about to become the victim of her own true crime? Pick up the book to find out. Or, better yet, grab the audiobook for a podcast-like experience.

Genre: Romance

Release date: May 3, 2022

For fans of: Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson and The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Even the cover of this Emily Henry romance will have you dreaming of a plane ride or beach day long enough to let you devour the story in one go. Maybe it’s because I’m a professional writer and lifelong bookworm, but this is also my absolute favorite Emily Henry novel. Book Lovers is the story of a whip-smart literary agent and a mysterious book editor who can’t seem to escape each other—even during their summer vacation away from the city. The enemies-turned-lovers trope has never been so enchanting.

Genre: Science fiction

Release date: July 18, 2023

For fans of: Recursion by Blake Crouch

The Deep Sky, Yume Kitasei’s debut science fiction thriller, landed on our summer books list for a few reasons: It’s fast paced. It’s fun. And it was named one of the year’s best sci-fi novels by The Washington Post, Goodreads and Kirkus Reviews. As planet Earth collapses, one spaceship full of 80 people heads to a far-off planet to save humanity. But when an explosion rocks the ship and kills three people on board, Japanese American Asuka, the only witness, must find the culprit before she takes the blame.

Genre: Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

For fans of: Sexy/Dangerous by Beverly Jenkins

If your perfect beach reads are sizzling romance novels mixed with laugh-out-loud foibles and a dash of fast-paced action, The Bodyguard is calling your name. In a storyline that author Jodi Picoult has called “unequivocally delightful,” professional bodyguard Hannah Brooks must pose as superstar Jack Stapleton’s girlfriend on a trip back to his childhood home. This breezy romp is easily one of the best books to read this year at the beach.

Genre: Thriller

Release date: Aug. 1, 2023

For fans of: The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks

If you love twisty psychological thrillers and unreliable narrators, this is bound to become one of your top beach reads. When I picked up Gone Tonight, I thought it would be a heartwarming mother-daughter story. But soon, the plot picked up pace, and I started doubting the characters’ viewpoints and motivations. Sarah Pekkanen has spun a nail-biting tale of lies and love that might have you asking how far you would go to shield a loved one from danger.

Genre: Thriller

Release date: June 21, 2022

For fans of: Keep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen

Psychological thrillers can make great beach reads. In The Lies I Tell, a con woman and the woman whose life she might have ruined forge an unlikely friendship. As their relationship deepens, both question their motivations—and their notion of what justice for the past might mean for the future. This twisty, mind-bending domestic thriller will stick with you all summer long.

Genres: Psychological thriller/murder mystery

Release date: Aug. 13, 2024

For fans of: The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Fancy a murder mystery set in Napa Valley wine country? It’s time to put Till Death Do Us Part by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn on your TBR list. Ten years ago, June’s husband, Josh, died on their honeymoon in a supposed drowning. But June has always suspected murder. Now married to the second love of her life, she’s ready to put the past behind her—until she starts seeing Josh across the street, in the window of her New York shop and finally, in an online photo of a winery in Napa. What’s a girl to do but head back to California to confront the past and figure out what happened on that beach a decade ago? This one started slow for me, but then a rapid-fire series of unsettling twists kept me glued to the page until the shocking end.

Genre: Historical fiction

Release date: June 27, 2023

For fans of: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

What do you get when you smash together a sumptuous New England setting, wartime espionage and blossoming romance? The Beach at Summerly, a 2023 page turner from historical fiction author Beatriz Williams. In the 1950s, Emilia Winthrop is years past the drama of her young adult days spent on glittering, resplendent Winthrop Island. But the past comes knocking when federal intelligence agents summon her to meet with someone she turned in for espionage nearly a decade ago.

Genre: Historical fiction

Release date: June 13, 2023

For fans of: Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Called “a beautifully realized historical novel about art and hope and science” by one Goodreads reviewer, Loot is one of the richest, most complex books to emerge from the summer of 2023. In the late 1700s, a young woodworker named Abbas is tasked with creating a massive wooden tiger for an Indian sultan. When the sultan’s kingdom falls, he boards a ship for France. Abbas navigates love, ambition and racial tension in Europe as he goes on a mission to restore his plundered artwork.

Genre: Romance

Release date: Aug. 16, 2022

For fans of: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Lucy Giannetti’s life and career implode after she takes the fall for a high-profile love affair in Lucy Checks In. Desperate and alone, she travels to France to work at the Hotel Paradis, a rustic and rundown inn. But is it possible to begin a brand-new life at the age of 49? Can she find romance, friendship and happiness so far from home? Add this one to your beach bag to find out!

Genre: Historical fiction

Release date: July 4, 2023

For fans of: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

The Housekeepers, Alex Hay’s fun, fast-paced debut, is shot through with themes of power and class. When Mrs. King is sacked from her position as a high-society housekeeper, she gathers a group of spurned women to help her pull off the heist of the century. The plan? Infiltrate a much-anticipated costume ball and filch as many valuables as possible before the party ends. But what if some of the members of her motley crew have agendas of their own? “Historical setting? A heist? I’m all in,” says Neithercott, who named this a Reader’s Digest Book Club pick. “If you enjoyed Oceans 11 or any of the films that followed, you’re going to want to snap this one up. I had a blast.”

Genre: Historical fiction

Release date: March 1, 2022

For fans of: The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Before the proverbial ink had even dried, The Tobacco Wives topped bibliophiles’ must-read lists for 2022. It also landed on our roundups of the best historical fiction books and best books written by female authors. What gives? The coming-of-age story about a North Carolina dressmaker investigating her town’s powerful elite will get your heart pounding and mind swirling on any summer vacation. It’s the perfect escapist read: It’ll entertain, inspire and empowered you to make changes once you leave your beach towel.

Genre: Mystery, psychological thriller

Release date: July 12, 2022

For fans of: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

In The It Girl, bestselling author Ruth Ware tackles an Oxford campus whodunit. A decade after the crime, Hannah Jones has finally moved on from the murder of her sharp-tongued college friend, April. But when a journalist shows up with clues that suggest the wrong man went to jail, Hannah reconnects with her college crew to figure out what happened. And as in most Ruth Ware novels, secrets are revealed as a dangerous game begins.

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Release date: June 21, 2022

For fans of: The Darlings by Hannah McKinnon and The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

From the author of Blush comes another luscious summer sizzler for your list of beach reads. In Gilt, you’ll burst onto the scene of a high-society family of jewelers with something to hide. When family outcast Gemma Maybrook decides to return to the flock to take back what’s hers, sparks will fly. From the concrete jungle of New York to the sun-drenched streets of Provincetown on Cape Cod, author Jamie Brenner takes her readers on a summer adventure.

Genre: Romance

Release date: June 13, 2023

For fans of: Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

We already know Elin Hilderbrand is one of the queens of summer romances, and The Five-Star Weekend only cements her reputation. Newly widowed Hollis Shaw and her four closest friends reunite on Nantucket for a perfect summer weekend. Each of the women is dealing with her own dramas and insecurities. As the get-together unfolds, the group discovers more about love, friendship and their identities as 50-something women.

Genre: Romance

Release date: March 1, 2022

For fans of: A Perfect Vintage by Chelsea Fagan and Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

The perfect summer reads should take you places—preferably beautiful, romantic vacation destinations. In the case of One Italian Summer, prepare to land at the sophisticated Hotel Poseidon in Positano, Italy. There, a woman grieving the loss of her beloved mother begins to question everything: Her marriage. Her happiness. Her purpose. But when a woman like her mother (only decades younger) befriends her, a magical, transformative journey begins. This book will transport you in more ways than one, and it makes a great buddy read for your vacation crew.

Book genre: Thriller

Release date: April 5, 2022

For fans of: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Women of Good Fortune by Sophie Wen

If you’re looking for books by Asian authors, pick up Portrait of a Thief. Reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven and Baby Driver, this action-packed yet contemplative heist will have your mind reeling until the last paragraph. The premise is simple: A tight crew of Chinese American students is offered a job: steal back precious Chinese artwork lifted from Beijing generations ago. Grace D. Li’s slick storytelling, combined with touching portrayals of identity, home and friendship, makes a delicious, moving summer read.

Genre: Horror

Release date: May 31, 2022

For fans of: Final Girls by Riley Sager

If the blood-splattered swimsuit on the cover isn’t enough to warn you, we’ll say it: This one’s an edge-of-your-seat horror novel that will keep you riveted until the end. The Counselors is the story of three best friends who spend the summer before college as camp counselors. When a body turns up in the lake, lies fly and lifelong friendships fray. So who saw what? Who is telling the truth? And who will solve the mystery first?

Genre: Domestic fiction

Release date: May 10, 2022

For fans of: Summer Wedding by Sarah Morgan

In Jennifer Weiner’s The Summer Place, a family wedding at an old Cape Cod beach house goes haywire when lovers are unmasked, lies bloom into full-fledged rumors and intimate secrets spill out into the open. With romance, comedy and a poignant display of humans in all their messy forms of love, Weiner has again offered the world a perfect summer beach read.

Genre: Romance

Release date: Aug. 2, 2022

For fans of: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Rule Breaker by Lily Morton

If Alexis Hall’s fantastic Boyfriend Material gave you a major book hangover, you’ll fall head over heels for the next chapter. Husband Material follows Luc and Oliver into the next season of their relationship. But how many weddings must they attend before Luc drums up the courage to propose?

Genre: Romance

Release date: Feb. 15, 2022

For fans of: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

What would you do if you arrived at your vacation rental and realized it had been double-booked by an insufferable (albeit handsome) stranger? That’s the premise of Josie Silver’s romantic hit One Night on the Island. Cleo Wilder has escaped to the Irish wilds to recharge alone on her 30th birthday. Mack Sullivan booked the same charming cottage for a soul-searching retreat. Unfortunately, their trips aren’t quite as solo as they’d hoped. Readers will find this cozy summer romance delightful, whether they’re reading at the beach, beside a campfire or in a sunny corner of the house.

Genre: Memoir

Release date: March 14, 2023

For fans of: Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Laurel Braitman’s memoir gripped me from the start. In What Looks Like Bravery, she writes about grief—anticipatory and after-the-fact heartache—with refreshing candor. Braitman’s father was a larger-than-life figure who taught her to be the kind of woman who would never need a man. After his terminal cancer diagnosis, he taught her to be a survivor. Now, she revisits her childhood to untangle the threads of love, stubbornness and independence he instilled in her. This is a story of raw pain and hope and a reminder that even a life without a happily-ever-after can still be deeply good.

Genres: Suspense/mystery

Release date: March 15, 2022

For fans of: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

In The Sun Down Motel, Simone St. James gave readers a delightfully creepy noir fiction masterpiece, and in The Book of Cold Cases, she does it again. With a story reminiscent of the best Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie chillers, a true-crime blogger named Shea gets the chance to meet an acquitted murder suspect in the latter’s dark mansion. This is spine-tingling summer reading that will make you want to turn on all the lights—or read in broad daylight by the pool.

Genre: Memoir

Release date: July 4, 2023

For fans of: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Beth Nguyen has spent fewer than 24 hours of adulthood with her mother. When she was still a baby, her father fled Vietnam and took her with him. Her memoir, Owner of a Lonely Heart, chronicles her American upbringing, snatched moments with her Vietnamese mother over the years and her own experience of becoming a mother. It’s a moving memoir about family, identity and where and how we find belonging.

Genre: Thriller

Release date: June 28, 2022

For fans of: Memory Man by David Baldacci and Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

Every day, ex-soldier Travis Devine gets on the 6:20 train to Manhattan, where he spends his mind-numbing days analyzing finances at an investment firm. Then one day, Travis’s sleepy routine is interrupted by an email alerting him that his ex-girlfriend has been found dead. It’s a presumed suicide, but a series of breadcrumbs leads Travis to believe that there’s a ruthless killer on the loose. His hunt for the truth about one woman’s death leads him to uncover a much bigger conspiracy that could threaten the lives of many. A fast-paced beach read, The 6:20 Man will have you flipping pages as fast as you can.

Genre: Domestic fiction

Release date: April 2, 2024

For fans of: Last Couple Standing by Matthew Norman

What if you could take a “gap year” from your marriage? That’s the premise of Lian Dolan’s The Marriage Sabbatical, the story of Nicole and Jason, a couple who are still deeply in love with each other after 23 years but pine for some adventure. I wondered if a book about a couple’s one-year pass to sleep with other people would be filled with salacious setups and angsty interludes. Not so. I loved following Nicole as she enrolled in a silver-making class in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Jason as he took a nine-month motorcycle trip through Patagonia. Their new relationships and friendships lead to fresh perspectives and personal growth, while their regular emails renew appreciation and affection for what they already have. This fresh, heartwarming take on midlife romance and identity is perfect beach-read material—but it would also be a conversation-starting book club pick!

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