Travel Essentials

9 excellent beach (or poolside) reads

Beach Reads: Person reading a book on the beach

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Even casual readers know that summer is the perfect season for juicy, captivating, and diverting page-turners. Whether you are planning a trip to a (socially-distanced!) local swimming hole, a backyard, or a secluded beach — these nine hottest beach reads will transform any vacation or staycation into an enjoyable and relaxing escape. 

For those ardent readers, this year’s selection of beach reads is especially electrifying as many best-selling authors, from Jennifer Weiner to Kevin Kwan, have gripping new titles. Not to mention, a dazzling roster of new authors with their debut hits will make sure your summer takes you through the most fun and fascinating journeys.

Pack up your sunscreen and enjoy the following nine titles. 


Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory 

The queen of rom-coms Jasmine Guillory’s new delicious novel follows Olivia Monroe, a lawyer who recently relocated to LA.

One day she meets a handsome man with whom she flirts all night without looking for anything serious. Olivia later finds out the man is a buzzy junior senator Max Powell who begins to relentlessly woo her.

The heroine finds Max sweet and noble but the public life holds many surprises for Olivia and their relationship. 

 


Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan 

The author of Crazy Rich Asians makes a much-awaited comeback with his new book set on an Italian island Capri.

Lucie Churchill, the daughter of a New York father and Chinese-American mother, has always suppressed her Asian side until she reluctantly becomes drawn to George Zao and finds herself torn between two men. 

Sex and Vanity is a fun and modern romantic story that navigates itself between two cultures.

 


Beach Read by Emily Henry 

January Andrews, a romance writer who does not believe in love anymore, meets a celebrated literary writer Augustus Everett.

Polar opposites, they live just a few houses away from each other and strike a deal to end their creative blocks: January will compose a literary masterpiece and Augustus will dabble with the art of happy novels.

This indulgent, heartwarming new title from Emily Henry is a perfect, you got it, Beach Read

 


All Adults Here by Emma Straub 

One transformative summer, Astrid Strick witnesses a long-time frenemy getting hit by a school bus that resurfaces her repressed memory from decades earlier of her parenting shortcomings. Though the entire family lives in the same neighborhood they are not very close.

Astrid decides she wants to change this by telling the truth she has been hiding. Straub uniquely blends wisdom, wit, and insight in her instant New York Times bestseller (and soon-to-be TV show) and skillfully explores complexities of living in a small town and the wonderful messiness of raising a family. 

 


The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward 

Following The Nest and The Vacationers, Amanda Eyre Ward delivers a fun, intelligent new novel.

A 70-year-old Charlotte Perkins wins the Become the Jetsetter contest for which she reunites with her three estranged adult children and spends ten days traveling on an over-the-top cruise ship.

Full of humor, kindness, and drama, The Jetsetters is a delightful summer read. 

 

 


Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner 

From the author of Mrs. Everything comes this fun and enchanting novel about friendship, relationships, and self-acceptance.

Daphne and Drue put an end to their toxic union years ago. Then, out of the blue, Drue appears and asks Daphne to be her maid-of-honor. As shocked and hesitant as she is, Daphne eventually agrees to Drue’s begging to attend the wedding and spend a lavish weekend on Cape Cod.

The plan sounds alluring but things do not go as expected for Daphne. 

 


Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman 

If you are a fan of the celebrated podcast Call Your Girlfriend, you are in luck — long-distance friends and lauded cohosts Sow and Friedman share the story of their long and complex friendship with wit, charm, and compassion.

Big Friendship is an inspiring book about the importance and beauty of developing and nurturing close platonic bonds. Dow and Friedman deliver a great summer read for all of us missing our faraway best friends. 

 

 


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Set in the 1960s, identical teenage twins Stella and Desiree Vignes leave their small, southern black community in Louisiana.

A decade later, Desiree lives with her daughter in the same town she once attempted to escape while Stella disappears, submerges her past, and begins a new life as a white person.

In her mesmerizing multi-generational epic (which HBO successfully pursued for ecranisation), Bennett captures the lasting influence of past decisions on a person’s family, desires, and expectations. 

 


Circe by Madeline Miller 

From the author of The Song of AchillesCirce is a captivating novel that masterfully blends Greek mythology and fantasy. Though the book was published in 2018, it quickly became a mesmerizing modern classic.

The novel follows the life of Circe, a lesser-known goddess and the daughter of Helios. Her gift of magic and dark powers threatened the gods and caused her banishment to the island of Aiaia.

Though destined to eternal solitude, Circe is rarely left in peace and her defiant and strong personality makes her the center heroine in a male-dominated world. 

 


BONUS READ!

Tailor Made Life by C.A. Cole

Part one of a feel-good tale, the novella Tailor Made Life follows a life-changing decision made by the heroine: Thyme.

On Thyme’s fifty-fifth birthday, she couldn’t shake her restless feeling. In fact, it followed her all the way to her birthday lunch. Next door to the upscale Chattanooga restaurant, a grubby old building called to her — almost making her miss her coveted reservation!

Could this building be the answer to the restlessness in her heart? And if she listens, will it lead her to a tailor-made life? Thyme just might get a new home, a new business, and a new romance in the bargain.

 


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Whether you are actually going to spend a little time on the beach this summer or you are simply planning on soaking up the sun from your own backyard, these nine beach reads should be enough to keep you entertained for all the socially-distanced summer days ahead.



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