10 Page-Turning Summer Reads For Your Beach Bag

Summer is finally here (huzzah!), and with that comes relaxing weekends filled with sand squeezing between our toes, sunshine warming our faces and books filling up our beach bags. If winter was filled with binge-watching endless movies and TV series on Netflix (Who still can’t stop thinking about The Crown?!), summer sends a clear call for brushing up our brains on all the latest paperbacks.

From edge-of-your-seat thrillers to cheeky romance novels to real-talk memoirs, we’ve got you covered on what you and your book club posse have to read this summer. Some are old, most are new, but they’re all can’t miss favorites that are topping best-seller lists and getting rave reviews from the book lovers community. Besides, staying current on the latest sellouts is kinda like keeping up with the news, right? Right. Let your inner bookworm come out, and get to a bookstore, stat, because these reads are must-haves to stick your nose into this summer.

If you love a good chick flick, read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

This is what your summer book shelf needs. Just think: Small town girl succeeds in college, moves to a big city, falls in love with a steamy doctor. And then? Her first love comes into the scene. It’s basically what you’ve been asking for in a romance novel, ribboned with some graphic scenes and sensitive subject matter sure to make you a little misty-eyed.

If you love sinking yourself into a series, read Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Following Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriends, Rich People Problems rounds out Kwan’s trifecta series. If you haven’t read the previous two books, it’s recommended you do to get a better feel of the characters and backstory. Plus, you’ll want to get it all in before Crazy Rich Asians hits theaters (date still TBD, so you’ve got some time to soak up all three reads).

If you love rags to riches stories, read This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

An autobiography isn’t always at the top of our list, unless we really, really love the celeb who penned it. But this one is different. We all remember Sidibe’s debut in the 2009 movie Precious. (And you were probably asking back then, ‘Who is that?!’) This is the story of how she got there. Before the fame she lived with a polygamous father, her mother supported the family by singing on New York City subways and her first job came as a phone sex “talker.” You’ll know exactly who she is after delving into this story.

If you love the movie St. Vincent, read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This book has been out a couple of years already, but the heartwarming story should be on everyone’s list. A curmudgeon old man just wants to die (sorry, that part’s depressing), but through some unwanted encounters with multiple characters he finds his perception on life unknowingly turned around. Sometimes making friends isn’t so bad.

If you love Shakespeare (or could never get through it in high school), read Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood

Atwood was tasked with re-imagining the story of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, a series of eight books written by acclaimed authors who were each given the challenge of retelling one of Shakespeare’s plays. (Get this, Gillian Flynn is taking on Hamlet…but you’ll have to wait until 2021 to read it.) So, whether you’re a die-hard Shakespearean or could never really grasp his ‘art thous’ and tangled characters, you can now fully enjoy this new take a 400-year-old play.

If you binge-watched Master of None, read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Alright, we know what you’re thinking–Aziz…offering advice on romance? Yeah, yeah, we thought the same thing. But this isn’t a ‘do this, don’t do that’ dating book. It’s an upfront, real, nod-your-head-in-total-agreement look on what it’s like to “find your soulmate” in the modern era. With Ansari’s comedic voice and loads of data and research behind his words, this is a fresh take on how the dating world has changed over the past recent decades.

If you love humorous thrillers, read Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen

It’s mystery meets crazy Florida headline stories meets the Carl Hiaasen novels you’ve loved since grade school. Hilarious characters with intricate back stories entangle together all because of a simple fender bender on the Florida Keys highway…or that’s what you’re supposed to think at least.

If you have a strong opinion about Team Jacob or Team Edward, read Haunt Me by Liz Kessler

You might get some strong Twilight vibes reading this–that is if Bella had to choose between two brothers, and one was a ghost and the other was still living. Either way, you’ll be sucked into this novel just like you were madly addicted to the vampire-versus-werewolf series back in middle school.

If you love Fun Home, read The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Graphic novels aren’t just for 8-year-old boys with themes of underwear-flanked superheroes anymore. Beautifully illustrated stories, like this one about an immigrant family searching for a better future and longing for the past after moving to America from war-torn Vietnam, are cropping up on the ‘Must Read Now’ tables in bookstores everywhere. And for good reason. Sure, you might enjoy the memoir in plain words but pairing it with gorgeous images like Bui did helps the heart-wrenching, triumphant story come to life in a new way.

If you secretly love YA, read Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan

Set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in a Louisiana fishing town, this novel about 16-year-old Evangeline Riley asks compelling questions about class, politics and the hurt of being cast out of the home you know. Plus, there’s a teenage romance…and if The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Me Before You taught us anything it’s that we all know how easy it is to get pulled into that whirlwind of an angsty, dramatic young love story.

Emily is a recent graduate and proud Midwesterner who just moved to the big city to start her career in magazine journalism. When she isn't commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan, she enjoys browsing bookstores for her next read, sipping chai tea lattes at local coffee shops, and playing tourist in the city she always dreamed of living in.