For me, a beach read doesn’t have to be a light and fluffy novel about a girl falling in love. It doesn’t have to have one of the key cover markers of a typical beach read (windblown hair, sand, waves, seashells, sunshine, mermaids, carnivals, etc.) or even take place during summer, although that’s always a plus. What I consider to be a beach read is fairly open, crossing genre and tone. This year, here are the top ten beach reads from my TBR pile that I hope to tackle this summer:
99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Recommended to me by a friend and on my TBR for a while, this complicated summer romance about a girl, the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke his heart with, his brother is one I’m really looking forward to reading. I like books that really give their main characters a chance to grow and learn from their past, so I can’t wait to see how this fun contemporary romance turns out for Molly and the boys.
- 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen
I love books about mental illness and I love baking, so what better read for this summer than one that brings those two together in a summer story about a girl suffering from depression and a dedicated mom who decides to bake her a cake every day for 100 days. I can’t wait to dive into Molly’s narrative and see how her story (and the cakes) turn out.
- The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
I’ve always been a huge fan of jellyfish and I like stories that are a blend of happy and sad, so I can’t wait to tackle this acclaimed middle grade novel. I look forward to reading about Suzy’s adventures and can’t wait to see if her suspicions about the death of her best friend are indeed true.
- Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
This book has everything a summer read should offer: a cruise, a promise of a dream vacation, cute boys and fake sugar gone rogue. I can’t wait to dive into this book, which I hope will meet my expectations of combining the promise of the perfect summer vacation with the tragic twists and turns of a well-paced thriller.
- For Real by Alison Cherry
For me, nothing says summer more than binging bad reality TV while relaxing in the air conditioning. This contemporary novel brings reality TV into the world of YA through the tale of sisters competing on a fictionalized version of The Amazing Race. I can’t wait to race to end of this book to see how the show improves-or further complicates their relationship.
- The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
I loved Konigsberg’s debut Openly Straight, which I found to be an honest novel about the difficulties of being an LGBTQPIA+ teen. I look forward to his next novel about a summer road trip promising answers to difficult questions about love and family.
- Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita
The token summer camp novel on this list, Calonita’s companion to her novel Sleepaway Girls promises all the musts of a beach read: summer camp, the difficulties of making friends and cute boys. I can’t wait to meet Harper’s time in camp and see if it helps change her materialistic ways.
- A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
Balancing out this list of beach reads with a bit of fantasy, Moskowitz’s novel promises to be the perfect blend of fairies, gnomes, war and romance. This story of enduring war to gain peace feels like a great read for a sunny beach day and promises a thrilling ride to the finish. I can’t wait to dive into Beckan’s story and see the outcome.
- The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
I can’t wait to read Hapgood’s contemporary romance incorporating math and physics. Taking place during summer, this novel promises to be a fun and poignant exploration of friends, love and lost through Gottie’s story.
- Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
A little bit of horror to finish of the list, this book combines the underbelly of New York City with slasher suspense. While it might be a little dark for some to read on the beach or during the summer, I can’t wait to curl up on a rainy day or under the beach umbrella with this book and read it in one sitting.