Arguably the best way to spend the summer is by the water. Whether that means beachside, lakeside, or poolside. Whatever summer looks like for you, we hope you get the opportunity to catch some rays, unwind, and relax a bit.
No summer waterside activity is complete without the essentials like sunscreen, your drink of choice, and the perfect book to sweep your mind away for a while. Of course, we’re talking about the beloved beach reads. The page turners that leave you wanting more. The spicy will-they, won’t-they pieces that we can’t get enough of. And maybe even a low-stakes thriller here and there.
A good beach read is relatively easy to find. A great beach read is readily accessible. But the perfect beach read? Well, here’s where we come in. That’s right, we’ve found all of the best books to accompany you to the seaside, patio, or pool deck. We’ve got your classic love stories to have you rooting for the couple going up against all odds. We’ve got spicy recs you might want to pick up again after bedtime. Plus, we included some of our favorite recent celebrity memoirs that are so relatable, even though the authors feel like a world away from us.
Whether you’re planning a summer trip or staying put, you’re going to want a book by your side. Check out these beach read recommendations you won’t be able to put down.
Best Beach Reads
Emily Henry has the whole 'beach read' genre down to a science at this point, so it was only right for us to include her latest piece. Harriet and Wyn were the perfect couple... until they weren't. But they can't seem to break the news to their best friends that they've split. Attempting to keep their secret, the duo must act like nothing's wrong at their annual friend getaway to Maine—and neither wants to admit how much they still want each other.
After successful food blogger Hollis Shaw's perfect life is shattered, she looks for an escape. What she comes up with is hosting what's called a 'Five-Star Weekend' where the theme of each day is a different phase of life. An unexpected bunch comes together for the weekend and bonds over friendship, tragedy, and love.
Percy escapes her quiet lakeside town for the bustling city after making the biggest mistake of her life. Now, after nearly a decade, she's thrown back into her old life and the presence of her first love, Sam. Battling with her past and the undeniable feelings she still holds for him, she learns whether or not love truly conquers all.
After you've flipped the last page of Every Summer After, dive right into Fortune's newest novel. This time, duo Fern and Will spend 24 magical hours together. Separated by distance, the two agree to meet after one year. The problem is, when Fern arrives, she sees that Will isn't there. Now, nine years later, Will reappears in her life. She must fight the internal battle of deciding if she can trust the man who broke her heart all those years before.
Fire Island is exactly what you'd expect from an upscale summer tourist town. There's social politics and drama around every corner, but never anything malicious—until now. When a body shows up dead on the boardwalk, we quickly learn that everyone has something to hide.
Author Rebecca Serle's latest novel follows a young woman named Katy as she goes on a summer trip to Positano after losing her beloved mother. Then on the trip, Katy's mom, Carol, appears—but she's 30 years old and perfectly healthy. Katy has no idea what's happening, but embraces the opportunity to spend a summer in Italy with her mom and learns that the people we love never truly leave us.
Reality TV fans need to get their hands on this sequel to The Soulmate Equation as soon as possible. Fizzy is a highly rated romance novelist who knows nothing of real love. Connor is a documentary film maker forced to craft a reality TV show. The two team up for a mutually beneficial feat and end up learning more about true love than they ever could have imagined.
We love a novel that makes us wonder: What would I do in this situation? Emma was lucky enough to have two great loves of her life: Sam, her adoring, ever-supportive fiancé, and her late husband, Jesse, who was lost at sea three years ago. As she's beginning to plan a new life with Sam, Jesse is found alive. Now she must choose between the two people she loves most.
Margot Davies is a big-city journalist with a story from her past that still haunts her. When she was 6 years old, her small Indiana town experienced tragedy when January Jacobs, a girl the same age as Margot, was found in a ditch after going missing. Her killer has never been brought to justice. When Margot has to return to her hometown, she hears about a 5-year-old named Natalie from the next town over who's gone missing under eerily similar circumstances to January. Margot takes it upon herself to solve January's murder and bring Natalie home.
Best Spicy Beach Reads
30-year-old Sam has grown a lot since the age of 17, surely running into her high school love one summer won't throw her life off track. But, despite being engaged to a celebrated doctor, seeing Wyatt back in their hometown brings back a flood of emotions. Sam has to make a choice between the man who broke her teenage heart, and her 'picture perfect' fiancé.
This spicy read follows a trope we all know and love—two people come to a mutually beneficial agreement to pretend to be in love. But when things heat up and they can't keep their hands off of each other, they start to question what's reality and what's a ruse. This is just the first book in the Queen's Cove series, so get ready to keep on reading.
Meredith Fox hasn't been herself since she lost her sister, but she's determined to rejoin the world at her annual family gathering in Martha's Vineyard this summer. While in town, her family will be attending a wedding and playing a traditional family game that her sister loved. Meredith is set on winning the game in honor of her sister, but when she gets paired with a handsome groomsman, she quickly becomes distracted and at risk of losing more than just the game.
Bearded bad-boy barber Knox doesn't tolerate drama. But when Naomi runs away from her wedding and her life starts to implode, the least Knox can do is help her get back on her feet. Though this book is more than 500 pages long, readers are obsessed with Knox and Naomi's story—and you will be too!
The best thing possible happened for Carter and Evie—they met through mutual friends, are both single, and are both successful agents at different firms in Hollywood. A love affair to write home about quickly blossoms. That is until their firms merge and the two are fighting for the same position. Will they get the storybook ending Hollywood films are made of, or will their careers get in the way?
Wild child Piper is exactly what you'd expect from a wealthy Beverly Hills socialite—spoiled and a bit out-of-control. After landing herself a night in jail, she's sent to small town Washington to run her late father's dive bar. Here she meets a bearded sea captain named Brendan who underestimates her just as much as everyone else in town. Though the two couldn't be more opposite, their attraction to one another couldn't be more undeniable.
Escape to luxurious Napa Valley with this romance novel by New York Times best selling author Jasmine Guillory. As much as Margot loves her job, running her family's successful winery can be stressful. When she meets Luke, she finds the relief she needs in a one night stand. That is, until she realizes Luke is the newest employee of the winery. As a Silicon Valley dropout, Luke's looking forward to the slower pace of working at the winery. Though they both try to stay professional, they can't deny the steamy chemistry they share.
Best Beach Read Memoirs
Paris Hilton is the most recognizable influencer in the world, but getting to this point was anything but an easy feat. This powerful memoir follows her story of both growing up in the spotlight and the struggles she faced behind closed doors, detailing the evolution of celebrity culture and emphasizing that everything is almost never as it seems. But most importantly, she shows us her path to peace while she challenges us to question the world’s role in her story and in our very own.
While Andy Cohen's fast-paced lifestyle and career might not be relatable to most of us, his account of the first year of parenthood certainly is. He gets real about the life changes he had to make in order to prioritize his kids, not breezing through both the joys and the trials. Get ready to laugh out loud with this perfect beach read.
Pamela Anderson was thrust back into the spotlight after the Hulu series Pam & Tommy came out in 2022. Now, readers can experience her life through her perspective in this unforgettable memoir. Readers quickly learn there's much more than meets the eye of the iconic Playboy cover girl.
Imagine if your mom wrote a book compiled of letters addressed to you in which she reveals her most wild life stories and all the valuable lessons she’s learned from them. That’d be unreal, right? Well, that’s exactly what comedian Ali Wong does in her hilarious and heartfelt book written for her two baby girls. They’ll probably have to wait until they’re 18 to indulge, but it'll definitely be worth the wait.
Take a mental trip back to the Cold War era in this new novel by celebrated author Beatriz Williams. Emilia and Olive spent the days of war very differently—while Olive traveled the world, Emilia was stuck at the seaside estate of Summerly taking care of her immobilized mother. As the two women grow closer, Olive encourages Emilia to leave Summerly and chase after her dreams. Her plans are halted when FBI agent Sumner Fox enlists her help to capture a Soviet spy who is stealing confidential information from the Summerly estate. Eight years later, Summerly is boarded up and Emilia has found herself working as a professor when she gets the news. The spy she helped capture is being traded for an American spy currently being held in the Soviet Union. The trade will happen on one condition, and it's one only Emilia can fulfill. With it comes life altering implications.
Grab your copy on June 27th!