Whether you’re looking for summer romance books, summer thrillers or YA Summer books, you will find all the beach reads you need in this post.
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Sunlounger, pool and a good book. If you’re anything like me you probably love relaxing in the sun with a good book.
Is there anything more relaxing than lying by the pool engrossed in good beach reads? I’ve compiled a summer reading list of the best books for your vacation ( Plus get my free summer reading list challenge to take with you to the bookshop!)
In this post I recommend 27 summer beach reads, perfect for relaxing in the garden or a family vacation.
- THE ULTIMATE SUMMER READING LIST: 27 INSANELY GOOD SUMMER BEACH READS
- Summer Romance books – Summer Beach Reads
- Funny Summer Books – Summer Beach Reads
- Summer thriller books – Summer Beach Reads
- YA Summer Books – Summer Beach Reads
- Contemporary Summer Beach Reads
- Summer Reading List Challenge
- Related Links
THE ULTIMATE SUMMER READING LIST: 27 INSANELY GOOD SUMMER BEACH READS
Summer Romance books – Summer Beach Reads
If you’re looking for a cute Sapphic summer rom-com
The Falling in Love Montage is a YA Contemporary. It gives the nineties and noughties romcoms a modern twist.
it follows Saoirse. She is struggling to cope because her mother is in a home with dementia. It’s a hereditary condition. And one day she might inherit it.
So she doesn’t really see the point in a relationship. But then she meets Ruby at a party. And they decide to have a relaxed summer fling.
Ciara Smyth wrote The Falling in Love Montage. And she previously worked as a mental health trainer. This definitely comes across in the book as it expertly blends mental health issues with an adorable summer romance.
If you love a good rom-com then you should read this debut novel!
For fans of Red, White and Royal Blue, a summer romance with a time-travelling twist.
One last stop is the next book by Casey McQuiston. It features a sapphic romance, a mystery and an adorable friendship group.
It follows August who meets the mysterious Jane Su on a train. She is enthralled by her 70s punk aesthetic and enigmatic charm. But August soon realises there is a lot more to Jane than she first realised.
Jane and August’s romance captured me from the very start. The writing in this is perfect and the food imagery had me practically drooling.
It’s a fun, lighthearted summer beach read with a cute romance
If you’re looking for a steamy summer romance with a chronically ill computer geek
Warning – this book contains some smut! It follows Chloe Brown. Chloe is a fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferer. She decides to put together a bucket list after a near-death experience. Chloe hopes to complete the list. And consequently, become a braver person.
I listened to the audiobook. Anjoa Andoa narrated it perfectly. She has the most beautiful voice. The contrast between Chloe’s posh accent and Red’s drawl brings the plot to life.
The Author Talia Hibbert has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain herself. She wanted those with Chronic illnesses to see the possibility of a happily ever after for themselves.
An incredibly funny, heart-warming and touching contemporary book to read on vacation.
For fans of I wish You all the Best,if you like a revenge plot
Felix Ever After is an own voices book featuring a black, queer and transgender main character.
It follows Felix Love who has never been in love. But he is desperate to experience it. An anonymous student starts sending him transphobic messages. And the student publicly posts Felix’s deadname along with photos of him before his transition. Felix decides to plot revenge. But his catfishing lands him in a love triangle.
Kacen Callender wrote Felix Ever After. Callender also won the Stonewall Book Award and Lambda literary award for Hurricane Child. They do a particularly good job at discussing difficult topics such as class disadvantage, transphobia and body dysmorphia.
This book features another adorable friend to lover m/m romance, a gripping plot and supportive friends. Felix Ever After is an absolute must-read for your summer reading list.
For fans of the fake dating trope and The Henna Wars
If you enjoy the fake dating trope – I guarantee you will love Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating!
Hani is bisexual but she is having trouble getting her friends to believe her. Ishu wants to be Head Girl. They decide to fake date so that Hani’s friends believe she is bisexual. And to help Ishu in her Head girl campaign.
This book had me laughing out loud so many times. It has the perfect combination of a grumpy and sunshine main character.
The fake dating trope is executed perfectly – it leads to so many funny moments. And both characters learn from each other.
Red, White and Royal Blue
If you’re looking for a steamy royal romance and enemies-to-lovers storyline
Red, White and Royal Blue is an incredibly popular romance book to read.
It made the New York Times Bestseller list and won a Good Reads Choice award. Also over 30,000 people have reviewed it on Good Reads.
The book follows Prince Henry and Alex Claremont Diaz. They cause a scandal in the press and have to pretend to be friends.
The relationships between the characters in the book are what makes this for me. It’s an empowering queer romance story. It takes place in a parallel universe where a woman with mixed-race children is president.
If you’re looking for a steamy royal romance then you should definitely pick up this book. It includes enemies to lovers, friends to lovers and fake friendship.
Buy Red, White and Royal Blue Here
Funny Summer Books – Summer Beach Reads
If you’re looking for an easy-to-read classic
If you want a funny, easy to read and light-hearted summer beach reads – then The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy is for you.
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
This book is definitely one you either love or hate. The humour is quite absurd but also equally dry and sarcastic in places.
For fans of dark humour
I was torn between whether this should go in the mystery or humour section. It uses a lot of dark humour but it’s funny and entertaining.
It follows Korede. Her sister is a serial killer and she helps her sister clean up after the body. Her sister is beautiful, charismatic and popular. And Korede constantly lives in her shadows.
This book won’t be for everyone because it is very dark. It’s satirical but walks the line of being highly realistic. The relationship between the sisters was excellent and realistic. They were both flawed but inevitably they helped each other out.
If you’re a fan of dark, satirical humour then you should definitely read this one.
If you love a hilariously relatable romantic comedy
Bridget documents her struggles through her thirties. She tries to decide between Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy. She turns to her four indispensable friends for support: Shazzer, Jude, Tom and chardonnay.
I think lot of people will have seen the movie adaptation. The book is a hilarious, relatable and touching. They say the characters make a book. And Bridget Jones is exceptionally well written and extremely relatable.
There are elements of this book that haven’t aged well. But if you’re looking for 90s nostalgia and a lighthearted funny beach read then it’s well worth picking up.
For fans of Red, White and Royal Blue
Luc has a Rockstar father. He gets in trouble with the press just as his dad wants to make a comeback. To clean up his image, he fake dates a nice, clean-cut guy – Oliver.
The fake dating trope is fantastic for creating comic moments and romance. Boyfriend Material is hilarious and perfect if you’re a fan of snarky, British humour.
It even won a Good Reads Choice Award for best romance. Definitely, one you should pick up!
Summer thriller books – Summer Beach Reads
If you looking for a thriller with unexpected twists
The Hunting Party has so many chilling twists and turns you genuinely don’t expect.
It follows a group of friends go on holiday to the Scottish Highlands for New Years Eve. But one of them winds up dead.
It’s very atmospheric and full of suspense. The relationships in the group were really intriguing and I absolutely loved the frenemies love-hate relationship they had.
It reminds me a lot of Agatha Christie. Big country house, remote location and a group of people who have plenty of secrets.
If you’re a seasoned crime reader searching for a unique mystery thriller.
The Appeal is unlike any mystery thriller I have read. And the unique format will appeal to crime fiction fans.
It gives you the chance to turn investigator. There is a tragic death in an amateur dramatics group. A member of the drama group is in prison for the crime. But they suspect they are innocent.
Roderick Tanner QC, of Tanner and Dewey LLP, gives law students a bundle of emails, documents and messages to read through. The real killer can be found in the bundle of papers. And the reader has the chance to identify the killer too.
The narrative is made up of email conversations and papers. The epistolary format lends itself perfectly to the mystery-thriller genre. And there are many unexpected twists and turns.
If you like quirky characters solving murders
Thursday Murder Club follows four unlikely friends living in a luxury retirement village. Every Thursday, they meet to discuss unsolved crimes. They call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.
But when a murder takes place on their doorstep, they suddenly find themselves in the middle of a live case.
The quirky cast of lovable characters made me laugh out loud on several occasions. And the dialogue was also hilarious.
The residents in the retirement home were constantly underestimated. And it led to some really funny moments in the plot.
YA Summer Books – Summer Beach Reads
If you’re looking for a graphic novel
Heartstopper is a YA Contemporary Graphic Novel Series about a teen romance in high school. It includes an adorable romance, a supportive friendship group and the most stunning graphics!
The book series follows Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson. Charlie Spring is an openly gay student in year 10. And he meets Nick Nelson a soft-hearted rugby player in year 11. They quickly become friends. But could there be something more?
Alice Oseman wrote and illustrated the graphic novel series. She is insanely talented. And she secured her first publishing deal at just 17 years old!
If you’re looking for a Sapphic enemies to lovers storyline.
The Henna Wars is an own voice queer Bangladeshi ya book about a Muslim girl who deals with coming out to her traditional family as well as bullying and cultural appropriation.
It follows Nishat who lives in Ireland. Flavia, her childhood friend, comes back into her life and Nishat instantly falls for her. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture.
It dealt fantastically well with the topic of cultural appropriation. It also contains some of the best tropes including long lost friend and enemies to lovers.
Don’t be surprised if this one makes you cry!
Buy The Henna Wars here
For fans of YA Fantasy and Crescent City
A Dark and Hollow Star is an urban fantasy, with fae, queer main characters and a wlw romance.
A series of gruesome murders threatens to expose the faerie world to humans. Four queer teens – Nausicaä, Arlo, Vehan, and Aurelian – each hold a piece of the truth. And they must track down the mysterious killer.
Shuttleworth’s writing was perfect. And it really bought the urban fantasy world to life.
But the characters are what makes this book. Nausicaä is a very sarcastic and chaotic lesbian. And I loved her instantly. Many will also find Arlo very relatable.
For Fans of Percy Jackon or Greek Mythology
Greek Mythology meets The Hunger games. Lore features Greek mythology, an urban setting and a strong female lead.
Every seven years Greek Gods are hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines. If the hunters succeed they seize their immortality. It follows Lore Perseus who has turned her back on this world. But as the next hunt dawns, two participants seek out her help.
The plot of Lore is quite complex but it’s executed perfectly. Bracken did a great job of building the concept. I was intrigued and hooked from the first chapter.
If you like the Percy Jackson series or the Hunger Games you will absolutely love this one
If you’re looking for a sweet rom-com with a Netflix adaptation
To All the Boys I’ve Loved before follows Lara-Jean. She’s never openly admitted her crushes to anyone. Instead, she writes them a letter and puts them away in a box. But what happens when someone mails all her secret letters?
To all the boys is a heartwarming, emotional and adorable read. It features the fake dating trope which creates so many comedic moments and character growth.
The romance is adorable but I love that what shines through the most is the relationship between the sisters.
If you’re looking for romantic summer beach reads then this would be an excellent choice.
A scientific twist on the insta-love trope
I’m usually not a fan of the love at first sight trope. I find it highly unrealistic and difficult to suspend my disbelief. However, I really like how it was done in this book.
It follows Natasha – a Jamaican immigrant and science nerd. And Danien- a Korean-American Poet rebelling against his family’s desire for him to be a doctor. Natasha is facing deportation. But when she meets Daniel, he sets out to use science to make Natasha fall in love with him.
The Sun is Also a Star balance difficult topics such as illegal immigration and family expectations perfectly with first-love.
This is another book you will either love or hate. I think many will find it difficult to get over the scepticism of the insta-love trope.
If you’re looking for a happy YA romance with profound social commentary
I first saw the Voting Booth recommended by the incredible Uncorked Librarian. It has a cute romance but also talks a lot about the difficult topic of voter suppression.
It follows Marva Sheridan and Duke Crenshaw who are both trying to vote in the elections. But Duke can’t vote. As Duke is turned away from his polling place, Marva takes it upon herself to help him.
I loved the relationship between the two main characters and how it explored the issues of voting in the USA. I listened to the audiobook which is really engaging. The voices worked perfectly.
A super emotional exploration of mental health issues
This one will make you super emotional. Seriously, have a box of tissues at the ready when you read this one.
It follows Theodore Finch who meets Violet when she is standing on a ledge considering committing suicide. They are paired together for a geography project and have to explore places in their local community.
This book made me incredibly emotional. And it’s the most insanely perfect depiction of suicide and mental health issues. It is sensitively and touchingly done.
If you want to read about Sapphic Superheroes
Not Your Sidekick is a superhero-themed novel. It bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese protagonist, a trans character and a f/f romance. And it’s also an own voices book.
It follows Jessica Tran, a bisexual high school student. She is resigned to a life without superpowers. And she starts an internship to improve her college applications. But she quickly discovers it’s for a supervillain. And it’s with her crush Abby.
Not Your Sidekick is another light, fluffy and fun read. It takes superhero tropes and gives them a refreshing twist. The book also tackles many issues while still staying fun.
Read the Good Reads
For fans of Red, White and Royal Blue
Protagonist Millie Quint is in a complicated on-off relationship that goes wrong. She is accepted into a posh boarding school. And consequently, she decides to move to Scotland. Only her roommate happens to be a complete princess.
Flora is outspoken, sassy and a complete badass! Millie was the perfect counter to Flora’s sass.
Oh, and it’s also set in the gorgeous Scottish highlands. The mountain imagery coupled with the descriptions of cosy rooms and lochs is divine.
Contemporary Summer Beach Reads
If you’re looking for an audiobook about a rock band
Daisy Jones & The Six follows an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer. Nobody knows the reason for their mysterious break-up. Until now.
Daisy Jones & The Six lends itself perfectly to the audiobook format. The podcast concept and rock music that runs throughout makes for a really atmospheric audiobook.
As with many Taylor Jenkins-Reid books, the emotions sneak up on you. It’s unique, daring and everything I wanted from a book about fictional rockstars.
If you’re looking for atmospheric summer beach reads about a dysfunctional families
Malibu Rising follows four famous siblings on the day they are throwing an epic summer blowout party. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.
As the title suggests, the book is set in Malibu and the world-building is exquisite. The writing made me feel like I was a surfer in Malibu in the eighties.
It has undeniable summer vibes. But the emotions snuck up on me. And I found myself identifying with many of the characters.
My only complaint is that there are too many side characters towards the end of the book.
If you’re looking for emotional Summer beach reads about loneliness
Eleanor Oliphant struggles with social skills. Her life is carefully timetabled and she avoids human interactions.
But that changes when she meets Raymond. An unhygienic IT guy from her office. Ultimately, Raymond’s big heart will help Eleanor repair her own.
The twists in this books were genuinely unexpected and shocking. The relationship between Eleanor and Raymond was perfect and allowed for so much character growth. I was in floods of tears at the end.
Everything magical happens between the months of June and August.
I couldn’t resist quoting Jenny Han to finish off the post. No matter what your plans are this year – staying at home, travelling nearby or going abroad – I hope you find a beach read for your summer.
If you liked this post download the free summer reading list challenge. All the books on this list in a handy printable. Perfect to screenshot and take to the bookshop!
If you liked this post on Summer Beach Reads, you might also like…
This post on Romance books to read
Some recommendations for YA Fantasy books to read
This post with the best LGBTQ+ YA Books
Insanely good books set in France