The Ultimate Summer Reading List: 100 Beach Reads

To finish this list, you’d have to read approx. 1 book every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Totally doable, right?

1. Bittersweet

Goodness gracious, this book is addictive. For fans of ABC’s “Revenge” and Gossip Girl, this books is suspenseful, thrilling, and a total guilty pleasure. What’s that sound? Oh, that’s your beach bag calling for this book.

2. I Know This Much Is True

“it’s not just a book. It’s a life experience.” —Oprah. Listen to Oprah, guys.

3. We Were Liars

This book makes you feel feelings. We’ll let one Goodreads reviewer, Blythe, speak for us:

“sobbing. sobbing. sobbing. so much love for this book, and its perfect, perfect ending.

i can’t even capitalize right now. i don’t even want to capitalize right now.

in fetal position.

sob.

my souuuuul.”

4. The Vacationers

This book has been getting a lot of buzz, and rightly so. The story follows a family’s trip to Mallorca, from take-off to return flight, and all the delectable family drama that happens along the way. This little book has a lot of heart and is full of scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Plus, this cover rocks.

5. Rules of Civility

A fearless modern heroine claims her place in the New York City of Gatsby. The swooping descriptions of the big apple at that time reveal a place of dark alleys and soaring ballrooms. The perfect book for a city gal taking a break on a beach.

6. Frog Music

Get transported to another time and place—namely San Francisco in 1876. A young woman is shot dead in a salloon. And her best friend is determined to hunt down the murderer.

7. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

This book is probably the wackiest memoir we’ve ever read. Our favorite character is the wild-animal-obsessed father who does something with a squirrel that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. But seriously, this book has such a strong, brave voice that separates stories into chapters for easy reading between dips in the pool.

8. The Divorce Papers

This book is a whole new kind of romantic comedy. The whole thing is shared through personal correspondence, emails, legal documents, and office memos. It’s an easy breezy read that will make you laugh out loud.

9. Speak

This book is…breathtaking. The lead character’s voice is so strong that even after only reading a few pages you feel as if you’ve known her your entire life. Her story is a heartbreaking yet empowering one that is especially relevant with the #YesAllWomen conversations dominating social media.

10. The Good Luck of Right Now

Kirkus says: “Quirky, feel-good fiction from the author of The Silver Linings Playbook.” Enough said.

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This book has a cult following, and lots of Tumblr quote images created from it’s pages, for a reason. The main character Charlie takes you back to high school and encounters familiar struggles—how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, and experimenting with drugs.

12. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Mindy Kaling’s book is just plain adorable, witty, and hilarious. It’s such a fun rea (with pictures, too!) Mindy will be your girl crush by the time you reach the end of this book—guaranteed.

13. Attachments

A hilarious and sweet novel about love in the workplace that will have you eager to get back into the office after a summer weekend.

14. The Martian

This book is a story about an astronaut who accidentally gets stranded on Mars. And Nasa says it’s like…98% accurate. And did we mention that the astronaut in question has a bit of a potty mouth while he comes up with CRAZY GENIUS ways to stay alive. It’s awesome.

15. Lean In

While this feels a little too real-life career-y for a beach read, Sheryl Sandberg’s accessible advice and real-life stories are so interesting and readable you won’t be able to put it down. Bottom line: Guaranteed, this will get you FIRED. UP. on the beach about how women can and should and need to rule the world. (Beyonce playlist optional but encouraged)

16. Beautiful Ruins

This sweeping, romantic book set in the 1960s will transport you to the Mediterranean. Even if you’re just sunning yourself in a city park.

17. The Night Circus

A mysterious circus, dueling magicians, love affairs…yeah just put this in your beach bag right now.

18. My Horizontal Life

Gratuitous and hilarious, combined with a so-crazy-how-could-it-be-true level of ridiculousness. We bet you can finish it in one full beach day.

19. The One & Only

“What if the only one you want is the one you shouldn’t have?” Yepp, that pretty much sums it up. This novel is an easy, captivating read about women and tough choices.

20. Save the Date

The perfect book for wedding-season blues. Funny, relatable, and sparkling with wit.

21. Go Ask Alice

Is a gripping 1971 novel about the life of a troubled teenage girl. We never find out the identity of the diarist.

22. The One Plus One

Life sucks for Jess. That is, until her knight in shining armor comes along. But he’s not at ALL what you’d expect…

23. Devil in the White City

This book about the word’s fair in Chicago came out a few years ago, but remains a classic beach read, in our opinion. Just a warning, you’ll be so absorbed you may forget to reapply sunscreen.

24. Lost Girls

Investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a haunting and completely spooky account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island.

25. The Word Exchange

The dystopian novel, The Word Exchange explores the dangers of technology and the power of the printed word.

26. Summer House with a Swimming Pool

The author of THE DINNER returns with a book even more twisted and crazy.

27. Bridget Jones’s Diary

You have. to. read. this. on. a. beach. It’s required. Ok. Hilarious, witty, romantic, and 100% fun.

28. The Bees

Katniss Everdeen is reincarnated as a worker bee in this totally gripping book. Get ready to spout fascinating bee facts at your next summer cocktail party.

29. Walks With Men

This novella by the acclaimed prose stylist explores a troubled May-December romance and is the perfect length for a single beach day.

30. The Heiresses

Pretty Little Liars for grown-ups.

31. Seating Arrangements

According to the New York Times: “…smart and frothy debut novel…Beneath the surface of this summery romp, however, lie animosities, well-paced sexual suspense and a clash between appearances and authenticity. ” Enough said.

32. The Paris Wife

Just about as romantic as a book can get. This is beautiful, heartbreaking story of the love affair between literature’s original “bad boy” Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson Hemingway.

33. One More Thing

These short stories are funny, snackable and totally clever. Each one takes about as much time to read as it takes for your arms get tired from holding the book in front of the sun.

34. Much Ado About Nothing

We had to show Shakespeare some love on this list. The Bard’s romantic plays were no doubt the beach reads of 17th century England. Much Ado About Nothing is a particular favorite, with witty Beatrice and her fantastic love-hate relationship with Benedick.

35. I Am Pilgrim

An engrossing secret-agent story.

36. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

From a Goodreads reviewer: “My boyfriend got just as hooked on Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore as I did—at the same time, in fact. While on vacation, I noticed my book would go missing, only to turn up a few hours later with the bookmark stuck between new pages. We began a heated battle to be the first one to finish the book.”

37. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

This book has it all: money, power, intrigue, and sex. And horses.

38. The Hobbit

The shortest of the LOTR books, The Hobbit is an easy-reading journey into Middle Earth. Hobbits, dragons, elves, and all sort of magical mischief make this a great beach read for any fantasty-lover.

39. Gone Girl

If you haven’t read this yet….yeah. You really should.

40. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

This is a classic—laugh-out-loud funny yet heartwarming. David Sedaris’ voice in this book crackles with energy. You won’t want to put it down.

41. And The Mountains Echoed

This moving book explores brothers and sisters and the ways in which they love, betray, and sacrifice for each other. A powerful read.

42. The Lovely Bones

The compelling story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — recounted by the teenage victim herself.

43. Under The Tuscan Sun

In this memoir, Frances Mayes buys an abandoned villa in the lush Tuscan countryside. She takes the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. A gorgeous book in a gorgeous setting, with just the right amount of romance.

44. The Fault in Our Stars

Everyone cries when reading this book. It’s such a unique story of young love that feels so honest—and that’s what makes it beautiful and heartbreaking.

45. The Help

This book shares three perspectives on living in Jackson, Mississippi during the incredibly tense civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960’s. Each character’s voice is strong and totally unique. It is unputdownable.

46. Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Jonathan Franzen says: “The characters in Where’d You Go, Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure.” Sign us up.

47. Tuck Everlasting

A romantic young adult read filled with magic that’s very enjoyable for us grown ups.

48. The Summer I Turned Pretty

This book is packed to the brim with summer days, young love, and each page turn brings more feelings of nostalgia. A lovely story and an easy read.

49. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

A very charming and romantic book about…midlife crisis. Really.

50. The Time Traveler’s Wife

This book is half-chick-lit-half-science fiction. Tip: Might want to have tissues with you for this one.

51. Bossypants

This is still one of our favorite covers of all time, and this book is ideal for a carefree day at the pool. Warning, you may find that one of your friends will abscond with the book while you’re swimming.

52. Until You’re Mine

“You’re alone. You’re vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost.” This book is filled to the brim with twisted, psychological suspense.

53. The Princess Bride

If you loved the movie, you will LOVE the book. It’s even funnier. As youuu wishhhhhhh.

54. Ophelia Speaks

This is such a powerful book. A collection of creative writing pieces from adolescent girls who have been through the real trials and tribulations of becoming a woman. Some of the pieces are desperately sad, some triumphant.

55. Dad Is Fat

This is definitely a book that will have you chuckling on your beach towel. One of our favorite comedians shares his early experiences of fatherhood.

56. The Nanny Diaries

This book was written by two former NYC nannies. A quick, fun read.

57. The Devil Wears Prada

if you never got around to reading this book, summer is the perfect time for it. A young woman starts a fast-paced career in NYC and learns important life, and love, lessons.

58. Skipping a Beat

This page turner tells the story of a complicated marriage between high school sweethearts.

59. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

This much buzzed about book is a great choice for bibliophiles everywhere. It’s a love letter to the physical book.

60. Flowers in the Attic

This book is a fascinating, twisted, shocking tale about children who are forced by their mother to stay trapped in an attic just as two of them, brother and sister, reach puberty.

61. The Quick

A captivating story of magic and menace in Victorian London.

62. Crazy Rich Asians

An over-the-top funny book that’s like candy for your mind. Get swept up in the ridiculous world of opulence, glamor, and all-out decadence.

63. State of Wonder

Literary yet very readable, you’ll admire this book’s writing even as you rush toward its surprising ending.

64. The Age of Innocence

This Pulitzer-Prize winning book is a classic tale of love and betrayal. 100% entertaining.

65. This Is Where I Leave You

An adaptation of this book is soon to be a movie with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. It’s a riotously funny novel about love, marriage, divorce, and family.

66. Prep

An addictive book about coming of age and trying to fit in. Friendships, romance, politics, and more are all explored in the idyllic setting of a fancy boarding school in Massachusetts.

67. The Book of Unknown Americans

A great book for fans of Teju Cole, Christina Heriquez dives into the experiences of immigrants.

68. Like Water for Chocolate

Originally written in Spanish, this beautiful book is a tale of tradition and personal growth. A girl is forbidden from marrying the man she loves because it is her duty as the youngest daughter to care for her mother. She pours her feelings into her cooking.

69. The Accident

A non-stop, action-packed thriller that tells the story of a mysterious manuscript that bears such important secrets that some will stop at nothing to keep it unpublished.

70. Girl in a Blue Dress

This lovely book serves as an intimate portrait of the woman who was behind one of literature’s most esteemed figures.

71. The Secret Life of Bees

This book was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years, and for good reason. A story about women, for women, by a woman.

72. The Cuckoo’s Calling

A detective investigates the death of a supermodel in this excellent crime thriller. (Revealed to be the work of J.K. Rowling hiding behind the pen name Robert Galbraith.)

73. Pride and Prejudice

Need we say more?

74. Water For Elephants

Orphaned Jacob runs away to the circus. What he finds there is beyond what he could have imagined. A world of love, glamor, and danger is beautifully rendered in this book.

75. The Cider House Rules

This is the kind of book that you read and find yourself really, really wishing it hadn’t ended. Irving’s character development and sense of place combine in the most magical way.

76. Wool

This is an intense book. It was originally a self-published short story that grew into a phenomenon of its own. This powerful sci-fi dystopia is sometimes genuinely terrifying but always totally exhilarating.

77. My Sister’s Keeper

This book will touch your soul, guaranteed.

78. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

This book is very unique. It combines fiction and photography to build the spine-tingling story of an abandoned orphanage for troubled kids. That might not be so abandoned after all…

79. Young Money

If you were fascinated by world created in “Wolf of Wall Street” read this well-told exploration of the richest of the rich in Manhattan. This book takes work hard, play hard to a whole other level.

80. The Thirteenth Tale

A very mysterious story of family secrets. This book will keep you hungry for answers until you reach the very end. (And perhaps even beyond that!)

81. In Cold Blood

A genre-defining crime masterpiece about the gruesome murder of a family (husband, wife, two children) in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959.

82. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A funny and heartwarming tale of a retirement community in a former guesthouse in Bangalore. It’s a sunny read that also touches on some powerful themes, namely how cultures adapt and combine in modern times.

83. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

This book is so soulful. It combines surreal elements (a daughter’s magical taste buds) with a truly down-to-earth family narrative.

84. Kitchen Confidential

If we could describe this book in one word? Shocking. In his signature unapologetic voice, Anthony Bourdain reveals the sex, drugs, and craziness of the restaurant biz.

85. Defending Jacob

Andy, a prominent lawyer, has everything going for him: a great career, a happy family, and respect from his neighbors. Suddenly, a horrible crime rocks his perfect world, and he finds himself defending his own son.

86. Night Film

From the author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics comes a dark and twisty murder mystery that will keep you glued to its pages.

87. NOS4A2

This novel is dripping with powerful and undeniable supernatural suspense. You’ll be totally absorbed.

88. Delancey

This unique memoir tells the story of a young couple and their experiences doing the impossible: running a restaurant.

89. Into the Wild

The engrossing and 100% true story of a mysterious young man who renounced all society, with fatal consequences.

90. Confessions of a Shopaholic

This light-hearted read tells the story of a young woman whose flashy lifestyle and penchant for expensive footwear drags her deeply into debt. Suddenly, her job as a reporter pulls her into a cover story that she truly cares about, changing her life forever.

91. The Luxe

“Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.” This is Gossip Girl set in the 1890s. This book and the beach go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

92. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

A unique, voice-driven book that tells the story of a young autistic boy living in England. The book begins with the mysterious murder of a neighborhood dog. The character’s perspective on the world is so interesting, endearing, and carefully crafted by Mark Haddon.

93. Boneshaker

This book is filled with action packed adventure right from page one. Plus, it combines steampunk and zombies. Awesome.

94. Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy

Ophira Eisenberg’s sharp wit is in top form in this memoir. She shares the hilarious tales of her commitment-phobic youth and how she found love in the most unlikely place imaginable.

95. All Day and A Night

A much-buzzed-about new crime thriller from Alafair Burke. A murder in Manhattan leads to questions of a convicted serial killer’s innocence.

96. Bicentennial

Even if you “don’t get poetry” you’ll love this collection from Dan Chiasson. Many of the poems take place during the summer and cover a wide range of topics that everyone can relate to. Plus there’s a piece of pizza on the cover.

97. Jaws

We’d recommend reading this by the pool instead of the beach.

98. The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The drama-filled, true story of King Henry VIII’s romantic life is 100% shocking and captivating. This book draws you into a weird world of power, manipulation, and greed.

99. Cutting Teeth

Big-time drama unfolds over a beach weekend with a few Brooklyn-based couples and their children as the cast of characters.

100. One for the Money

No beach reads list would be complete without Janet. The first book in the Stephanie Plum series is the fun, flirty story of a bounty hunter tasked with capturing her high-school crush.

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