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    17 Intriguingly Captivating Books That Are Perfect For Vacation

    Summer isn't over yet! Here are some of our vacation favorites.

    by ,

    From literary fiction to flirty romance to bingeworthy mysteries, here are some of the best summer vacation books we recommend!

    1. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


    I absolutely adored Beach Read last year, so I was thrilled to read another book by Emily Henry this year. People We Meet on Vacation did not disappoint. I wanted to live in Poppy and Alex's world the same way I wanted to live in Connell and Marianne's world in Normal People. This book is about two best friends who are complete opposites. Poppy loves adventures and travel, while Alex has learned to appreciate where he comes from. After a friendship fallout, Poppy initiates a vacation with Alex to try to fix things. With vibrant humor and incredible characters, it was over way too soon. —Farrah Penn

    2. Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

    Custom House

    Killing Eve meets Silicon Valley in this satirical spy thriller about two very different women working at a tech company. In 2006, Julia is recruited as a Russian spy and stationed in Silicon Valley. By 2018, she's the COO of Tangerine, a huge tech company, and sending company secrets back home while simultaneously presenting as the blueprint for "the woman who has it all." Alice works at the bottom of the chain, but when she notices suspicious activity on a company server, she's thrown into Julia's game. But as Alice gets closer to her secret, Julia begins to question whom she's loyal to: Russia or herself? —Kirby Beaton

    3. Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez


    While this is the third book in Jimenez's The Friend Zone romance series, you don't have to read them in order to enjoy it. Vanessa is an independent, carefree woman who lives life to the fullest. She fears she might have the same fatal genetic condition as her mother, but wants to spend her life living every moment with purpose. Enter the hot lawyer who lives next door: Adrian Copeland. He offers to help Vanessa with her sister's infant daughter, whom she's caring for, and from there, a bond begins to form between them. But Adrian thrives off structure and logic, while Vanessa is more go-with-the-flow...does this hinder things for them long-term, especially when feelings are growing stronger? —Farrah Penn

    4. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

    Katherine Tegen Books

    Henry "Monty" Montague is a gentleman by birth but a rebel by nature, and not even his disapproving father can curb his habits of gambling, drinking, and waking up next to a different man or woman each day. Monty's grand tour of Europe is supposed to be full of fun, but his father's looming expectations and his secret crush on his best friend, Percy, are holding him back. But when one of his reckless mistakes puts his whole crew — including Percy and Monty's sister — in danger, he'll have to pull himself together and save the day. —Kirby Beaton

    5. For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing


    Once I sat down to read For Your Own Good — a clever, twisty thriller — it was difficult to stop reading. It's the perfect read to get lost in this summer if you can't get enough of mysteries. Samantha Downing juggles the POV among an ensemble of characters who are easy to differentiate and addicting to follow. In the prestigious Belmont Academy, Teddy Crutcher wants the best for his students, even if it means teaching them hard lessons. Zach is a student of Teddy's but cannot for the life of him figure out why he's on his shit list. Sonia — a Belmont alum and current teacher — is dedicated to her students but slightly disagrees with Teddy's methods of educating. When the death of a school parent occurs within Belmont, Teddy is keenly aware that some people have their suspicions directed toward him. But what does he have to hide? —Farrah Penn

    6. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

    Atria Books

    This was my favorite read of 2020, mainly because I really needed something as uplifting and hopeful as Anxious People. When a robber accidentally takes an apartment full of potential buyers hostage after a failed bank heist, each person — from the bickering young couple to the wealthy, cold banker to even the robber — will have to face the things in their lives that are threatening to boil over. It's a fun, charming story that will have you on the edge of your seat, but also a poignant look into what makes us human and what that humanity means we owe to one another. —Kirby Beaton

    7. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

    Little, Brown

    If you want a super-fast-paced mystery in the same vein as Knives Out, look no further. Avery's life changes overnight when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves her nearly all of his fortune. Thing is, Avery has no idea why, as she doesn't even know who Tobias is. But if Avery wants her inheritance, she must solve a series of puzzles, riddles, and codes throughout Hawthorne House, which is occupied by Tobias's family — including four intriguing and dangerous (not to mention attractive) boys who grew up assuming they would inherit billions. Caught in a world of privilege, Avery must learn how to play the game. (And you won't have a long wait for the sequel, which is due for release in September.) —Farrah Penn

    8. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette


    This cozy mystery may take place in winter, but its ice cream shop setting is perfect for a summer vacation. Bronwyn "Win" Crewse has just taken over her family's ice cream shop, but it's already off to a bad start: Delays made her miss the summer season, so her grand reopening coincides with the first snow of the season. Even worse, Win discovers a dead body in the snow just outside her shop. And when the victim turns out to be a grifter with a connection to Win's family, her father is implicated in the crime. Now Win has to figure out who did it before her family is changed forever. —Kirby Beaton

    9. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang


    If you haven't read a Helen Hoang romance book yet, this summer is the time. Stella has Asperger's syndrome, which makes her amazing at her lucrative math-focused job, but also means she just doesn't *get* the point of French kissing. Ready to up her dating game, she decides to explore professional help. Enter: Michael Phan, a sexy escort more than willing to help Stella practice the art of sex. But soon Michael starts to feel that this could be more than just a job, and Stella will have to recognize that love doesn't always follow logic. —Kirby Beaton

    10. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    Penguin Random House

    If summer for you means slipping into an atmospheric, utterly captivating story that truly transports you somewhere else, then this is the book for you. Confident, glamorous Noemí Taboada journeys to High Place in the Mexican countryside at the request of her cousin but is alarmed to find her in distress, claiming there is a doom about the place. Her husband doesn't seem too concerned, but when Noemí begins to experience dreams with visions of blood, she knows her cousin wasn't lying, and she begins to uncover the dark knowledge of this family’s past. —Farrah Penn

    11. Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland


    For more than 60 years, the Golden Hotel has been the hot spot for vacationers in the Catskills. But the glamorous resort isn't what it used to be — and neither is the relationship between the two families who own it. With an offer to sell on the table, they have one last summer to try to save the beloved Golden before it's too late. But as old secrets, new drama, and generational gaps emerge, they'll have a harder time than they thought bringing the magic back. —Kirby Beaton

    12. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

    Little, Brown and Co.

    Get ready for an adventure that explores the love between a mother and daughter. When Bee chooses a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for her good grades, her normally reclusive mother, Bernadette, throws herself into the planning. But the eccentric Bernadette is burned out from her life in Seattle and — after a school fundraiser disaster — decides to disappear. Bee follows her mother's trail, determined to find out what happened, and ends up uncovering a lifetime of her mother's secrets along the way. —Kirby Beaton

    13. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon


    In this lighthearted, witty romance, two public radio coworkers — Shay and Dominic — are forced to work together on a new show concept: two exes who deliver relationship advice live, on air. The only problem? Shay and Dom aren't exes, but in order to save their jobs, they will have to pretend that they are. —Farrah Penn

    14. The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    This book in the middle grade Nevermoor series is fun enough to binge on a long plane ride but light enough that you can put it down when it's time to go explore whatever city you're in. Morrigan is cursed — or so she's been told. But on her 11th birthday, she's rescued by a mysterious man and taken to a hidden, magical city called Nevermoor. But in order to stay, she has to compete for a spot in the coveted Wundrous Society. The only problem? Morrigan doesn't have any powers. Or does she? —Kirby Beaton

    15. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    Harper Voyager

    When Rosemary joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer, she doesn't expect much beyond a job and a ride far away from her past. But the eccentric crew members (including a reptilian pilot) turn out to be exactly what loner Rosemary needs in her life. When they're offered the job of a lifetime, they agree, but a dangerous mission means Rosemary will have to learn to rely on her newfound family. This fun jaunt across space has a cast of delightful characters you'll fall in love with! —Kirby Beaton

    16. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

    Scholastic Press

    Lord of the Flies but with beauty queens? We love to see it. When a plane crash strands a group of competing beauty queens on an island, they're forced to figure out how to survive — both the island and one another. Plus, they've got the island's other, not-so-welcoming occupants to contend with. Between the scathing satire and sometimes ridiculous (in a fun way!) plot points lies a story exploring the importance of self-reflection and the unattainable standards women try to live up to. —Kirby Beaton

    17. I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff by Abbi Jacobson

    Grand Central Publishing

    What better book to read on vacation than a book about vacation? When actor Abbi Jacobsen decided to take a road trip across the country by herself, her friends and family had one question: "Why?" But as her poignant series of essays (among other things) proves, solitude can be cleansing. Fresh from a breakup, Abbi muses about relationships, embarrassments, and life's biggest questions. Both laugh-out-loud funny and intimately relatable, this will have you planning your next solo trip ASAP. —Kirby Beaton

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