Things look a little different than we expected this summer, but there’s no need to skip the kinds of beach reads you love. (Fast-paced thrillers! Sweet rom-coms!) Whether you’re perched by your pool or staying cool in the air conditioning, here are 17 books to add to your grown-up summer reading list.
The Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020 (Whether or Not You’re Going to the Beach)
the Marriage Game By Sara Desai
After Layla’s life falls apart, she goes home to her family in San Francisco. With the best intentions in mind, her father offers her the office upstairs to start her new business. What she doesn’t know is that she’ll be sharing the office with Sam, the CEO of a corporate downsizing company. Stuck together in close quarters, sarcasm and sparks fly—surprising all parties involved.
big Summer By Jennifer Weiner
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne is shocked when her ex-best friend Drue walks back into her life, asking if Daphne will be her maid-of-honor. Letting Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a fancy weekend in a Cape Cod mansion. Daphne agrees, and the weekend turns into one big lesson about female friendship and living your best life.
weird But Normal: Essays By Mia Mercado
In this laughably relatable collection of essays, Mia Mercado unpacks those weird parts of being a millennial woman that everyone gets, but seldom talks about, from spending $30 on a candle that smells like an ocean that doesn’t exist to finding a more religious experience in the skincare aisle at Target than your hometown church. With essays titled “Depression Isn’t a Competition but Why Aren’t I Winning?” and “White Friend Confessional,” it’s a funny reminder that it’s OK to feel strange sometimes.
the Two Lives Of Lydia Bird By Josie Silver
Freddie and Lydia had been together for more than a decade, certain their love would last forever. Then, on Lydia’s 28th birthday, Freddie died in a car accident. Despite wanting to retreat from the world, Lydia knows Freddie would want her to try to live fully, even without him, so she enlists the help of her sister and Freddie’s best friend to start getting back to the new normal.
pizza Girl By Jean Kyoung Frazier
In this debut novel, a pregnant 18-year-old is working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles while grieving the death of her father, avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and basically ignoring her future. Then she meets Jenny, a stay-at-home mom who orders pizza every week. As one character looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, their relationship blurs in strange, complicated and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
exciting Times By Naoise Dolan
Ava is an Irish expat teaching English to rich children in Hong Kong. Julian is a banker who likes to spend money on Ava but can’t bring himself to say he loves her. Edith is a beautiful, Hong Kong–born lawyer who takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and be with her. As Julian tells Ava he’s coming back to Hong Kong, she has to decide between the comfort of an old fling at the exciting uncertainty of a new relationship with Edith.
the Herd By Andrea Bartz
When freelance journalist Katie returns to New York after a year of unsuccessful book research, she’s invited to join The Herd, a high-powered social network and coworking space founded by waspy, elegant Eleanor. While waiting for her application to be processed, Katie pitches a biography of Eleanor and The Herd to her book agent. Then, Eleanor disappears, and everyone around her becomes a suspect.
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beach Read By Emily Henry
In this sweet, well, beach read, Augustus is an acclaimed author of literary fiction while January writes bestselling romance. They couldn’t be more different, but it turns out, they’re spending three months living in neighboring beach houses trying to get over writer's block. Then, the devise a plan to get out of their creative ruts: Augustus will write something happy and January will pen the next Great American Novel.
the House On Fripp Island By Rebecca Kauffman
Fripp Island, South Carolina, is the quintessential summer destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott, and their two daughters. For Lisa’s childhood friend, Poppy, the island is a world away from the one she and Lisa grew up in. When Lisa invites Poppy's family to join them, she wonders how her working-class family can turn down an all-expenses paid vacation. But when they all get to the island, they’ve all brought secrets, throwing a wrench in what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach.
strike Me Down By Mindy Mejia
Nora is a forensic accountant in Minneapolis. Her firm’s latest client is Strike, an anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire that’s about to host a major kickboxing tournament with $20 million in prize money. But when the prize money goes missing, Nora is hired to find both the thief and the money. The problem is, Nora has a secret connection to Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking—and even deadly—way.
all Adults Here By Emma Straub
The latest from Straub (Modern Lovers) is about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like it or not. This one is wise, funny and startlingly relatable.
the Guest List By Lucy Foley
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate the wedding of a handsome and charming television star and a smart and ambitious magazine publisher. Everything is lovely, until the Champagne is popped and resentments and jealousies bubble to the surface. Then, someone turns up dead.
party Of Two By Jasmine Guillory (june 23)
When Olivia Monroe moves to L.A. to start her own law firm, dating is the last thing on her mind. But then she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting. She realizes a little too late that he’s actually an up-and-coming junior senator, and she has zero interest in dating a politician. When she gives him a chance, she finds that he’s sweet and funny—not the privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Olivia knows what they have is special, but is it worth the heat of the spotlight?
sex And Vanity By Kevin Kwan (june 30)
In this latest novel from the author of Crazy Rich Asians, a young woman, Lucy, finds herself torn between two men: the waspy fiancé of her family's dreams and the man she’s desperately trying to avoid falling in love with. Set between Capri, the Upper East Side and the Hamptons, it’s just the type of fun rom-com we’ve come to expect from Kwan.
it Is Wood, It Is Stone By Gabriella Burnham (july 28)
Taking place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, Burnham’s debut is about two women, Linda and Marta. Linda is an anxious American living in Brazil with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis drowns in work, Linda feels unmoored. Marta, the couple's maid, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home for an adventure with a charismatic artist, which ultimately binds Marta and Linda in unexpected ways.
the End Of Her By Shari Lapena (july 28)
In Lapena’s latest thriller, Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their twin baby girls. Even though they’re a handful, and Stephanie struggles with sleep deprivation, she’s happy. That is, until Erica, a woman from Patrick's past, appears and makes the disturbing accusation that Patrick’s first wife’s death wasn’t an accident, but murder. Stephanie isn't sure what, or who, to believe.
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vanishing Falls By Poppy Gee (august 4)
The remote town of Vanishing Falls is situated deep within the Tasmanian. The town’s showpiece is a 52-room mansion currently occupied by Jack Lily, a prominent art collector and landowner; his wife, Celia; and their four daughters. But when Celia vanishes without a trace, Joelle, a woman in town whose abilities are vastly underappreciated, could be Celia’s only hope.