The days are getting hotter and all I want to do today is run to the beach to escape the blistering heat. I’d love to wade in the waves, but one of my favorite things about my beach escape is immersing myself in my latest list of easy beach reads for the summer. Here’s our list of the top nine books that are perfect for your beach vacation!
Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X is the winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, as well as numerous other awards and prizes. The novel explores the life of Xiomara (called X), who fights for her mother and her brother, but she also fights for herself to be seen and to have a voice. The novel unfolds in verse in ways that are stunningly beautiful, powerful, and timely.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from this book: “No one, not even your twin brother,/ will understand the burden/ you feel because of your birth;/ your mother has sight for nothing/ but you two and God;/ your father seems to be serving/ a penance, an oath of solitary silence.”
Bestselling author Pam Jenoff just released her new novel, The Woman with the Blue Star. Set in the Kraków Ghetto in 1942, the book explores the power of human connection and friendship even against the backdrop of World War II horrors and death. Forced to hide in the sewers, Sadie becomes friends with Ella, a Polish girl.
The stories of Anne Frank and others have always inspired me. This is another harrowing story in the same vein. It’s well worth a read for your summer reading enjoyment. Inspired by the true story of a young girl looking up through the grates, Pam says, “When I find a story that makes me still gasp, I’m hopeful that others will feel the same.”
Here’s a memorable scene in the book: “You need to do better,” Pan Rosenberg said before I could speak. He pointed upward. “Up there, almost no more Jews live.” He did not bother to spare me from the truth the way my parents and others had when I was younger. There was no safety in hiding things anymore. “We are the last of our kind and down here we are alive. You owe it to your parents to go on.”
The book has been #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, and it was also chosen for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club. In The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave explores the meaning of family and trust.
In this domestic suspense novel, an ominous “Protect Her” note sends Hannah Hall and her stepdaughter, Bailey, into a maelstrom of mystery, intrigue, and what at first appears to be an uncertain future. When nothing is quite what it seems, anything can unfold.
Here’s a quote from the book: “How do you explain it when you find in someone what you’ve been waiting for your whole life? Do you call it fate? It feels lazy to call it fate. It’s more like finding your way home – where home is a place you secretly hoped for, a place you imagined, but where you’d never before been.”
Rebecca Serle’s novel, In Five Years, is un-put-downable. It’s a resurrection of the five-year plan plot, where a young woman (Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan) finds herself on the receiving end of success and everything she’d hoped and planned for: success in her career-making interview, engaged, and right on track.
That is, until her life is turned upside down. She’s thrown into a very different reality than she’d ever imagined. She awakes five years in the future, married to a different man. As A Wonderful Life taught us long ago, sometimes destiny has other plans.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from In Five Years: “I go to the window, right by the bed. I look out on that view. The water, the bridge, the lights. Manhattan on the water, shimmering like a promise. I think about how much life the city holds, how much heartbreak, how much love.”
Ashley C. Ford’s memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, is a raw and memorable exploration of a childhood with an absent-and-incarcerated father. As an isolated girl growing up in poverty, she seeks love in the wrong places, with a relationship that ends in rape. In this coming-of-age memoir she recovers some understanding of what it is to discover a sense of identity — not only in terms of who she is, but also the life situation into which she was born and raised.
Here’s a passage from Somebody’s Daughter: “In the stillness of the nights that kept on coming at the end of every day, no matter how pleasant or productive the day had been, I wondered if something was wrong with me for ever loving my father in the first place. It made sense why everyone who knew the truth couldn’t look me in the eyes when I asked. They didn’t want me to feel ashamed, but they already felt ashamed for me. I saw it on their faces, pointed in my direction.”
As you can see from the cover, Tia Williams has a new novel out that’s witty, sexy, and romantic. Centering around two writers, Seven Days in June is all about that second chance at love. One is Eva Mercy, an erotic writer who is also a single mom. The other is Shane Hall, an award-winning author who is also a recluse. This book explores lost love, heartbreak, and even something of what modern motherhood is all about.
I love this quote from the book: “I’m alone. When I’m comatose from writing and mothering, when I’m hurting too badly to cook, talk, or smile, I curl up with ‘alone’ like a security blanket. Alone doesn’t care that I don’t shave my legs in the winter. Alone never gets disappointed by me…. It’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in.”
Comedian Quinta Brunson offers up a deeply personal AND funny take on her road to fame. Instead of writing a silly, meaningless book, Brunson goes for something much deeper and more real in She Memes Well: Essays. Her essays explore her early years, her struggles with depression and self-doubt, trying to survive, and onward to her success as a comedian talent who has been featured in Vogue, People, Essence, the Hollywood Reporter.
In an interview with Fast Company, she said, “Writing a book forces you to take things in your life that you, for the sake of surviving and moving on, have turned into one sentence—a book forces you to take that sentence and turn it into paragraphs. Then you have to turn those paragraphs into chapters. It’s excruciating.”
USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert offers up her new rom-com, Act Your Age, Eve Brown. It’s all about 26-year-old Eve Brown, who is on the road to proving that she’s grown up until she crashes/runs into Jacob, the B&B owner she’d hoped would hire her. Yep, she’s a mess, but she means well. Can it really be her fault if everything blows up in her face? Maybe, just maybe, this chaotic mess is just what Jacob needs to open up and learn to love.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book: “I told you before, that there are different ways to fail. Imperfection is inevitable. That’s life. But it doesn’t sound to me like you failed at all, Eve. It sounds like your dream broke, and you’ve been picking up shattered pieces, and blaming yourself when your hands bleed.”
We’re loving bestselling Author Helen Ellis’ latest collection of 12 vivaciously funny essays. She explores what happens among lifelong friends as they explore the highs and lows of life, love, parenthood, and beyond. Betwixt and between the dirty jokes and a bad mammogram, there’s lost parents, husbands, kids, sex, and sobs. After all, we all carry baggage. It’s part of what makes us tick.
Helen Ellis writes: “No matter how old we get, we see each other like we first saw each other: young. We forgive each other like we did when we were young: easily. We lean into every story because no story is too long, or too much, because we come together so rarely to share. We don’t judge each other’s baggage, and we don’t pack light.”
Which books are your favorite easy beach reads for the summer? Share your recommendations in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
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