While the definition of a beach read is super subjective, this list is filled with books that will keep you turning the pages or transporting you to a destination you would enjoy on vacation.
Whatever your plans are this summer, I firmly believe it should involve reading a book. So whether you’re camping, hiking, spending hours at the pool or the beach, or staying at home — I hope you’ll find something on this list to pique your interest.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
Beach Read meets Sweetbitter in this laugh-out-loud and ultimately heartwarming debut of a good friend’s very bad decision and the summer job that stands to ruin or make her life.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations. Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse
A mesmerizing and suspenseful coming-of-age novel about an orphan hiding within the walls of her former family home–and about what it means to be truly seen after becoming lost in life.
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead
Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession, and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is an addictive, propulsive read you won’t be able to put down.
The Guncle Steven Rowley
From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo . . . Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.
It Takes Two to Mango by Carrie Doyle
After Plum Lockhart’s job as a travel magazine editor is eliminated in corporate cuts, she decides she’s sick of cold winters in NYC and fruitless swiping on dating apps–what she needs is a dramatic change of scenery. On a whim, she accepts a job as a villa broker and moves to a beautiful Caribbean island.
Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
Chilling and compulsively readable, touching on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation, Dream Girl is a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer.
Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
For fans of the locked-room mystery of One By One and the heart-stopping tension The Last Flight, Hostage is an explosively addictive thriller about one flight attendant and the agonizing decision that will change her life―and the lives of everyone on-board―forever.
Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
A Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Urgent, propulsive, and sharp as a knife, The Other Black Girl is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
Is a smart psychological suspense novel that follows one woman’s reckoning as the past catches up with her, all while trying to give her daughter the childhood she was denied.
The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy
A satirical novel for fans of Women Talking and Red Clocks about two best friends — a disgraced influencer and a struggling actor–who form The Atmosphere, a cult designed to reform problematic men.
Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey
Acting like she’s in love with her handsome nightmare of a co-star — in a movie directed and produced by her complicated Hollywood royalty family — is Sloane’s job. But what happens when the lines between script and reality get blurred?
Island Queen by Vanessa Riley
A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies.
Much Ado about Nauticaling by Gabby Allan
The bubbly fun of a rom-com meets the irresistible quirkiness of a cozy mystery in this buoyant new series set off the coast of Southern California, where 30-something Whitney Dagner has moved home to help with her family’s boat tour business. Living in a Pacific paradise isn’t always smooth sailing, but things really get rocky when Whit’s brother is accused of murder and it falls on her – with the help of her ex-boyfriend Felix and police dispatcher roommate Mirabel – to clear his name…
The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe
The New York Times bestselling Beach House series returns with this tender and compassionate novel following the Rutledge family as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, unity, and a dose of humor, discovering unexpected joys and lessons that will endure long past the season.
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Summer comes another deliciously twisty novel of intrigue, secrets, and the transformative power of female friendship.
Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams
The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion.
The Family Plot by Megan Collins
When a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch, horrifying secrets are exposed upon the discovery of another body in his grave in this chilling novel from the author of Behind the Red Door and The Winter Sister.
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews
Letty Carnahan is in trouble. She’s on the run from New York City; she has her four-year-old niece, Maya in tow, and her sister was found dead in the entry hall of her glamorous townhome.
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Meddy works as a photographer for her overbearing, superstitious Chinese Indonesian aunties and mother in the family wedding catering business. When her mom arranges a date for her, she ends up accidentally killing him, and Meddy turns to her aunts for help. A series of over-the-top situations and antics occur with lots of bantering and interfering aunties.
A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams
A heartwarming novel of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings set in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.
Lizzie & Dante by Mary Bly
The insightful, audacious, and deeply romantic story of a woman whose life turns upside down after she meets an enigmatic chef on vacation in Italy.
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros–who changed the course of history.
Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin
Emmy Award winner, renowned lawyer and journalist, The View cohost, and National Bestselling author Sunny Hostin dazzles with this brilliant novel about a life-changing summer along the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard.
The Siren by Katherine St. John
From Katherine St. John, author of The Lion’s Den, comes another sublimely escapist thriller: When Hollywood heartthrob Cole Power hires his ex-wife, Stella Rivers, to act in his son’s film, he sparks a firestorm on an isolated island that will unearth long-buried secrets–and unravel years of lies.
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland
A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills–perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel–from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.
Palm Beach by Mary Adkins
A thought-provoking page-turner from the author of When You Read This and Privilege that captures the painful divide between the haves and have-nots and the seductive lure of the American dream.
The Therapist by B. A. Paris
The multimillion-copy New York Times bestselling author B.A. Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in The Therapist–a powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.
What do you think about the books on this list?
Have you read any of the books on this list? Do you have any summer 2021 beach reads you’re looking forward to? What books would you add to the list?