Books to Read This Summer

Whether your plans for summer include sitting on the beach, reuniting with loved ones, checking travel destinations off your bucket list, or simply enjoying time at home, there’s one thing you can always enjoy: books! Summer reading is a mainstay of the season, regardless of how your schedule for the next few months is shaping up. It’s time to share with you some of the best books to read this summer. Throw in your tote or carry-on this season and enjoy!

Books to read this summer.

It’s Summer Reading Season!

16 Books to Pick Up This Summer 

Below, you’ll find a list of sixteen fantastic books that are bound to make your summer even more spectacular. Toss any one (or five!) of these in your bag and prepare for a perfect summer moment, no matter where you are. 

1. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: Last summer, Emily Henry’s Beach Read was one of the hottest books out there. In fact, I included it on my list of must-reads for 2020, which you can see below! This summer, the author is at it again, this time with a novel called People We Meet on Vacation, which is on track to be the most popular book of the season. You won’t want to be left out of the loop on this one, which tells the story of an unlikely pair of friends who just might find love with each other on a summer trip. Whether you’re vacationing or staying home this summer, you should plan to get your hands on Emily Henry’s latest! 

2. That Summer: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner: Like clockwork, author Jennifer Weiner writes page-turning novels that become bestsellers year after year. Since The New York Times calls Weiner “the undisputed boss of the beach read,” it’s fitting that her new release should be available just in time for summer… and that it has “summer” in the title. That Summer follows heroine Daisy Shoemaker, who has a busy cooking business and a full family life (I feel this so hard!) and is still trying to figure out why she’s not totally happy. When she starts receiving emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, she just might find the answers she’s looking for.

3. Malibu Rising: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid: The book community was buzzing about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six a few years ago, and with all the excitement about this author’s newest book, it feels a little bit like deja vu! Between the surf-y, summery cover and the California setting, Malibu Rising really is perfect for this time of year. Pick it up to be transported to Malibu in the early ‘80s, where one star-studded party has the potential to turn the glamorous Riva family upside down. 

4. Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir by Ashley C. Ford: Ashley C. Ford has made big waves in the media world in recent years, and she is finally bringing her voice to a book with the memoir Somebody’s Daughter. In its pages, Ashley shares her personal journey through difficult relationships, assault, financial challenges, race, and more. Even if her specific personal experiences are vastly different from your own, you’ll be able to relate to many of her struggles and emotions… and you should be prepared to feel it all very hard. 

5. Good Company: A Novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: If you’re a big fan of novels that dig into the complexities of families and relationships, Good Company might just be the perfect summer read for you. In this book, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney takes a close look at the marriage between Flora and Julian, the theater company they run, and Flora’s friendship with Margot. As the book begins, Flora is about to make a discovery that will rock her world. You don’t want to miss what happens next! If you need further convincing, Good Company was selected as a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. 

6. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: Easily one of the most anticipated new releases of 2021, One Last Stop is a romance set on the New York City subway. And while this might not sound like an especially dreamy place for new love to unfold, in the skilled hands of bestselling author Casey McQuiston, it may start to feel like the ideal backdrop for meeting that special someone. All aboard One Last Stop, which is shaping up to be one of the most talked-about books of summer 2021! 

7. The Other Black Girl: A Novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris: Here’s the first thing that will happen when you pick up a copy of this book: the cover will stop you in your tracks. Next, you’ll be struck by that sticker for Good Morning America Book Club. Then, you’ll start reading… and that’s when The Other Black Girl will seriously blow you away. This book follows an editorial assistant named Nella Rogers who is on a mission to diversify her workplace. She begins receiving threatening messages, and the book takes on a whole new momentum. Part thriller, part social commentary, The Other Black Girl has something for everyone. 

8. Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand: If you love summery books, you’re surely no stranger to Elin Hilderbrand, who has been sharing stories about her home in Nantucket for many summers now. Golden Girl is her latest! It explores what happens in the aftermath of the death of novelist and mother Vivian Howe and adds a brand new depth to Hilderbrand’s usual beachy fare. 

9. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren: Have you ever wondered what happens when science and romance collide? You’ll find out in The Soulmate Equation! In this book, data wizard Jessica Davis decides to sign up for a DNA-based matchmaking company and is ultimately matched with one of the company’s founders. The problem is that Jessica doesn’t really like him that much! When she commits to dating him in exchange for a financial reward to spread the word about the company, you know that things are about to get interesting.

10. A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin: We all have a personal special place. But what happens when a very exclusive special place is established for a larger group of women? And what happens when that special place is infiltrated by a reporter who is looking for her next big scoop? There’s power and drama and danger — all of the juicy ingredients necessary for an amazing summer read. 

11. Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Frieldand: This book has been described as an ideal read for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And since it’s centered on a family reunion at a Catskills getaway, it’s also an ideal read for anyone who’s experienced their share of family drama. (Is there anyone who hasn’t?) As you might expect from a story like this, there are plenty of family secrets and hilarious moments — and it’s all set in the fantastic Golden Hotel, a once-popular getaway location that’s now in decline. Will the Golden Hotel survive? Read the book and find out! 

12. Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner: Would you like to feel some major feelings this summer? I would recommend picking up Crying in H Mart, a memoir about food and identity. Author Michelle Zauner is well-known in the indie rock world from her band Japanese Breakfast, but in her debut book, she proves her chops as a writer, too. She writes about her experiences growing up Korean American, the way food connected her to her family, and so much more. 

13. The Husbands: A Novel by Chandler Baker: You know I love a good thriller — especially in the summertime — and this is the next one on my list. Main character Nora Spangler finds herself smack in the middle of an exclusive suburban neighborhood called Dynasty Ranch, where every husband appears suspiciously supportive. As she digs into litigating a wrongful death case in the community, she realizes that things in Dynasty Ranch are not what they appear. 

14. The Layover by Lacie Waldon: If you’re looking for the perfect blend of romance and travel in a summer book, you just found it. The Layover is about a woman who is wrapping up her career as a flight attendant. On her final trip, she reconnects with a former pilot colleague and strikes up a flirtatious exchange, which makes things just a little more interesting when the plane is forced to take a layover for mechanical problems. Oh — and author Lacie Waldon is a flight attendant herself, which I think is pretty cool. 

15. Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in the Dating App Inferno by Nancy Jo Sales: I didn’t want to include a lot of non-fiction in this summer reading list — I think we all need a little escapism over the next few months, don’t you? — but this one sounded just juicy enough to deserve a shoutout. In Nothing Personal, journalist Nancy Jo Sales takes readers inside her journey with dating apps in her forties. 

16. The Last Thing He Told Me: A Novel by Laura Dave: You know I love to include a Reese’s Book Club selection on these reading lists, and The Last Thing He Told Me is just that! This book was also an instant New York Times bestseller, which I think is another excellent sign. The Last Thing He Told Me is a mystery with thrilling twists and turns and lost love — perfect for anyone looking for a page turner to toss in their beach bag this summer.

I can’t wait to see what books you decide to pick up this summer!

Looking for our picks from last year? Check out the 2020 Summer Book List:

  1. The Jetsetters: A Novel by Amanda Eyre Ward
  2. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: A Novel by Josie Silver
  3. Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner
  4. All Adults Here: A Novel by Emma Straub
  5. Little Family: A Novel by Ishmael Beah
  6. Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin
  7. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  8. Big Summer: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
  9. Brunch and Other Obligations: A Novel by Suzanne Nugent
  10. Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster
  11. The Jane Austen Society: A Novel by Natalie Jenner
  12. Exciting Times: A Novel by Naoise Dolan

What books are you reading this summer?

Summer 2019 Books

6 comments
June 11, 2021

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for this list! I spotted a few books that I had read and liked so I figure we must have similar tastes in books. I just finished Bad Blood and couldn’t put it down! The others I’m saving for the beach. ?

  2. There is one Black author on this list. You couldn’t bother to find a more diverse reading? This is very disappointing.

    1. Jay, you are right. We absolutely should have paid attention to that, and we own that we didn’t. We’ve updated the list to rightfully include a more diverse list of authors and subjects.

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