16 Must-Read Books for Summer

Summer has arrived, and with it (hopefully) long stretches of time that can be filled perfectly with a good book. Here are some the best books to read this summer. Throw in your tote or carry-on this season and enjoy!

best books to read this summer while relaxing16 Must-Read Books for Summer 

Cozy up in the sun with your new favorite read. 


Maybe you’re looking for the perfect book to toss in your beach bag as you prepare to spend the day luxuriating in the sun (with proper sunscreen, of course!). Or maybe you can’t quite make the time in your busy summer schedule to escape for a beachy getaway, and you just want to feel like you have the sand between your toes and the rush of the ocean in your ears. These reads will do the trick! 

1. The Light in Summer by Mary McNear: Find yourself transported to the idyllic world of Butternut Lake, a summery retreat where main character Billy Harper feels most like herself. Follow Billy’s journey on Butternut Lake for one fateful season, during which she comes to terms with the past, faces changes in her relationships, and realizes that happy doesn’t always have to mean perfection. So relatable, right? 

2. The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman: Adie Lou Kruger returns to her family’s home on Lake Michigan after navigating a devastating divorce and totally beats the odds when she decides to turn their old cottage into an inn instead of selling it. There’s a cast of eclectic and lovable characters and plenty of empowering moments. 

3. Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand: Bestselling author Elin Hidlerbrand is basically the queen of all things beach reading, and she’s done it again with her latest novel. The cover alone will make you want to put on your bathing suit and go for a swim, and the story it tells of a family experiencing the sixties will keep you busy for many summer hours. 

4. The Friends We Keep by Jane Green: Jane Green’s new release explores what happens when four best friends reunite after thirty years — on a vacation! It touches on themes of love, forgiveness, disappointment, and more. All the feels! 


There’s nothing like some good fiction — a little romance, a little humor, a good story, you know the drill. No matter where your summer takes you, these fun titles will be the perfect companion. 

5. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner: Prepare to see this book everywhere this summer, no matter where you find yourself! (It’s a good thing the cover is so pretty.) Mrs. Everything follows two sisters as they seek very different dreams in difficult circumstances. There’s bound to be something for everyone in this one! 

6. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: If the word “wedding” is in the title, you already know this is going to be a fun one. The Wedding Date is a rom-com on paper, featuring a main character who agrees to go to a wedding with a guy she meets in an elevator when she finds herself without the all-important plus-one. What happens next? Grab your favorite sunglasses and find out. 

7. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: Doesn’t this cover alone make you want to throw on your favorite maxi dress and drink something delicious out of a coconut? The Unhoneymooners is your classic odd couple story. Sworn enemies, weddings, Hawaiian resorts, a free vacation — it’s all there. 

8. Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke: Childhood sweethearts Justine and Nick reconnect unexpectedly, and if their astrological signs are any indication, a love affair seems almost inevitable. Justine attempts to take their relationship — and the stars — into her own hands to make it happen. Obviously, the dramatics unfold from there. 


If you’re the kind of reader who likes to balance out afternoons of summer relaxation with some extra excitement, it sounds like you might want to consider grabbing a thriller to get lost in. Any of these four books will make you feel like you’re smack in the middle of a fast-paced, high-stakes scenario… and you won’t even have to leave your beach chair or put down your drink. 

9. The Girl Before by JP Delaney: I promise you that you will not be able to put this one down. The book is about two women, each of which has gone through a serious personal transition when the story begins. You won’t believe how they cross paths in the end. 

10. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris: Cass has been haunted by the sight of a murdered woman in an abandoned car in the woods, and no matter what she does, she can’t get the murder or the memory out of her mind. The Breakdown takes readers inside her brain as she figures out how to move forward from that chilling moment in the woods. 

11. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: After a few women are found dead at the bottom of a local river, you know that there are secrets just waiting to come out. And since Paula Hawkins is the well-known author of The Girl on the Train, there isn’t anyone better to share just how it all goes down. 

12. No Exit by Taylor Adams: This book packs a serious punch, with everything from kidnappings to blizzards to psychopaths. Bring this one to the beach and I guarantee that you’ll look up to find the sun setting in what feels like the blink of an eye. 


Non-fiction can get a bad rap, but you’d be surprised by how much variety there is in this genre. Truth can really be crazier than fiction — and even when it’s not, it’s often just as well-written. Consider adding at least one non-fiction book to your reading list this summer. I promise that you’ll be excited about what you can learn. 

13. American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales: We all spend a lot of time talking about social media and the effect that its had on us, especially the kids and teens in our lives. In American Girls, award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales embarks on a deep dive into the issue, taking you inside the world of kids and social media. 

14. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: A book about the rise and fall of a multibillion-dollar tech startup may not sound like your typical beach read, but you might be surprised! This true story is so wild that you may find yourself assuming that it’s fiction as you fly through the story. People are going to be talking about this one everywhere — don’t miss out! 

15. Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer: A fun and fascinating take on non-fiction, Text Me When You Get Home will teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about the history and importance of female friendships. You’ll discover how our friendships have changed over time, how they’re influenced by pop culture, and so much more. 

16. How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell: Trying to keep those relaxing summer vibes going into fall and beyond? How to Do Nothing can help you get there. Artist and critic Jenny Odell shares her thoughts on the many things that are competing for attention in our day-to-day lives… and gives you the tools you may need to start streamlining them. 

Book shelf

What books are you reading this summer?

Summer 2019 Books

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