Whether you're already packing up your beach bag or just looking ahead to days when you can finally stretch out that towel and decompress, the best beach reads will make you feel like you're basking in the sun no matter what the weather's doing. Even if this summer's hottest reading locale is by the pool in your own backyard or on the living room couch with the windows open and a fan going, a good book can make even the stolen moments between tasks feel like a relaxing vacation. We firmly believe the best beach read is one that transports you, whether that's through the characters' steamy escapades, spine-tingling suspense that puts you at risk for nightmares, richly detailed historical fiction or true-to-life memoirs that give you a look at how someone else lives, there's an embarrassment of riches on the new release lists this year.
Some of your favorite authors have steamy new titles dropping just in time for summer break and lots of debut authors and under-the-radar hits will also find their way to the top of your TBR pile. No matter what your summer book taste (or what kind of swimsuit you're wearing at the time!) we've got something worth bringing along. Pick up a stack of these to carry with you wherever the summer sun takes you — and when you're done, dive into the Good Housekeeping Book Club for even more fabulous feel-good fare.
While March doesn't quite register as summer for most of us, this novel's theme of escape feels like it fits. A group of scientists agree to live on Parallaxis, a space station built for billionaires (and funded by tech scions), in order to conduct research on how to keep humanity viable through a climate-devastated planet. They're promised their families can join them soon, but once the scientists make it to the station, that promise, and their lives, quickly begin to unravel. This dystopian novel will carry you far away, no matter where you are.
When Merit meets the supernova architect Jane, her marriage and home life had just started to feel a little stale. But Jane injects it with a jolt of electricity that's more than a work friendship, it's a chance to imagine a different kind of life. This story of female relationships will spark your own imagination, too.
Painting an indelible portrait of one family's legacy of violence and survival, love and perseverance and the way art can save our souls, this is a richly painted and beautifully atmospheric novel that will make you feel like you've been transported to Memphis through its pages.
Austin's Zilker Park neighborhood is the kind of close-knit paradise that justifies the real estate price tag, full of moms who spend every happy hour on one of their porches and kids who pal around until curfew. That is, until three of the moms' boys come back from a late-night bike ride with a secret that will blow all of their lives wide open. Shake up a margarita and light a citronella, you'll be in this one for awhile.
Mallory is still unmoored from her mother's death when she meets an older woman at the gym and becomes immediately enamored. She shows Mallory a kind of life she'd previously only imagined, and their relationship changes the trajectory of her life even after it's over. This quiet, tightly-wound novel explores how much damage and growth we can inflict on one another.
When three women hit menopause, they discover they're more powerful than they ever imagined. And there are men who are about to learn that the hard way. Guided by one of the women's ability to hear the voices of dead girls who need redemption, they uncover grisly secrets and set about making them right. Because sometimes, women just have to take matters into their own hands. This one gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "girl power."
Thanks to her career as a high-powered literary agent, Nora already knows all of the rom-com stereotypes. So when her sister invites her to spend a month in a sleepy town, she has no intention of becoming one. Besides, her editor nemesis is there too, and she's definitely not falling for him — right? This summer romance is unputdownable, so clear your schedule before you crack it open.
Teenager Morgan Flowers has spent their whole life wondering about their absent mother Zoe, trying to keep life gentle for their neurodivergent father and figure out who they are along the way. But when Zoe's girlfriend Brigid dumps her, she crash-lands back into Morgan's life, just in time for her alcohol-fueled drama to cause problems between Morgan and their new girlfriend, too. This coming-of-age story is achingly tender and will remind readers of any age what it's like to be a teen who wears their heart on the outside.
Most of us leave our teenage hearthrobs in our childhood bedrooms, trading them for more "serious" concerns like relationships, kids and jobs. But when new mom Tabitha discovers a passion for Benedict Cumberbatch, she soon realizes her obsession isn't really about the actor at all but the joy of frivolous interests and the sense of self that can come from them. Part memoir, part self-help, this one will empower you to rediscover your own obsessions. And yes, Google image search the Sherlock actor, too.
Sara and Emilie are both at a crossroads in their lives, when they meet at the glamorous Yerba Buena restaurant where Sara's a bartender and Emilie has taken a job arranging flowers. But despite their undeniable spark, their complicated lives get in the way. This is a will-they, won't-they that's both quietly devastating and deeply relatable for anyone who's struggled to decide what they can risk for love.
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After Luz's brother is run out of town by a violent white mob, she's left to navigate 1930s Denver by herself. But soon, she begins to have visions of her ancestors and their lives in the nearby Lost Territory, bearing witness to their struggle, perseverance and how important it is to ensure those stories don't die with her. It's a transporting story of the importance of family history told in a luminescent style.
After his daughter Keya passed, Shantanu's life stalled out. Isolated from his Bengali community, divorced from his wife and barely speaking to his other daughter, he's just going through the motions. But when he finds a box in the attic containing a play Keya wrote with her girlfriend before she died, he gets the idea to stage it. Can it bring his family together and Shantanu back to himself? We recommend reading to find out.
Something terrible happened at Camp Catalpa, and it's been haunting Amanda ever since. But when the secret threatens to come out and ruin not only her carefully crafted life but also those of the other girls who were there that day, they get together one last time to figure out how to handle it. This propulsive thriller will keep you up long after lights out.
Calling all horse girls: This is the story of the most important racehorse you've never heard of, but it's also so much more than that. It starts in 1850 with an unbreakable bond between an enslaved groom and a foal, then carries us through the art galleries of New York City with an equestrian painting that surfaces there in 1954, then to the Smithsonian as a scientist and an art historian come together over a mystery with a shared provenance. This is historical fiction at its finest, connecting threads of the past with the present to illuminate that essentially human something.
After Allison Brody leaves her film producer boyfriend and buys a beach house, her life finally feels settled. Until a Category 3 hurricane destroys it, that is. When she meets a cameraman in a bar, going home with him doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world. That is, until he breaks a glass vase over her head. After she has brain surgery to fix the hole he leaves, she falls in love with her brain surgeon who's also an old friend and...let's just say there's a lot going on here, and even more to love. This is a comedic horror mishmash that's as quirky as it is a ton of fun, plus it centers around swimming pools. Does it get much more beach-ready than that?
This weirdly wonderful commentary on the surveillance state, climate change and what it means to have agency as a woman in the world will throw your mind for a loop in the best way. It's got a girl who can travel through time, talking turtles, a French sculptor and a group of laborers building the statue of liberty, plus so much more. Fans of surreality, dystopia and even historical fiction should give it a try.
In these searing, devastating and often darkly funny stories, we come to know a community of Native people living on a Maine Penobscot reservation in all of their complexity and drive for survival. There's family tragedy, struggle with drugs and deep poverty, but there's also children with a plucky spirit, adults who grapple for purchase against all odds and an abiding love that will stay with you for a long time.
It's not often that memoirs involve an element of mysticism and magic, but this one that follows a Columbian mother and daughter who have both suffered amnesia, as well as the magic abilities that run in their family, is by turns mysterious and firmly grounded, but engrossing all the way through. There's also a hilarious incident with a skull (yes, a human one) that you won't want to miss.
In this supernatural historical fiction, Bianca is a spirited ghost who's been stuck haunting a small town in Mallorca, especially the monastery where her late lover once lived, since her death in 1473. Four hundred years later, a family from Paris arrives to spend the winter and she quickly becomes enamored with them, especially the unconventional cigar-smoking writer George and her sickly lover, Chopin (yes, that one). This delightfully weird story of loss, longing and love just begs to fill a rainy afternoon.
While attending a progressive upstate New York college, Shay and her two best friends fell under the spell of a man who said he could teach them the ways of the world. And so he did, until one of them dies and it all fell apart. Years later, another of the girls is found dead in similar circumstances, but something doesn't feel right to Shay. With a childhood friend-turned true crime podcaster, she uncovers a ring of brutal, powerful predators that goes deeper (and higher) than anyone knew. I barely breathed through most of this horrifyingly engrossing story, so consider yourself warned.