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As soon as August hits, there are two types of girlies you’ll come across online. There are the ones who love fall—the ones who can’t wait to break out their blanket scarves, sip on pumpkin spice lattes, and start their annual rewatch of Gilmore Girls. And then there are the ones like me, who want to live in an eternal summer. When Labor Day rolls around and the world is focusing on back-to-school sales and holiday plans, the summer girlies (including myself) are likely drowning in a puddle of tears because they have to wait an excruciating nine more months until the summer dawns on us once again.
But thankfully, with books, we can live in that eternal summer. Even when it’s the dead of winter and you’re freezing your butt off, watching the sun set at a depressingly early four in the afternoon, you can still transport yourself to a time when your skin is burnt, you’re eating buttery lobster rolls and sipping on a crisp sauvignon blanc, wearing sundresses and chunky sandals without a care in the world. So if you’re a summer girlie like me and always want to live in that magical time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, these are the books to read during the long winter ahead.
The Summer of Broken Rules
It’s everything you want in a summer book—and more. Taking place on idyllic Martha’s Vineyard, Meredith and her parents spend two weeks at their family property to celebrate her cousin’s wedding. The bride’s one request? A giant game of Assassin with water guns, which was a summer highlight for Meredith’s sister, who passed away unexpectedly two years earlier. Meredith makes a vow to win it all this year for her sister and sparks up an unlikely alliance with groomsman Wit. But keen strategy and witty banter isn’t the only thing that grows between these two as the summer progresses. It’s the sweetest, swoon-worthy romance that will have you kicking your feet in the air.
The Infinity Between Us
Friends to lovers in a beach house off the coast of Maine? Say no more. The Infinity Between Us is a second-chance romance as Violet and Will reunite after eighteen years of friendship by the beach, and one particular night that changed everything between them. Now, many years and heartbreaking disasters later, the two are reuniting when Violet decides to sell the property. Will Violet give it all up, sell the house, and leave for good? Or will Will once again occupy her heart?
If you could relive one perfect romantic weekend every summer with the same person… would you? No matter the circumstances, no matter where life takes them, a bachelor weekend gone awry bonds Mallory and Jake as they spend their Labor Day Weekend together, and an unlikely bond is formed. For 28 summers they spend the holiday in the same way, a nod to the movie Same Time, Next Year. A mix of sweet and utterly heart wrenching, this story will take you on a wild roller coaster, wishing for every summer to finally come as these two reunite.
Every Emily Henry book is quite literally perfect for the summertime, but her most recent book Happy Place is truly what summertime beach reads are made of. (Even more so than her book Beach Read? Yeah, you heard me.) Happy Place follows the story of Harriet and Wyn who, after an unexpected breakup months earlier, are forced to reunite as a final request to spend time at their friend’s lake house off the coast of Maine. But none of their friends know the two have broken things off, so what do we end up with? A fake dating, second-chance romance that will have you cursing Emily Henry’s name for these beautiful, messed up characters who finally decide they are worthy of love against all odds.
Ice cream shop romance. Small coastal beach town. Found families and town festivals and first kisses (yes, multiple!) and a book boyfriend who always has a paperback in his back pocket. Sound dreamy? Safe Harbor follows the story of Melanie after she is forced to move to Haverport, a small coastal Connecticut town, because her twin brother makes a huge mistake that gets him expelled from their prep school. Desperate to get out of the house and away from all the drama at home, Melanie takes a job at the local ice cream shop but finds that the boy who’s training her is pretty much the worst. Until he’s not. This story deals with deeper and darker themes, while also bringing the joy of summer and finding your first true love.
It’s what summer beach read dreams are made of.
Oh…and I wrote this one. Surprise!
Same Time Next Summer
If you were a big fan of Annabel Monaghan’s Nora Goes Off Script, then you need to get your hands on her most recent novel, Same Time Next Summer. What do you do when you run into your first love from high school when you’re touring a wedding venue where you plan to marry someone else? This is the story of Sam as she spends her Long Island summer planning out the wedding of her dreams, only to be sidetracked by the man who once occupied her heart.
Meet Me at the Lake
Whether you’re a lake person or a coastal beach person, we can probably all agree that any summertime romance set next to a body of water is just ripe with beach-read goodness. Meet Me at the Lake is an adorable second-chance romance following the story of Fern as she takes over her family lakeside resort, her late mother’s pride and joy. But little did she know her mother hired Will to help her manage the business, an old flame that never met up with her at the lake at an agreed-upon time many years earlier. With his help, Fern will finally be able to sell the resort and be rid of all of these memories for good. Unless, of course, she decides she doesn’t want to let them go at all.
The Book of Summer
If your mother refuses to leave the generations-old house that is quite literally about to fall off a cliff, what else do you do but fly to Nantucket in hopes of getting her to leave? The Book of Summer follows the story of Bess Codman who, after a nasty divorce, is exposed to the beautiful history of Cliff House, the compound that’s been in her family for generations. She learns the story of Ruby Packard, a newlywed who lived at Cliff House during the Second World War, and how it applies to the rich history of women who have occupied the house since—including herself. Full of rich family history and lots of love, The Book of Summer will have you clutching your heart and believing in the beautiful power of women all over again.
Who wouldn’t love a heartwarming story about a mother and daughter reuniting after years of hurt and abandonment, only to come together at the summer island they once loved? After years of working as an advice columnist, Nora is hiding from a scandal that could ruin her career and is also injured from an unfortunate accident. Her daughter Ruby is the one to take care of her, but after years of abandonment, there’s a lot to unpack about their past—especially now that Ruby was hired to write a tell-all about her mother for a magazine, which could be the big break she needs for her comedic career. It’s full of drama and hardship, as well as hope and beautiful love set on a quiet seaside island off the coast of Washington.
Although Mixed Signals is the third book in B.K. Borison’s Lovelight series, it can easily be read as a standalone romance. Layla Dupree owns a bake shop on a picturesque Christmas tree farm, but it’s summer and she’s trying to find someone to love, and nothing is going her way. Is it her fault? Is she just bad at dating? She decides to find out herself and accepts the help of local teacher Caleb Alvarez, a cinnamon-roll golden retriever stand-up guy who can’t help but show Layla what it truly means to be with a man (cue the blushing and the giggles). If you love croissants, strawberry shortcakes, fake dating but sweet kisses in the summer rain, this book is it.
Sara Goodman Confino
She’s Up to No Good
When your grandmother tells you to get in the car and accompany her on a road trip up to her seaside cottage in Massachusetts what do you say… no? After a failed marriage, Jenna decides to take her grandmother up to a place that holds over seventy years of generational memories, discovering the true story of her grandfather and her grandmother’s first love (not the same person!) and maybe falling in love along the way.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? With the success of the show on Amazon Prime and everyone’s feral opinions over being Team Conrad or Team Jeremiah, The Summer I Turned Pretty is certainly the talk of the summer. So why not dive in yourself and come up with your own theories by reading the trilogy that started it all?
Sure, the title is a cute play on words for the summer reading list you likely had to tackle as a kid. But you may be shocked to learn that the main character actually doesn’t like to read? A tragedy, to be honest. But throw in a hottie that loves to read and it’s the stuff of summer rom-com dreams. Set on Martha’s Vineyard, Sam is working as a chef and meets Ben, a librarian who’s on a mission to find his father…but only after destroying his book on the ferry, whoops. It’s an opposites-attract summertime fling that will quite literally have you flinging around with joyous glee.
That Summer Feeling
When Garland Moore decides to escape her messy past and take a summer getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she expects to have a summer fling with Carl Cove, the perfect type of distraction. But little did she know that she would find Carl’s sister, Mason, to be the one to distract her from her carefully made plans—and steal her heart along the way. A novel full of self-discovery and sweet true love all set at summer camp? Yeah, we know, it’s perfect.
You, with a View
Run, don’t walk, because You, with a View has been the talk of the summer in the book world—besides TSITP, of course. This enemies-to-lovers romance follows Noelle Shepard who’s forced to go on a road trip with her high school enemy, Theo, as a request from his grandfather. Why? Well, it seems the attraction runs in the family, given that Noelle’s late grandmother was once engaged to Theo’s grandfather before things broke off. Noelle decides to take the road trip that would have been their honeymoon, only to have Theo tagging along for the ride. Summer road trip heated enemies-to-lovers romance? Put me in, coach.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
It’s one day in the summer when everything goes horribly wrong. The story follows one crazy end-of-summer party hosted by surfer and supermodel Nina Rivas, and her brothers Jay and Hud. It’s a wild night that leads to tragedy, and the perfect kind of read to end summer with a bang. Metaphorically, of course… although the house may end up in flames, who knows.