Looking for the perfect beach book to pack in your carry-on this summer? Look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the season’s hottest books to keep you lounging on the beach for as long as possible. Whether you’re in search of a thought-provoking story or a read just so you can feel good about seeing the movie, we’ve got you covered. Read on for the best summer books to accompany you on your Caribbean vacation.
9 Best Beach Books to Take on Your Summer Vacation
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
Ghosted is a story about, yes, getting ghosted. In Rosie Walsh’s debut novel, Sarah and Eddie meet and connect immediately. They spend a week together, caught up in a whirlwind romance, but then have to part ways briefly while Eddie heads out on a long-planned trip. They make plans to see each other upon his return…but he never calls. Or texts. Or emails. Or answers her Facebook messages (even though Sarah can see he’s read them!). Has something terrible happened to Eddie, or did he have a total change of heart? Where did things go wrong? Sarah is determined to uncover the truth, but as she does, she unfurls a carefully guarded web of secrets, moments of unbelievable irony, and ultimately, love. Ghosted was a Book of the Month July selection and makes the perfect beach read because it moves along quickly, is coy, a wee bit romantic and tinged with just the right amount of scandal.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Searching for the kind of harrowing story that keeps you up at night turning pages? (Don’t worry, you can sleep in on vacation.) It’s a good idea to read Riley Sager’s second thriller, The Last Time I Lied, in a tropical setting, far from the harrowing happenings of Camp Nightingale. Fifteen years ago, Emma Davis was the last one to see a group of fellow campers as they snuck out of their cabin for a game of Two Truths and A Lie. Now a rising star in New York’s art scene, Emma is inspired by the haunting memories of her past. When she’s convinced to return to Camp Nightingale as a painting instructor, she sees it as a chance to finally figure out what happened to her friends on that fateful night. But as she digs deeper and deeper, Emma soon learns that some secrets unearth danger as they’re revealed. Order another round, because you won’t be leaving your lounge chair anytime soon.
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
In keeping with the Caribbean theme, check out Alexia Arthurs’s debut story collection, How to Love a Jamaican. Since the book—recommended by Vanity Fair as a “new book to carry with you wherever you go”—contains a series of short stories, it’s easy to pick up and put down between sips of your Red Stripe and walks along the beach. In this book, Arthurs explores a wide range of subjects, from the importance of heritage to the essence of womanhood, and of course, takes a thoughtful look at what being “Jamaican” truly means. The book’s 11 stories paint a portrait of the island country through the lens of Jamaican immigrants living in places like New York City and Midwestern towns and their ties to their families back home. For a thought-provoking, soulful read, this one’s a great pick.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Are you a fan of reading the book before the movie comes out? If so, summer is your last chance to read Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette before it hits the big screen this fall. This cheeky read is set in Seattle and tells the story of notorious Bernadette Fox, who becomes so overwhelmed with life that she simply…disappears. A satirical look at the stresses of modernity, even the cover of Where’d You Go, Bernadette compels you to pack this book up and take it with you on your travels. The New York Times calls it a “divinely funny, many-faceted novel” and adds, “Before she wrote books, Ms. Semple was a television writer (for shows including Arrested Development and Mad About You), and that turns out to be a very good thing.” With mixed media and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, this is the kind of absorbing read that could make you miss your flight.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Like honeymooners Erin and Mark, you’ll embark upon this story in a tropical paradise. But hopefully, that’s where the comparison between you and the book’s main characters ends (solo travel can be a very good thing). These two career-driven lovebirds make a shocking discovery while scuba diving, forcing them to face high-stakes danger and make a decision that could have devastating consequences. Full of twists, this new release is one of the most in-demand books of the year. The film rights to summer’s smash hit Something in the Water have already been snatched up by Hello Sunshine—the same production company that brought you Gone Girl, Wild and the TV series Big Little Lies, which by the way, were all adapted from books. It’s a project with none other than Reese Witherspoon at the helm, so you can expect a strong female lead and an engrossing story. Be on the lookout for this book to hit theaters sometime in the future, but for now, enjoy it as one of the summer’s most spellbinding thrillers.
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
All We Ever Wanted is a surprising story of privilege, life with an elite status and the ins and outs of Nashville society. With two families at opposite ends of the financial scales and a shocking scandal that unites the two, the book has all the makings of a riveting summer read. An outbreak of gossip surrounding a drunken photo snapped at a party. A polarized community caught in the fires of controversy and chatter. With the story’s deeper meaning paced with the page-turning secrets that keep the story moving along, this summer “it” books may not last you your whole vacation.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Another book-to-movie hopeful with film rights in the hands of Reese Witherspoon, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is what GoodReads describes as “the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.” Eleanor Oliphant has a hard time with social skills and lives in a world of her own. That is, until she has a run-in with Raymond and helps him save Sammy. The three of them forge a friendship that rescues each of them from their own kind of isolation and the heartwarming story that ensues makes it the ideal feel-good vacation read.
Rush by Lisa Patton
Set in a sorority house on one of the American South’s preppiest college campuses, Rush is an examination of women from both ends of the social ladder. At Ole Miss, pledging a sorority is about much more than what appears on the pages of the application. Longtime sorority housekeeper Miss Pearl and pedigree-less Cali Watkins are both hiding secrets and forced to face the realities of the system that governs their path in life. Taking a look at the scandals and politics of modern-day rushing, this book keeps you engrossed in the story while also making larger statements about the complexities of female relationships and the institutions we allow to affect our choices in life. If you’re looking for a juicy summer read with a dose of school drama, Lisa Patton delivers.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Love historical fiction? Check out the heart-wrenching Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Historical Fiction, Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours. The book draws from the true story of an adoption agency based in Memphis that stole and sold orphaned children to wealthy families. This 1930s scandal was one of the most notorious crimes in America at the time and you’ll be riveted to the pages as you read Wingate’s fictionalized account of a scenario that seems too unbelievable to be true.