We’ve all been there, right? Heading off to vacation, looking for a good book to read, but we keep running into the same ones over and over again. And yes, while I love John Green enormously (How can you not?), sometimes we just need a tad more variety in our beach bag. That’s why we chose to mix it up a little. Summer is all about rediscovery after all. So, we decided to rediscover 8 amazing (and wildly overlooked) beach reads that you haven’t heard of:
Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella. Her great aunt died…and her 20 year-old ghost came back to haunt her. As a struggling 20-something herself in London, the last problem Lara Lington expected to deal with was helping her great aunt find eternal peace, and a date or two along the way. In this hilarious and fast-paced novel, Sophie Kinsella will make you question everything you thought about age, and will bring out your inner 20s girl with each page.
China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan. It would be hard to not recognize Kwan’s crowning achievement (now box office hit Crazy Rich Asians), but many haven’t heard of the next book in this juicy and delightful series: China Rich Girlfriend. If you couldn’t get enough of Rachel and Nick, or you want to find out just what happens to Bernard Tai, China Rich Girlfriend will satisfy every question you have about Kwan’s brilliant and hilarious characters. But fair warning, after you’ve read it, you won’t be able to stop yourself from buying the last book in the trilogy, Rich People Problems.
Dune Road – Jane Green. What’s vacation without a little mystery? Set in Connecticut, Jane Green’s Dune Road explores the life of newly divorced Kit Hargrove as she rebuilds herself—complete with yoga sessions, really good wine, and landing her dream job. Everything in Kit’s life is going well; however, she can’t help but start to pick at the cracks in her new job. Why exactly did her celebrity boss go into hiding years ago, and what will happen as she begins to shake out the dirty laundry of his past? If you find yourself needing a little kick in the bum while the ocean sprays your toes, Dune Road is your read for this summer.
Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis. For those of you looking for a non-fiction read while you sip on your coconut water, Rachel Hollis’s Girl, Wash Your Face is sheer perfection. Over the course of 21 chapters, Hollis addresses 21 lies we tell ourselves, gives her own (often amusingly relatable) encounters with said lies, and finally, gives some tried-and-true advice for how to conquer them. If you find yourself needing a pick me up, some inspiration, or just want to be reminded that the chaos in your life is perfectly normal, Girl, Wash Your Face is the book for you.
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin. Are you a literary fiction junkie? Don’t know what literary fiction is? Either way, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of AJ Fikry will exceed any and all expectations you have for summer reading. Follow widower book store owner AJ Fikry through an unforgettable transformation—one that will leave you looking for glimmers of hope around every single corner. With dozens upon dozens of literary Easter eggs, Zevin’s work is perfect for those who love books (almost) as much as they love people.
Camino Island – John Grisham. While John Grisham is undoubtedly a household name thanks to his stellar debut, A Time To Kill, his more recent work may come as an unbeknownst treat to those who are looking for some action in their beach read. Set on Camino Island in Florida, Grisham takes his readers into a mystery laced with extremely rare (and extremely stolen) books, a writer looking for inspiration, and an odd community that seems to tie everything together. Lighter than his usual work, Camino Island is the perfect book for anyone who wants John Grisham meets Jimmy Buffet.
The Lacemakers of Glenmara – Heather Barbieri. As failed fashion designer Kate Robinson looks to start her life anew, she ditches the red white and blue and ends up settling in a small village, Glenmara, right on the coast of Ireland. After befriending an unlikely group of women, Kate begins to find healing in the quaint life Glenmara offers—however, as her new friends’ lives begin to entangle with her own, she begins to wonder whether it is really possible to start over, and whether happiness can be found. With deeply personable (and hilariously human) characters and a stunning landscape, The Lacemakers of Glenmara will leave you wanting to pack up and head to Ireland—or at least, grab a Guinness at your local pub.
Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan. The word ‘beach’ is in the title, so naturally we had to include it. However, even if Jenny Colgan had chosen a name sans ‘beach’, this book would still make the list every single time. Set in a tiny coastal town just off the shore of England, Little Beach Street Bakery follows Polly Waterford as she brings life back to herself—and her new town—all in the making of bread. So for those of you who say never underestimate the power of good food, good friends, and a good shoreline, Colgan’s charming story is just what you need to stash in your beach bag. Oh, and did I mention? There’s a handsome beekeeper too. Enjoy!