Along with the seemingly endless pile of summer essentials your kids need to keep cool, safe, and happy at the beach this summer, don’t forget to bring yourself a little something as well!
Sitting back with a good page-turner while someone else keeps an eye on the kids may be just the R&R you need (and so rightly deserve!).
Without further ado, here are our 7 favorite beach reads for this summer. Enjoy!
1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies (the novel the popular HBO series is based on) follows the lives of three women whose children attend the same elementary school: the passionate Madeline (don’t cross her!), the gorgeous Celeste (who’s hiding a secret), and the single mother Jane (who’s trying to overcome her past demons). If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy and get thee to the beach! (or the couch, or anywhere— ‘cause you won’t want to put this one down). Even if you’ve seen the TV series, the book ends a little differently…. mwaaaa.
2. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
If you prefer your beach reads with a helping of historical fiction (me!), this one’s for you. The setting is Paris during World War 1. Sophie Lefèvre’s artist husband is away fighting at the front, while Sophie is left to serve the German enemy soldiers when they take over her beloved city. Fast forward to modern day London, where a woman (Liv) fights to keep a portrait of the aforementioned Sophie from the hands of people who claim ownership of it. Another page-turner, this novel makes history come alive through some fascinating, strong female characters.
3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
In An American Marriage, Tayari Jones heart-wrenchingly depicts the effects of the unjust incarceration of Roy on his relationship with his wife, Celestial, just a year and a half after they marry. Five years later, when his conviction is overturned, Roy returns to Atlanta to resume their life together…but everything has changed for Celestial since he left. This novel deftly explores the personal consequences of an unjust judicial system on three people whose fates are bound together as they struggle to figure out their new lives and understand one another.
4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This bestseller follows the intertwined stories of the “perfect” Richardson family of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the nonconformist mother-daughter pair who become their tenants. The Richardson children are drawn to Mia and Pearl in ways that threaten their fastidious mother, Elena, and the carefully manicured community in which they live.
“Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”
5. I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
This thriller follows the story of Ella Longfield, who holds herself personally responsible for the disappearance of a girl she overheard talking to two suspicious young men on a train just before she vanished. A year later, Ella can’t overcome her guilt for not intervening during that train ride…and then she begins receiving threatening letters.
Everyone involved in the case seems to have a secret, and Ella gets caught in the middle of the mystery in ways she never expected. If you’re into thrillers, this is the book for you.
6. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Based on a shocking true-life account, five young children from Tennessee in the 1930s are kidnapped from their parents and brought to an orphanage where they suffer at the hands of an evil director. Set in the present day, Avery Stafford begins a journey of discovery of her family’s terrible past. This novel about family, trauma, and redemption will break your heart and also lift you up — you may want to bring some tissues to the beach along with this one…
7. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
You guys. I read this book in four days and I’m not normally a fast reader (sorry kids, get your own dinner! Mommy’s gotta finish this chapter – HA!).
In this book, the amazing Jodi Picoult takes on issues of race, privilege, and empathy. Ruth Jefferson, an upstanding labor and delivery nurse, gets into a difficult situation after she is forbidden from caring for the newborn of a neo-Nazi couple. I don’t want to give any more away than that — just read it.
Thanks to all our fabulous readers who helped create this article by participating in our poll.
Happy reading and happy summer!!
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