15 Summer Reads You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

The months between May and September are never complete without a solid beach read. They’re the sort of novels, memoirs, biographies, and more that feel equally engrossing and escapist. The best beach reads of 2024 are the perfect match for sun-soaked summer days. Add a pool, swimsuit, and snacks to the mix, and your warm-weather plans are sorted.

Seriously, who needs Europe when you’re just a page’s flip away from whirlwind romances and addicting plots? While there’s no wrong or right book to read over the summer, the sun-dappled days align with an easy, breezy TBR. It’s a time of year when I find myself re-reading old faves in the name of nostalgia and bingeing new releases for novelty’s sake. As for the best beach reads of 2024, there’s plenty to look forward to all the way up until Labor Day. (And yes, beyond.)

The Best Beach Reads of 2024

If you’re craving a little inspiration as you plan your summer reading, this is the place. Shake out your towel, pull out the sunnies, and drench yourself in SPF. (And maybe put in your PTO—it’s going to be hard to pull yourself away from the page.) Get ready: these are the titles you’ll be glued to for the next several months.

The Wedding People by Alison Espach

Phoebe, the complex, but easy-to-love protagonist, visits the Cornwall Inn in Newport, Rhode Island at her ultimate low point. But when she befriends the bride, accidentally falls in love with the groom, and becomes the confidante to just about everyone in the wedding party, Phoebe reconnects with all the beauty, humor, and connection that’s her to savor. Think: Eleanor Oliphant and Meredith, Alone vibes. As of this writing, The Wedding People is my favorite book of 2024.

Humor Me by Cat Shook

Following close on the heels of her standout debut, If We’re Being Honest, Cat Shook is back with the same humor and heart. Presley Fry is living on autopilot—dating with caution, but entirely swept up in the expansive joy of her job as a stand-up comedy scout. When her late mother’s best friend, Susan Clark, takes Presley under her wing (and sets her up with Lawrence, Susan’s son), Presley discovers the brightness, beauty, and connection that can ultimately lead to a vibrant life.

Man’s Best Friend by Alana B. Lytle

For fans of Emma Cline’s The Guest, this debut is a fast-paced, sharp, and brilliant book about the extent women will go to for the lives we want. El has always fantasized about being wealthy but has existed on the periphery of her social circle. Now, at 30, a failed actress with no promising career prospects, she’s desperate for something that will bring her closer to the life she’s always dreamed of. But when she meets Bryce—mysterious, wealthy, and obsessed with El—she finds her way in. Is he worth giving up everything for? And what happens when she learns the truth behind his dark façade?

Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

At 30, Sam has everything she needs: a perfect doctor fiancé, a dream job in Manhattan, and a picture-perfect wedding on the horizon. But when she tours a wedding venue in Long Island and comes face-to-face with her first love (i.e., the boy she hasn’t seen in fourteen years but spent every summer with as kids), she wonders if she’s making the right choice. Same Time Next Summer may follow the predictable summer romance plot, but that doesn’t make the ending any less satisfying.

Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

It’s summer set to the backdrop is Fire Island—what could possibly ruin a few picturesque months of vacation? Enter: infidelity, backstabbing, and yes, murder. There’s plenty of gossip and social climbing to go around, but would any of the members of this super-exclusive friend group be capable of killing someone? With dark humor and wit at every turn, Bad Summer People is a thrilling look into the lives of the rich and elite—and what they’d do to keep their secrets safe.

The Future Was Color by Patrick Nathan

The Future Was Color raises many possibilities, but perhaps most prominent in the context of the best beach reads of 2024 is this premise: historical fiction can be sexy. It’s 1950s Hollywood, and George Curtis is navigating the industry amidst McCarthy-era fanaticism and fear. Then Madeline, a famous actress, extends an olive branch: a writing residency at her estate in Malibu that George can’t possibly pass up. He enters a new class and learns the ins and outs of L.A. society. But with all of this before him, will George ever be able to let go of his past? Will it define him forever, or can he slip seamlessly into a world that reluctantly invites him in?

Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo

With sharp wit and astute dialogue, Claire Lombardo breaks apart the dysfunctional family narrative, treating it with honesty, humor, and heartfelt empathy. When matriarch Julia Ames finally gets a sense of peace and emotional equilibrium in her life, the floodgates open, revealing the rocky truths of her children’s lives. With these narratives in place, Same As It Ever Was explores the inevitable complexities—and surprising beauty—of the many relationships we nurture all throughout our lives.

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez is the queen of summer beach reads, and she’s back with another title no BookTok girlie can put down. Justin’s cursed with the ability to match any woman with her soulmate. He just has to date and break up with her first. When Emma receives her work assignment as a traveling nurse for the summer in Minnesota—complete with a lake cottage and her best friend—she can’t pass it up. And maybe the prospect of dating Justin sounds good, too… she just has to figure out what to do when she catches real feelings.

The Summer Pact by Emily Giffin

Four women meet as college freshmen with entirely different paths. But soon, they forge a friendship that’s tested years later when tragedy enters their lives. They respond by making a pact to always be there for one another. A decade later, when one of the friends’ life is quickly falling apart, the women come together again—and ultimately rediscover themselves.

This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

Girl meets boy. Boy charms girl. Girl discovers boy is actually her best friend’s younger brother. Yikes. And though they vow to never repeat that chemistry-charged night again, summer after summer, the pairs meet on Prince Edward Island. Amidst all the trappings of an idyllic summer vacation—wine, coastal air, sunset-streaked beaches—Lucy is tested by Felix’s undeniable charm. Can she resist?

Within Arm’s Reach by Ann Napolitano

When you can’t find the words to express your love, how do you communicate with your family? That question—and drive for connection—is at the core of Ann Napolitano’s poignant work. Tracking three generations of a large Irish Catholic family, Napolitano captures love’s enduring resonance, even amidst drama and crisis.

The Midnight Feast Lucy Foley

Your favorite mystery writer is back with another page-turning, whodunnit read. It’s the opening weekend of The Manor, a luxury resort that’s spared no expense in dazzling its first guests. But there’s darkness stirring amidst the glitz and glamour—and those in attendance have secrets and storied pasts. And once a body’s been discovered, the police want to know: who did it?

Lovers and Liars by Amanda Eyre Ward

Three sisters, a toxic mom, secrets no one will admit, and a weekend wedding that might reveal it all. Is Sylvie ready to marry Simon? Can Cleo be honest about why she’s suspicious about the nuptials? And will Emma tell her family why she can’t really afford the trip? With drama at every turn, Lovers and Liars is an addicting read to the very last page.

If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay

Ryan Richardson lives with the constant reminder of his girlfriend, Ali’s abduction. But despite a good lawyer and never being charged, many still doubt Ryan’s innocence. Five years later, Ryan has changed his name and finds himself halfway across the world when Ali’s car is found. Two dead men are inside with just a note in Ali’s handwriting: If something happens to me… Ryan’s search for the truth takes him from Tuscany to Paris and the UK, only to discover that the answers may be closer to home than he thinks.

The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren

Would you fake a years-long marriage with your ex for a one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance? That’s exactly the challenge Liam faces when he has to convince his one-percenter parents that he’s been (happily) married to Anna, an unpolished starving artist, for the past five years. Liam’s beginning to worry though: not that Anna plays the part of his doting wife too well, but that the world of wealth and privilege may sweep her up along with it.

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