Summer is here, and as you head for the beach, pool, lake, or your own backyard, you may be longing for something more stimulating than your Instagram newsfeed.
Whether you’re trying to survive a family vacation or simply fill those gloriously lazy afternoons, there’s no better time to dive into a great book.
These 15 beach reads are sure to keep you satisfied and entertained, wherever this summer finds you.
1. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Even as the most acclaimed neurosurgeon in San Francisco, Dr. Trisha Raje still can’t please her strict family, who are descendants of Indian royalty. Always living in the shadows of her brother’s political aspirations, Trisha is expected to never trust outsiders and never defy her family.
She’s already broken all of those rules, but she thinks she’s found a way to redeem herself when she meets a rising chef named DJ Caine.
2. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (July 2)
This novel couldn’t be more timely in light of the #MeToo movement that continues to dominate headlines. In Whisper Network, four female colleagues team up when they find out that their boss, notorious for how he treats women, is the likely choice for CEO.
Their decision to take action marks a dramatic shift in their workplace as secrets and lies are exposed and lives are changed forever. From the very first page, readers are warned: “If only you had listened to us, none of this would have happened.”
3. The American Crusade: A Political Thriller by Mark Spivak
If you were a fan of The West Wing or House of Cards, you’ll definitely want to pick up this political thriller for your poolside reading. The American Crusade tells the story of “a power-hungry vice president, a bad batch of shady intelligence, and a sinister plot to destroy Western civilization.”
A fictional drama inspired by the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, this book provides a cynical view of America’s recent past and how it changed the country forever.
4. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People follows two very different students, Connell and Marianne, as they move from their small town in Ireland to Trinity University. Rooney brilliantly captures all of the awkwardness, beauty, and existential crises that come with young adulthood.
Filming for a Hulu adaptation recently began in Ireland, so you’ll want to read this one before it becomes your next binge-watching obsession.
5. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, is back with another hit. City of Girls explores themes of love, female sexuality, and promiscuity from the perspective of Vivian Morris, an 89-year-old woman who recalls her youthful adventures in the theater scene of 1940’s Manhattan.
Vivian is finally ready to tell all with no shame, as she reflects on how those experiences shaped the course of her life.
6. Scarlet Fever: A Crime Thriller by David Stever
Gangster-noir and crime lovers rejoice. David Stever’s crime thriller Scarlet Fever is the perfect addition to your summer reading list. Hard-drinking private investigator Johnny Delarosa crosses paths with Claire Dixon, a gorgeous redhead who hires him to find the $2 million dollars that were stolen from her mob-wife mother.
But when Claire suddenly goes missing, it’s up to Johnny to crack the case and bring her back.
7. Honestly, We Meant Well by Grant Ginder
Bring this book with you on your next family vacation to remind you that things could always be worse. Having recently learned of her husband’s shocking infidelity and that her son has all but wrecked his future, Sue Ellen Wright decides to take her family on vacation to a Greek island to try and rebuild the pieces of her once-perfect life.
Packed with deep emotion but brilliant wit, this novel will have you you hooked on the Wright family’s comedic drama.
8. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
The New Yorker contributor Jia Tolentino gives readers nine interlinked essays examining the “self-delusion” that plagues our internet-driven culture in the era of the self.
Subjects include modern feminism, the nightmare of social media, the world of internet scamming, and our obsession with optimization. Through her style and humorous wit, Tolentino holds a mirror to modern society and raises some hard truths.
9. Recursion by Blake Crouch
In this follow-up to his 2016 sci-fi thriller Dark Matter, Blake Crouch offers readers another action-packed ride in Recursion. A mysterious disease has emerged that causes people to have false memories, leading to catastrophic results.
New York City cop Barry teams up with neuroscientist Helena Smith to investigate this “False Memory Syndrome” and stop it from spreading. Recursion is also in the works to become a film and a Netflix series developed by Shonda Rhimes.
10. Led Astray: A Crime Thriller by Karlianna Voncil
This coming-of-age crime thriller follows the events that unfold after 16-year-old Emily Burns is found murdered. The only possible witness to the crime is a 13-year-old girl named Daisy Young, who was abandoned on the streets by her mother.
She was taken in by a group of street smart teens who taught her about survival and the importance of family—but when conflict breaks out, Daisy must go to great lengths to prove her loyalty. As detectives discover the story of Daisy’s life, their interview leads them to something much more tragic than what they were prepared for.
11. Talking to Robots: Tales From Our Human-Robot Futures by David Ewing Duncan
Anyone fascinated by AI definitely needs to pick up this page-turner from award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan.
With help from inventors, filmmakers, and geneticists, Duncan explores 24 not-so-far-off possibilities of a human-robot future: from warrior bots to politician bots, the potential is as fascinating as it is terrifying.
12. How Could She by Lauren Mechling
Following her devastating break-up with her fiancé, Geraldine decides to move to New York City, where two of her best friends seem to be living their best lives with fabulous careers and wonderful husbands.
Little does she know, Sunny and Rachel are both struggling to keep it all together. This hilarious tale of female begs the question of how much we can really escape our pasts.
13. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Only child and perpetual introvert Nina has her ideal life all set up: a job in a bookstore, a cat named Phil, and her own trivia team. But when the father she never knew suddenly dies, Nina’s life changes overnight as she learns that she has brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews that can’t wait to meet her.
At the same time, a rival trivia player—who just so happens to be funny and cute—begins pursuing her. Will her new family and potential crush be able to pull her out of her shell?
14. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
Fans of R.F. Kuang’s 2018 debut The Poppy War are already counting the days until its sequel, The Dragon Republic, is released in August. This epic fantasy combines the history of 20th century China with a stunning world of gods and monsters.
Our heroine Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people, and now she finds herself on the run from a vengeful god who gave her power. Fantasy lovers won’t be able to put this one down.
15. Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
Alice Weiss leaves her small hometown to chase her dreams of being a photographer in New York City, where she lands a job working for Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan.
Set in 1960’s Manhattan, this book has been described as a cross between Mad Men and The Devil Wears Prada—and with its captivating dive into glamorous dinners, lavish parties, and scandalous sabotage, readers won’t be disappointed.