There’s nothing like sprawling out on a lounge chair by the ocean and cracking open a good book. The sun shines down, waves gently crash onto the shore, and you slowly sink into the story – what’s that? No ocean? And no vacation plans in sight? Don’t worry, beautiful bookworms. We’ve got a list of some of the best beach reads that will make any lake, pond, or puddle feel like a tropical paradise. Bonus points for actually reading these on a beach, but if you can’t make it to a big, blue body of water, just make yourself a fruity drink, light a book inspired candle, and let these titles sweep you away to the sands.
Looking for a destination read that will have you dreaming of Hawaii while reveling in some sweet, sweet, enemies-to-lovers goodness? Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners is it. Unlucky-in-life Olive and her nemesis Ethan are the only two members of her twin’s wedding party to escape food poisoning. In spectacular romcom style, they find themselves embarking on her sister’s all-expenses-paid honeymoon – and having to pretend to be newlyweds once they get there! We love romantic comedies for their sweet setups and neat plotlines, and this one promises to deliver on both fronts.
At last, the author of the creepy and thrilling The Silence of the Lambs is back! We’ve waited 13 years for Thomas Harris’ new book, so you really can’t blame us for tearing into it almost before we made it to the beach. But the setting and plot of Cari Mora make it the perfect poolside companion when you’re looking for a fast-paced read. The novel takes you straight to the Miami Beach waterfront, where our titular character takes care of a house that just so happens to be hiding $25 million in cartel gold.
Orange World and Other Stories
You probably know Karen Russell from her magical debut Swamplandia! or her first book of short stories, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Well, the Macarthur Genius Fellow is back with another winner: Orange World and Other Stories. If you’re a fan of magical realism and bizarre situations, this will hit the spot. Our favorite so far is “The Bad Graft,” which features a sentient Joshua tree! And you just can’t beat a good short story if you’ve got other summer-y activities to get to, like chasing after kiddos or playing sand volleyball – you can easily plow through one (or several) and rejoin the group.
Go back in time with Nicola Harrison’s dreamy Montauk, which tells the tale of Bea, a country girl whose wealthy husband leaves her to fend for herself for a summer amidst a group of high society wives. Despite her husband’s wealth and glamorous parties galore, Bea is unhappy with her life. She finds herself befriending a laundress, eventually regaining her sense of self – and falling for an enigmatic man who seems to be everything her husband isn’t.
Sky Without Stars
For those looking to scratch that YA sci-fi/fantasy itch while sunbathing, may we suggest “Les Misérables” – in space! Sky Without Stars, by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell, promises the sweeping scope and depth of the source material coupled with intriguing new characters fighting for survival and justice on an epic scale. And while Hugo’s original weighed in at a hefty near-1,500 pages, this novel promises to be a quicker read, with the rest of the plot following in subsequent books.
Daisy Jones and the Six
If you’re in the mood for a creative narrative style, pick up Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six for a tale told entirely in interview transcripts. You’ll be treated to the meteoric rise of “one of the biggest bands of the seventies,” with all the drugs and rock’n’roll you could ever wish for. And you get to start all the way at the beginning, when Daisy is just a girl coming into her own in L.A. during the late sixties. Eventually, a producer unites her powerful voice with an equally exciting band. The rest is “history.” But you won’t find Daisy Jones and the Sixes on Spotify or in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, because this book is some mighty fine historical fiction!
If you’re more of a rocky coast, grey sea, and rainy skies kind of beachgoer, take Hanna Jameson’s The Last along on your next excursion. This post-apocalyptic thriller is also a gruesome murder mystery. After nuclear war erupts, Jon, an American, finds himself taking refuge at a Swiss hotel. Supplies begin to run out, and some occupants choose suicide or wandering off into the wilderness in place of slow starvation and creeping paranoia. One day, the remaining inhabitants discover the body of a young girl in the hotel’s water tank. Jon fixates on this murder, and the tale ultimately becomes an exploration of one of our favorite questions in literature: what makes us human?
Create Your Own Beachy Paradise with Summer Candles from Frostbeard
You can never have too many books to read on the beach, so let us know what you’re reading this summer. You just might help us find our newest favorite novel or inspiration for our next Candle of the Month! In the meantime, we’ll be hand pouring some of our summer seasonal specialties. Happy reading!