Summer brings more free time than some students know what to do with. Luckily, books offer a compelling solution to the monotonous, hot, lazy summer days or draining internships can bring. Beach books especially — approachable, captivating reads guaranteed to suck you in — are staples of the season for a reason. Throw them in your tote bag with sunscreen and a snack to devour. Flip through them with your toes in the sand or read them from your childhood bedroom.
Either way, the effect is the same — an often humorous, always entertaining, all-consuming fictional escape from the real world. Check out our recommendations below for three beach-worthy escapes that fit the bill. From a sunny feel-good romantic comedy to a stormy satirical thriller, there’s a pick for every type of beach day.
“Book Lovers” by Emily Henry
Emily Henry has carved out her own very popular niche in the sun-soaked novel category, with her recent novels “Beach Read” and “People We Meet on Vacation” garnering widespread popularity and a cult following. Henry’s latest release “Book Lovers” is no exception, a swoon-worthy romantic comedy that cleverly confronts tropes of the genre.
The story follows Nora Stephens, a city girl to her core. She is great at her job as a literary agent and isn’t afraid to be the shark her clients need. When she agrees to go on a sister’s trip to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month, her sister envisions a picture-perfect Hallmark movie summer for Nora, complete with a charming small town love interest. The only problem is that the man that Nora keeps running into is former city boy book editor Charlie Lastra, who she has yet to be charmed by after their rocky introduction back home.
While “Book Lovers” is overwhelmingly a feel-good book, it has layers of depth beyond its sugary facade in Henry’s exploration of themes of grief. It is the perfect choice for book lovers, fans of the genre and anyone who has ever sincerely or ironically enjoyed a Hallmark movie. Read it on your next small-town getaway this summer.
“My Sister, the Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Even at the beach, good weather never lasts forever. If the bright books with sun and sand on their covers are starting to feel old, try this stormy beach read for something a little different. Though its themes are more ominous than a red flag warning for the ocean, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s 2018 debut gives dark situations a lighthearted touch as the novel seeps with dark humor and a twinge of satire.
The story begins with Korede cleaning up yet another one of her sister Ayoola’s messes — a murdered boyfriend. This is nothing new for Korede, though, as despite living in Ayoola’s shadow her whole life, Korede has always done everything to protect her. When Korede’s long-time crush becomes interested in Ayoola, however, Korede must decide just how deep this loyalty to her sister runs.
Like all good beach books, “My Sister, The Serial Killer” is compelling and compulsively readable enough to devour in a day. But unlike the average beach book, the story may leave you in contemplation for days after you close the final page.
“I Capture The Castle” by Dodie Smith
One of the main allures of the beach, the ocean can inspire endless fun, adventure and creativity. For an unconventional escape that matches that energy, make “I Capture the Castle” your next read.
It’s an utterly charming classic filled with optimism and unrequited love from the mind of Dodie Smith — famous for her later release “101 Dalmatians” — first published in 1948. Unlike much of the high school required reading associated with classic literature, “I Capture the Castle” is written in a charismatic first-person point of view. It is narrator Cassandra’s magnetic voice that makes the prose so engaging and accessible to audiences young and old, to those who steer away from the classics and literary snobs alike.
Seventeen-year-old protagonist Cassandra may live in a castle, but she is no princess, and her life is not all rainbows and butterflies. The castle walls are crumbling and her family is struggling, her father’s career stalled by years of writer’s block. However, life gets a little more interesting for Cassandra and her older sister Rose when the wealthy Cotton brothers move to town. Complicated romance and drama ensues between the two families.
Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, “I Capture The Castle” is a quirky coming-of-age tale as refreshing as a dip in the sea.