It’s the end of July, the middle of summer. Even if you’re not off from work all summer, most people take a week or so in the summer for a vacation. And what better way to spend a summer vacation than reading? Don’t know what to read? You’re in luck! I’ve put together 5 great summer books for you.
When I first decided to write a blog post about great summer books, I asked for suggestions from my own readers. And between their great summer books suggestions and my own great summer book suggestions…well, the list had approximately four hundred and ninety-seven books on it. How could I possibly choose a few great summer reads from four hundred and ninety-seven books?
Instead of trying to pick from those, I decided that my list of great summer reads would either A. Be set in summer, or B. Have the word summer in the title. Okay, so maybe it’s not the most ingenious way to pick, but come on…four hundred and ninety-seven books!!!
I followed a couple of rules for picking these great summer books:
They are all books I’ve personally read. They are also books that I’ve given a rating/review of at least 4 stars too. Also, none of the books were featured on last summer’s post Best Books of the Summer. Nor have I featured any of them on the blog before. I want you guys to be able to pick a great summer book easily…that’s why I’ve done the work to find them for you.
The Square Root of Summer
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past: To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.
I gave this one 4.5 stars in my review:
Gottie (Margot) is 17 and in love. At least she thinks she is. Or maybe it’s “was”. Like all seventeen year olds, she’s confused about how she feels and the idea of love just adds fuel to the fire. Not to mention she’s grieving her grandfather and oh, having an issue with time travel.
This A Fault in Our Stars meets A Wrinkle in Time novel was a delightful read for me (once I threw up my hands and realized I was never going to understand the principles of time travel). I really could relate to Gottie and her feelings and even her ultimate realization that nothing is forever. Even though many times we want to live in the past, we have to embrace those memories and move on to the future.
The Summer Wives
by Beatriz Williams
In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.
But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife.
Since childhood, Joseph’s enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.
Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same—determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. Miranda is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.
I gave this one 4.5 stars in my review:
Tremendous love story that spans four decades. It was written three different time frames and it flipped back and forth. At first, I had difficulty following, but once I realized the flow of the story, I started to piece together all the connections it made much more sense. Things are not always what they seem on the surface and love holds no bounds.
The Last Time I Lied
by Riley Sager
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings. Massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
I gave this 4.5 stars in my review:
Some people are upset that Riley Sager is a man. I also was duped into thinking he was a woman, simply because this guy knows women. He can write them better than most women. But unlike those people, I don’t care that he’s not a woman.
Overnight summer camp…some kids’ dream summer. For others, it’s their nightmare. It becomes Emma’s nightmare when her older cabin mates disappear. This thriller had me turning pages almost faster than I could read them. It is THAT good and a bit terrifying. (It didn’t help that we were on vacation in a cabin in the middle of nowhere when I read this.) The only reason I didn’t give this one 5 stars is because right before the ending there’s a little bit of an improbable situation that annoyed me. However, the end is so twisted that it makes up for it.
Here’s to Us
by Elin Hilderbrand
Celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe has always been a force of nature with an insatiable appetite for life. But after that appetite contributes to Deacon’s shocking death in his favorite place on earth, a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage, his (messy, complicated) family is reeling.
Now Deacon’s three wives, his children, and his best friend gather on the island he loved to say farewell. The three very different women have long been bitter rivals. They each have wanted to claim the primary place in Deacon’s life and his heart.
But as they slowly let go of the resentments they’ve held onto for years and remember the good times, secrets are revealed, confidences are shared, and improbable bonds are formed as this unlikely family says goodbye to the man who brought them all together, for better or worse–and the women he loved find new ways to love again.
I gave this book 4 stars in my review:
Can’t have a list of great summer books without one from Elin Hilderbrand, the queen of Nantucket, on it. While not my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book, I really enjoyed this book with multiple points of view. The characters were realistic and lovable and despicable at the same time, oddly enough.
I was initially appalled that this guy had three wives and was kind of turned off by that. However, things aren’t always so clear cut and black and white, so I’m glad I continued to read this heartwarming story of love and redemption.
The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky
by Summer Heacock
Having sex wasn’t a big priority while Kat Carmichael’s successful cupcake shop was taking off. But when she realizes that it’s been nearly two years since she and her boyfriend, Ryan, have been intimate, she makes a pact to break her dry spell-and cure her vaginismus, a muscular condition that can make sex physically impossible.
Out of guilt, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, so that he can see other people while she attempts to fix the issue on her own. She throws herself into physical therapy, but soon discovers her solo mission is more complicated than she anticipated. Fortunately, Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, is also a physical therapist, and volunteers to help out.
As time goes on, however, the boundaries Ben and Kat have set between friendship and love quickly become blurred, leaving her more confused than ever about what to hang on to and what to let go.
I gave this book 5 stars in my review:
Okay, so this is cheating a bit. But the author’s name is Summer and I really enjoyed this book. I think it definitely belongs on a list of great summer reads.
When I first won this from Goodreads, I read the blurb on the back cover and cringed. It seemed crass and plotless. I felt like it was going to be one of those harlequin romances my grandmother used to hide in her nightstand because it was so dirty. I don’t read “those” kind of books. In fact, I even put the book aside for a few weeks, vowing never to read it unless I was desperate.
Well I decided to take the plunge when I ran out of books to read and I’m delighted I did. While the subject matter was a bit unusual and of the “adult” variety, this was not some trashy bodice ripper that I was expecting. It was a delightfully crafted foray into relationships—sexual relationships and even friendships. The characters were witty and their interactions made me LOL. The women talked like truck drivers and embarrassed the men.
While the plot itself was predictable (as chick lit is expected to be), the way the plot developed was unexpectedly funny and even a little raw at times. Seriously, all the feels. Congrats to the author on creating genuine and flawed characters that the reader can actually feel for and relate to.
As a bonus, check out my own “Summer” novel (which is on sale from now until July 29!):
The Dead of Summer
by Heather Balog
Funny and charmingly awkward Kennedy Ryan is sixteen years old with a dominating (and gorgeous) best friend, a mother who won’t leave the house, and a crush on Carson, the mysterious new boy in town. Her life is totally normal…or so she keeps telling herself until her mother begins acting strangely, or at least more strangely than usual.
When Kennedy stumbles upon a dead body hidden in the basement, she enlists Carson’s help to solve the mystery and it’s sayonara normalcy, and quite possibly goodbye to everything she knows.