It’s my favorite time of the year — the time where I share the books that I think are THE new and best beach reads for 2021. I’m not sure what my plans are for this summer, vacations are pending, but you can bet that I will be doing ALL the outside reading full of frothy summer reads.
Summer is my favorite season for reading because I LOVE reading outside and I love making my summer reading guides every year — definitely feels like a throwback to all the years in school when I’d excitedly dive into the school summer reading list.
If you’ve read my beach reading lists before you know, while I think ANYTHING can be a summer read or a beach read and it’s super subjective, there are certain types of books I personally gravitate to in these situations — light & easy reads of all genres, romance novels, fast-paced thrillers that I can’t put down and just anything super juicy and unputdownable. And I think I’m not the only one that sees those type of books when they are looking for good books to read on the beach.
A Little Tip…
Below you’ll see Bookshop.org mentioned. Bookshop.org is a fantastic place to buy books online that supports local bookstores. If you are looking to shop small when it comes to your books, I personally buy my books from here (when I can’t shop in person) and highly recommend! Local bookstores are the heart of communities and Bookshop.org makes it SUPER easy to support them.
Best Beach Reads For 2021
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My Favorite Beach Reads From Last Year
Don’t forget to check out this newly released books from last year that were a few of MY favorite beach book type reads from 2020!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
One of my top reads of last year in general but the perfect vibes if you don’t mind some emotional things in your beach read.
Take A Hint Dani Brown
I love this romance series SO much and this delighted me last year. Faux romance, grumpy cinnamon roll man character, so much fun!
Happy & You Know It
This one was so different and I had a BLAST reading it. Page-turning, scandalous and just plain ol’ fun.
Get the hottest books of the year for WAY less!
New books can get so expensive! One of the ways I save, besides my library, is by subscribing to Book of the Month — a monthly book subscription devoted to serving up the must-reads of the year at a cost less than what you’d get elsewhere. I love making my selection each year. Read my review of Book of the Month for more info.
If you like contemporary fiction to be at the top of your summer reading list
It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian – Out February 23
Sexy, charming and fun! After a decade-long relationship ends, thirty-something Noni Blake realizes she’s put herself last and wants to focus more on putting herself first — her desires, needs and what feels good to do in the moment for her life (a life that has been rather predictable and bland).
Inspired by her new mantra, she sets off on a pleasure seeking quest that takes her halfway around the world. Lots of (sexual) mishaps, exploration of sexuality and desire, friendships and self discovery along the way.
Light & entertaining but insightful, empowering and wise as it explores self discovery, living the life you want instead of the one you are expected to and more. Content warning: infertility/miscarriage
Perfect for readers who….want a beach read that is light, sexy and kinda irreverant while also being thought-provoking.
Everything After by Jill Santopolo – Out March 9
If you love messy kind of love stories and “what if” type stuff, check this one out. Though be warned it’s a bit more emotional and heavy than your average beach read but it’s so compulsively readable and hard to put down.
It’s about a woman whose past comes surging to her present when she hears a song on the radio by her ex that is about her being the one that got away.
This causes her to wonder what life would have looked like if they hadn’t split and she hadn’t quit music after a tragedy sent them on different paths and the feeling only grows as she reconnects making her wonder if she made the right choice that led to the life she has now — a life with a loving partner but one that has been struggling in its own tragedy.
Perfect for readers who….enjoy books about the messiness of love and people — and don’t mind a more emotional beach page-turner.
Float Plan by Trish Doller
I’ve long loved Trish Doller’s YA books and I’m happy to say how much I loved her adult debut in Float Plan which is going to be a great summer read that has a lot of what I love in a summertime read — it’s got some great self-discovery, balances a light feel with some heavier & emotional stuff, some good romance and a good settings!
It’s about a woman, in the midst of her grief, who impulsively decides to set sail on the trip she and her husband were supposed to go on before he died by suicide. Early in she realizes she’s very unprepared and can’t do it herself and hires a man, a professional sailor who is off course in his own life from where he thought he’d be, to help her make this journey.
I loved the romance but really loved the journey — both the physical sailing journey and the emotional/mental journey.
Perfect for readers who….love wonderful self-discovery stories with a dash of romance, adventure and a setting that sets the beach reading mood.
You May Also Like: Most Anticipated 2021 Adult Fiction Books
Meet Me In Paradise by Libby Hubscher – Out March 23
Self discovery, sisterhood and a love story is at the heart of this tropical-set story about a woman forced to step out of her comfort zone she’s confined herself to after the loss of her mom. A getaway planned with her sister turns into a solo trip, when her sister misses the flight, and she finds herself exploring with the stranger who took her sister’s seat.
Perfect for readers who….don’t mind a scoop of heart-wrenching with your sweet & romantic reads.
A Summer To Remember by Erika Montgomery – Out May 11
If the beachy Cape Cod setting doesn’t draw you in immediately, this story of family secrets and Old Hollywood nostalgia sure will. A mysterious package, containing photos of her deceased mother and famous actors taken before she was born, sends a 30-something woman cross country to find out more about her mother’s life and possibly find out who her father is.
Perfect for readers who….love heart-warming women’s fiction with an air of mystery and romance.
A Special Place For Women by Laura Hankin – Out May 11
Laurie Hankin always seems to be able to pull off plots that sound like they will be silly in a rather profound way — balancing big drama and sometimes outlandish plot points with undertones of truth and exploration of meaningful things that hit really well.
And she does it again with this story of daring young reporter is about to infiltrate a female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.
Perfect for readers who….love something super unique unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
Last Summer At The Golden Hotel – Out May 18
Such a fun book to put on in your beach reading queue if you like books with family drama that isn’t super heavy and settings that almost feel like a character themselves. Also, if you grew up loving Dirty Dancing like I did, think Kellerman’s as the setting!
Two multi-generational families (and co-owners) of a hotel in the Catskills gather to decide what to do with their hotel, a hotel long past its glory days it once had, and all the opinions/motivations/secrets of each member collide.
Perfect for readers who….love lighter family dramas who a whole big cast of characters.
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent – Out May 18
Be swept off to Scotland in this story about a girl who decides to run away from her life and pretend to be her best friend to spend the summer at the job, as a sommelier at a Scottish hotel, that her friend bailed on. Pretending to be someone else all summer might be hard, but try falling in love with someone who thinks you are someone else! WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
A fun one with plenty of romance and shenanigans as you can imagine that, while being a light and airy read, also carefully weaves in some heavier things.
Perfect for readers who….have daydreamed about running away and living someone else’s life for a bit. (But are far too practical and thus do it vicariously, like me, BUT WE CAN DAYDREAM amirite?)
Blush by Jamie Brenner – Out June 22
The family vineyard is in jeopardy as three generations of women in the Hollander family descend on their yearly summer reunion. Secrets abound and the key to saving their vineyard, a vineyard that has been dominated by the men in the family, just might be held in the granddaughter’s discovery of her grandmother’s “trashy romance” book club she had back in the 80’s.
Be prepared to want to order up some of these classic romance novels mentioned. Also, I cringe at calling romance trashy because it is so often degraded as a genre but don’t let that deter you here as that’s not the vibe.
Perfect for readers who….love lighter multi-generational family stories about strong women making their voices and presence known.
If you like your beach bag to be filled with sizzling thrillers & mysteries
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd – Out January 12
This is the perfect kind of wildly entertaining distraction to read on the beach — a fast thriller about a Mom influencer and an obsessive follower out for revenge. It’s told in alternating POVs — from the influencer, from the husband who knows her wife embellishes about their life and from the unknown person who wants revenge. You won’t like anybody in this book but it will be an easy and addictive beach read to throw in your bag and pick up.
Perfect for readers who….who love fast, escapist thrillers or who are both equal parts fascinated and disgusted with influencer culture.
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – Out February 2
A comical mystery about a struggling author and suburban mom who inadvertently gets finds herself caught up in a murder for hire plot, that pays really well, to dispose of a problem husband when she’s overheard discussing the best way to hide a body for her latest suspense novel. This mixup brings the shenanigans making this a really fun book to put in your beach bag.
Perfect for readers who….love light, funny mysteries and lots of silly shenanigans.
Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering – Out March 2
This is one of those thrillers I don’t want to say too much because I think it’s better that way to let you discover all the twists and turns fully on your own. The story is told in three perspectives (and three versions of the truth) about one man, two marriages and a sinister scheme. This will be one of those can’t put down until you are done…my kind of summer read!
Perfect for readers who….love psychologically thrillers like Gone Girl.
Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison – Out March 9
The Guest List vibes but make it set on the sparkling Italian coast! Both the bride and the groom have secrets they are hiding, the wedding is being sabotaged at every turn and a killer is amongst them at a luxurious and intimate wedding at an island villa. This thriller will make the perfect fast-paced vacation read.
Perfect for readers who….love the thriller trope of a deadly party or gathering a la Clue.
The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn – Out March 9
Definite I Know What You Did Last Summer vibes with a dash of Mean Girls in this psychological thriller about a college reunion where two best friends, hesitant to go back down memory lane, are being targeted for revenge for something they did 10 years ago.
Perfect for readers who….love dark psychological thrillers (with some really unlikeable characters).
The Siren by Katherine St. John – Out May 4
If you love super escapist and drama-filled thrillers, this is one to DEFINITELY add to your summer reading list! Literally, the kind of juicy beach read you can’t get enough of. The story takes place on a secluded Caribbean island where a low budget movie is filming and where the major players involved all have secrets and ulterior motivations for working on the film — a film starring a handsome mega-star and his publicly messy and unstable ex-wife actress.
Perfect for readers who….are craving juicy, escapist thrillers with super with a setting to match!
One of my favorite way to get through my never-ending list of books to read:
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb – Out May 18
Seriously get your sunblock, a tasty beverage and get lost on a pool float with this wild and juicy thriller! You won’t even come up for air. Honestly, hire a cabana boy to refill your drink and re-sunscreen you.
Desperate Housewives but make it more murder-y, wealthier and set in Texas. And throw in more Mean Girls. And guns. Don’t expect to like many of them but oh you won’t be able to put it down.
Perfect for readers who….can’t get enough of high drama things like Desperate Housewives and The Housewives reality series.
Beach Reading Picks If You Need A Good Romance or Rom-Com
Shipped by Angie Hockman – Out January 19
A rom-com set in THE GALAPAGOS. Do I need to say more? Okay fine — work rivals have to go on a company cruise to research for a proposal that will land ONE of them a job! A perfect escape to get lost in this summer — especially for those of us with pent up wanderlust!
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron – Out March 2
This one was SO MUCH FUN. But beware, you are going to be hungry reading so have some good snacks on hand (especially a nice loaf of bread). A fun romance about a meddling family, a fake engagement and a cooking competition (for couples) that could change so much!
Perfect for readers who….love a witty rom-com that has really delightful cast of character and probably will make you laugh out loud.
You May Also Like: New Romances To Check Out This Year
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle – Out April 6
Pack this slow-burn romance about a hopeless romantic who inherits a fresh start by way of a charming yet falling apart house in the Smokies that also comes with a (gorgeous) but quiet, grumpy groundskeeper/her aunt’s caretaker who she finds out also has inherited this massive estate. As the two clash on the direction to go when fixing up the house, they also start to slowly step out of their comfort zone and let the other in a little bit.
Perfect for readers who….lovers of slow-burn romances that are gentle and easy reads.
People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry – Out May 11
Emily Henry’s Beach Read was a 2020 favorite of mine in general but the perfect beach book for me last year. This one is about a woman who is trying to save the 12 year friendship with the guy who is currently not speaking to her, after everything got ruined 2 years ago, so she decides to invite him on their previously yearly vacation to give it one last shot.
Perfect for readers who….are here for a smart second chance, friends-to-lover romance!
If a lighter historical fiction is your idea of a good beach read
Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson – Out January 5
I know funny and historical aren’t normally two things that seem to go together but THIS, my friends, is a great mix of humor and drama about new friendship, love and new beginnings — all set at a divorce ranch in Reno in the 1930’s. I had never heard of a divorce ranch for women seeking quick divorces before so it was interesting to delve into.
Perfect for readers who….are sick of sad or depressing historical fiction.
The Social Graces by Renee Rosen – Out April 20
Another lighter, easy historical read to pack in that beach bag. This one is set in the glittering, wealthy Manhattan society scene of The Gilded Age and the women who run the social scene. It centers around the feud between the Aster’s and the Vanderbilt’s — new money vs old money! Also an interesting examination about how women asserted what little they had control over into things like social circles.
Perfect for readers who….gossipy reads and love being thrown into the over-the-top and lavish social circles of rich people
If Young Adult Books Are Staples In Your Beach Reads Rotation
If you love young adult books, definitely check out all the must-read YA fiction for this year.
You Have A Match by Emma Lord – Out January 12
Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute was a fan favorite the summer earlier so naturally had to include her latest! This one is about a girl who finds out, through a DNA site, that she has a sister and meets up with her at a summer camp (along with her best friend and secret love interest Leo) to figure out why they never knew about one another.
Perfect for readers who…. love authors like Sarah Dessen or Morgan Matson.
You May Also Like: Books For Sarah Dessen Fans
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant – Out January 12
It’s about an aspiring romance writer who is accepted for a prestigious writing opportunity only to find she’s hit a huge writer’s block. When a friend suggests she needs some real life love story inspiration to help her out of it, inspired by romance novels, she creates a master plan for her own happily ever after — only to realize it might not be the one she thought she wanted.
Perfect for readers who…. love ADORABLE rom-coms in the vein of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
You May Also Like: Books Like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
You May Also Like: Books For Fans of Pretty Little Liars
My Personal Top 3 Anticipated Beach Reads For The Season
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Out June 1
Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my fave authors and I think honestly her whole backlist lends to some pretty perfect beach reads.
Taking place in the course of 24 hours, this one is set in the 1980’s at a lavish end-of-summer party thrown by famous siblings that will end in flames and secrets unearthed and exposed.
Perfect for readers who….books that blend drama and complex characters so well.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston- Out June 1
A f/f re-imagining of Kate & Leopold about a girl who meets her dream girl on the subway only to find out that she’s really from the 1970’s and must help to get her back to her own time.
Perfect for readers who….are looking for a rom-com that is REALLY different with the time-slip/time travel element.
The Husbands by Chandler Baker – Out June 29
Slow burn domestic suspense meets Stepford Wives, this one is about a woman who is house hunting in an exclusive neighborhood where the high-powered women all seem to be thriving and not drowning in domestic life as she feels as a mom and lawyer who wishes her husband would take on some of the burden. As she becomes drawn into their lives via helping on a wrongful death suit, she starts to find something uneasy about these women and their husbands.
Perfect for readers who….are looking for something smart and different that is equally keeps the pages turning while also having some razor-sharp social commentary about things like modern marriage and motherhood.
The post 33 New Books To Add To Your Beach Bag For Summer 2021 appeared first on The Perpetual Page-Turner.