Have you ever found yourself in the position where you’d really like to start a new book, but you feel overwhelmed by the commitment of reading something long? Or perhaps you have a short weekend trip in which you know you’ll have time to read, but you want to be sure that you’ll be able to finish it that weekend? We’ve all been there, so we know that sometimes you need to have a few short books on your TBR list that you can get through in a few days (if not even less time).
read this if you're in your saving era this summer
Searching the internet for “short books” or books under a certain page length can be intimidating and time consuming, so we’ve taken the guesswork out of it by putting together this list of 18 books that are around or under 300 pages. Some are slightly longer and a few are under 100 pages, but these novels are definitely ones that you’d be able to fly through in just one weekend.
From thrillers to romance novels to short stories to historical fiction, these 18 books are perfect for downloading on your Kindle at the end of a Friday workday and escaping for the weekend.
The Midnight Library
Somewhere, out beyond the edge of the universe, there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
Page count: 304
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. When the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life-changing begins. Years later, during their time at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Page count: 304
Local Woman Missing
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her 6-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold. Now, 11 years later, Delilah shockingly returns.
Although this book is slightly longer than the rest on this list, we can assure you that you will not be able to put it down once you start.
Page count: 384
After calling off her engagement in the wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, 4-year-old Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation. But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers and sets in motion a diabolical plot for revenge.
Page count: 234
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things
This deeply scary and intensely unnerving novel follows a couple in the midst of a twisted unraveling of the darkest unease. You will be scared. But you won’t know why…
"I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always. Jake once said, 'Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.' And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here."
Page count: 256
We Were Liars
This story starts as an innocent and idyllic beach story that will have you wanting to take a vacation to an East Coast private island, but by the end, you'll be so shook that you'll be thinking about this book for days. It's full of family secrets and mystery, and its famous twist is one you just have to read for yourself.
Page count: 320
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer when she gets the offer of a lifetime: to ghost write the final books of best-selling author Verity Crawford’s most famous series, which she’s unable to finish after being in an accident. Verity’s husband encourages Lowen to come stay at their home to go through Verity’s office and notes for ideas for the rest of the series—and while she’s there, she finds much more than she bargained for.
Page count: 331
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: She must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful 13-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
Page count: 254
In Five Years
Dannie's meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content. But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake.
Page count: 288
The Couple Next Door
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all: a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.
Page count: 336
Everything I Never Told You
This story is about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that had been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
Page count: 297
What We Lose
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being Black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.
Page count: 224
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid of the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place. She may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Page count: 320
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This critically acclaimed novel follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
Page count: 224
Murder on the Orient Express
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies before the murderer decides to strike again.
Page count: 288
Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn't behave like most children do. Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she's imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.
Page count: 320
The Lost Apothecary
Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. Meanwhile, in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
Page count: 352
Evidence of the Affair
A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives. The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here.
Page count: 80