30 Books That Should Be on Your Summer Reading List

Growing up, I’d enter my public library’s reading contest every summer. I’d always lose because swimming in the pool, watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie on a loop, and annoying my mom took precedence over reading. However, it never discouraged me. I entered that reading contest until my senior year of high school, and even since moving away, I look at summer as the chance to read all those book suggestions I’ve been stockpiling for months.

Well, this year, we’re winning that contest, people. Grab your notebooks (or the Soon app, my favorite way to track books and movies!), your Amazon password, and/or your library card. We’re about to get reading.

 

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and the Six

When I first heard about this book, I was pretty skeptical. I'm not big on historical novels, but after watching Bohemian Rhapsody and The Dirt (weird but I loved it), I was on a roll with badass rockstar protagonists. STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING, PEOPLE. Order this book on Amazon (or put on hold at your library!) ASAP. Even if you don't think you'd like this one, I promise you will. I can't even describe it, but I was engulfed in the characters from the first page. If you try anything on this list, make it this one. (It's also becoming an Amazon series produced by Reese Witherspoon, so if that doesn't convince you, I'm not sure what will.)

Beth O'Leary

The Flatshare

I phoned it in to our Associate Editor Kelly on this one: "I was expecting a light, fun, perfectly summery read — which the Flatshare delivers tremendously — but it also pleasantly surprised me with lots of depth, insight, grief, and hilarity. A beautiful, generous, well-rounded read. I smiled throughout."

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

I think I've recommended this a few times, but I can't get enough. This book uses the various ideas of design thinking and applies them to overall life. Even if you're not interested in design, there is so much to learn from this book.

Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Rereading our favorites is a summertime staple for us. This is our Editorial Assistant Maddie's favorite summer read, so I'll let her do the talking (thanks, Mad!): "Arguably the most interesting fact about me is that I’ve read this book at the beginning of every summer for the past five years. It truly takes me through the entire spectrum of human emotion — fear, anger, joy, you name it. Even if you’ve seen the movie (which you probably have), you need to read this book — I will stand by the fact that this is the best beach read in history for the rest of my days."

Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

This is the perfect summer thriller. Set on a cruise ship (fancy), this novel follows a journalist on assignment to write about the ship. Everything seems fine until she sees a woman thrown overboard, all to realize everyone on the boat is accounted for. This thriller will leave you feeling all sorts of things (mostly that you never want to go on a cruise again).

Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

If you can't tell, I love books about journalists. (I like characters I can relate to!) Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood icon who decides to recount the details of her private life to unknown magazine reporter, Monique Grant. It's the same Taylor Jenkins Reid voice and drama-filled plot we know and love!

Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

If you're looking to add a classic to your summer TBR, look no further. Maya Angelou is a wordsmith if we ever knew one. While I can't say this book is a perfect beach read (unless you have big sunglasses to hide your mascara-stained face from crying so much), it's amazing for a nice cozy day inside with a blasting AC.

Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

Many of us have probably had this on our TBRs for a while, but this is your chance to finally read it. I'm a big fan of Margaret Atwood, and this is still my favorite book of hers. (This also happens to be my favorite show, so I'd totally recommend reading a little and watching a little on a continuous loop.)

Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

Even if you've already seen the series, we can't recommend the book enough. This is a favorite in The Everygirl office — the characters are amazing, the twist was everything we hoped for, and we couldn't stop turning the page to learn more. We're adamant that this might be the perfect summer read.

Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret

Now, if you've already read Big Little Lies and need some more Liane Moriarty in your life, look no further. This has the same suspense and characterization we love from Moriarty. Add this to your reading list if you can't get enough of BLL this summer.

Helen Hoang

The Bride Test

Kelly Etz (I talk about Kelly a lot, but I promise I'm not obsessed, don't get a restraining order on me, I swear I just strive to be as amazing as she is every day) talked about The Kiss Quotient all last summer, so Helen Hoang has been on my radar since. This is her second story involving a character on the autism spectrum, which she added to her novels as a way to cope and understand her own autism diagnosis. Khai Diep feels like he can't experience love or marriage like everyone else due to his autism, but his family has other plans. This novel deals with how people share and return love to one another in a way that is refreshing, different, and uplifting.

Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes

If you loved Little Fires Everywhere, this is a great one to add to your list. This book follows multiple families in a suburban town and deals with marriage, secrets, friendship, and more.

Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin spent a year trying to figure out how to be happy (and what it means for her). If there's any time to focus on your happiness, it's the summer. We also love this option if you're interested in psychology or the science behind contentment.

Lauren Weisberger

When Life Gives You Lululemons

This book was on hold at my library for months, but I can finally say she is mine, and she's beautiful. From the writer of The Devil Wears Prada, this story focuses on Emily Charlton, our favorite Miranda Priestly assistant. Emily moved to Greenwich, Connecticut to work as an image consultant. Emily makes a few friends (including an ex-attorney and former supermodel) to take on the social landscape of Greenwich. Whether you're a die-hard Devil Wears Prada fan or just enjoy a solid "fall from grace" story, this is a great poolside read.

Ruth Ware

In A Dark, Dark Wood

Nora gets invited to her ex-BFFs bachelorette party 10 years after they stopped being friends, and I can't tell you much else because the suspense is everything in this book. Just trust us that this one is good. Read this if you're looking for a little mystery-thriller this summer.

Tish Cohen

The Summer We Lost Her

Matt and Elise's marriage seems to be falling apart at the seams, so they decide to take a trip with their daughter Gracie to the Adirondacks. As trouble starts to arise, Gracie disappears. The story discusses marriage, family, loss, fear, and more, all while the scenery reminds us of summers at the lake. (Because lake life is the best life, right?)

Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones

13-year-old Charlie hears a knock on his window one night to find Jasper Jones, an outcast kid who needs his help. It's a "summer where everything changes" story that is anything but predictable and cheesy.

Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

This book is well-known all over the world for being the ultimate rom-com in book form. Don Tillman, a genetics professor, meets Rosie on his quest to find a wife, while she's trying to find her biological father. The two begin an unlikely friendship, and I'll let you finish the rest.

Lindsay Emory

The Royal Runaway

There's just something about a British novel in the summertime. If you love The Princess Diaries, The Prince and Me (a classic), The Christmas Prince (who else is already getting ready for Christmas? Just us? OK moving on), or anything Meghan Markle, you'll love this book. After her fiancé disappears, a princess, Thea, decides she's over the royal life and runs away, meeting an incredibly charming and handsome Scot named Nick, who she learns is not Scottish and is actually a spy. The two team up to discover what really happened to Thea's fiancé before the wedding.

Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

You've probably seen this gem on your Instagram feed once or twice. A Reese Witherspoon favorite, read this if you're into beautiful descriptions of the North Carolina scenery, coming-of-age stories, and a little mystery.

Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch

I'm a little obsessed with everything Donna Tartt has ever written — I think she is a genius. Anyway, this book is amazing, and I think everyone needs to read it. The trailer for the film (starring Ansel Elgort, Finn Wolfhard, and Nicole Kidman!) was released a couple weeks ago, and I honestly am considering rereading the book before it comes out. Trust me on this one, you'll enjoy it regardless of the typical genres you read.

Laird Hunt

In the House in the Dark of the Woods

I can’t be the only one who likes a good horror book in the summer, right? There's just something about curling up with all the covers in a well-air-conditioned room and getting a little scared. Set in colonial New England, a Puritan woman is kidnapped and set free to wander alone in the woods, until she meets another woman. If you loved The VVitch (a solid 7/10 horror film in my book), this will feel familiar but equally as terrifying and surprising.

Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders

YA novels are a guilty pleasure for most of us, but they're even better in the summertime. It just evokes all those "schools out, summers in" vibes.

Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

If you're aching for a little summertime drama (because there's only so many episodes of Handmaid's Tale and Big Little Lies!), we suggest this. It has a Breakfast Club feel — five strangers in detention, each representing a different social circle — with a murder-mystery twist. This is a great book for a book club or to convince your BFF to read with you so you can discuss all the drama together.

Alexandra Monir

The Girl in the Picture

Am I addicted to murder mysteries? Yes, I am. High school heartthrob Chace Porter (a heartthrob name if I ever heard one) is found dead, and investigators find a picture of him cuddled up with his girlfriend's best friend, a music geek no one ever expected would be close to Chace.

David Sedaris

When You Are Engulfed In Flames

David Sedaris is hilarious. Sorry, I can't be any more profound than that. Everything he writes makes me cackle alone in my apartment for hours. His essays are so cool and smart, and I really feel like he gets me sometimes. Read Sedaris, people. You won't regret it.

Tommy Orange

There There

This new release has been everywhere, and it's all for a good reason. It follows 12 characters in different Native communities who are all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. The book discusses how they're all connected and the unknown similarities they all share. It educates readers on various experiences of Native American individuals in America today in a heartbreaking but hopeful way. This is a new summer arrival you'll want to pick up (and probably won't be able to put down).

Matt Haig

How to Stop Time

Goodreads recommended this to me based on my previous reads. (Goodreads understands me more than anyone else in my life. I stand by that.) Tom seems like a normal 41-year-old man, but due to a rare condition, he's actually mean alive for centuries. The society that protects people like him (the Albatross Society) has one rule: don't fall in love. I think you can catch what's going to happen. I love that it's a love story focused on someone who isn't 22 years old — not everyone meets the love of their life in early adulthood! (Anything to make my single self feel better, right?)

Nora Ephron

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections

Everything I said about David Sedaris applies equally to Nora Ephron. She has a unique way of telling stories that are both real and relatable, all while being insightful in the same way you would expect your great aunt to be, passing down nuggets of wisdom.

What are you reading this summer?! What should we add to our lists? Let us know you’re recommendations in the comments!