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Books To Throw in Your Beach Bag This Summer

Whether you’re going on vacation or taking a staycation this summer, make sure you’ve got all the essentials packed: sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles…and a good book. Here are six amazing titles that we invite you to check out while you’re lounging by the pool, sitting on the beach, or having a picnic in the park.


The Hotel Nantucket was, once upon a time, a beautiful, picturesque seaside hotel. But starting with the 1922 death of chambermaid Grace Hadley in a fire, the hotel’s fortunes declined over the decades until it became a wreck – that is, until a London tycoon bought and reopened it as a hotel. Lizbet Keaton, a Nantucket woman who is recovering from a bad breakup, becomes the hotel’s new general manager. Life seems to be going well at the new Hotel Nantucket on the outside but on the inside, there are all sorts of staff tensions and misunderstandings. It seems that Grace Hadley isn’t exactly resting in peace…


This debut novel from British author Moses McKenzie follows the life of Sayon Hughes in the neighborhood of Ends: a Bristol neighborhood home largely to Caribbean and Somali immigrants and which is facing the detrimental effects of gentrification. Sayon’s dream is to buy a beautiful house and make a home there with Shona – the clergyman’s daughter whom he has adored since childhood. But a deadly encounter with a local drug dealer threatens to put an end to all of that.


Shashi Bhat’s darkly humorous debut novel follows Nina, starting with her life as a fourteen-year-old girl in 1990s Halifax, then picking up with her life as a grown woman. Young Nina has a crush on her English teacher, she is pursuing a dangerous friendship with an older man online, and her love of pop culture and having fun is a source of bewilderment to her traditional Indian parents. As an adult, Nina is working as a high school teacher and figuring out online dating. In between those two eras is a terrible, life-altering incident that Nina will not speak of. 


This debut coming-of-age novel from Salma El-Wardnay follows the lives of Malak, Kees, and Jenna: three best friends trying to balance their families’ traditional Muslim values with living the lives of typical teenage girls. It gets more complicated as the girls grow up and contemplate adult life, love, romance, and the obligations to community and family. But an incident that happens in college threatens to tear the three friends apart for good. 


Nina Stibbe, author of LOVE, NINA, tells the story of two longtime friends dealing with the ups and downs that come with long-term friendship. Susan Warren is working in a humdrum job at a university in the English Midlands, her husband barely notices her, and her longtime best friend Norma-Jean Pavlou now has a prestigious academic career. Thirty years before in 1990, Susan had crossed paths with Norma when they were working in a local haberdashery shop: Susan as a part-timer in between university studies and Norma trying to figure out her own academic life. Now, Susan finds herself contemplating all the choices she has made in life since becoming friends with Norma and what she needs to do for her own sake. 


Emilia, a young American artist, arrives in Rome as a broken-hearted woman. Her boyfriend, with whom she was supposed to have been traveling, has just betrayed and left her. She is struggling with a complicated relationship with her family, most notably her overbearing musician father. However, a chance encounter with John, an American living abroad, and the sights, sounds, and people of Rome itself, prompt Emilia to look at her life with fresh eyes and renewed energy. 

Erin Roll is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. Her favorite genres to read are mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, and her TBR pile is likely to be visible on Google Maps. Before becoming an editor, Erin worked as a journalist and photographer, and she has won far too many awards from the New Jersey Press Association. Erin lives at the top floor of a haunted house in Montclair, NJ. She enjoys reading (of course), writing, hiking, kayaking, music, and video games.