7 Books About Summer Love To Heat Up Your Day

by Caitlin White

Summer, with its sticky heat, beach days, and sweaty bodies is the perfect time for a little romance. And because we still have some time left in the cold before we get there, these seven books about summer love can hold you over until you embark on your own sultry affairs — margarita in hand while reading, not required. Just try not to get too jealous if your weather report is still hovering somewhere around "chilly."

These summer love books have relationships that are sometimes ilicit or ill-advised — just blame the sunstroke for poor judgement — and sometimes they have earnest first loves, timeless affairs, and couples that find their way back to each other. But no matter the situation, whether they're older or just learning what love means in their teenage years, they are definitely steamy. You would expect nothing less than a summertime romance.

You'll be picturing yourself rolling around in the surf with your crush, From Here To Eternity-style when you pick up one of these seven books. (This is a no judgement zone.) Because summer is the time for freedom, taking risks, and going after the things you want, and while you're still trapped back home, away from the salt air of the beach, and stuck in the confines of your cubicle or classroom, you're going to need those vibes.

1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Judy Blume's adult classic Summer Sisters has steamy, confusing first love, between Caitlin and Von and Vix and Bru, that takes place over the course of summer after summer. But the real love story here is between BFFs Caitlin and Vix; a complicated, messy, passionate affair that has defined both of their lives, ever since Caitlin invited Vix along to the island with her family, and opened up her entire world.

2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly's life is measured only by summers. The summers are when she travels to the beach house, next door to her mother's best friend Susannah and her two sons Conrad and Jeremiah. But as she gets older, these simmering crushes on the two boys next door transform into something more serious, and Belly risks dividing the family she loves if she can't make a decision between the two loves of her life. (#TeamConrad, btw.)

3. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Prodigal Summer is at once a love letter to nature, but it also weaves together love stories of its various protagonists, each with his or her own arc, over the course of one summer. Kingsolver's setting in the struggling Southern Appalachian mountain farms is vibrant, so that you can feel the heat and humidity of the summer. Deanna Wolfe is a wildlife biologist who takes up with seasonal hunter Eddie Bondo, which tugs at her beliefs in protecting nature and animals. Then there's environmentalist Lusa Landowski, who is battling against her late husband's family. And there's city girl Lusa Maluf Landowski who is adjusting to the simple life after newly marrying a farmer.

4. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Tobago-born Elyse d’Abreau was destined for singing stardom until an accident took her voice. Now, she's been whisked away from the Caribbean to coastal Oregon, a small seaside town named after the mythical first mermaid. It's there she meets rich playboy Christian Kane, with whom she forms an unexpected summer romance. However, Christian's younger brother Sebastian is captivated by the idea that Elyse is that mythical mermaid, returning.

5. Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry

OK, I'm cheating a little because Alison Cherry's Look Both Ways doesn't come out until June, but circle it on your calendar, add it to your Goodreads, or do whatever you do to put it on your TBR pile if you're looking for summer romance. Brooklyn Shepard was born into a family of noted performers, but she has always been more comfortable hiding in the background. That is, until she meets her roommate Zoe at theater camp. Zoe and Brooklyn form a deep connection that blossoms into a romance, during one hot summer under the lights of the stage.

6. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Huntley Fitzpatrick has always known how to compose a romance novel with a feminist kick. What I Thought Was True is set on the tiny Seashell Island off the coast of New England, where Gwen Castle has grown up. So she's from an entirely different universe than Cassidy "Cass" Somers, a rich kid from the mainland who spends his summers on the island. Over the years, Gwen and Cass have had their romantic entanglements, but after Gwen regrets having sex with one of Cass's friends, she hopes this summer can be the one she finally moves on. Of course, fate won't allow it and the two end up working side by side.

7. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

Hilderbrand is the queen of complicated summer romance books, and Barefoot might be one of the best. It's a romance story framed around a story of female friendship. Two sisters and their friend escape their own respective demons to spend a summer in a tiny cottage on the beach. It's there that they meet Josh, a college boy home for the summer, and he becomes entangled with the three women, one in a steamy way.

Image: Fotolia