I don't want to be the bearer of bad news here, so I'll use euphemisms instead. Let's see, uh — the dandelion is growing into a seed head. The green-clad oak is changing into her golden gown. The polar ice caps are melting. The child of yesteryear is no longer a babe in arms. OK, now I'm depressed, so I'll just say it: The summer of 2014 is coming to an end, and there are only so many days of reading novels on the beach left for people like us (that is, readers who have a bad case of seasonal denial).
If you're one of those lucky people who has some time off before fall truly hits — I believe we call them "students without summer jobs" — have I got a surprise for you. Here, I've rounded up a collection of ultra-summery books for you to devour during these last halcyon days of sunshine, and when I say "ultra-summery," I'm not kidding around. These books are practically dripping with SPF 50, jam-packed with illicit summer flings, coated with melted ice cream, and horribly sunburned but applying aloe vera religiously. I've even broken down the sunniest elements of each book for you, so you can decide just how beachy you wanna get. You might not even notice that the season is changing around you as you read.
1. The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Summery elements: Great American Road Trip. Lots of strip malls. Fear of the Second Coming.
2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Summery elements: Two friends meeting at a public swimming pool. Texas heat. Summer romance.
3. The History of Luminous Motion by Scott Bradfield
Summery elements: A really aimless road trip. Gratuitous crime. California. A weird relationship with one's mother. Bonus: This book is also a cult classic, which will make you the coolest reader on the beach.
4. The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
Summery elements: Summer estates in Maine. Sailing. The sea. Weird love stuff.
5. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Summery elements: Vacation. Spain. Family drama. Bonus: Everyone's recommending it.
6. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Summery elements: Takes place during the . . . summer. Teenagers at the beach. Bonus: It's a graphic novel (so you don't have to strain your eyes reading all that tiny text).
7. Jones Beach by Joseph Szabo
Summery elements: A beach. Oiled-up skin. Swimsuits. Beach towels. Bikinis. Waves.
8. Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Summery elements: Mediterranean summer house. Swimming pool. Wine tasting. Death.
9. Mary Kate and Ashley Sweet 16: The Perfect Summer
Summery elements: Sweet 16 road trip. Major crushes. Bonus: Your childhood.
10. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
Summery elements: Scenic countryside. The ultimate summer crush. Flowery language.
11. That Summer in Paris by Morley Callaghan
Summery elements: Summer of 1929. Left Bank in Paris. Ernest Hemingway. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bonus: Comes with an extra side of escapism.