10 Summer Books To Pick Up If You Already Miss Beach Reading Season
Well, fall is here, with its pumpkins and its sweaters and its various hot beverages. Our movie theaters are full of Stephen King and our internet listicles are full of Halloween costume ideas. Kids are going back to school. Birds are flying south. And we can all agree that fall is nice, but... you guys know all those flavored lattes are just a distraction from the fact that the entire hemisphere is shriveling up and dying, right? Some of us would gladly take another month of warm weather and beach days. So if you're already dreaming of ice cream and sundresses, here are a few books you can read to keep the spirit of summer alive.
I mean, yes, reading in the fall is great, but it's no beach reading. There's a special magic to reading in the summer. Even if you're a working adult, and summer vacation is a relic of the distant past, you can recapture some of that old school summer romance through books. Some of these summery reads are just pure summer fluff (and I mean that in the best way), to bring a little sunshine to those gray October days. Others go for summer mysteries, summer scares, or complex summer coming of age tales. Either way, you can pretend it's not fall yet for just a little while longer:
'The Summer Book' by Tove Jansson
A six-year-old girl and her artist grandmother are spending the summer on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. That's... kind of the whole plot. But The Summer Book is so lovely and evocative in its depiction of summer, and the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter is so fierce and real, that you'll find yourself captivated by this delightful Finnish summer story all the same.
'We Were Liars' by E. Lockhart
We Were Lairs strikes a great balance between fun summer romance novel and horrifying summer mystery novel. Set on a picturesque private island, one beautiful, damaged girl finds herself searching for the truth of what really happened to her last summer—and whether or not her family and friends are lying.
'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is a master of sci-fi and horror, but he can also spin a pretty pleasant summer story. Dandelion Wine is the literary equivalent of lying in a hammock in the backyard of the house you grew up in: it's sweet and nostalgic, a little surreal, and strangely life-affirming. As Bradbury puts it, "Dandelion Wine... The words were summer on the tongue."
'This One Summer' by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
Nothing says summer like a coming of age story. This One Summer captures all the growing pains of a summer in your early teens, when childhood is just starting to give way to boy troubles and body image issues. The characters are all too relatable, and the art is just gorgeous in this singular graphic novel.
'Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe' by Debbie Johnson
Romance and cupcakes and windswept clifftops! This book is the ultimate beach read for lazy summer days. Laura Walker is finally ready to move on from her deceased husband, and her journey of self-discovery involves a lot of humor and fresh baked bread. Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe is pure fun, as well as more than a few mouth-watering descriptions of food.
'Sleepaway Girls' by Jen Calonita
Sam has applied to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines summer camp in the Catskills. But, as anyone who's ever been to camp can tell you, summer camp is nothing if not full of drama. Sleepaway Girls is a wonderfully fun take on the classic summer camp experience, complete with sabotage and whirlwind romance.
'The Summer I Turned Pretty' by Jenny Han
Everyone remembers that one summer when puberty hit them like a huge, hormonal big rig truck. Jenny Han is a master of the YA summer romance, and The Summer I Turned Pretty is equal parts shimmering summer fantasy and very real depiction of teenagerdom, as Belly find herself caught in the middle of a new love triangle between old friends.
'Swamplandia!' by Karen Russell
If beachy romances are not so much your summer vibe, take a trip to the Florida Everglades with Swamplandia! It's the story of young Ava Bigtree, her missing father, her confused sister (who's dating a ghost), her runaway brother (who's working at a hell-themed theme park), and her gators. It's spectacularly weird and entirely wonderful.
'Ghost Summer: Stories' by Tananarive Due
Want all the creepiness of fall with all the warmth of summer? Pick up Ghost Summer by the incomparable Tananarive Due. This books lives somewhere in the realm between literary short stories and straight up horror. And if you've ever wanted a swamp monster story from the monster's perspective, this is the book for you.
'Summer Sisters' by Judy Blume
At the end of the day, Judy Blume still rules the realm of summer literature with an iron fist. Summer Sisters is the perfect novel for reliving summer, in all its beauty and complexity. Caitlin and Vix used to be "summer sisters," best friends bonded by their windy island vacations... but now, years later, Caitlin is getting married, and Vix is forced to choose between abandoning her old friend or facing the betrayals that drove them apart.