It seems like there's always at least one week of summer where it just doesn't stop raining. It's not exactly the beach, pool and park weather one would hope for in the last stretches of the summer, but that doesn't mean you still can't take full enjoyment of the warm days when a seasonal thunderstorm strikes. Just imagine: the window open wide to invite in the scent of warm summer rain, the soothing spatter of raindrops on the sidewalk, and the ideal summer beach read in hand. That sounds like the perfect way to spend a less-than-perfect summer weather day to me.
The 11 books below are all ideal summer reads for one reason or another — they're set primarily in the summer or in warm weather, but infused with the chill, introspective vibes of a rainy summer day; they just inspire introspection, period; they're romantic or dramatic or particularly cozy and gripping in such a way that you won't be wishing you were sitting at the beach instead at all — well, for the most part. These novels run the gamut from young adult to literary fiction and more, but you're sure to find a read that will make the perfect thunderstorm companion, no matter what genre you prefer.
'Second Chance Summer' by Morgan Matson
When Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house. Crammed into a place much smaller than they are used to, the family tries to get to know each other again. As the summer progresses, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance — with family, with friends, and with love.
'The Museum Of You' by Carys Bray
Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. Her dad, Darren, has done his best. He's surrounded her with everything she might want to be happy. But what Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother's belongings. But what you find depends on what you're searching for.
'Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe' by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that will help them learn the most important truths about themselves and the people they want to be.
'The Trouble With Goats And Sheep' by Joanna Cannon
Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren’t convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God — they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.
'Grace And The Fever' by Zan Romanoff
In middle school, everyone was a Fever Dream fan. Now, a few weeks after her high school graduation, Grace Thomas sometimes feels like the only one who never moved on. Then, one summer night, the unthinkable happens: Grace meets her idol, Jes. What starts out as an elusive glimpse of Fever Dream's world leads her to confront dark, complex truths about herself and the realities of stardom.
'The Girls' by Emma Cline
At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult. As her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.
'Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined' by Danielle Younge-Ullman
Ingrid once traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. When the curtain fell on Margot-Sophia’s career, they buried the past and settled into a painfully small life. Now Ingrid's on a summer wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens, fighting humiliations and physical challenges to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.
'The Age Of Miracles' by Karen Thompson Walker
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life — fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, first love. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
'Between Two Skies' by Joanne O'Sulilivan
Bayou Perdu, a tiny town in Louisiana, is home to 16-year-old Evangeline Riley. There, she has her wise Mamere and the peace that comes when she takes her boat out. But then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos comes Tru — a fellow refugee, and a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. But will she ever be able to go home again?
'Tin Man' by Sarah Winman
Ellis and Michael are 12 when they first become friends, spending their time cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more. But a decade later Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. What happened in the years between?
'Everything Leads To You' by Nina LaCour
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic, beautiful, and she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.