These Summer Reads Are Actually Set On The Beach

by Kerri Jarema

Come summertime we start to hear a lot about summer beach reads. The extensive lists are everywhere, and on every one is something different. Beach reads usually describe a book that is fast-paced and juicy, a page-turner that will have you gripped as you lay around on the sand, or poolside. But, for some people that might mean a steamy romance, a nail-biting thriller or an edge-of-your seat fantasy. But what about beach reads that are actually... well ...beach reads? We're talking about books that are set in the summer at a beach, beach house or in some fabulous coastal town. They usually contain a little bit of romance, a lot of drama, and some serious seasonal feels, making them the ideal read for any summer day-trip, vacation or excursion you might take.

The 11 picks below are all recently released adult novels centered around beach life. Some are studies in family dynamics, others are looking for a chance at love, and there's even a thriller in the bunch to satiate pretty much any kind of reader. So get your bathing suit on, grab a beach chair in the shade, a get a cocktail in hand because with this stack of obsession-worthy books next to you, you won't be going anywhere for a while.


'Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel' by Dorothea Benton Frank

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers, together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own. Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at the island, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak.

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'Secrets in Summer' by Nancy Thayer

Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means new summertime neighbors. But the last person she expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, along with his wife and stepdaughter. Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, in town to write a book. As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.

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'I Found You' by Lisa Jewell

In a windswept British seaside town, Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside. Meanwhile, in London, 21-year-old Lily Monrose's new husband fails to come home from work one night. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed. Twenty-three years later Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until a young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this novel, filled with dark secrets.

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'The Sunshine Sisters' by Jane Green (June 6, 2017)

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. Nell fled her mother's overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world. The target of her mother's criticism, Meredith left for London and fell into the arms of a man she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, used her ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother's fame. But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease... and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes.

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'The Identicals: A Novel' by Elin Hilderbrand (June 13, 2017)

Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha's Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. Just because twins look exactly the same doesn't mean they're anything alike... and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point. When a family crisis forces them to band together, or at least appear to, the twins come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the resentments that have driven them apart.

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'The Book of Summer' by Michelle Gable

Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family's Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she's purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home's definitive guestbook, and Bess herself.

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'The Forever Summer' by Jamie Brenner

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it's paid off: at 28 she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin's half-sister shows up, and it's all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother's quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin's life forever.

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'A Mother Like Mine' by Kate Hewitt (August 8, 2017)

Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiance's unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town's beach cafe. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up after 20 years away and announces her plan to stay. Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother's life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew.

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'Emerald Coast' by Anita Hughes (August 1, 2017)

Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. Thirty-two years old and newly divorced, she's ready to handle things on her own. At least until her ex-husband shows up. Oliver moved out six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage. Oliver, a food critic, is here covering Sardinia's hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite. Worse, Oliver isn't alone. But when Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other's hearts?

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'The Summer House' by Jenny Hale (June 9, 2017)

Callie Weaver and best friend Olivia Dixon have finally done it: put their life savings into the beach house they admired through childhood summers, on the dazzling white sand of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They’re going to buff the salt from its windows, paint its sun-bleached sidings, and open it as a bed and breakfast. Callie’s too busy to think about her love life, but when she catches the attention of local heartthrob Luke Sullivan, his blue eyes and easy smile make it hard to say no. Just when true happiness seems within reach, Callie and Olivia find a diary full of secrets... secrets that stretch across the island, and have the power to turn lives upside down.

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'Beach House For Rent' by Mary Alice Monroe (June 20, 2017)

When Cara Rutledge rents her beach house to Heather Wyatt for the summer, it’s a win-win: Cara’s generating income to keep husband Brett’s boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, a young artist, has a quiet space in which to work. But it isn’t long before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: Heather is drawn out her shell toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she needs to return to the beach house. When Heather refuses to leave, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, they soon learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

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