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What could be better than spending a summer afternoon in a comfy chair, sipping an ice-cold drink, reading a good book? Not much, if you ask us. But finding the perfect summer read to keep you enthralled page after page is a little trickier than pouring yourself a tall glass of iced tea.
To make that part easier, we’ve rounded up 17 of this summer’s best beach reads. In a time when it's easier than ever to be distracted by a device, these page-turners are sure to grab your attention — and not let it go until the very last page. Whether you’re looking for a thought-provoking thriller or a tear-jerking family drama, we promise you can’t go wrong with any pick on this list.
"It’s Always the Husband" by Michele Campbell
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If you loved Liane Moriarty’s "Big Little Lies," put this thriller on the top of your list. Three college roommates from very different backgrounds experienced a tragedy in their freshman year that ties them together forever. Twenty years later, the women reunite at the scene of the crime. When one suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances, her two friends and her husband could all be the potential killer — and you won’t be sure “whodunit” until the very (shocking) end.
"Camino Island" by John Grisham
Fans of John Grisham’s bestselling novels may find his latest work a little different (softer, perhaps), but it’s still jam-packed with intrigue — in other words, maybe even better for a beach read. Mercer Mann, a young novelist, is offered a hefty reward for locating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s invaluable manuscripts that had just been stolen from a secure vault. Her search takes her to an island resort town in Florida, where she meets a local bookstore owner with a shady side hustle who may be involved in the literary heist.
"Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins
"The Girl on the Train" author follows up her mega-hit-turned-movie with another gripping mystery about missing women. After the bodies of a single mother and a teenage girl turn up in a river in one summer, it’s clear something sinister is happening in this small British town. The plot follows Lena, a now-orphaned 15-year-old girl, as she grapples with the death of her mother and the return of her eccentric, estranged aunt.
"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Anyone who appreciates old Hollywood glamour will want to check this one out. The entertaining read centers on a reclusive actress Evelyn Hugo, who tells her life’s story — scandals and all — to a relatively unknown magazine writer. But it turns out the two women have more in common than they realized, which leads to unexpected and tragic consequences for both.
"The Futures" by Anna Pitoniak
In this modern coming-of-age story, college sweethearts Julia and Evan move to New York City in 2008, envisioning a happy, successful life together. But as the failing finance industry disrupts Evan’s banking career and Julia finds her nonprofit job boring and unfulfilling, the two drift apart into separate, secretive worlds, risking their relationship with each other as well as themselves.
"Made for Love" by Alissa Nutting
After leaving her tech-billionaire husband, Hazel moves in with her father — and his human-like sex doll. But as she tries to make a new life for herself in strange territory, her ex continues to threaten and harass her, proving he’ll stop at nothing to track her down. As absurd as the premise may be, this novel offers witty, wise insight into the effects of technology on our humanity — as well as what marriage and family mean today.
"The Beach at Painter's Cove" by Shelley Noble
This classic beach read follows four generations of Whitaker women — each strong-willed, creative and searching for something — as they reconvene at their family’s once-grand Connecticut mansion, The Muses. Despite their differences, the women must work together to restore the house to its former glory and save its massive art collection, unearthing family secrets and past disagreements along the way.
"The Whole Thing Together" by Ann Brashares
In her latest novel, the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" author tackles the timeless themes of family, love and loss. A dysfunctional group of siblings (two of whom have never met, even though their lives have intertwined) reconnect at their family’s summer house on Long Island, New York. The twisting narrative follows several main characters as they navigate family and personal drama, ending with a surprise you’ll never see coming.
"Use of Force" by Brad Thor
Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you. In the latest installment of the Scot Harvath series, the fast-paced plot follows the Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative who’s hired on a black contract to help the CIA investigate the murder of a suspected terrorist. Filled with action, patriotism, and plot twists, this adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last.
"Girl in Snow" by Danya Kukafka
If you’re a fan of thrillers with “girl” in the title, put this on your must-read list for the summer. (But if you’re looking for a feel-good read, skip it.) In a small town in Colorado, a high school girl is murdered. In the aftermath, her classmates are forced to confront some difficult truths (and lies) as the mystery unravels.
"The Goddesses" by Swan Huntley
After discovering her husband has been cheating on her, Nancy uproots her twin boys (who haven’t been perfectly behaved either) to Kona, Hawaii, to start a new life. At an idyllic yoga studio, she meets a charming, beautiful yoga teacher named Ana. The two quickly develop a fiercely close friendship — the kind of relationship Nancy has never experienced before — but it just as quickly becomes all-consuming, manipulative and even dangerous.
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the "The Woman in Cabin 10" author comes a new thriller, this time involving a group of four friends who used to stir up trouble at their English boarding school, but haven’t seen each other in years. The group of women reunites in the coastal village where they attended school after an awful discovery is made on the beach, where they’re forced to confront their dark pasts and possibly change the course of their futures.
"The Hideaway" by Lauren K. Denton
When her last living family member passes away, antique-shop owner Sara Jenkins finds out she’s inherited her grandmother’s dilapidated bed-and-breakfast in Sweet Bay, Alabama. But instead of neatly tying up loose ends at the B&B and heading back to New Orleans as planned, she finds herself deeply involved with renovating the property, a charismatic contractor and discovering the secrets of her grandmother’s surprising past.
"The Marriage Pact" by Michelle Richmond
This psychological thriller offers a smart, searing and frightening look at modern love. From the outside, it looks like Alice and Jake have the perfect marriage. But when they decide to join an exclusive, secret group of like-minded couples (or so they think), it’s not as glamorous as they thought. In fact, it threatens to turn their dreamy marriage into a nightmare.
"Rich People Problems" by Kevin Kwan
Think your family has issues? This novel will reassure you that yours is not the only one. As Su Yi, the matriarch of the Shang-Young clan, nears the end of her life, her relatives come to her bedside from all over the world to stake out their part of her massive fortune and try to lay claim on her 64-acre Singapore estate. As each family member also has their own personal problems, plenty of double-dealing and drama ensues.
"The Captain's Daughter" by Meg Mitchell Moore
Ever wondered “what could have been”? That’s the question plaguing Eliza Barnes, who has to pause her cushy country-club life in suburban Massachusetts to help out her fisherman father in coastal Maine. There, she has to confront her complicated past, family troubles, and first loves. If you enjoy the novels of Elin Hilderbrand, you’ll want to give this heartwarming read a chance.
"Young Wives Club" by Julie Pennell
One of Southern Living's "Best New Summer Books of 2017," this book is the one to pick up if you're a fan of "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" or "Desperate Housewives." When four young wives come together to navigate life and love together, they learn that the answers they need aren't so easy to find. Julie Pennell is a writer for TODAY.com.