Get the latest from TODAY
At TODAY we take care to recommend items we hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY may get a small share of the revenue.
Using interviews with specialists, online reviews and personal experience, TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! TODAY does have affiliate relationships with various online retailers. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
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 30 of 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.
Best Beach Reads for 2018
Goodreads shared their list of the most anticipated books for summer 2018. Packed with riveting choices from different genres — fiction, nonfiction, thriller, romance and fantasy — all of the books boast at least a four-star rating among Goodreads members.
Whether you're looking for a whimsical beach read, or a psychological thriller you can't put down, these 13 books will keep you enthralled all summer long.
"A Place for Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza, $16, Amazon
In this debut novel from SJP for Hogarth, Sarah Jessica Parker's new curated line of fiction books, Fatima Farheen Mirza follows the major turning points in an Indian American Muslim family's past.
"Us Against You" by Fredrik Backman, $18, Amazon
In this follow-up to "Beartown," the citizens of a small Swedish town rally around their local hockey team despite a rivalry that threatens to destroy friendships and families within the community.
"All We Ever Wanted" by Emily Griffin, $17, Amazon
Nina's place in the Nashville elite is turned upside down by a photograph snapped drunkenly at a party. She is forced to choose between her family and her values. "All We Ever Wanted" is from the same author as "Something Borrowed."
Historical Fiction Book
"The Map of Salt and Stars" by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar, $19, Amazon
Two girls, a modern-day Syrian refugee and a medieval apprentice mapmaker travel identical paths, despite living eight hundred years apart.
"The Speed of Sound" by Eric Bernt, $11, Amazon
In a desperate effort to hear his late mother's voice, a young man creates an "echo box." However, his innocent passion project quickly takes a shadowy turn when government agents come to seize his creation.
"The Outsider" by Stephen King, $18, Amazon
This new psychological thriller from legendary author Stephen King follows the story of detective Ralph Anderson as he races to uncover the perpetrator of a series of violent murders that all point to men with airtight alibis.
"The Death of Mrs. Westaway" by Ruth Ware, $16, Amazon
"Calypso" by David Sedaris, $17, Amazon
This darkly hilarious book from the author of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" centers around a beach house named the Sea Section, which is the setting for reflections on middle age, mortality and a tumor joke or two.
"So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know" by Retta, $16, Amazon
Out since May 29, the "Parks and Recreation" star takes readers along her journey from "roaches to riches" as she reflects on her famous life. "So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know" is available now.
"12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady's Fight for Redemption," by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, $14, Amazon
Giving readers a close look into Tom Brady, his marriage to Gisele and his bounce back after deflate-gate, this book explores the relationship between the NFL and its players through dozens on exclusive interviews with NFL players including Brady himself.
Young Adult Books
"A Reaper at the Gates" by Sabaa Tahir, $14, Amazon
In another installment of the Ember Quartet, warrior Helene, the Blood Shrike, searches for a way to prevent a war that could jeopardize her sister's life and the lives of everyone in the Empire.
"My Plain Jane" by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton, $14, Amazon
Penniless Jane Eyre and brooding Mr. Rochester may seem familiar, but the classic story gets a weird twist that includes a murder mystery and a ghost hunt.
12. "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang, $9, Amazon
Genius math whiz Stella decides to practice dating by hiring an escort. This heartwarming debut novel proves there's not enough data in the world to predict love.
"The Mermaid" by Christina Henry, $14, Amazon
Amelia, a young mermaid, leaves the ocean behind in search of adventure. Instead, she finds love in the arms of a lonely fisherman — and then greed at the hands of an opportunistic American showman named P.T. Barnum.
Best Beach Reads for 2017
If you missed last year's best summer reads, don't worry. These 17 books are still great options to tote along on your next beach vacation.
"It’s Always the Husband" by Michele Campbell, $12, Amazon
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, $13, Amazon
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, $10, Amazon
"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, $13, Amazon
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, $11, Amazon
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, $13, Amazon
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, $9, Amazon
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, $7, Amazon
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, $12, Amazon
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, $11, Amazon
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, $13, Amazon
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, $9, Amazon
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, $9, Amazon
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, $11, Amazon
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, $14, Amazon
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, $10, Amazon
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, $9, Amazon
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.
If nothing on this list peaks your interest, take a look through all of the books featured on the TODAY Show.