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7 of the best beach reads of the summer

Grab a cocktail and put your lounge chair in the living room and kick back with one of these beachy reads.

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Summer is officially here, but the season isn't exactly what it's been in years past. With a global health crisis in full swing, we’re more desperate than ever to find something — anything! — that can transport us (at least mentally) to sandy shores and crashing waves.

Grab a cocktail and put your lounge chair in the living room and kick back with one of these beachy, stress-free but drama-filled fun reads.

The best beach reads of 2020

1. "Silver Girl," by Elin Hilderbrand

I’ve been an Elin HilderFAN for a long time, and whenever someone asks me which of her books they should start with I almost always recommend "Silver Girl." The story follows the life of Meredith Delinn, wife of Ponzi schemer Freddie Delinn. When she has to escape the hatred and scorn of everyone in New York City, she runs to the only place she feels she can be safe: Nantucket with her best friend, Connie, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. The book centers on their friendship but also the relationship between Meredith and her husband, the most hated man in America.

Hilderbrand is an Iowa Writers Workshop graduate and the bestselling author of more than twenty books, most of which take place on the posh island of Nantucket off the coast of Cape Cod. She told me in a 2016 interview that her IWW classmates used to make fun of her for writing about the beach instead of “more serious” things, but pointed out she’s the only bestselling author to emerge from her graduating class.

2. "Love at First Like," by Hannah Orenstein

This is Orenstein’s second rom-com novel and my personal favorite. I’m usually wary of reads that rely too heavily on modern technology because it almost never seems like authors can capture the way people use stuff like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram in a way that feels true to life. Orenstein is the exception. When two sisters who own a Brooklyn jewelry shop accidentally lead their followers to believe Eliza is engaged they have to keep up the charade for the sake of their business and enlist a fake fiancé for show. Obviously, the whole thing unravels in a funny, sweet and page-turning way. I read it in one sitting.

3. "Perfect Tunes," by Emily Gould

Gould’s latest novel is a testament to friendship, love lost, dreams deferred and the idea that it’s never too late to check off items on your bucket list. When Laura’s surly teenager, Marie, starts hounding Laura with questions about her father and the life Laura had before she was “Mom,” Laura learns that life’s weird and winding detours are the things that give us good stories to tell later.

4. "Red, White and Royal Blue," by Casey McQuiston

If you like "Veep" and royal weddings, this book is just political enough to carry the theme and fictional enough to not remind you too much of the world around you. When the son of the first female president of the United States and the son in line for the British royal throne meet, fireworks explode. At first, it feels like a rivalry. Then it feels like a love story.

5. "Open Book," by Jessica Simpson

I devoured this book first by reading it, and then I listened to the audiobook, which I actually think was a more fun experience. Jessica Simpson, pop queen of the early aughts, has had a harder life than most of us were aware of. Most celebrity memoirs don’t offer this level of transparency which is why "Open Book" has been the talk of the town this year. Simpson left no page of her life unturned. (Tip: Listen at 1.25x speed. She’s a pretty slow talker.)

6. "Wow, No Thank You," by Samantha Irby

No one on earth is funnier than Samantha Irby, and that’s a fact. In her latest New York Times bestseller Irby explores more of the world around her with personal humor-filled essays that left me gasping for breath I was laughing so hard. Don’t read this one in bed if you're trying to avoid waking the person sleeping next to you.

7. "Privilege," by Mary Adkins

I love a good college campus scandal and Adkins delivered in her latest novel. Fictional Carter University is the Harvard of the South and when one woman accuses one of her classmates of rape, she and two other women find themselves at the intersection of campus politics and drama, unsure of who to trust or who to believe.