17 Summer Must-Reads

books to read this summer

books to read this summer


Every time we hit mid-August, I panic. It means summer is almost over and I’m just….not okay with that as a person who LIVES for summer and spends most of the other seasons huddled under blankets. Even at 30 years old, I very distinctly see the end of summer as when it’s back to school time (hand raise if you actually miss going back to school. Me!). But HONESTLY…we still have until mid-September before summer is officially over. I feel like by THAT point it’s always FUHREEEZING here (okay full disclosure anything below like 75 is freezing to me) in Pennsylvania but I’ve been trying to remind myself that I have at least a month left of summer to soak in.

This time in August is ALSO that time in which I find myself trying to CRAM in all that summer reading while my pool is still open and the weather is still pleasant enough to sit outside in the sun. So, if you are like me and are trying to squeeeeze every last bit out of Summer that you can…I can help you with the books you absolutely should try to squeeze in before the official end of summer (you know, as if you couldn’t read them any other time).  I mean, suuuure this might be aiming high to think we can get all this summer reading done before the end of summer BUT I’ve never met a reading challenge I didn’t like.

I’ve made of mix of books I’ve already read and think are the absolutes to get to this summer and some that are on MY list of summer reads to finish before the worst day of my life the end of summer. So, don your bikini and a floppy hat (don’t forget that sunscreen!)….we’ve got some summer reading to do, friends!



One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid: That moment when the love of your life/husband was presumed dead years ago in an accident, you are finally reading to move on and get remarried to someone who you deeply love and then you get a phone call that HE IS STILL ALIVE AFTER ALL THIS TIME. This impossible situation kept me reading because I was so emotionally invested. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my all time favorites and she knocked another one out of the park!



Losing the Light

Losing The Light by Andrea Dunlop: Losing the Light was thoroughly intoxicating and addictive — from the amazing French setting to the intense friendship between Brooke and Sophie to the very interesting love affair. I rarely stay up past my bedtime when I have to work but I stayed up until 2am because this was so compulsively readable. Brooke, after an affair with her professor, takes an opportunity to go abroad for a year to France. She quickly becomes best friends with Sophie, a beautiful girl from her school who seems so perfect and free, and they experience the ups and downs of their adventure together — their schoolwork, the immersion into the culture, their friendship that is growing in intensity and a French man who draws them into his luxurious world.


Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies -- perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot


Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler: This one was so reminscent of chick-lit from the likes of Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot. The main character gets her dream job at a magazine in NYC as an intern who will head up their dating column….but she mayyyyy or may not have used her best friend’s experience as fodder for her application AND she has like zero dating experience at all. An addictive and fun romp of one girl who is trying to fake it til she makes it and get some ~on the job~ experience for her dating column in New York City.

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase


Results May Vary by Bethany Chase: No, she didn’t see it coming. That becomes an overused thought and sentence Caroline has to utter after she finds out that her husband (and high school sweetheart) of 10 years has been having an affair….with a man. Sure, you’ll be wondering the whole time if they can work it out or if she’ll fall for someone new but you’ll also fall in love with the great sister relationship that evolves and the process of watching how someone untangles who she truly is from 10 years of who she thought she was and what she thought her life was.


Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman: The first adult fiction book from one of my favorite young adult authors was one I really enjoyed. An overworked and underappreciated mom has a heart attack and soon after, when she should be recovering, everyone just expects her to get back to all the things she did before. So she leaves. She leaves her husband and her kids and her job. She leaves to take care of herself and ends up doing a lot of self-searching from afar. The main character will frustrate you but oh man I could relate to her so much even though I’m not a mom. It’s provocative and there is a cast of great characters she meets after she runs away that really made an impact on me because their stories are all really well fleshed out too.


The Nest Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: I really love family drama/family dyfunction type of books (what does that saaaaay about me??) and this one fit the bill with that. I mean, what’s more fun than the family f-up making another dumb decision and being the reason you aren’t getting the HUUUUGE inheritance you all thought you were going to get and were BANKING ON — awkward family meeting ahoy. I really did love the sibling relationships and loved reading about all their various lives and how this inheritance shaped the way they lived and the choices they made and how the loss of it would affect their lives. Quick and absorbing read!


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: Morgan Matson is one of my all time favorite young adult authors and this was just SUCH a perfect summer read. This one was delightful — great romance, friendships and a great father-daughter relationship that grows on the page. Really enjoyed watching Andie pick up the pieces after all her plans become shattered, because of a public scandal involving her politician father who she is super not close with anymore, and have a summer she never expected to have.






Swear on this life renee carlino


Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino: Imagine reading a book by the latest literary sensation, as a stalled writer yourself, and becoming so entranced by the story of childhood friends who fall in love and dream of getting out of their poor town — because it’s the story of your life and that means that obviously that the writer was your best friend and first love who you haven’t seen in years. Pissed that he used her hard childhood for his book she sets off to find him.




Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick


Girls In the Afternoon by Serena Burdick: Paris + Belle Epoque era + wealthy family with secrets + art + scandal + reuniting with someone you loved but who had disappeared = YES PLEASE. I will devour this.





The Lost Girls by Heather Young

The Lost Girls by Heather Young: I love books with dual POVs that take place in different times and this one sounds excellent especially because it’s set in an old lake house where a disappearance of a young took place in 1935 and the thread of mystery is what brings the 1935 and the present day thread together when the daughter of the grand-niece (of one of the sister’s who lived in the house in 1935) finds a notebook that will bring the mystery to light once more.




Radio Girls Sarah Jane Stratford


Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford: I love reading about badass women who pioneer the way for other women and this book is about a (fictional) character who finds a job as a secretary at the newly formed British Broadcasting Company in 1926 and ends up working closely with Hilda Matheson, who was a very real person and director/#ladyboss of the time at the BBC, who together unearth a shocking conspiracy that they know MUST be heard and could have dire consequences.






The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas: A good thriller is always a perfect beach read and this one has all the making to be unputdownable — a serial killer, two friends who were witnesses to one of the murders who haven’t talked since the trial where they helped put the killer away, a reunion after all these years and then another body that is found all these years later making them question if the killer is really still out there.





The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline: Set in the 1960’s in California, a 14 year old girl is lonely and is drawn to a group of carefree girls in a park who she soon befriends. She becomes mesmerized by one of the older girls in the group and is brought into her circle of people who have a ranch in the middle of nowhere where she spends more time and feels free and accepted. What she doesn’t know is that she has become part of a soon-to-be infamous cult where unthinkable violence will take place. I have a thing for books that involve cults because that kind of stuff, and the psychology behind it all and people who end up in cults, is fascinating to me.



The Tumbling Turner Sisters


The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay: When their father is unable to work after a work injury, four sisters embark on the adventure of a life time to work and provide for their family on the vaudeville stage as acrobatic performers. Love a good sister book plus any book that takes place in a circus or performing type setting is a go in my book!




How to Hang a Witch

How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather
: If you like to add a little paranormal in your summer reading, check out this book about a girl, the descendant of one of the men who started those trials, who moves to Salem and is not really welcomed with open arms because of her ancestry — especially by a group of girls who calls themselves The Descendants. If her own Mean Girls saga wasn’t bad enough, she then meets a ghost and finds out she is tied to a curse that affects anybody with any ties to the trials. (Also, if non-contemporary is more your speed of beach read…I have a whole list for you filled with fantasy and paranormal and the like).



You'll Grow Out Of It Jessi Klein


You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein: One of my favorite things to read on the beach are funny memoir/essay collection type books and this one from comedian Jessi Klein looks to be hilarious and suuuuper relatable. Will probably have to make sure I’m not reading this one near my husband who gets super embarrassed when I cackle because of my reading material at the pool/beach. I CANNOT HELP IT.






Baby Doll Hollie Overton



Baby Doll by Hollie Overton: If you are craving the next thriller that will have you holding your book in a death grip and flying through the pages, check out this story about a girl and her daughter who have been held captive and what happens one day when their captor leaves the door unlocked.





Have you read any of these? Are you going to try to squeeze in any of these 2016 spring/summer releases into your summer reading pile?


[This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale that helps go towards maintenance of this site and giveaways and the like — no extra cost to you! I always so appreciate when you shop through these links! ]


P.S. Check out some non-contemporary beach reads or my favorite YA contemporary beach reads if you are looking for even more beach/summer reading goodness…or just excellent books in general.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I’ve got my copy of The Unexpected Everything that i’ve been dying to get to before the summer ends. I’ve also been meaning to pick up Swear On This Life, i loved the authors last book, Before We Were Strangers!

    • I hope you love The Unexpected Everything!! I think it will be a perfect way to end summer! I haven’t read Before We Were Strangers but plan to check it out now!!

  2. This is SUCH an awesome list! There are a couple I’ve had an eye on myself all summer, but still others – like Swear on This Life – I’ve never even heard of. Thanks for some great recs; I’ll have to try and knock out a couple before September rolls around!

    • Yay I’m so glad you found this list helpful! I hope you have some great reading before summer ends! Will be curious to know what you end up reading and if you enjoy it!!

  3. This is such a GREAT list, thanks! ALL of these look good.

    Thanks for adding so many more books to my already never-ending to-read book list.

    I read in one of your earlier blog posts that you haven’t been reading much this summer, but you’re going to get back into it. I’m curious, between working full time, doing housework on the weekends, and still leaving time for yourself, how do you find time to read so many books? Even books I’m reading that I’m really into seem to take some time to finish and it seems like a while until I start reading another book. It just seems like there are SO MANY good books and there just isn’t enough time.

    • i *FEEL* like I should say sorry about adding more books to your list buuuuut I’m not that sorry 😛

      Honestly I don’t watch as much tv as I used to. I wake up early sometimes to read before work. I listen to audiobooks. I only have an apartment that is small so not too many housework chores. I read before bed most nights. I read while I’m waiting in line for things like the post office or an appointment (alwayyyys have my kindle or a book with me). I get a lot of reading done on the weekends. I think I’ve been reading less too because I’ve had a lot more social engagements with making new friends over the past year so like before I read MORE because I had less social stuff going on so weekends were hanging out with Will and reading. I honestly just find whatever time I can and sometimes that means I just feel like staying in one night or I get less sleep haha. And I feel you….I feel like even WITH the reading I do get done 1) I still feel like OMG SO MUCH I WILL NEVER GET TO and 2) sooo many people read double what I read and they probably still feel like this. I just try to enjoy reading when I can and what I can and just keep in mind that even if you read like 300 books a year there will still be a neverending list of books to read between backlist and new books being pubbed each week. It’s a losing battle 😛

  4. I already read Baby doll and loved it.

  5. The Unexpected Everything was SO SO SO good! Also, I really want to read One True Loves and Results May Vary. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I really want to read The Girls and The Nest but haven’t picked them up yet. I haven’t heard of Baby Doll but that sounds great! I’m just starting to get into thrillers, that’s going straight onto my TBR 🙂

  7. I’ll be curious what you think about The Girls if you read it. I didn’t quite love it as much as others. I am also a HUGE fan of cult-type books, and I think I had pretty high expectations for this one. It wasn’t quite what I thought it would be….

  8. Awesome list! I have a bunch of those on my TBR list but I haven’t gotten to them yet, haha. I read Results May Vary though and it was sooo good! 🙂