5 Beach-ish Reads for the Summer

5 Beach-ish Reads for the Summer

summer books

I don’t know about your part of the world, but it is HOT where I live. I want everything else around me to be lighter, cooler, and more relaxed. My clothes, our dinners, the sheets on my bed. And the books I read.

When the weather is hot and sticky and relentless, I crave books that don’t require too much effort on my part. I still want good stories, but I like plots that don’t demand too much of my concentration. I hope you find one – or more – novels in this list that appeal to you. Happy summer reading!

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

I didn’t want this book to end!

Fans of the Hallmark Channel, please take note… My favorite read of the summer so far, this novel is fun and light without being fluffy or silly.

In the tea house of her beloved, well-worn home, Nora Hamilton writes formulaic movies for the Romance Channel. Her scripts are all the same. A quaint small town. A cupcake bakery or a flower shop or a romantic inn. Two people butt heads, only to fall in love after the commercial break and live happily ever after. 

After her divorce, Nora pounds out the best screenplay of her career. Heartthrob Leo Vance is cast as her loser husband, film crews take over Nora’s home, and her life will never be the same.

This feel-good, happy book would make a great movie in real life. I can picture it on the big screen!

True Biz by Sara Novic

True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

This is the first book I’ve read focusing on a deaf community’s perspective. I enjoyed this dive into sign language, cochlear implants, and homes with hearing siblings or parents. 

At River Valley School for the Deaf, a boarding school, readers follow students and their hearing headmistress through the ups and downs of high school life. Although the coming-of-age story was entertaining, I was more intrigued with the deaf world I knew little about. 

Author Sara Novic, also deaf, attended college and graduate school classes with an interpreter, often feeling isolated from the mainstream. She wanted this bestselling novel “to be a place where deafness is the norm and you, as the hearing reader, are the weird one.”

The Truth About Ben and June by Alex Kiester

When Ben wakes up in the morning, he can’t calm his crying baby, and he can’t find his wife, June. She is gone, without a trace. 

Although I enjoyed this story, young moms will especially relate to it. New mothers often wonder who they are and what they will become. Add newborn baby exhaustion, overworked husbands, minimal communication, and tense relationships. 

When June became pregnant, she gave up a dancing career and now wonders what might have been. As Ben tracks down June’s friends to determine her whereabouts, he discovers his wife isn’t the person he thought she was. 

I enjoyed the unique structure of this novel, with June’s version of the story told through letters June wrote to her deceased mom. I also liked the dancing reference, the novel’s quick pacing, and its characters. Although the Greek mythology angle didn’t work for me, I know other readers will appreciate it. 

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Grinder

Nancy took over her dead husband’s congressional seat, and a few years later, she’s running for the Senate. She wasn’t always available when her young children needed her. But Greta and Nick are now adults, and Nancy needs their help. 

The problem is Nancy’s grown kids are floundering. Greta hates her mom and loves an extremist. Nick is struggling with writing a musical about the life of Joan Didion. But family must help one another, right?

This smart novel marches along with a unique, albeit semi-outlandish plot. Family dynamics tossed with politics and rebellion make for an enjoyable read. The author, a former political aide, also wrote The People We Hate at the Wedding, coming soon to theaters.

The Perfect Neighborhood by Liz Alterman

Another reminder we never know what goes on behind neatly painted front doors or white picket fences…

When an actress/model leaves her husband in the middle of the night, the Oak Hill neighborhood tongues start wagging, and speculation abounds. And then, a young boy disappears from this picture-perfect neighborhood while walking home from kindergarten. My first thought? A five-year-old walks home alone? Who allows that to happen? But it did. 

Lots of twists and turns and fingerpointing ensue. The mom? The babysitter, stepbrother, former nanny? 

And then another child goes missing. 

This novel is a quick-moving read, and the anecdotes reminded me of people we all know. Since it does revolve around missing children, this book may not be for everyone. But, as I read, I knewI could tell the story would not have a disturbing end. And I was correct.

Do you read lighter books in the summer? What reading recommendations do you have? Any beach reads to share?

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