These are the best books for a beach vacation, according to readers

These are the best books for a beach vacation, according to readers

Readers Say

We asked for your favorite summer beach reads. You answered.

These are the best books for a beach vacation, according to readers
Sit in the sun this summer with a page turner. Associated Press/Nam Y. Huh
  • Book Club’s next read is ‘Kaikeyi’ by Vaishnavi Patel

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, you’ll need a few things: a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a good book or two. We recently shared a list of book recommendations from local booksellers, and then we asked for your favorite books to read on a beach vacation.

You shared your favorites, from mysteries to romantic young adult novels like Jenny Han’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” which was adapted for a Netflix series streaming on June 17.

A couple of readers recommended any books by certain best-selling authors. Tom Wolfe was one of those writers. And as reader Kelly put it, “Perfect summer day read? Hmm, any book by Taylor Jenkins Reid.”

Scroll ahead for a full list of reader-recommended titles.


  • “1984” by George Orwell (1949): “I like to take time to reassess how close our society has become to that of the novel.” —Thomas B.
  • “Animal Farm” by George Orwell (1945): “Perfectly encapsulates where society [is]. Should be required for every American.” —Simp J., Wellesley
  • “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand (1957)
  • “Beach Read” by Emily Henry (2020)
  • “By Her Own Design” by Piper Huguley (2022): “A story about Ann Lowe, the Black fashion designer who designed Jackie Bouvier’s wedding gown. Read an advanced copy, and it was a wonderful, beautifully written book.” —Barbara W., Medway
  • “Cassidy’s Girl” by David Goodis (1951): “The shattered love life of a Philadelphia bus driver.”—Dennis B., Miami
  • “Double Indemnity” by James M. Cain (1936): “Beware young wives looking to insure their sugar daddy husband’s life.” —Dennis B., Miami
  • “The Godmothers” by Camille Aubray (2021)
  • “Good Eggs” by Rebecca Hardiman (2021)
  • “The Gutter and the Grave” by Ed McBain (2005): “Drunken, homeless, ex-cop solves a murder among the Bowery.” —Dennis B., Miami
  • “Off the Record” by Daisy Blaine (2021): “It’s a romantic suspense with a journalist on the hunt for a serial killer storyline, and I read it in a day. It’s set in Boston, and it truly felt like Boston on the page. Read it on the recommendation of a friend while I was on vacation in February; I’m surprised the book didn’t get more traction when it came out.” —Caroline, Brookline
  • “Panic” by Bill Pronzini (1972): “Two professional hit men [are] on the loose in an Arizona desert, looking to kill two witnesses to a murder.” —Dennis B., Miami
  • “Puerto Paz” by Jeffrey J. Reese (2020): “It is described as a modern ‘Huckleberry Finn’ for adults, and, through the eyes of a 17-year-old runaway, shows a USA that decades earlier had partitioned into two countries, one liberal, one conservative, and shows how awful it could be if political extremism went unchecked. Some of its dystopian aspects seem to be coming true.” —Patti D., Methuen
  • “The Shell Seekers” by Rosamunde Pilcher (1987)
  • “The Summer Guest” by Justin Cronin (2004): “Loved the characters, the recurring guest who comes for the summer each year. What could be nicer?” —Sharon S., Jamaica Plain
  • “The Summer I Turned Pretty” series by Jenny Han (2009-2011): “As for young adult, ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ series is lovely for the beach.” —Kelly
  • “Unlawful Entry” by Marilyn Duckworth (1992): “No one reads it.” —Megan, Brighton
  • “Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann (1966)
  • “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan (2010): “Wonderful use of language and a fun, non-linear story-line that’ll keep you involved.” —Arnoldo, New York
  • “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult (2021)