12 Beach Reads to Get Lost in This Summer

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Summer is finally here, and with it comes a wealth of reading opportunities, whether you’re lounging poolside or just sneaking out of the overly air-conditioned office a little early. You could pore over Barthes or Baudrillard, of course, but come on…it’s July! Officially time to unplug and let your brain feast on the very best that the beach-read canon has to offer! (Note: Here, the term “beach read” isn’t used flippantly, but instead celebrates books that—while eminently interesting and beautifully executed in their own right—also pair really well with a sun-warmed towel and an XL-sized iced coffee. Basically, these are the summer books you cancel BBQ plans to finish.)

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

A formerly famous gay sitcom star is suddenly tasked with raising his niece and nephew in this sweet, saucy novel set against the stately backdrop of Palm Springs (with a little dash of Connecticut).

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

A hopeless, instantly relatable crush gets the time-traveling treatment in this long-awaited follow-up to McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue. Shy loner August falls head over heels for uber-cool commuter Jane—only to discover that her amour fou is actually trapped in the New York subway system, circa 1970.

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Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four siblings, each famous in their own right, throw a massive party at their Malibu mansion, ushering in delicious drama, chaos, and maybe arson (!) in this novel from the author of Daisy Jones & The Six.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

An all-too-real satire of the lily-white publishing industry is mixed with some wonderfully out-there magical realism in this debut novel, which follows editorial assistant Nella as she’s first thrilled by, then chastened by, the hiring of another Black woman at the storied Manhattan publishing house where she works.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

If you couldn’t get enough of The Secret History or Mona Awad’s Bunny, Michaelides’s novel—which follows a secret society of female students at Cambridge against the backdrop of a murder on campus—might just be for you.

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Objects of Desire by Clare Sestanovich

Sestanovich’s clear and singular prose illuminates these 11 stories—each concerned with various different aspects of human connection and female identity—in a way that truly makes this debut collection stand out.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory (July 13)

Jasmine Guillory is the undisputed queen of the modern-day romance, and this novel—in which a budding movie star and the ad guy tasked with making her famous fall hard for one another before encountering life’s many complications—is yet another jewel in her crown.

The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam (July 13)

A female coder marries her high school crush and is catapulted into not-entirely-desired fame after writing an algorithm for an all-star tech incubator in this wise and wickedly funny novel about love, creativity, and the limitations of the tech-verse.

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Well, This Is Exhausting by Sophia Benoit (July 13)

GQ columnist and ultra-bright Twitter star Sophia Benoit meditates on everything from feminism to anxiety to the profound joy of reality television in this charming and often laugh-out-loud funny book of essays.

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura (July 20)

Mystery and thriller fans will delight in this complex, simmering novel that follows a Hague interpreter through the challenges of her work as well as a litany of personal relationship dramas.

The Turnout by Megan Abbott (August 3)

Two glamorous, mysterious sisters run a ballet academy together and try to sort through the ramifications of a disturbing accident in this taut, suspenseful novel that’s anxiety-provoking in the best way.

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Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman (August 3)

Something New Under the Sun

Fans of Kleeman’s debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine will fall head-over-heels for this alternately decadent and disturbing exploration of a Hollywood ravaged by climate change.

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