17 Books to Read Over Summer Vacation

Posted on May 19, 2017 by

A good vacation book must meet certain criteria: It should be leisurely enough to read in the sunshine, entertaining enough to get you through long trips, and include characters and places you want to spend lots of time with. After all, vacation is all about enjoyment. We rounded up this summer’s hottest titles to compile a list of good vacation books 2017. Check out their publishers’ descriptions below.

 

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

There are good moms and bad moms — and then there are hot-mess moms. Introducing Ashley Keller, career girl turned stay-at-home mom who’s trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably.

When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she’s always wanted to be. But will she fly high or flop?

With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother. At its heart, Ashley’s story reminds moms that there’s no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.

Release date: Out now

Why it’s a good vacation book: This book is an incredibly cathartic read for moms. Plus, it’ll have you laughing about all those mom duties you left behind at home.

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes…

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

Release date: Out now

Why it’s a good vacation book: Every vacation needs a little dash of weirdness. Eleanor and her eccentricities will make an excellent travel companion. If you loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette or A Man Called Ove, this one’s for you.

 

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than 20 years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship — and flirt with an unexpected attraction — of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry — the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies — Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.

Release date: May 16

Why it’s a good vacation book: Vacation is a good time for contemplation, and this one will have you remembering why you’re grateful for all your complicated, life-changing friendships.

 

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Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It’s also Darcy’s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the 30-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.

Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.

As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.

Release date: May 16

Why it’s a good vacation book: Thayer has been called the “the queen of beach books.” That’s reason enough to make room in our beach bags for her latest release.

 

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother Su Yi is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside — but he’s not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park — a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore — Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage. As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband — a man hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new step-daughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace, caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan’s hilarious, gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia’s most privileged families and their rich people problems.

Release date: May 23

Why it’s a good vacation book: You’ll get lost in Kwan’s lush depictions of all kinds of destinations across Asia — from Manila to Hong Kong to Singapore — while you laugh along with his hilarious, over-the-top characters.

 

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London — and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…

Release date: June 6

Why it’s a good vacation book: If you’re looking for a heartfelt story with a dash of family drama, this is the novel for you.

 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women — a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947 — are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth… no matter where it leads.

Release date: June 6

Why it’s a good vacation book: Quinn’s book is perfect for historical fiction fans who love a fast-paced story. Warning: You won’t want be able to put this one down!

 

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Is it really better to have loved and lost? Louna’s summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically. But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged now that he’s met the one he really wants. Maybe Louna’s second chance is standing right in front of her.

Sarah Dessen’s many fans will adore this latest novel, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story with humor, romance, and an ending that is so much more than happily-ever-after.

Release date: June 6

Why it’s a good vacation book: Dessen is the master of young love, depicting all its hope and drama. This reads will have you reminiscing — and you’ll have plenty of time for that on the airplane.

 

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

Identical twin sisters who couldn’t look more alike… or live more differently.

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She’s inherited her father’s rundown house on Martha’s Vineyard, but she can’t hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking.

Two beautiful islands only 11 miles apart.

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She’s also inherited her mother’s questionable parenting skills — Tabitha’s teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode — and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion.

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands — and lives — to save what’s left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they’d outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

Release date: June 13

Why it’s a good vacation book: Pick up this read for a dose of all the summertime gossip you’ll miss while you’re away at the beach!

 

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After 41 years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.”

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

Release date: June 13

Why it’s a good vacation book: Can’t make it to France? George’s warm depictions make it easy to pretend you’re sitting alongside her charming characters.

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

From Taylor Jenkins Reid, “a genius when it comes to stories about life and love” (Redbook), comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top — the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds — revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love — Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for “creating complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means — and what it takes — to face the truth.

Release date: June 13

Why it’s a good vacation book: This book will transport you can only travel to on-screen — Old Hollywood.

 

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds — and the man who rescues them — begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

Release date: June 20

Why it’s a good vacation book: Monroe’s latest title will leave you hopeful, imagining new friendships with characters as lovely as these women.

 

Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich

Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich

Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about 200 miles northeast of Samoa. It had a mountain, beaches, a rain forest, and a volcano. And now it’s gone. Poof! Vanished without a trace.

Brilliant and boyishly charming Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. And finding a missing island is better than Christmas morning in the Knight household. When clues lead to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Park Service, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. Since a crack team isn’t available, he enlists Riley Moon and his cousin Vernon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at 50 feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life. Vernon has been Emerson’s loyal and enthusiastic partner in crime since childhood. He now lives in an RV behind Emerson’s house.

Together, this ragtag, mismatched trio will embark on a worldwide investigation that will expose a conspiracy one hundred years in the making.

Release date: June 20

Why it’s a good vacation book: Few things are more fun than a ragtag crew solving a mysterious crime.

 

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

The beloved author of The Bookshop on the Corner returns with a sparkling, sunny, soulful new novel perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand.

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and finds herself restoring a dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbor: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

Funny and heartfelt, The Cafe by the Sea is a delightful summertime novel that puts a modern twist on the classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers story.

Release date: June 27

Why it’s a good vacation book: Flora faces many decisions as her summer comes to an end, so this one is perfect for later in the season when you wonder what the fall may bring.

 

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel — an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets — secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.

Release date: June 27

Why it’s a good vacation book: It’s hard to imagine a more compelling setting than Prohibition-era Florida. You’re sure to get sucked in!

 

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine — up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett — Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly — and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.

But Olivia’s return isn’t as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family… whether her sister likes it or not. For 10 years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other — and themselves — and redefine what it means to be sisters?

Told with Mallery’s trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives…

Release date: July 11

Why it’s a good vacation book: Whether or not you’re reconnecting with family on your trip, you’ll relate to this saga full of family complications and sisterly humor.

 

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

From Laura Dave — the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly), and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes — comes a new novel about the secrets we keep… even from ourselves.

Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness — Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.

In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave’s compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public… and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.

Release date: July 11

Why it’s a good vacation book: This funny book about one woman’s destruction will have you feeling a lot better about not having a picture-perfect vacation.

What will you be reading on vacation this summer?

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