15 Underrated Beach Reads For Every Summer Mood
A must-bring item for any vacation or staycation at the beach is a book (or two . . . or three)! Much like the beach itself, a book can help you relax, keep you entertained, and be the perfect way to pass the time as you sink your toes into the sand and listen to calming ocean sounds. And because the ideal beach read differs from person to person, we've rounded up a list of unique and underrated books from all genres. Our list includes steamy romances, hypnotic thrillers, hilarious rom-coms, and historical sagas — so no matter what you're looking for, we have an option for you to pack in your beach bag!
Raffy's a talented crafter, so he enters a cosplay competition to show off his work and skill. The twist: Raffy's ex-boyfriend is his number one competition. Besides rivaling his ex, Raffy also struggles with hiding his passion for crafting from his mother, a renowned and prestigious figure in the art world who doesn't see the value in Raffy's work. Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala is a sweet, creative novel about self-acceptance and hope, wrapped in a storyline of queer romance and family drama.
The Gifted School
If you're looking for a captivating, witty, and juicy read, The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger is a great choice. This story follows the competitive but hilarious drama between the kids and families at a school for overachieving and intelligent kids, and how helicopter parenting, burning ambition, obsession with status, and internal insecurities impact the parents and kids and their pursuit of success.
The Trivia Man
Kevin's dubbed as the stereotypical nerd. He's a lonesome, awkward accountant with little social life who considers trivia his religion. Although he's willingly navigated his life alone, everything changes when he meets a lovely teacher named Maggie. Maggie, who has bad luck with romance, joins Kevin's trivia club and the two form a friendship unlike any other they've experienced. The Trivia Man by Deborah O'Brien is a cute and quirky romance that's filled with sweet moments and humor, making it an easy read.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion is horror fantasy meets paranormal romance. Reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, this novel follows R — a zombie — as he meets a stunning, sweet girl named Julie. Despite their obvious differences, R and Julie form a bond and are forced to deal with the repercussions of their unlikely, unconventional, and frowned-upon love.
Frank Leong, an affluent shipping mogul, moves his family from China to Hawaii. Following Frank's death, his family are left to reconstruct their lives while simultaneously celebrating and moving on from their ancestors' past. This chilling historical fiction by Cecily Wong is narrated from the points of view of four generations of females from Frank's family, including through the time period of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Diamond Head by Cecily Wong is sure to elicit emotions of heartache, surprise, and thrill, and will keep you captivated page after page!
If I Never Met You
Laurie and her longtime boyfriend work at the same law firm, so when he breaks up with her she's faced with the emotional toll of having to see him day after day. Not to mention, gossip and rumors about his new relationship sweep the office, making Laurie feel cynical and exhausted. Then comes Jamie — a hot, exciting employee who's in search of a good girl like Laurie to use as his fake girlfriend to impress the office management. Because Laurie would do anything to make her ex jealous, she and Jamie construct a curated — but fake — relationship on social media . . . until the fake feelings become a little too real. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane is a feel-good, flirty novel that's easy to read and chalked with cute, laughable moments.
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a romantic comedy about theater kids that centers around Mel, a store manager with hilariously bad luck when it comes to love. And just as Mel swears off her quest for romance, a swanky, charismatic, and wildly talented actor joins her most recent production, throwing Mel for a loop as she discovers what honest, fun love truly feels like. This contemporary novel by Robin Talley is cheeky and sweet, making for an entertaining and lighthearted read that will make you chuckle out loud.
Miss Benson's Beetle
Set in London in the '50s, Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce delves into the journey of Margery, an unhappy, unmarried teacher who eventually quits her job in the hopes of chasing her imaginative childhood dreams with her newfound friend Enid. Despite the two ladies being vastly different in personality, they embark on a transformative quest to find the mythic golden beetle of New Caledonia. This novel describes an unlikely friendship against the backdrop of giddy adventure, making for a quirky, fun, and wonderfully offbeat fiction.
From the outside, Daisy has it all: a picture-perfect family, a successful business, and a healthy social life. But what people don't see is that her marriage lacks excitement, that she feels dissatisfied with her work, and that she doesn't have any true friends. Daisy yearns for more — and finally gets it when she coincidently meets Diana, a charming, classy, glamorous single woman who changes Daisy's life by adding some spice to her previously monotonous day-to-day. This chick lit by Jennifer Weiner is fun and flirty, making That Summer an easy and quick read about friendship and changes.
The Lost Love Song
Finally, after years of dating, classical pianist Diana decides she does in fact want to marry her long-term boyfriend, Arie, once she returns home to Australia from a world tour. She even writes him a beautiful love song while away, as a gift to commemorate her deep emotion for him and their connection. Then enters Evie, a spirited girl with big dreams, who, like Diana, is returning to Australia after time away. But when Evie enters the picture it changes the trajectory of love, loss, and redemption between Diana and Arie, building a suspenseful and emotional story within The Lost Love Song. Minnie Darke weaves the heaviness, euphoria, and heartbreak of relationships into a poetic tale, making for an enchanting novel that'll make your heart feel both full and achy throughout the characters' journeys.
You Have a Match
After receiving unexpected results from a DNA test, Abby learns she has a secret sister. This surprise shakes her, especially because her newfound sister happens to be a popular social media figure with a massive Instagram following. Interlaced in the journey of finding her sister, we also join Abby in her romantic longing to be with her friend and crush, Leo. You Have a Match by Emma Lord is an inventive, fast-paced, and imaginative novel about sisterhood, love, and family secrets. It's a fun, engaging read that'll have you glued to the pages as you fall in love with the relatable characters.
Ask Again, Yes
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane explores friendship, marriage, love, and mental illness, making for an emotional page-turner that is narrated over numerous generations. The core story revolves around neighboring NYPD cops whose families become intwined.
Britt-Marie Was Here
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman is a charming and zany tale of Britt-Marie, a 60-something-year-old woman who leaves her immaculately regimented — but emotionless — life for a town filled with unexpected adventure and mishap. This is a funny story with themes of embracing change, learning to adapt, and building surprising friendships. If you're in search of a quirky and fun page-turner, Britt-Marie Was Here is a worthy candidate.
City of Girls
Written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, this coming-of-age story follows an affluent and spoiled 19-year-old who moves to New York City to live with her outlandishly eccentric aunt. City of Girls has the protagonist recount her young-adult journey of explorative love, freedom, and sexuality from the point of view of a middle-aged woman — making for a fascinatingly narrated romp.
Mrs. Everything tells the story of Bethie and Jo, sisters raised in the Midwest in the '50s. Growing up, both fulfilled solid stereotypes: Bethie the picturesque good girl, Jo the wild tomboy. But, as societal and personal events unfold over the next decades, the sisters embody new personas through journeys of self-discovery and self-realization. This novel by Jennifer Weiner will make you both laugh and cry as you follow the relatable tale of two sisters who immerse themselves into the changing times.