13 Spectacular Summer Reads for Every Type of Reader

By Kaitlyn Johnston

There’s something for everyone in these scorching summer reads.

Pack your beach bag! The sun is out, and we’ve gathered the perfect summer reads no matter your literary preference — from thrilling mysteries and moving family memoirs to riveting scientific odysseys.

For the beach reader who loves a wickedly funny thriller:

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera with GMA Seal

Listen for the Lie

By Amy Tintera

Hailed by bestselling author Liane Moriarty as “laugh-out-loud funny, thrilling and twisty,” Amy Tintera’s Listen for the Lie is a fantastic beach-day read for thriller fans. Growing up, Lucy and Savvy were the best of friends — two charming young women at the center of their tight-knit Texas community. Lucy got the dream guy with the big house, while Savvy dazzled everyone she met. Things were great… until that terrible night someone murdered Savvy and Lucy was found dazed and covered in Savvy’s blood. Though Lucy swore she couldn’t remember what happened, the rest of town declared her a murderer. So, she packed up, left Texas, and has spent the last few years trying to rebuild her life. But now the popular true crime podcast Listen for the Lie is reopening the cold case in search of fresh leads, drawing Lucy back to the scene of the crime. She’s determined to solve the hometown killing of her best friend once and for all — even if it means discovering that she’s the culprit.

For the beach reader who loves a mystery where everyone’s a suspect:

The Fury, NYT bestseller image

The Fury

By Alex Michaelides

An instant New York Times bestseller, The Fury by Alex Michaelides will keep you on the edge of your beach chair this summer with its spiraling mystery, glamorous island setting, and delicious plot twists. Movie star Lana Farrar invites her closest friends to an exclusive Easter celebration on her private Greek island. The getaway is a dream until the weather takes a turn for the life-threatening and traps all the guests on the island for the night. As the storm intensifies outside, tensions rise within. By morning, someone turns up dead, making everyone a suspect. Can you figure out who did it? Twisty, smart, and helmed by a devilishly unreliable narrator, The Fury is an Agatha Christie–esque whodunit that you won’t be able to put down.

For the beach reader who prefers it dark and twisted:

Granite Harbor by Peter Nichols

Granite Harbor

By Peter Nichols

If you’re looking for a dark and propulsive murder mystery to give you chills on a hot summer day, Granite Harbor by Peter Nichols delivers. The small-town mystery is set in the coastal Maine village of Granite Harbor, a picturesque community known for its rich history and tranquil setting. But that serenity is shattered when a teenager is found murdered at the nearby archaeological site. Alex Brangwen, a newly single father and the town’s sole detective, knows he must solve the case quickly to bring peace back to Granite Harbor. Meanwhile, Isabel, a single mom who works at the archeological site, is doubly rattled by the killing: Not only did it strike close to home, but the victim was her son’s best friend. When another teenager is murdered, Alex and Isabel scramble to unmask the killer and protect their children. But as they dig for answers, they may turn up long-buried secrets that threaten to rock this once-quiet town.

For the beach reader who loves a witty dramedy:

Colorful cityscape cover of "Humor Me: A Novel" by Cat Shook, featuring buildings, cars, and a comedy club sign.

Humor Me

By Cat Shook

In Cat Shook’s heartfelt and hilarious Humor Me, a whip-smart heroine undergoes a second coming-of-age. Presley Fry has been an assistant at the Late Night Show in New York City for far longer than she cares to admit. She’s mostly checked out of her dating and social life, and she’s just trying to keep it together after losing her mother. But with the help of New York’s vibrant stand-up comedy scene and the guiding light of her mom’s childhood best friend, Susan Clark, Presley just might be on her way to better and brighter things. Humor Me is a charming story of female friendship, the never-ending experience of growing up, and finding the next funny thing. If you enjoy a dash of delightful dramedy in your beach reads, this one is for you.

For the beach reader who loves a heart-wrenching story:

An artistic book cover featuring the title "devil is fine" in bold, uppercase letters with the author's name, john vercher, at the bottom. the background is cream-colored, adorned with an illustration of a jellyfish-like creature at the top, a patch of black textured material in the center, and elegant, swirling lines cascading downwards.

Devil Is Fine

By John Vercher

Calling all fans of stellar literary fiction: We found your next summer read. Devil Is Fine by John Vercher is a deeply moving novel “full of mystery, magic, dark comedy, and heart” (Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies). The narrative follows a biracial Black man as he mourns a profound personal tragedy, reckons with his family’s history and his role as a father, and strives to make peace with who he is. Still reeling from his grief, the narrator is staggered to learn that he’s inherited a plantation from the estranged white side of his family. Upon arriving at the property, he slips into an indeterminate emotional state, moving back and forth through time and between what’s real and imagined as he grapples with his pain, his past, and who he hopes to be.

For the beach reader looking to expand their mind:

cover of the fury

Trippy: The Peril and Promise of Medicinal Psychedelics

By Ernesto Londoño

From New York Times journalist Ernesto Londoño, Trippy is a riveting book anchored by personal transformation that explores psychedelic therapy and the use of medicinal psychedelics in mental health treatment. After a severe depression nearly claimed his life, Londoño embarked on a nine-day ayahuasca retreat in the Brazilian rainforest. His encounter with the mind-altering substance not only provided a reprieve from his depression, it spurred a deep curiosity about psychedelic medicine. Interweaving in-depth research with experiences from experts and enthusiasts in the field — from Indigenous elders and religious leaders to medical researchers and war veterans suffering from PTSD — Londoño guides us through the world of psychedelics in mental health therapy, discussing the possibilities as well as their risks. If you’re looking for an eye-opening nonfiction narrative for your beach-day reading material, Trippy is sure to enlighten you.

For the Y2K pop music superfan:

Book cover of "Honey: A Novel" by Isabel Banta. The background is pink with two CDs placed horizontally in the middle. At the top, a quote by Emma Straub reads, "A sexy swagger of a debut." The author’s name is in white at the bottom.


By Isabel Banta

In her “sexy swagger of a debut” (bestselling author Emma Straub), Isabel Banta delivers a dazzling coming-of-age narrative about gender, power, and the perils of pop superstardom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s the perfect summer read for music lovers and Y2K-era pop superfans. Honey follows Amber Young, a singer who’s determined to make it big in the music business — and it appears as if her dreams are about to come true when she gets the call to join the girl group Cloud9. In a flash, Amber is in Los Angeles rubbing elbows with superstar performers. But as her profile grows, so too do the pressures of fame, from cutthroat record producers and unscrupulous tabloid reporters to opportunists looking to exploit her newfound celebrity. Amber will have to keep her friends close if she hopes to navigate this new reality and achieve success on her terms.

For the beach reader looking for self-improvement:

Feel-Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal

Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You

By Ali Abdaal

Looking for the motivation to crush your to-do list this summer? Productivity expert Ali Abdaal teaches you how to get better at getting more done in his New York Times bestseller Feel-Good Productivity. The secret to doing more, he says, is feeling good while you’re doing it. Backed by clear-eyed research and his own success story, Abdaal offers actionable advice on achieving your goals, avoiding burnout, and feeling great about your improvements. With this productivity book in your beach bag, you’re looking at a get-it-done kind of summer.

For the beach reader who loves a nuanced coming-of-age story:

Like Happiness by Ursula Villarreal-Moura

Like Happiness

By Ursula Villareal-Moura

In her buzzy debut novel Like Happiness, Ursula Villareal-Moura brilliantly explores themes of class, gender, identity, consent, and toxic relationships. Tatum is finally settling into a happy life in Chile with her partner, Vera, enjoying her job at the museum and remaining a world away from her former life in New York City. But when a reporter calls about famous author M. Dominguez — the man with whom Tatum once shared a complicated and all-consuming relationship in New York — she’s pulled back into her difficult past. Dominguez has been accused of assault, and the reporter wants to hear Tatum’s take on the author. What did happen between them all those years ago? As she sorts through her history and seeks to reclaim it, Tatum discovers that the past is far from settled.

For the beach reader who loves small-town family dramas:

A rustic white barn with a contrasting red trim under a clear blue sky, titled "mercury" by amy jo burns, suggesting a tale that may intertwine pastoral life with intricate narratives.


By Amy Jo Burns

Mercury by Amy Jo Burns is a captivating small-town saga that boasts a cast of compelling characters and an authentic sense of place. It’s an ideal beach read for family drama fans. Marley West is 17 when she arrives in the blue-collar town of Mercury, Pennsylvania, looking for a place to call her own. Soon she falls in with the Joseph brothers, three roofers who become Marley’s world — especially after Marley marries one of the three men. When the Joseph family matriarch passes away and the family’s roofing business falters under their father’s shaky leadership, Marley strives to keep things afloat. But when a shocking secret is exposed in the attic of the local church, the Joseph family are faced with a choice: Do they try to keep things together as they’ve always known them, or is it finally time to build something new?

For the beach reader who enjoys raw and honest family memoirs:

Neon lights form an eye-catching sign with the words "the manicurist" encircling an illustration of a hand cradling a flower, all highlighted by an atmospheric glow, followed by "susan lieu" at the bottom.

The Manicurist’s Daughter

By Susan Lieu

Susan Lieu crafts a stunning portrait of grief, trauma, healing, and family in her powerful mother-daughter memoir The Manicurist’s Daughter. Lieu’s mother was the family’s guiding light. After the Lieus escaped Vietnam and emigrated to California in the 1980s, she established two successful nail salons and oversaw the family’s every success. But tragedy struck when the author was 11: Her mother died after a botched cosmetic surgery. For years, Lieu grappled not just with the tragic loss of her mother but with questions no one seemed willing to discuss. Why did her mom feel the need for cosmetic surgery? Who was she back in Vietnam? And how could the surgeon who carried out the operation still be in business? Determined to find answers, Lieu launched her own search, uncovering stark truths about herself, her family, and the fantasy of the American dream.

For the beach reader who loves literary thrills:

Cover of.Korelitz's book The Plot, which features a blue background with a white book and text THE PLOT superimposed onto the image

The Plot

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

A New York Times bestseller, The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the perfect literary thriller for bookish readers at the beach. Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising new author. Now he’s a washed-up novelist teaching at a third-rate writing program. Enter Evan Parker, one of Jacob’s most talented and least likable students. Evan claims to have a perfect plot for his debut novel, and once Jake hears the pitch, he can’t help but agree. The teacher braces for his student’s meteoric rise…but it never comes. Instead, news arrives that Evan has died. Realizing that Evan’s killer plot idea never saw the light of day, Jacob takes it and claims it as his own. In just a few short years, he’s reveling in his plagiarized success. That is, until an email threatens to upend it all: You are a thief. As Jake scrambles to unmask his tormentor, he discovers more about Evan’s past, and now he’s not so sure where the story came from. Stephen King recommends The Plot as “insanely readable,” and we wholeheartedly agree.

Read the novel now in anticipation of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s follow-up installment, The Sequel, coming in October 2024.

For the beach reader with an adorable new puppy:

Cover of the book "puppy brain" by kerry nichols featuring a white puppy looking up with the subtitle "how our dogs learn, think, and love" and the phrase "rethinking the way we train our puppies.

Puppy Brain: How Our Dogs Learn, Think, and Love

By Kerry Nichols

If you’re bringing a furry new friend into your home this summer, nationally bestselling Puppy Brain by canine educator and advocate Kerry Nichols is the perfect addition to your reading list. Drawing on her years of experience and the latest breakthroughs in canine research, Nichols’s book about dogs is filled with actionable guidance for raising a happy, healthy puppy. Readers will learn how to train an obedient dog and ways to foster a functional and fulfilling relationship with your canine companion. Lovingly told and enriched with adorable photos, Puppy Brain is an engaging read for dog lovers, new pet parents, and animal psychology buffs alike.

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