Guys, summer is here. Maybe not according to the calendar, since the first day of summer is technically June 20th but its been in the 70s, 80s and even the 90s here in Southern California and I am in serious bright sunny days and long warm summer nights. I’m already thinking about tanning at the beach and reading by the pool, with my WATERPROOF Kindle and county fairs and Thrifty ice cream cones from Rite Aid and the smell of sunscreen everywhere. I’m not a big fan of being hot and sweaty but I still love summer for all the possibilities. And one of the best parts of summer is being able to read a great summer book.
I don’t know what it is about summer but I want books that are bright and hopeful, full of love and hope and possibilities, ones where you can practically smell the sunscreen pouring off the page. I often avoid dark books in the fantasy and science fiction genres in the summer and burying myself in romances and stories that just feel like summer. Though I’m 33 and haven’t had a true summer vacation since I was about fifteen or sixteen years old, due to being in the workforce since I was about 17, I still remember the wonderful feeling of that last day of school and the expanse of freedom that seemed to stretch out in front of me and I love to read books nowadays that capture that.
Here are some books that I think are perfect summer reads –
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
This book has everything you love about summer – the beach, a boardwalk, french fries and onion rings, bicycles, hot dog parties, romance, everything. Honestly, most of Sarah’s books take place during summer so when I think of a summer book, she’s ALWAYS the first author I think of. Her books always open with the endless possibilities that summer brings.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
What’s a summer without your best friend by your side? Well, Emily is about to find out because summer has begun and her best friend, Sloane, has disappeared, leaving behind a list of tasks for Emily to complete, from fun to downright crazy. Morgan is another author who pops to mind super fast when it comes to summer books because she also writes a lot of her books during summer as well! Her books always start with the idea of POSSIBILITY and ADVENTURE and she’s a perfect read for poolside.
Well Met by Jen Deluca
A fun enemies to lovers romance set in the backdrop of a Renaissance Faire, Well Met (and the rest of the series) is so fun, so lighthearted and so full of heart ballooning moments that I can’t imagine reading a happier book during the summer. Plus, during normal times, our local Ren Faire is held during the entire month of May and it really feels like it kicks off all the fun summer stuff for me. Book three is coming later this year so maybe I’m doing for a sunny day reread…
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
Prudence can be difficult to like but her summer adventures with Quint are absolutely fun from beginning to end. The fictional coastal town in California feels homey and familiar and all the time spent at the local aquarium is just absolutely perfect for summer. Add in fun hijinks, a magical unexplained power to enact instant karma and an enemies to lovers story and its just *chef’s kiss*.
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
Beautifully queer, full of fashion and competition and a quest to find the best burger in Los Angeles, this book is everything you need for that perfect sunny day. I love this book because not only do I connect with the characters and I love a good burger, but it takes place in Los Angeles, a place I’m familiar with and have spent many summers exploring and getting into trouble so it feels nostalgic and just like home.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
When Olive’s sister gets major food poisoning at her wedding, as while as her groom, she offers her honeymoon to Olive and the groom’s best man and brother, Ethan. Of course, Olive and Ethan absolutely loathe each other but hey, who can turn down a free trip to Hawaii? Filled with snorkeling and massages, good food and slow burn romance and lots of Mai-Tais, which I craved the entire time I read this book.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I couldn’t make a list of summer books without mentioning this book – and its entire series – because they may be older but they are PRIME summer books. Four best friends find a magical pair of pants that fit all four of them and use them as a way to stay connected as they embark on separate summer journeys. These books are just…even all these years later, I’m just so so in love with them. It contains some of the best stories of friendship and family and self discovery and first love and romance and it reminds me of those long summers as a teenager and the friends I had that I felt would be there forever and are still here, just not in the same way. I’m getting emotional and need to stop now!
Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Sam escapes to summer camp to avoid being the third wheel to her best friend and her new boyfriend but, of course, things aren’t easier there. With unruly campers, ruthless fellow CITs and cute boys galore, its bound to be an interesting summer. I NEVER got to go to camp as a kid and I never did the CIT thing or the counselor thing and I’m probably too old for all of that now so I live out my dreams of summer camp in this book. S’mores and arts and crafts and hiking and bonfires and sleeping under the stars and summer boyfriends – that was the kind of thing I dreamed of as a young girl and I can live vicariously through Sam’s story.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Taking place over many years, this book follows Vix and Caitlin, two friends who always find summers together. No matter where life takes them, no matter what happens during the rest of the year, they find each other in the summer. I love this book. It has so many layers and it captures that Judy Blume-ness of growing up and coming of age and discovering all the things as you grow older. It’s a little more grown up than her other books but its no less amazing to read. Summer after summer, this friendship endures and their summers seem to be full of magic and wonder. This is another book I’m absolutely due to reread!
Sunkissed by Kasie West
Okay, to be fair, I haven’t read this book yet! I just received it in the mail yesterday and I canNOT wait to read it. Kasie West is another author who comes to mind with lighthearted, bright and sunny books that just make me feel good and I’m sure this book will do the same. This book takes place during summer and sounds like it will be packed with family and summer romance and just look at that cover! It SCREAMS summer, it practically begs you to read it by the pool, which, let’s face it, I’ll probably do since it definitely is already pool season here. I can’t wait for this book to kick off my summer in all the right ways!