The summertime isn’t just meant for catching rays at the beach or drinking frozen margaritas. It’s also the perfect time for you to sit back, relax and lose yourself in a good book. Whether you’re at the beach tanning or stuck inside on a hot rainy day, listed below are ten books you must read this summer that are sure to entertain you.
Mother, Can You Not? by Katie Siegel
If you haven’t heard of the Instagram handle @crazyjewishmom you’re missing out. This book grew from the account, which is filled with text messages between Kate Siegel and her mother, Kim Friedman. To most people her mother would be considered inappropriate. She talks about dildos and vaginas the same way you or I talk about getting drinks on a Friday night. An eccentric woman and a helicopter mom, most of the texts between the two are about marriage, sex and what may or may not give you cancer.
You know, normal stuff.
The book itself expands on the Instagram account. It explores Kate’s relationship with her mother growing up, shares more of their private conversations and explains how the idea @crazyjewishmom came about.
This is the perfect book to read to lift your spirits if you’re in a bad mood or in need of a good laugh.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Practical Magic and tells the story of the kooky Aunts we fall in love with in the film and book. In Practical Magic we learn the Owens family is cursed when it comes to love after their ancestor, Maria Owens, was charged as a witch when she fell in love with the wrong man. Now, everyone in the family is unable to love someone without suffering from it.
As young Jet, Franny and the brother we never knew the Aunts had, begin to embrace their gift, they also learn about the curse and the consequences that come with it.
The Rules of Magic is a captivating read about being true to yourself and the lengths we go to protecting those we love.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Fans of Gone Girl will love The Woman in the Window. The nail biting debut novel by A.J. Finn will keep you on your toes. Agoraphobic Anna Fox lives in New York City and is unable to go outside. She has little interaction with the outside world and relies on drinking too much wine, the internet and her camera that she uses to spy on her neighbors for entertainment.
When the perfect family moves in across the street, The Russells, the lines between what’s real and imagined become blurred as she gazes into their window and starts to see cracks in the family. Your head will spin as you try to figure out what’s real and what’s fake. Is the woman in the window crazy? Or does she hold the answers to everything?
Hey Ladies! The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Caroline Moss and Michelle Markowitz
Based on the now defunct column from The Toast, Hey Ladies! is the book you need to read at the beach this summer. It’ll probably make you spit out the margarita you’re drinking but know that it’s worth it.
This book is an easy read filled with laugh out loud e-mails between eight girlfriends who don’t exactly have it all figured out. The major plot the book stands on is planning the wedding of one of the characters, Jen, who is completely self-centered but in retrospect so are all of her friends.
The characters are based on the annoying friends we all have–or might be. You know the friend that always asks you for money? Or the one that is trying to hawk her body wraps or miracle diet tea on you? They’re all represented here with witty flair. You’ll love to hate them.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple
Check this book out before it hits theaters in October. The novel is told from the perspective of fifteen-year-old Bee, the quick-witted daughter of the missing Bernadette Branch.
Bernadette is an eccentric woman. She doesn’t like to go outside, doesn’t like to engage with other parents and finds living in a house with blackberry vines growing through the floorboards acceptable. She also employs a random person on the internet to get menial tasks done. Like planning a family trip to Alaska as a reward for Bee’s perfect grades.
Things start to go awry as her anxiety over the trip begins to take over. After nearly getting arrested, institutionalized and being accused of terrorism when all she was trying to do was avoid the family trip, Bernadette goes missing.
Bee, convinced her mother would never leave her, begins to search for her. She searches through her e-mails, reads through letters from the school, police reports, invoices and more in order to try and track her down.
The book is highly comical and has many twists and turns but I do think it can be a little confusing to follow. Bee goes back and forth as she tries to learn about what happened to her mother. The book also jumps from one character to the next so you really have to make sure you’re paying attention as you read or else you’ll miss some key points.
The characters are also hard to like or pity. Elgin, Bee’s father, comes off as a bit of a lark even though he’s supposed to be this genius who works for Microsoft. Bee also reads as a self-entitled brat here and there but she is nearly a teenager after all so her traits are in character for her age.
The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
If you need to hide out for a few days then you need to sink into the Jessica Darling series. The series begins with Sloppy Firsts by taking an intimate look into Jessica Darling’s diary. Her best friend Hope has just moved away and now Jessica must find some new friends. Calling her a normal teenager would be an insult. Shopping or talking about her romantic feelings outwardly isn’t something she’s into. Instead, Jessica has a lot of anxiety, is depressed, has a snarky attitude and worries too much for her own good. She’s you at sixteen and probably at twenty-five.
Of course there’s a love interest in the book, Marcus Flutie, who is a reformed jerk (I feel like with today’s slang he’d be considered a ‘fuck boy’). He’s the complete opposite of Jessica. The tension between them is palpable. You’ll find yourself rooting for them early on even during moments when you don’t want too.
The pop culture references from the late 90’s/2000’s will also leave you reminiscing about simpler times.
By the end of the series Jessica and Marcus will be your OTP. You’ll root for them the entire series, despise her immensely along the way, and fall head over heels for Marcus.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
From the author who brought us Fangirl, comes a novel that will sweep you off your feet. Close your eyes and imagine this: you’re at work sending e-mails to your friend about the intimate details about your private life and there’s someone else who is reading them.
Okay, not so hard to imagine because we all know when it comes to the internet nothing is private. There’s probably thirty eyeballs on this before I press submit.
Admin, do you want to grab lunch one day?
This is essentially the back story of Attachments. Lincoln O’Neill is paid to read other people’s e-mail. Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scriber-Snyder know someone is reading their e-mails but they could care less. So they continue to send each other e-mails about their private lives even though its against the rules at their office. Lincoln is supposed to turn them in but instead he starts to read one of their e-mails.
And then another. And another.
He becomes interested in the women behind the e-mails even though he’s never talked to them before. This is 100% a rom-com so you know exactly where it’s going. Who knew e-mails could lead to the perfect meet-cute moment?
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Prepare to cry your eyes out because Jodi Picoult has done it again with Leaving Time. This book is about a daughter’s search for her mother. It’s deeply moving and a complete page turner. I read it in one sitting because I had to know how it ended. There were definitely tears in my eyes because of the imagery, the connections I felt with the characters and the twists and turns.
Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking or searching for her mother, Alice, who disappeared after a tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary she was working at. She searches online for her and reads her journals for clues where she might have gone. She enlists the help of a psychic, Serenity Jones, and the original private detective who investigated the mysterious death of one of her colleagues before Alice went missing.
Each character gets their own chapter so we get to know them on an intimate level. Even though Picoult leaves clues for you figure out what is going on they’re hard to decipher when you’re engrossed in the book. You’ll be mesmerized by her writing and the care she took molding each character and giving them a proper storyline and sendoff.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
I’m surprised there are so many poor reviews for Into The Water. While I agree it’s no Girl on The Train the book has its own merits.
When her estranged sister Nel is found dead, murdered at the bottom of the town river, a week apart from a teenage girl, Jules Abbott heads back home to take care of her niece. Though “home” isn’t a comforting place for Jules. It’s riddle with painful memories linked to her sister she would rather not think about. It doesn’t help that her mysterious niece Lena, doesn’t want her around.
As the investigation into the deaths deepens, secrets about the town are revealed. Jules and Lena are at the forefront of the investigation as they try to figure out what really happened to Nel.
I didn’t find the book confusing at all. Even though Hawkins switches between different characters (and there are many of them) it just adds a layer of suspense to a book that is filled with twists. None of the characters act logically and they all have something to hide so you don’t know who the killer is until the very end.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
A self-help book isn’t what I would normally choose for a beach read but as I started to delve deeper into Secrets of the Millionaire Mind I knew I had to add it to the list.
I don’t love self-help books, whether they’re talking about manifestation, fitness, mental health or financial wealth. There’s something about many of them that I find insincere and pushy. Who are you, stranger I don’t know, to tell me how I should live my life? If your way works then why are there hundreds of other books out there about a completely different method?
I’m a skeptic but I still like to read them any way because every book deserves to get read. The only reason I’m including this book is because it got me thinking about how I think about money and manage it. There’s an entire section that talks about how rich people and poor people think differently. The chapter was eye opening because I didn’t realize my thoughts and the way I learned about money management from my mother effected how I spent and saved my money today.
I’m not as financially stable as I would like to be. I have an entrepreneurial spirit that I never act on (something else I realized while reading the book). How I think about money and my future needs work. I’m not saying this book will make me or you into a millionaire (like so many other people claim) but I think it can give you some insight into your finances and help create an improved blueprint for your financial future.
What books are you planning on reading this summer? Let me know in the comments below if you have read any of these, will read them or what’s next on your list.