Book Club

Beach Reads for Summer 2024.

By: Jen Shoop

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A roundup of delightful beach reads on my radar for upcoming travel —

+Elin Hilderbrand’s Swan Song. This is, in fact, Hilderbrand’s swan song! She has retired from writing her Nantucket-centric novels — a summer beach house staple for years now. The plot sounds suspiciously similar to many of its precursors, but sometimes, all you need is an easy, formulaic read that will hit all the right summer notes: “when rich strangers move to the island, social mayhem—and a possible murder follow. Can Nantucket’s best locals save the day, and their way of life?”

+Ruth Ware’s One Perfect Couple. A new thriller from my favorite author of the genre. Basic premise: “Harkening to Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None, this high-tension thriller follows five couples trapped on a storm-swept island as a killer stalks among them.” Currently reading this! If you’re new to Ware, you must try The Turn of the Key, One by One, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Ware is the queen of throwback-style crime: Daphne DuMaurier-meets-Agatha-Christie.

+Emily Henry’s Funny Story. Basic premise: Daphne moves to a small town to follow her fiance, who then breaks up with her to date his best friend from childhood. With no where to turn on such short notice, she moves in with the ex-fiance of her own ex-fiance’s girlfriend. Fake dating ensues — my favorite romance trope! I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Book Lovers, but it was still an easy, bright, transportive read with Henry’s characteristic sharp and funny banter. One of my girlfriends finished it in one day flat and wrote me: “It was delightful and warm and fuzzy and made me tear up a little,” but she did add [SPOILER ALERT – SKIP SENTENCE IF YOU’VE NOT YET READ] “there was a tiny bit too much rehashing over and over, and I didn’t love the third act breakup. Like, just talk to each other! But otherwise loved it all.” I felt that was a solid, on-point assessment.

+Carley Fortune’s This Summer Will Be Different. Basic premise:” Lucy is the tourist vacationing at a beach house on Prince Edward Island. Felix is the local who shows her a very good time. The only problem: Lucy doesn’t know he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Lucy and Felix’s chemistry is unreal, but the list of reasons why they need to stay away from each other is long, and they vow to never repeat that electric night again. It’s easier said than done.” The descriptions of the PEI setting and ambiance are worth a read on their own — deliciously evocative. (This book may have launched me into my #lakehousecore obsession!). The plot runs thin and ragged in parts (there are sections worth skimming), but I found the love interest fetching and the book overall charming.

+Tana French’s The Hunter. I’ve seen this multiple times at the pool this summer already! “It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in a small village in the West of Ireland. One of them is coming home. Both of them are coming to get rich. One of them is coming to die.”

+Plum Syke’s Wives Like Us. Basic premise: “Take a grand English country house, one (heartbroken) American divorcee, three rich wives, two tycoons, a pair of miniature sausage dogs and one (bereaved) butler; put them all into the blender and out comes the impossibly funny Wives Like Us, the new novel from the best-selling author of Bergdorf Blondes and Party Girls Die In Pearls, Plum Sykes.” I feel like every woman on the UES is tucking this into her Hamptons beach bag this summer.

+Yulin Kuang’s How to End a Love Story. This book turned my head because it’s Kuang’s first published novel — she is also a screenwriter who has been adapting two of Emily Henry’s novels for film! In other words: she knows her way around a funny romance. Basic premise: “Two writers with a complicated history end up working on the same TV show… Can they write themselves a new ending? A sexy and emotional enemies-to-lovers romance guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings.”

+Lucy Foley’s The Midnight Feast. Another top-rated and top-selling thriller author — I thought her previous book, The Guest List, was fun. Not as good as Ruth Ware, but fun — this will definitely make its way into my reading list. Basic premise: “It’s the opening night of The Manor, and no expense, small or large, has been spared…But under the burning midsummer sun, darkness stirs. Old friends and enemies circulate among the guests. Just outside the Manor’s immaculately kept grounds, an ancient forest bristles with secrets. And the Sunday morning of opening weekend, the local police are called. Something’s not right with the guests. There’s been a fire. A body’s been discovered.”

+Liv Constantine’s The Next Mrs. Parrish. I absolutely loved Constantine’s previous book, The Last Mrs. Parrish. The book shocked me — the twist was fantastic! — and it remains one of my thriller beach reads of all time. And here comes the sequel! Basic premise: “Daphne and Amber Parrish are thrust back into each other’s lives upon the resurgence of a long-forgotten threat, forcing a vicious game of cat and mouse where everything is on the line.”

+Jo Piazza’s The Sicilian Inheritance. A mystery-meets-beach-read! Premise: “A disputed inheritance and a family secret that some will kill to protect.”


+When was your last book hangover?

+On giving myself permission to read whatever I want to read.

+Movies that feel like summer.

+What was the first book or movie that made a profound impression on you?

Shopping Break.

+Now this is a cute serving options for picnics. I was just hunting for a solution — we have a few outdoor music concerts this summer, and I love to serve up snacks and charcuterie, but wanted a more attractive presentation option than just opening a bunch of bags on a picnic blanket. I also thought this was good looking for a true charcuterie board.

+Found my favorite summer cardigan restocked here! (More great top layers for summer here.)

+Ordered this drop-waist smocked skirt.

+J. McLaughlin always has fun handbags. I love this with the fun contrasting blue liner and this.

+So airy and dreamy. Beach dress perfection.

+These are a good look for less for Freda Salvador’s popular woven ballet flats.

+Two great cover-up options that won’t break the bank: this Tuckernuck, these J. Crews.

+Just ordered two of these pump-style bottles of our favorite sunscreen while discounted!

+From Zara: SO GOOD and selling very fast.

+This under-$100 dress is adorable — reminds me of Agua Bendita?

+If you liked my Bibi Lou sandals, you might like these — look for less!

+Terry shorts for your man!

+Easy striped lounge set for home / post-beach / post-pool.

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8 thoughts on “Beach Reads for Summer 2024.

  1. Great list, thanks! I put myself on the library holds list for several of these. I’m planning to re-read The Shell Seekers this summer. I read it so long ago that I can’t remember the story at all! I just finished An Ambush of Widows – the mystery was pretty good but the author was very fond of the ellipsis which I found distracting. Also finished Bad Therapy by Abigail Shrier, which was excellent and terrifying and I recommend that every parent read it!

  2. Just finished Wellness by Nathan Hill last night – not quite a light beach read, but I devoured it. Reminded me a bit of Tomorrow x 3 in terms of building a specific world and all of its nuances, characters’ backstories unspooling over chapters, incredibly accurate social/romantic relationship commentary, etc. Come And Get It by Kiley Reid is up next – I loved Such a Fun Age, so I have high hopes for this one!

  3. Agreed on Funny Story – very enjoyable, but Book Lovers is still her best to me! A bunch of these are on my to read list as well, but I’m trying to spend this summer working through the stack of books I’ve acquired but somehow haven’t read (many of which I’m very excited about!). I’ve set a little challenge for myself to get through as many as I can and to DNF if something isn’t grabbing me.

    1. Love the advanced permission-granting to DNF if it doesn’t grab. Life is too short for bad / sloggy books!


  4. Currently reading Sicilian Inheritance and loving it! My TBR pile is way too high but you’ve successfully added a few more to it 😉
    Happy reading… xoH

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