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Looking for some must-have beach reads for your next vacation or lazy summer Saturdays in the sun? Whether you'll be lounging at the beach, hanging out by the pool or just need a good book to read while traveling to an exotic location, these page-turners will be tough to put down. With a mix of modern fiction, non-fiction and hot, new thrillers, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained as you wiggle your toes in the sand, cold drink in your hand.
Our Top Picks
Best Mystery: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Often called the Agatha Christie of our time, best-selling author Ruth Ware does not disappoint with her fourth novel. The main character, Hal, gets a mysterious letter informing her of a substantial inheritance, but she quickly realizes it was sent to the wrong person. She hatches a plan to try to claim the money and soon finds herself in the middle of a very strange, deeply troubling situation. Is she a con artist or the one getting conned? With lots of clever twists and surprises, this creepy and entertaining thriller will keep you in suspense right up until the last few pages. If you’re a fan of Ware’s The Girl in Cabin 10, you’ll also enjoy this chilling and gripping thriller.
Best for Women: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
A recent pick for Oprah’s Book Club, this novel from best-selling author Tayari Jones is a compelling, modern love story. Celestial and Roy are blissful newlyweds whose idyllic lives are suddenly torn apart when Roy is arrested, convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime that Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Celestial is devastated but eventually takes comfort in Andre, a childhood friend and the best man at their wedding. When Roy’s conviction is overturned after five years, he mistakenly assumes he can return home to resume his life with Celestial. Told from alternating perspectives and in some correspondence, this book gives readers a deep, intimate look into the hearts, minds and souls of the main characters, while raising thought-provoking questions about race, class and love. A perfect beach read, An American Marriage will definitely generate lots of provocative discussions at book club.
Best for Men: The President Is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton
Best-selling author James Patterson does it again with this riveting thriller-mystery that involves cyber warfare, terrorism, political intrigue and a missing president. And who better to have as a co-author than former president Bill Clinton? The President Is Missing allows us to peek behind the curtain to get a true insider’s view of the inner workings and pressures of the Presidency and life in the White House. Taking place over the course of three days, this suspenseful novel moves lightning fast, and will have you so terrified and intrigued that you’ll want to devour it in one sitting. It makes a great gift for Dad, but women will be equally as captivated by this page-turner.
Best Psychological Thriller: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
If you love a good, psychological thriller, Give Me Your Hand will have you hooked from the beginning, right through every plot twist and turn. Kit and Diane became unlikely friends in high school chemistry, but Diane shared a secret and the friendship quickly ended in deceit. They haven’t seen each other in years, but now a decade later, they’re vying for the same job and the competition sets off some dangerous consequences. This much-anticipated book from the author of the Edgar-Award winning book, Dare Me, lives up to the hype and is an irresistible, addicting read about twisted female friendships, bold ambition and toxic secrets.
Best Memoir: Brave by Rose McGowan
A courageous and vocal leader for the #MeToo movement, actress Rose McGowan calls out and condemns the systemic misogyny in Hollywood in this honest and raw memoir. With revealing details from her difficult childhood, adolescence and eventual rise to fame, she describes her path to becoming a fearless activist, encouraging other women to find their voices and speak out. Creative, authentic and emotional, Brave is tough to put down, and even harder to forget. If you’re looking for more than just a light summer read, be sure to put this thought-provoking memoir on your vacation packing list.
Best Short Story Collection: Florida by Lauren Groff
You won’t regret putting this compelling collection of fictional short stories in your beach bag. From New York Times-bestselling author Lauren Groff, Florida is inspired by the Sunshine State, with stories about unforgettable characters and narratives that may seem unconnected, but all play on each other in some way. With poignant writing and exquisite detail, Groff transports readers into the lives of various Floridians, spanning lives, time and locations. Dark, dangerous and deep, this collection is filled with precise and potent observations of human emotions, connections, struggles and decisions.
Best Suspense: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
In this widely-popular thriller from author A.J. Finn, Anna Fox is a recluse who lives alone in her New York City house and spends her days drinking wine, watching television and spying on her neighbors. The new people across the street — a father, mother and their teenage son — seem like the perfect family. But one night, when peering in on them, Anna sees something happen, and she’s certain that a crime was committed. Was it real? Is someone in danger? This must-read, gripping thriller is full of twists and surprises that will have you guessing right up until the end. If you loved Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this book is definitely a good one to put on your required reading list this summer.
Best Essay Collection: Calypso by David Sedaris
After a five-year hiatus, humorist David Sedaris is at it again with this collection of dark, personal and hilarious essays. Just open up Calypso to any one of the 21 essays and you’ll find yourself laughing and eager to read the next one. Many of the essays center around Sedaris’ recent purchase, a beach house on the Carolina coast, where Sedaris makes comedic and sometimes painful observations about family life and all the drama and issues that come with getting older. With his trademark wit and incisiveness, Sedaris’ poignant essays are just as thought-provoking as they are funny. Whether you’re a long-time Sedaris fan or a newcomer to his work, you’ll be wowed by his intellect, humor and powerful observation skills.