Best Summer Beach Reads for 2019 That Won’t Rot Your Brain

With the weather heating up and vacations being planned, it’s time to start planning your summer reading list. But choosing those fun, lighthearted beach reads often feels like the mental equivalent of drinking chocolate syrup straight from the bottle: it’s fun while you’re doing it but leaves you with a terrible stomachache.

Never fear! There are plenty of engaging and fun books that are just begging to be packed into your travel bag. Whether you’re indulging in an island getaway or simply enjoying a staycation in your backyard, these books are guaranteed to make you laugh, make you think, and make you glad the summer has finally arrived.

‘The Gifted School’ by Bruce Holsinger

If you’ve ever wondered what motivates parents to commit crimes for the benefit of their children, then this book is for you. The Gifted School follows a group of people in an affluent Colorado town who will stop at nothing to get their children admitted into a highly selective school for gifted students. How far would you go to ensure the best life for your kids? Find out in this gripping novel.

‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Hands Down One of the Best Books I’ve Read in a Long Time.• • • That was not easy to do. I put this book off for a long time because I thought it would make me feel weird about marriage and also punch me in the gut. It is a gut punch, but it is so beautiful and probably as close to perfect as a book can get. Here’s the official synopsis:• • • Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.• • • This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

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Oprah’s first book club pick of 2018 tells the story of two young, successful African American newlyweds named Roy and Celestial. Everything is going great until Roy is arrested for rape and sentenced to 12 years in prison. What follows is a difficult journey through emotions and tough questions. Like, how well do you truly know your spouse?

‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides

No summer beach read list would be complete without at least one thriller. The Silent Patient explores a mute mental health patient who is accused of murdering her husband. Psychotherapist Theo Faber must figure out why she did it all while she refuses to say a word. This is one of those books you won’t be able to put down.

‘The Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang

This story won the Goodreads Choice Award of 2018. It’s a romance story that’s anything but typical, with the main character Stella Lane diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome yet still managing to love and live her life. The characters are impossible to forget. This is the perfect book to share your beach chair with.

‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller

Interested in Greek mythology but unwilling to audit a course at your local college? This book explores those myths in a distinctly literary fashion, making you feel like you know the gods and goddesses — especially Circe. You’ll get a dose of knowledge with a whole lot of fun on the side.

The New York Times called it, “A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story.”

‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s like someone took the essence of the movie Almost Famous and turned it into a book. This page-turner follows a fictional band through the thrilling world of 70s era rock n roll. It has all the appeal of going backstage at a rock concert with none of the drama.

This was one of Reese Witherspoon’s picks for her book club, Hello Sunshine. She said, “I devoured Daisy Jones & The Six in a day, falling head over heels for it. Daisy and the band captured my heart.”

‘Mrs. Everything’ by Jennifer Weiner

This will be the book everyone is talking about this summer. Out June 11, a new romantic story from the talented Jennifer Weiner, author of In Her Shoes and Who Do You Love, follows the lives of two sisters and two time periods—the 1950s and now. This story of family belongs in your beach bag.

‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’ by Claire Lombardo

It’ll be hard to wait until June 25 for this book, which is already getting tons of buzz on Goodreads and is being touted by some as one of the best books of the year. The story follows two parents who are deeply in love and their four dysfunctional adult children, who are all flawed in very different ways. Told through a series of flashbacks, this is one summer read you don’t want to miss.