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Books You Can’t Put Down: The Ultimate Summer Reading Guide

5 minute read

By Katie Ormsby

When you think about the perfect summer read, what comes to mind? Maybe you picture a frothy romance. But the truth is, great summer books span all genres. It’s not necessarily about escaping — it’s more about being engrossed. The perfect beach read draws you in, keeps you turning the page, and leaves you longing for more. In other words, it’s impossible to put down. Start a search today to find your next great summer read.

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In the Unlikely Event

Judy Blume’s “In the Unlikely Event” is a treat for fans who grew up on classics like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Set in the ’50s, it’s an emotional rollercoaster that seamlessly merges historical events with fiction.1 The story is a page-turner that portrays the impact of a series of plane crashes in one town on a teenage girl and her friends and family. “In the Unlikely Event” is classic Blume — all grown-up but still capturing the heart of life’s turbulence that made us fans in the first place.

Valley of the Dolls

“Valley of the Dolls” is an age-old tale of friendship, ambition, and scandal.2 This ’60s camp classic transports readers to the glitzy world of show business from Broadway to Hollywood. The book centers on the lives of three women, exploring their rise to fame and struggles. Despite dealing with some serious themes, “Valley of the Dolls” is a glamorous, escapist read that’s kept us turning pages for over half a century. If you want a glossy soap opera, this is a fun and tawdry choice.


“Jaws” needs little introduction. This thrilling story of a man-eating shark terrorizing a seaside town has been making beachgoers nervous for decades.3 Its fast-paced narrative and intense atmosphere make it impossible to put down. Perhaps it’s for the brave beach reader — reading it on the beach certainly heightens the experience, after all. Just remember to check the water before you get in. The blend of adventure and horror ensures it’s a page-turning addition to your summer reading list.

Crazy Rich Asians

For a touch of humor and a lot of luxury, dive into “Crazy Rich Asians.” The book showcases the lavish lifestyles of Asia’s ultra-wealthy elites. It’s funny, dramatic, and wildly entertaining. The vivid descriptions and absorbing plot make it an excellent book to lose yourself in this summer. The book is as decadent and sparkling as a summer poolside cocktail — full of wit, glamour, and drama. Whether you’re lounging poolside or beachfront, it’s a wild ride that’s perfect for a sunny summer getaway.

Gone Girl

“Gone Girl” is a page-turning psychological thriller that’s spanned a legion of imitators — just count how many domestic suspense novels you see with “Girl” or “Woman” in the title these days. It tells the story of a woman’s mysterious disappearance and the suspicions that fall on her husband. It’s a twisty-turny story that keeps you guessing until the very end. The suspense and intrigue make it a great beach read that’s tough to put down. Prepare to be on the edge of your beach chair!

The Best of Everything

“The Best of Everything” is a trailblazing novel that set the stage for “Mad Men” and “Sex and the City.” This late ’50s classic explores a group of young women striving for success in NYC. While this page-turner takes you deep into the world of mid-century women trying to make it in the big city, there’s still something relatable about it. With engaging characters, absorbing plotlines, and insightful social commentary, it’ll keep you hooked from beginning to end — perfect for lazy summer days in the sun.

The Devil in the White City

“The Devil in the White City” masterfully combines true crime and history.4 It presents the parallel stories of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and a frightening serial killer. The book’s rich, detailed writing vividly brings the era to life, and the chilling events will have you on edge. It’s a fascinating book to put on your summer reading list if you’re a fan of history or spine-tingling suspense. This is the kind of book that’ll keep you engrossed long after the sun sets.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a compelling tale of glamour, love, and secrets.5 It brings us into the world of Evelyn Hugo, a retired Hollywood star with a captivating life story. The absorbing writing and Evelyn’s intriguing life make this novel an engaging summer read. If you’re craving a blend of Old Hollywood glamour and emotional depth, this book is your ticket. Between its Hollywood drama and complex characters, it’ll keep you enthralled under the summer sun.

The Cold Millions

Set in the early 20th century, “The Cold Millions” delivers an enthralling tale of two vagabond brothers in a world brimming with greed.6 It tackles themes of social justice, inequality, and the pursuit of the American Dream — issues that are just as relevant today. The novel’s strong narrative and richly developed characters offer an immersive reading experience, perfect for long summer days. If you’re looking for an adventurous tale that feels something like a Western, this sweeping saga won’t let you down.

Pride and Prejudice

Last but not least, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is a classic that’s captivated generations of readers. This tale of love, societal norms, and misunderstandings in the 19th century never gets old. Austen’s witty prose and the iconic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy make it a timeless summer read. With its mixture of romance, humor, and insightful social commentary, it’s the perfect companion for a lazy afternoon in the sun. Grab a copy and let it sweep you off your feet.

Dive Into the Perfect Summer Beach Read

From chilling thrillers to campy soap operas, the perfect beach read can come in many forms. But one thing is for sure — a great summer book is one you can’t bear to put down. So grab your sunblock, find your spot in the sand, and dive into an incredible page-turner. You won’t regret it. While these summer reads are a great place to start, there are so many more beach reads out there. It’s worth taking some time to explore your options.

Katie Ormsby



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