The Best Summer Reads of 2021

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These Are the 20 Books You're Going To Want To Read This Summer

Romance, mystery, and sexy stuff? Count me in.

girl reading book on beach
Stanislaw PytelGetty Images

Ah, summer. It's the season we've all been waiting for—the warm weather, the endless days in the sun, the never-ending barbecues and hangouts. It's a time when all we want to is indulge in an alcoholic beverage (or two... or maybe three), kick back and enjoy. And between you and me, after this rough year, we all need a chance to breathe a little bit easier.

Summer days (maybe spent on the beach, because obviously) are the perfect chance to pick up a novel you haven't read before. The genre itself doesn't matter—could be the juiciest summer romance or a twist-and-turn mystery—there are an endless number of books at the ready for you to enjoy during those sunny days.

If you're looking for your next good read, look no further than this list. We have all the latest and upcoming summer novels ready for you, and trust us—you're gonna want to bookmark this page to keep a running list.

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1 Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success, by Rebecca Minkoff
Amazon
Now 27% off

You might know her as a famous designer, and Rebecca Minkoff has a lot to say about what it takes to be successful. Packed with personal anecdotes, inspirational musings, and a lot of tips, Minkoff's story will make you want to re-evaluate how you measure creativity and happiness. And that's never a bad thing. 

2 To Sir, with Love, by Lauren Layne
bookshop.org

Remember the movie You've Got Mail? Think of this novel as an updated version, Tinder and all. Going through personal trauma, taking over the family business, and featuring an annoyingly handsome guy trying to buy said business, Gracie is just about over it. Not willing to tell her loved ones about what's going on, she turns to the one person she knows will always listen to her: sir, a man she connected with on a blind dating app, where you must talk to each other before seeing photos. It's the perfect read while sipping a Mai Tai on the sand. 

3 The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn
bookshop.org

For all of us feeling a little hot and bothered after watching Bridgerton (and anxiously waiting for a second season), Julia Quinn has the perfect answer for you: The second novel of the book series which inspired the TV show. Telling the story of Anthony Bridgerton's road to love, there's sure to be lots of Regency drama and steamy sex. I can't pick the book up fast enough... 

4 This Close to Okay, by Leesa Cross-Smith
bookshop.org

Telling the story of a divorced therapist as she helps stop a man from jumping off a bridge, the two people's lives are irrevocably tied together forever. Make sure you have a pack of tissues at the ready. 

5 The Last Train to Key West, by Chanel Cleeton
Berkley Books

Cleeton's latest novel features Mirta Perez, a young woman from the 1930s, new to living in the Florida Keys after she finds herself in an arranged marriage in Cuba. While there, she meets Elizabeth Preston, a NYC woman trying to save her family fortune in the Keys. Over a holiday weekend, the women cross paths and ultimately try to save themselves and those around them from imminent danger. 

6 Unfinished, by Priyanka Chopra Jonas
bookshop.org

Yes, she's a big-time actress and married to a Jonas brother. But in her debut memoir, the star gives fans an inside look into her life in India, moving to the United States as a teenager, becoming a pageant queen at a young age, and eventually becoming the woman she is today. With personal stories and heartbreaking moments, readers will get a true look at Chopra Jonas on her own terms. 

7 Sex and Vanity, by Kevin Kwan
bookshop.org

The man behind Crazy Rich Asians brings readers an all-new family dynamic, this time off the coast of Capri, Italy. As the daughter of a white man and a Chinese-American woman, she finds herself trying to figure out which of two suitors is best for her: The man who will fit in with her American family, or the man she's infatuated with. It's a story about making your own decisions and following your heart.... with family hijinks thrown in. 

8 You Had Me at Hola, by Alexis Daria
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A telenovela star is trying to get over a breakup when she suddenly becomes the face of the tabloids.  She finds herself cast in the quintessential NYC rom-com with a hot romantic interest.... I think you can figure out where this is going. 

9 Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld
bookshop.org
Random House

What if Hillary Clinton (you know, the former First Lady, Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate), never actually ended up with husband Bill and forged her own path? While we all know who she ends up becoming, Sittenfeld brings to life a world where Hillary stands out from the very beginning. Chances are you won't be able to stop once you read the first page. 

10 Summer on the Bluffs, by Sunny Hostin
bookshop.org

Written by The View host Sunny Hostin, the story follows a family all vying for a house in the exclusive Oak Bluffs, a place where the best families in Black society come together every summer. Perry Soto wants the house so badly, she ends up flying from her NYC home to ensure it's hers. But as secrets begin to trickle out, the optimal summer vacay may be more than they all bargained for. 

11 The Break-Up Book Club, by Wendy Wax
bookshop.org

Four women who think they have absolutely nothing in common find out that, actually, they do: all of them are looking at their lives and thinking, "Wait, this didn't turn out how I thought it would." They all find solace in one another... and an old carriage house-turned-bookshop, where they can dream for things they want most in life. 

12 People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
bookshop.org

Poppy and Alex have been going on summer vacays together for the past decade. After a rather bad spat, the two haven't exactly spoken for the last two years. Deciding she needs to fix her relationship with Alex, she takes him on a week-long vacation, determined to mend their differences... and maybe spark something more?  

13 The Siren, by Katherine St. John
bookshop.org
Now 29% off

As a major movie begins filming in the Caribbean, three women find themselves together while trapped in the middle of a hurricane. One is a struggling actress, determined to fix her reputation after a public meltdown. Another is a producer, trying to get her career back on track after a rather scandalous incident at her last job. And the third is an assistant, attempting to change everyone's plans to her own agenda. Will they find themselves separated by their positions, or will they come together to save themselves and potentially take on an enemy bigger than all?

14 Arsenic and Adobo, by Mia P. Manansala
bookshop.org

After moving back home from a particularly bad break-up. Lila Macapagal finds herself running the failing family restaurant... with a group of matchmaking aunties to boot. But when her ex-boyfriend (who's also a food critic!) suddenly falls dead just moments after arguing with her, she swerves from being a chef to becoming a detective to figure out what exactly happened. It's part mystery, part romance, and part food. What more could you ask for?

15 Meet Me in Paradise, by Libby Hubscher
bookshop.org

After losing her journalist mom, Marin has always been cautious of leaving her Tennessee home. Sister Sadie, on the other hand, has no fears as a traveling photographer, trekking all over the world. But after she comes home from a job shaken up, Marin has the ultimate solution: a spa weekend. But it doesn't come without traveling hiccups (and, thankfully, a hot man to help her through them). Does Marin stay the person she always was, or does she allow love and romance in?

16 The Hunting Wives, by May Cobb
bookshop.org

After moving from Chicago to a sleepy Texas town with her husband and son, Sophie thinks she's living the perfect life. But when she meets an elite clique known for partying and "late night target practice," she slowly moves away from her family and becomes obsessed. But then, she finds herself in the center of a murder investigation. 

17 A Special Place for Women, by Laura Hankin
bookshop.org

Deep within the hidden social clubs of NYC is an elite women's group, known to predict some pretty scandalous things coming true. Failing journalist Jillian decides there's only one thing to do to revamp her career: break into the club and expose it. But the deeper she gets into the world of girl bosses, she discovers the true price of what happens when people question the goals and rituals of the club. As it turns out, Jillian may not only be way over her head, but the women who run the club may be more powerful than she ever thought possible. 

18 The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, by Marianne Cronin
bookshop.org

In a Glasgow hospital, two women meet in an arts and crafts class: Lenni, aged 17 and Margot, aged 83. To show the years of life they have between them, the duo decide the only way to do that is by creating 100 paintings. With its uplifting message, the story is both poignant and also comical. 

19 Golden Girl, by Elin Hilderbrand
bookshop.org

Published author Vivian was jogging near her home when she suddenly died in a hit-and-run accident. She quickly finds herself in the Beyond, and assigned to a woman named Martha, who shows Vivian what's happening on earth. As she sees her kids go through romance problems while the police investigate her death, secrets come to light. It has suspense, beautiful beach scenes and inspirational anecdotes. You really can't do better than that. 

20 Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo
bookshop.org

Camino and Yahaira Rios live in two different locations (one in NYC, one in the Dominican Republic) but both look up to their father. When they learn he's passed away in a plane crash, the two are forced to face their papi's secrets, changing their lives forever. It's a story about sisterhood, family, and how to pick yourself back up after a devastating loss.

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