Picture the scene: you’re on your beach towel with the warm sun on your skin and the clear blue sky above you. After a relaxing dip in the pool or sea, you’re now about to sip an ice-cold cocktail or soft drink while you naturally dry off.
There’s just one thing that would make this moment better — and that’s having a book that you’re struggling to put down.
Well, your wish is my command. Here are 9 good summer reads for 2021 and beyond, whether you’re holidaying abroad this year or going on a staycation.
1. The Flatshare By Beth O’Leary
The Flatshare* is the funny, feel-good debut by Sunday Times bestselling author Beth O’Leary.
After going through a bad breakup, Tiffany Moore needs to find a cheap place to live as quickly as possible. But with a limited budget, the only solution is a flatshare.
Enter Leon, a night shift worker who only uses his one-bed flat while Tiffany works during the day. Though the pair share a bed, they’ve never actually met, communicating only through notes left for each other.
This quirky romantic comedy is all about finding love and joy in even the most unexpected places. If you’re in dire need of a summer romance, this is the beach read for you.
2. The Love Square By Laura Jane Williams
Another one for all the romcom lovers out there, The Love Square* will have you laughing and crying in equal measures.
When unlucky in love Penny Bridge ends up meeting not one, but three remarkable new men all interested in dating her, she has a choice to make. But will any of them turn out to be The One?
Strap in for a funny and often heartwarming exploration of modern love in all of its glorious messiness. Plus, with plenty of food, friendship and eligible bachelors, this book has all the ingredients for the perfect summer story.
3. The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides
Alex Michaelides’ mystery-thriller The Silent Patient* was a New York Times bestseller in 2019, and is now reported to be in the works for a big screen adaptation.
As for the plot, the official synopsis keeps it short and sweet: ‘Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago. When she shot her husband in the head five times. Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. It’s time to find out why.’
Suspenseful, pacey and entirely unpredictable, this novel is ideal for any poolside thrillseeker.
Oh, and prepare to have your mind blown by a jaw-dropping twist that’ll have you spitting out your Piña Colada. You’ve been warned!
4. The Midnight Library By Matt Haig
What makes a good summer reads list is a mixture of light and breezy novels and a few books that really make you think.
The Midnight Library* by Matt Haig is a great example of the latter, asking the age-old question of is the grass really greener on the other side?
The novel follows Nora, whose life has been going from bad to worse until she finds herself transported to a library at midnight on her final day on earth.
There, she’s given the opportunity to undo all her regrets and see what her life could have been like had she made different choices. Expect a wonderfully thoughtful tour through life’s possibilities, all from the comfort of your deckchair.
5. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes By Suzanne Collins
If you were a fan of the Hunger Games franchise, you’re sure to love The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes*, Suzanne Collins’ latest story from the dystopian world of Panem.
This novel acts as a prequel to the worldwide young adult phenomenon, following the 18-year-old future President Snow as he prepares to mentor his District 12 tribute in the tenth annual Hunger Games.
Returning fans and new readers alike will be delighted by this thrilling page-turner, which mixes complex characters with an intriguing new plot to create an apocalyptic escape which will leave you utterly hooked.
6. The Guest List By Lucy Foley
The basic elements all good summer reads have in common are memorable characters, an atmospheric setting and of course an intriguing plot that keeps you coming back for more in between dips in the pool.
Lucy Foley’s (author of The Hunting Party) prize-winning murder mystery thriller The Guest List* has all of this in abundance.
When a guest is found mysteriously dead at a remote coastal wedding as a furious storm rips through the island, the remainder of the guests are trapped.
Hidden jealousies, old grudges and shocking secrets come to light in this classic “closed room” whodunnit, which is full of sharp twists that’ll keep you guessing until the very end.
7. Good Vibes, Good Life By Vex King
Social media influencer, writer and mind coach Vex King founded the Good Vibes Only #GVO movement after turning his life around, and is now here to help others do the same with his Sunday Times Bestseller.
Good Vibes, Good Life* sees King share some of his own personal stories as well as practical solutions and guidance on how to shift your perspective and learn to recognise your self-worth and lead a happier life.
This last year has been tough on everyone, so treat yourself to this book and leave the pool feeling like your best self this summer.
8. Malibu Rising By Taylor Jenkins Reid
For a compelling beach read with a side of glamour, add Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising* to your summer reading list.
Set in Malibu in the August of 1983, the novel follows four famous siblings over the course of one unforgettable night as they throw their hotly-anticipated annual end-of-summer party.
But when the Riva mansion goes up in flames, their lives will change forever as each of the siblings has to choose what to rescue, and what to leave behind to burn.
Expect fascinating characters and a deep dive into the meaning of family in this slick, star-studded page-turner.
9. The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell
If captivating mysteries and gripping whodunnits are your thing, then you can’t go wrong with The Family Upstairs*.
The latest crime thriller from bestselling author Lisa Jewell sees a well cared for baby living happily in a large Chelsea house that hides a dark secret: three decomposing corpses have been lying dead in the kitchen for several days.
But who has been looking after the baby and where did they go? The novel draws readers into an immersive and suspenseful journey featuring brilliantly complex and human characters and an unpredictable and twisty plot to boot.
Don’t Miss Out on These Good Summer Reads!
In our opinion, a great book is second only to a tasty cocktail when it comes to essential sunbathing accompaniments.
Whether you’re planning to jet off abroad this summer, or are just hoping for some rain-free days at home in the garden, rest assured you’ll have some good summer reads in tow with this list.
Just remember to tear yourself away for long enough to keep your sunscreen topped up!