If you’re on vacation without a book, are you really on vacation at all? After all, what’s a day at the beach without a sensational beach read? And why even travel if it won’t provide some quality reading time? As any booklover can attest, no summer break is complete without ample reading material, because when it comes down to it, vacation is wherever your book is.
So whether you’re heading to the shore or chilling by the pool this year, here are 10 brilliant page-turners from Simon & Schuster that’ll help you make the most of your summer BookCation:
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner’s novels are omnipresent on summer reading lists for good reason: They’re smart, satisfying stories you can see yourself in. But she’s outdone herself with Mrs. Everything, a decades-spanning family saga about two sisters whose present-day lives are wildly different from what they pictured for themselves as kids in 1950s Detroit. Fierce, bookish Jo dreamt of changing the world before becoming a proper mother in Connecticut. And young Bethie wanted nothing so much as a traditional home and family, but now she’s a wild child who can’t imagine settling down. There’s just one problem: Neither woman is particularly happy. Is there still time to create the lives they truly want?
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tuning out your family in favor of finishing Lisa Jewell’s twisty thriller Watching You. You’ll be desperate not only to learn the identity of the killer, but also to find out who on earth was murdered in their own kitchen in the first place. At the center of everything is popular headmaster Tom Fitzwilliam, who inspires an intense infatuation in his new neighbor, Joey Mullen, and a deep suspicion in one of his students, Jenna Tripp. And then there’s Tom’s teen son Freddie, who wants to be a spy for MI5, and the schoolgirl who wrote about her doomed obsession with a young Mr. Fitzwilliam 20 years ago…
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
One of only two nonfiction books on this list, Three Women nevertheless reads like a juicy novel. For nearly ten years, journalist Lisa Taddeo immersed herself in the everyday lives of three real American women from various regions and backgrounds. She only had one goal in mind: to paint an authentic portrait of female desire. And sure enough, as you lose yourself in the intimate, absorbing stories of suburban Indiana homemaker Lina, 17-year-old North Dakota high school student Maggie, and happily married Northeast restaurant owner Sloane, the rest of the world will completely disappear around you.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
Searching for a book that will transport you to a whole other world? Look no further than The Lost Queen, which has been compared to The Mists of Avalon and Outlander. Signe Pike’s debut novel bypasses the usual origin stories of Arthur, Guinevere, and the knights of the round table in favor of the historical figures behind the legends. Step into the untold story of Languoreth, a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland whose twin brother, Lailoken, may have been the inspiration for Merlin. You’ll be enthralled by Languoreth’s choice between her magical connection to warrior Maelgwn and her duty to her betrothed, Rhydderch, son of the High King.
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Nothing will make you appreciate your own relaxing vacay quite like Megan Miranda’s riveting mystery The Last House Guest, about an idyllic retreat gone horribly wrong… Every summer for almost a decade, Sadie Loman has vacationed in Littleport, Maine, where she’s become best friends with a local, Avery Greer. But when Avery is found dead, Sadie watches as her favorite place turns against her. Though her friend’s death is ruled a suicide, Sadie can’t help but feel the community–including Avery’s brother, a local detective–blames her. Now Sadie’s on a mission to find out what really happened to Avery, and to clear her name for good.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Ask Again, Yes is a touching novel centered on two NYPD officers, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, who aren’t particularly close but whose families end up moving in next door to each other outside the city in the early 1970s. As the years pass and their children grow up together, the two families’ lives become inextricably linked, for better and for worse, in ways they never could have predicted. To say much more about the plot would be to spoil some big surprises, but suffice it to say, this book will take you on an emotional journey with compelling characters you won’t soon forget.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Holding out for a sweet, sexy romantic comedy to sweep you off your feet this summer? Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners is The One. When Olive’s twin sister, her new husband, and most of their wedding party come down with food poisoning, Olive finds herself headed to Hawaii to redeem her sister’s free honeymoon. The only problem? She’s accompanied by the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan. Still, playing the role of his loving new wife seems like a small price to pay for 10 days in paradise–at least until she realize she’s not pretending anymore…
Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik
Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you: Into the Jungle is a pulse-pounding tale set in the beautiful, remote, deadly Bolivian jungle. At first, a teaching job in Bolivia seems like a fresh start for Lily Bushwold after a childhood spent shuffled between foster care and group homes. Her plans start to fall apart as soon as she arrives, however, and it’s only when she meets Omar, a handsome hunter from a local village, that she finds a new sense of purpose. Yet if love is what propels Lily to follow him into the jungle, sheer resilience is what fuels her fight to survive threats from wildlife (like thirty-foot anacondas) and humans (including lawless poachers) alike.
My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams
You’ve likely seen the eyebrow-raising headlines about German con artist Anna Sorokin. You may have even read a few eye-popping articles about the so-called heiress “Anna Delvey” who scammed her way into a swanky New York City lifestyle. But do you know the whole story? My Friend Anna is the firsthand account of how Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams got stuck footing the bill for a $62,000 trip to Morocco that her supposedly wealthy friend had insisted on treating her to. That’s only the beginning, though, because Williams is also the one who started to follow Anna’s trail of destruction and, after contacting the district attorney, helped bring her to justice. Have popcorn on hand for this one.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
The Devil Wears Prada scene-stealer Emily Charlton is back in fine form in her own novel, When Life Gives You Lululemons, the perfect pick for your beach bag. Since leaving Miranda Priestly’s office, Emily’s been filling her time as you might expect: Working in L.A. as an image consultant for celebrities. Or she was until she loses a few clients and finds herself in suburban Connecticut, surrounded by gossipy new neighbors. Good thing she has a new project in Karolina Howell, a senator’s wife currently embroiled in scandal. Now, she and Karolina, plus their friend Miriam and even Miranda Priestly herself, must team up to bring a bad man down…
Want more recommendations? Check out Simon & Schuster’s summer reading guide.