Saturday, July 25, 2015

Top 5 Beach Reads - July 2015

The beach has always been my number-one, favorite place to read. I've never gone on vacation without an armload of books. While I was packing for a quick day trip to the Shore last week, I thought about what made a great beach read. It doesn't have to be a book that takes place at the beach, necessarily.

Here's a Top 5 List for great beach reads for Summer 2015. Let me know what you're reading--especially while you're on vacation!

by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
These are the authors who wrote one of my favorite contemporaries, The Nanny Diaries, so I was thrilled to see they had a new book out this summer. Rory, a set designer and single mom, takes a job with a start up digital media site led by two twenty-somethings right out of B-school. This book is hilarious in how it points out the absurd job market and how it values experience over technology and functionality. 

If The Nanny Diaries was an eye-opening take on high-power Manhattan moms, How to Be a Grown-Up looks at the women who are still struggling to make the leap into grown-upness well after their thirties. 

by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Hannah is also another character struggling to settle and put down roots. Approaching thirty, Hannah moves home to Los Angeles to escape the aftermath of an affair with a married man in New York. On her first night home, she goes out with her best friend Gabby and runs into her old high school boyfriend Ethan. Who does she go home with? The novel splits into two concurrent stories based on Hannah's decision.

This is a great book for anyone who likes to play the What If game. The back-and-forth storyline isn't hard to follow and there are a lot of hints dropped between the two stories to put together a full picture of Hannah's missed opportunities. Plus, Hannah is HILARIOUS. Imagine a less aggressive Amy Shumer.

by Tracey Garvis-Graves
If you're looking for a half-survival story/half-taboo romance, grab On the Island. When their plane goes down in the Indian Ocean, teenager TJ and his summer tutor Anna are stranded on a deserted island. On the Island has plenty of suspense with Anna and TJ falling to illness, injuries, and sharks, but the romantic element is what most people talk about. With TJ maturing and aging into his early 20s, romance blooms between the two characters. It's definitely a guilty pleasure book that will have you turning the pages.

by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen will always equal beach read for me, even when the story isn't set in her fictional beach town of Colby. Saint Anything is a darker book for Dessen, but will have the same engrossing cross-over appeal with teens and adults as her other books. When Sydney's brother is sent to jail for drunk driving, her parents put all the focus on him as he serves out his sentence. Sydney continues to feel like the invisible child until she befriends the Chathams, a family who owns a nearby pizza shop. Embraced by a new best friend who is obsessed with french fries and her cute, protective brother, Sydney finally feels seen. 

Second Star 
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
In the search for her missing surfer brothers, Wendy Darling is caught up between the somewhat-childish, straight-laced Pete and drug dealer Jas and their turf war for the beach. This is a contemporary Peter Pan retelling with a touch of dark magic set on the California coast. Alyssa B. Sheinmel did a fantastic job capturing the magic and adventure of surf culture, and drew some pretty awesome comparisons between those who don't follow a traditional academic path to college, opting for adventure. In SECOND STAR's case, boys who want to follow the waves so they can catch the biggest ones.

SECOND STAR spins the story of Peter Pan on its ear, with appearances by Belle, Nanna, but leaves the crocodiles at home. Overall, a strong contemporary retelling full of romance, adventure and mystique, and perfect for the beach.

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