It’s the perfect summer day. You’re sporting your favorite swimsuit and floppy hat. You remembered to pack snacks and extra sunscreen, and the kids are busy building a sandcastle. The only thing that could make this moment more divine is a toasty beach read. What’s more relaxing than getting lost in a book to the distant hum of waves crashing against the sand?

Beach reads aren’t a one-size-fits-all category — nor are they always set at the beach. They can be thrillers, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, love stories, and include outrageous plot twists and characters, and take place in any city, state, or country. Beach reads are like beach days in the sense that you never want them to end, and they go by too fast.

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There’s a beach read out there for every mama, whether you’re embarking on a kids-free vacay or you’re trying to find ways to relax while vacationing with your kids. We’ve pulled together a list of stellar beach reads, including buzzy 2022 titles like West Side Love Story and One Italian Summer. If you’re going for a literal beach vibe, there’s a few titles that have a coastal setting as well. Kick off your flip-flops, set out your beach chair (or pool towel), and enjoy these books all summer long.

Summer Breakdown

Summer Breakdown

Summer Breakdown, the debut novel from Motherly’s first Essays editor, Colleen Temple, is an ideal read for any mother craving to be really seen in her struggles, dreams and desires. It’s the perfect beach book or to add a little heat and drama to your  summer nights. Summer Breakdown will have readers mulling over the many facets of themselves they’ve had to sacrifice on the journey to motherhood—and which parts of themselves they want to reclaim. We’re huge fans of Colleen’s writing and voice and know our readers will be, too.

the beach trap book

The Beach Trap

Imagine The Parent Trap, but with a beach house and your camp friend isn’t your twin, but your half-sister. Fifteen years ago, Kat and Blake broke-off their friendship after discovering their father kept a big secret from them. Fast forward to present day, Kat and Blake are reunited when their late father leaves behind the family beach house. Kat wants to keep the house and Blake wants to sell. They enter an agreement: Kat will buy Blake out at the end of summer when they’ve finished with renovations. Throw in two summer flings and you’ve got a juicy beach read! Literally!

the sundown motel book

The Sun Down Motel

If thrillers are your kryptonite, add The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James to your beach tote ASAP. Told in alternating perspectives, this captivating story follows Viv Delaney and Carly Kirk, in 1982 and 2017, respectively, as they explore the eerie halls of the Sun Down Motel and its strange guests in upstate New York.

the spanish love deception book

The Spanish Love Deception

Attending her sister’s wedding date-less isn’t an option for Catalina. So she does what any desperate maid of honor would do. She tells her family she’s bringing her new American boyfriend, who she’s very much in love with. When her grueling yet devilishly handsome coworker offers to play the part, Catalina knows she’s in over her head. As festivities get underway, Catalina and Aaron’s act takes on new feelings, complicating their professional relationship back at the office.  

west side love story book

West Side Love Story

Everyone in San Antonio knows the Capuletas and Monteros don’t get along. Tensions continue to boil when it’s announced that both families will battle each other in the Battle of the Mariachi Bands. For Mariana Capuleta, going up against the Monteros is nothing new — but, this fierce rivalry does make her bubbling and secret romance with the Monteros’s lead singer more complicated.

3 single wives book

Three Single Wives

Three women, too many bottles of wine, one cheating husband, and a mystery murder. Three Single Wives will sweep you off your sandy toes and tangle you into the lives of Anne, Eliza, and Penny. When it comes to determining fact from fiction, the lines are blurred. Anything can happen at book club!

island time book

Island Time

Pasting a smile on your face around your daughter’s obnoxious in-laws is worth it, if it means a trip to Australia. But what happens when a volcano suddenly erupts and turns your “fun,” joint family vacay into six weeks of absolute chaos? Set against the tropical oasis of Queensland, Island Time is filled with family drama, queer romance, and adventurous spirit.

malibu rising book

Malibu Rising

Set along the sunny Malibu coast, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel happens over the course of a tumultuous 24-hour time period and follows the Riva siblings — Nina, Jay, Hudd, and Kit. Each sibling is harboring a secret. Everything is about to come to light at the annual end-of-summer-Riva-bash hosted at Nina’s millionaire dollar mansion, which will be swallowed up in flames by daybreak. 

meant to be mine book

Meant to Be Mine

Edie Meyer’s grandma has the ability to predict the exact day her relatives will meet their soulmate. Edie’s predicted day is June 24, 2022. Lo and behold, the day arrives and she meets a sexy musician enroute to her sister’s surprise engagement. However, her “true love” comes with more obstacles and red flags than roses and chocolates. 

woman on the edge book

Woman on the Edge

Morgan was minding her own business. She was standing on a subway platform when a stranger unexpectedly confronted her, handed Morgan her baby, and proceeded to jump in front of an oncoming train. As it turns out, the stranger is none other than Nicole Marham, a renowned CEO, and Morgan is being treated as a possible murder suspect. Desperate to prove she’s innocent, Morgan begins digging into Nicole’s life, which leads to a more dangerous pursuit.

one italian summer book

One Italian Summer

Dreaming of your next vacation? Escape to the beautiful Amalfi Coast in bestselling author Rebecca Searle’s latest novel, One Italian Summer. It’s an emotional exploration about a mother-daughter relationship, but it’s also about self-discovery, making mistakes, forgiveness, and finding self-love. It’s short, sweet, and is best enjoyed with an Aperol Spritz poolside.

nora goes off script book

Nora Goes Off Script

Nora’s life is falling apart, or is it? After her husband utters the d-word (divorce), Nora channels her anger into the best script she’s ever written. Not only is it optioned for film, but they want to film it at her house and Leo Vance, former Sexiest Man Alive, has been tapped to play Nora’s soon-to-be ex-husband. Things take a spicy turn when Leo asks if he can rent out her guestroom for a week (and for a reasonable sum) post-production.

the good sister book

The Good Sister

When Fern learns her sister is unable to get pregnant, she sees it as an opportunity to show Rose just how appreciative she is for everything Rose has given her. Fern will carry Rose’s baby. The only problem is Fern now needs to find a man with perfect DNA to help make this happen. But when familial wrongdoings from the past are uncovered, Fern’s fragilely-crafted life is put at risk of falling apart, and with that, the biggest honor she’s ever been given.