With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start planning vacations and dusting off long-forgotten piles of books that have been sitting on the bedside table waiting to be opened.
If you’re like me and love nothing more than sitting in the garden stuck in a good book, or even better on a beach soaking up the warmth of the sun after a seemingly endless winter, you’re in the right place.
I’ve spent my years working as a librarian and like to think that I can recommend a good book to readers all around the world. I decided to share my list of best summer reads in 2024 for people who love to find good reads and new exciting authors.
The summertime is when I gobble up books like they are going out of fashion. And since the pandemic, I have found myself absolutely adoring audiobooks. I spend my mornings listening to audiobooks as I go on my morning walk and they make household chores more enjoyable.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books that I’ve enjoyed over the years and make great summer reads. The second part of this post will focus on the books that I’ve added to my list of summer reads for 2024 that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Let’s dive into the best summer reads in 2024.
Make sure to explore my cozy book suggestions for the autumn months as they fast approach.
Note: As a librarian, I would love that you to consider checking out these books in your local library or support your local bookstore by purchasing a copy from there. I have included Amazon links in the descriptions of the books mentioned below and will receive a small commission at no expense to you if you do purchase from the links below.
The Best Summers Reads in 2024
The following parts are broken up into different sections depending on your reading mood.
Beach Reads in 2024
Sometimes you just need a book to pick you up, get you out of reading slump, or just comfort you. I’ve compiled a list of the best beach reads in 2024 to take on your vacation and fall in love.
1. Happy Place by Emily Henry
I’m a huge Emily Henry fan. Her adult enemies-to-lovers trope is just my kind of beach read in 2024.
The past summers, she gave us the amazing Book Lovers (which if you haven’t read – go purchase immediately!), and her latest book, Happy Place is just as wonderful and one of the best books to read on vacation in 2024.
Happy Place tells the tale of Harriet & Wyn who have been together forever. But 5 months ago they broke up and haven’t told their closest friends that they’ve done so. Que a week away in a cabin with their friend group who know them inside and out, memories and revelations, and tense looks! My favorite kind of read.
2. The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
If you’re a fan of the trope of running away from where you’re from, only to return home, then you’ll love this perfect beach read in 2024.
Florence Day, a romance ghostwriter who no longer believes in love, must return to her hometown after a decade to bury her father. While there, she reunites with an old flame and encounters a ghost with unfinished business, causing her to question everything she thought she knew about love stories.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is the perfect escapism and summer beach read.
3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
I can’t recall any book that is quite like Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Follow the incredible scientist Elizabeth Zott in the late 1950s and early 1960s as she navigates the terribly masculine world where women are expected to stay at home and become mothers.
Her refusal to be a ‘typical subservient woman’ is frowned upon by her male contemporaries in the science lab and workplace. All except Calvin Evans.
You’ll be hearing about Lessons in Chemistry for years to come. It was easily one of the best books of 2022 and continues to capture readers in 2024.
4. Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes
I’m an absolute sucker for anything Jojo Moyes writes. Her previous work The Giver of Stars & Me Before You is some of my guilty pleasures that I devoured on previous vacations.
Her latest, Someone Else’s Shoes follows Nisha Cantor, a wealthy woman used to a life of luxury, is left scrambling after her husband divorces her and cuts her off, while struggling Sam Kemp accidentally takes Nisha’s gym bag, trying on her Louboutin shoes and gaining the confidence to change her life.
5. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
One of the best summer reads 2024 will tear out your heart, stomp on it, then gradually put it back together. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tommorow by Gabrielle Zevin was that book and it was glorious. I’d let it happen to me all over again.
Sadie & Sam are friends who have faced every trial and tribulation thrown their way. And as they’ve navigated childhood, to running one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, they came back to each other time and time again. It’s a story of friendship at its most beautiful and vulnerable.
6. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
One of my favorite books to read on vacation in 2024 are the types that revolve around family drama. Bonus points if it’s multi-generational.
I was stoked to read Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson when it was released earlier this year. It ticks all the boxes that I love. Wealthy people doing wealthy obnoxious things. Family drama. Those tough decisions about giving up an outrageous inheritance for love.
Those looking for a beach read in summer 2024 will be titillated by the shenanigans of Pineapple Street.
7. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
I have very tough expectations when it comes to thrillers and mysteries. From the first page I’m looking out for red herrings that are scattered throughout the book to fool the reader. So when I find a book that keeps me guessing until the very end, you go on my book recommendation list.
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister kept me on my very toes until the very end. Jen looks out her window one October night and witnesses her teenage son murder someone in cold blood which sets off a chain of events.
Traveling back in time, Jen has to unravel the crime before it happens. And what a journey she undertakes. You won’t be able to put down one of the best mystery summer reads 2024.
8. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
I read this while visiting the beautiful Sicilian town of Ortigia last summer and I just couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it, but it is a slow burner, so do give it a good try before you decide its not for you. Oh and bring a packet of tissues. It will destroy you!
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano is an homage to Little Woman (which makes it an automatic addition to my neverending book pile beside my bed).
William Waters finds love and a new family in Julia Padavano and her three sisters, but his past threatens their future and puts their unbreakable bond to the test in a family saga that pays homage to Little Women.
9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby van Pelt
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby van Pelt is one of those summer beach reads that you won’t be able to forget any time soon.
Telling the beautiful story of Tova, a widower whose teenage son Erik vanished 30 years ago. A chance encounter with a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus becomes an unlikely friend for a grieving mother and wife.
Remarkably Bright Creatures is one of those stories that will warm the cockles of your heart and make you fall in love with an octopus. One of my best vacation reads from last year.
10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Recently made into an Apple show, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee follows a multigenerational Korean story from the 1900s through to the 2010s.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of this incredible novel is Min Jin Lee’s ability to capture a period of history that rarely makes it to mainstream publishing, that of the Japanese invasion of Korea and the subsequent treatment of the Korean people in Japan.
Pachinko is a hard novel to forget and its sweeping story is an incredible page-turner.
11. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
One of my favorite summer reads from last year was Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, the story of the fabulous Riva family.
Set over the course of an entire day, we follow the Riva siblings who are the children of Mick Riva, a Mick Jagger-esque character who is world-famous.
Their relationship with their father has been tempestuous at the best of times and it all comes to a thrilling and fiery conclusion at the end of the biggest party in Malibu.
Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous books, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six will love this 80s-centric novel. One of the best summer reads in 2024 for nostalgia and shoulder pads.
12. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab
Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil in the 18th century and in return, he grants a life for Addie where everyone she meets will forget her.
Set over a 300-year period, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a story that spans history and explores the consequences of what life for an eternity looks like where no one can remember who you are.
That is until one day, a chance encounter in a bookstore leaves Addie reeling when she meets someone who remembers meeting her.
Fans of The Time Travellers Wife will love this stunning novel by V.E Schwab.
13. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Dolly Alderton could rewrite the phone book and I would purchase it from my local bookstore. Everything I Know About Love is Dolly’s first book after being a serial columnist for The Sunday Times and is a stunningly beautiful book on friendship and love.
Her memoir on relationships failed and successful as well as navigating the transition from young adult to adult is the book that all Millennials need to read. Dolly’s life is achingly familiar and each piece of writing that she produces, either for her column or for her books is a small stroke of genius.
14. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
I hesitated to pick up The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary dismissing it as fluff. The Flatshare is a very sweet book that follows the lives of Tiffy, a woman who has just had a truly awful break-up and needs a place to share asap.
Leon works evenings and has decided to rent out his bed in his apartment for extra cash. Their paths never cross as they live their two separate lives, yet somehow over the weeks and months that pass, Tiffy & Leon start to fall in love with one another with sweet notes and text messages.
Beth O’Leary took a truly preposterous idea and made it completely work. The build-up of the characters passing each other like ships in the night leaves the reader awaiting their first physical meet-up. Adorable and very fluffy, it’s brilliantly written and incredibly satisfying.
Now a TV show on Hulu, they do a faithful adaption of the book, however the book is so much better. Read before you watch!
15. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is the remarkable tale of Vignes’s twin sisters who journey on two very different paths after running away from their small black community town.
Light enough to pass, one of the sisters makes the decision to alter her life by passing as a white woman, whereas the other sister returns home and lives her life as a proud black woman. We follow the lives of the sisters and their decisions over a 40-year period until a fateful chance encounter.
Powerful and page-turning, this glimpse into the Vignes sisters is a story you won’t forget anytime soon.
16. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was the first audiobook that managed to hold my attention. It also helps that Tom Hanks was the narrator of this incredible story about a house and the family who occupy it.
It’s a truly special story about siblings Danny & Maeve and their relationship with their father and the house he proudly owned – The Dutch House.
I can’t recommend a better book to start listening to than the Dutch House performed by Tom Hanks, it’s a masterpiece from start to finish.
17. Honor by Thrity Umrigar
Honor by Thrity Umrigar is a hard book at times. The subject matter is almost impossible to comprehend and much like the protagonist, Smita who has returned to her birthplace, India, she finds the place impossibly foreign.
A journalist who has avoided India since her family migrated when she was a child, returns to help a friend cover the story of Meena, a woman whose husband was burned alive for marrying a Hindu woman. We follow Smita as she struggles to understand rural India and the religious persecution that Muslims and Hindus have living side by side.
We are angered when Smita feels the injustice and disbelief that violence against women and men can still exist in such savage ways in a modern country like India. Thrity Umrigar has created a hard story that feels like a very important narrative to have in our lives.
18. Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is one of those novels that you wish was 300 pages longer. It’s the shortest book on the list at 250 pages, but it packs a punch.
Talia is the daughter of illegal Colombian migrants who moved to the US before she was born. A citizen of the US, Talia was sent back to Colombia with her father at a young age and has never known the life of her mother and siblings who are American-raised.
Days before she is due to rejoin the family she has never known in the US, Talia has to make a daring escape from a correctional facility where she was being held for a violent crime (a totally justified crime btw) and make it back to Bogata in time for her flight.
I loved this short novel and gobbled it up in one sitting. The best summer read in 2024 for people short on time and in need of an excellent quick read.
19. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Antony Doerr
Once again Antony Doerr has created a masterpiece in Cloud Cuckoo Land that connects three interweaving storylines set over hundreds of years masterfully together.
The story of Aethon connects Anna who lives during Constantinople’s siege in the 13th century, to Zeno in present-day Idaho who is putting on a play of Aethon’s works in a public library to an interstellar spaceship where Konstance listens to her father’s retelling of the story of Aethon.
Doerr has created an incredible narrative that is so beautifully told you’ll find it hard to put down.
20. What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty
I’m a big fan of Lianne Moriarty and her books. All set in Australia with memorable characters, Moriarty has a solid back catalog of lesser-known titles after she exploded in popularity with The Husbands Secret, Big Little Lies and Apples Never Fall.
My favorite of her titles found in her back catalog is extraordinarily sweet, What Alice Forgot. Alice is 29 years old, madly in love, and expecting her first child. Until she hits her head when at the gym and wakes up in a hospital bed a decade older. And instead of finding herself blissfully happy, she’s in fact pretty miserable.
You won’t help but be caught up in Alice’s tale and like Liane Moriarty’s books you’ll end up roaring with laughter. One of the best summer reads for a day at the beach.
21. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman has the extraordinary ability to capture everyday people and create the most fascinating stories about ordinary people incredibly exciting.
A failed bank robber holds hostage a collection of people from all walks of life. As we spend the day with these characters in Anxious People, we learn of their fears and the things that make these people extraordinary.
A superb story from start to finish. If you’re reading Fredrik Backman for the first time, you are in for an absolute treat and one of the best summer reads 2024.
The Best Non-Fiction Summer Reads in 2024
22. Me by Elton John
Elton John’s superb autobiography is an incredible piece of work that charts his very humble beginnings and follows his stars trajectory as he reached worldwide fame. Not shying away from his love of drugs and failed relationships, this is an unflinching and honest account of his journey from addict to recovering addict and family man.
23. Calypso by David Sedaris
David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers on the planet. It also helps that his family is a bunch of eccentrics that are humorous in their own ways.
Sedaris manages to capture the mundane and seemingly effortless make light of situations that most people would dismiss. In his collection of short stories, we follow David Sedaris purchasing a beach house for his family to relax in, until that turns out to be a terrible idea and having surgery to remove a tumor, which he names and carries around in a jar on his book tour before feeding to a snapping turtle.
24. Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
Patrick Radden Keefe has written one of the most comprehensive books on the Sacklers, the creators and family behind the opioid epidemic that created one of the most potent drugs in the United States – Oxycontin.
Radden Keefe charts the dynasty from its humble beginnings in the 1930s when Arthur Sackler and his two brothers rose from the streets of Brooklyn to create an empire that would destroy millions of lives. Empire of Pain is a fascinating look at the Sackler family and holds no punches. An absolute must for one of the best summer reads 2024.
25. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
The brilliant journalist Jon Ronson examines the lives of people who have effectively been ‘canceled’. In today’s culture where anyone can easily be canceled, Ronson looks at and interviews people who have experienced being shamed in public for matters such as plagiarism or tweeting an offensive joke. Although the book was written in 2015 it feels even more relevant and timely considering what is happening in 2024.
26. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
One of my all-time favorite books, the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is an unforgettable memoir.
This is the book that I go and purchase for friends and family who haven’t had the chance to come across one of the most remarkable storytellers in the US.
Chronicling her chaotic childhood raised by two delusional parents who moved their children from state to state in search of foolish ambition. Jeannette Walls’ memoir is incredible from start to finish.
If you enjoyed Educated by Tara Westover, you’ll love this.
27. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
If you’ve been in search of an excellent audiobook for your summer beach reads than you’ve got to add I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy to your list.
Former Disney star, Jennette McCurdy was a child star who narrates her childhood abuse at the hands of her mother with decorum and grace.
Jennette McCurdy is a writer to look out for, her talent oozes out of the pages and she somehow makes the reader laugh despite the subject matter.
If you enjoyed my summer beach reads and recommendations make sure to drop a comment down below. Happy reading!