7 Sunny Reads That Will Transform Your Reading Nook into a Beach Oasis

August 12 2020

There’s nothing quite as peaceful and pleasurable as the sound of crashing waves, salty beach hair, and the warm sun beating down on your face. Standing at the edge of sand and sea brings an overwhelming sublime sensation of feeling so minute on this earth. While I have not spent nearly enough time on the beach this season, thanks to social distancing, I’ve managed to conjure up a similar sense of serenity with these beachy book covers. Whether you’re missing the sweet scent of saltwater this summer or you’ve already got your feet planted in the sand, these seaside stories are a perfect sunny day companion.

Slightly South of Simple
by Kristy Woodson Harvey

The first book in Kristy Woodson Harvey’s Peachtree Bluff series beautifully displays a serene beach cover with an engaging and emotional drama between its pages. Following her father’s death, Caroline Murphy’s motherAnsley, selfishly moved her family to Peachtree Bluff during the middle of Caroline’s senior year of high school. Although Caroline swore that she would never return, years later her marriage with a New York high-society heir has fallen apart, leaving her with no other choice but to move her pregnant self and nine-year-old daughter back in with her motherBut when a secret from Ansley’s past resurfaces, the powerful bond between sisters, mothers, and daughters is tested as their whole life is put out in the open.  

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Slightly South of Simple
Kristy Woodson Harvey

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MENTIONED IN:

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Big Summer
by Jennifer Weiner

Six years after a disastrous fight that ended their friendship, Daphne and Drue have still not spoken a word. That is until Drue returns with a massive favor to ask: Would Daphne be her maid of honor? Understandably shocked, Daphne realizes that letting Drue back into her life is a risky decision that could hinder her self-confidence and growing Instagram presence as a plus-size influencer. But ultimately, Daphne again succumbs to Drue’s power of persuasionand a promised weekend in Cape Cod doesn’t hurt. BIG SUMMER is a witty and moving novel about the complexities of female friendships, topped with a crisp and simple beach cover. 

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Big Summer
Jennifer Weiner

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Sexy and satisfying, Big Summer is the perfect quarantine read.” —USA TODAY

“The beach read to end all beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” —The Washington Post

A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and down. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever, Big Summer is the perfect escape with one of the most lovable heroines to come to the page in years.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

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MENTIONED IN:

The 10 Most Popular Books We Escaped Into This November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

A WWII Historical Novel of Hope and Resistance to Light Up the Darkness

By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

10 Family Novels as Warm and Fuzzy as Your Favorite Sweater

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 26, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The 10 Best Book Recommendations You’ve Ever Received

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 25, 2020

5 Workplace Thrillers to Make You Miss Your Office (or Not!)

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 24, 2020

20 Life-Changing Books We’re Gifting to Everyone We Love This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 23, 2020

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Sag Harbor
by Colson Whitehead

Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, he is able to escape to Sag Harbor, a small village in the Hamptons where he lives among a community of African American professionals. Because their parents visit Sag Harbor only on the weekends, Benji and his friends are left on their own for much of the next three months. But is that long enough for Benji to reinvent himself before returning to his all-white high school? This affectionate and funny coming-of-age novel paints a beautiful portrait of identity and self-discovery.  

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Sag Harbor
Colson Whitehead

Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at his elite Manhattan prep school. But every summer, Benji escapes to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own in the Hamptons. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that the summer of ’85 might be one for the ages.

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Sunny Reads That Will Transform Your Reading Nook into a Beach Oasis

By Holly Claytor | August 12, 2020

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By Off the Shelf Staff | June 21, 2019

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By Hilary Krutt | May 24, 2016

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By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2015

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The Summer of Good Intentions
by Wendy Francis

When three sisters and their families come together for their annual vacation on Cape Cod, the summer does not unfold as plannedTheir mother, Gloria, announces an unexpected visit with her new boyfriend, but her ex-husband, Arthur, is still not over the divorce and quite surprised by the pop-in. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret. While this heartbreak brings everyone closer together, it also teaches them how to heal.  

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The Summer of Good Intentions
Wendy Francis

*InStyle Magazine’s “7 New Page-Turners to Read in July”
*Popsugar’s “23 Perfect Poolside Reads”
*Liz and Lisa’s “Best Books of July”
*Bookbub’s “12 Beach Books to Read Before Summer’s End”
*Woman’s World Book Club

Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak…and then healing.

Poignant, compelling, and so real that you could shake the sand out of the pages, The Summer of Good Intentions is by a rising star who aims her fiction square at the heart of readers who love Elin Hilderbrand, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Mary Kay Andrews.

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Sunny Reads That Will Transform Your Reading Nook into a Beach Oasis

By Holly Claytor | August 12, 2020

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Maine
by J. Courtney Sullivan

The Kelleher women have nothing in common other than their tie as family and their communal ownership of a beachfront property in Maine. One summer, as the three generations of women descend upon the property, they each bring their own baggage. Maggie is pregnant, Anne Marie is grappling with domestic frustration, Kathleen is the black sheep of the family, and Alicethe matriarchis still haunted by the events of one night long ago. MAINE touches on everything from sibling rivalry and social climbing to alcoholism and Catholic guilt. But despite it all, the women’s love for one another and for this home keeps them coming back each summer. 

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Maine
J. Courtney Sullivan

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where showers are taken outdoors and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. As three generations of Kelleher women descend on their beachfront property, each brings her own hopes and fears. By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

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By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

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The Husband Hour
by Jamie Brenner

Lauren and Rory are high school sweethearts with the perfect life ahead of them. But when Rory, an NHL player, decides to enlist in the US Army, their life plan does not turn out as Lauren had once dreamt. After Rory dies in combat, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But even here she cannot find solitude to clear her mind. Unfortunately, this summer shes forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. To make matters worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down. This beachy cover and shore setting will leave you enchanted, hopeful, and quite emotional. 

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The Husband Hour
Jamie Brenner

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Sunny Reads That Will Transform Your Reading Nook into a Beach Oasis

By Holly Claytor | August 12, 2020

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The Perfect Couple
by Elin Hilderbrand

What could be better than sitting under a big beach umbrella by the sea? Pairing that scene with an Elin Hilderbrand book! THE PERFECT COUPLE, set in Nantucket, follows the Otis-Winbury weddingThanks to the groom’s wealthy parents, this ceremony was expected to be a lavish and extravagant celebration. But when a body is found in the Nantucket Harbor hours before the wedding, every guest is considered a suspect. This is a can’t-miss summer beach read.  

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The Perfect Couple
Elin Hilderbrand

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Sunny Reads That Will Transform Your Reading Nook into a Beach Oasis

By Holly Claytor | August 12, 2020

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MENTIONED IN:

The 10 Most Popular Books We Escaped Into This November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

A WWII Historical Novel of Hope and Resistance to Light Up the Darkness

By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

10 Family Novels as Warm and Fuzzy as Your Favorite Sweater

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 26, 2020

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By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 24, 2020

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By Off the Shelf Staff | November 23, 2020

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