Summer Wrap Up, Perfect Summer Reads by Amy

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Summer Wrap Up

I’m sitting here on my back patio, one of my favorite reading spots, soaking up the last of summer. Cicadas are singing in the trees, the breeze is blowing, and the skies are blue. Summer is my favorite time of year. I love nothing more than to sit by the pool with a good book. (Can I get an amen?!)

As I’ve read book after book this summer, I’ve often thought, “THAT was a great pool book…or summer read…or beach read.” And as we wrap up summer season, that got me to thinking…

What defines a great summer read? Is it a genre? Is it a characteristic of the book?


Is it:

  • the whimsy?
  • the ability to lose yourself?
  • the atmosphere and setting?
  • the mindlessness? the romance?
  • that it’s easy to read?

So I’ve looked back over my list of my favorite pool/beach/summer reads from this season to decide.

The Guncle
This one is quintessential summer. The pool, the floats, the ice cream, the cocktails. It oozes summer. And of course the story also takes place during the summer months. While funny, this book has a poignant and necessary message. So it isn’t a mindless read. But it is a perfect one. And perfect to read by a pool, especially if you have a lobster float.


Malibu Rising
24 hours on the coast of California…surfing by day, partying by night…quite possibly the perfect summer setting? This story mixes all things 80s and summer with just the right amount of reflection and overcoming. It’s both entertaining and thought provoking. As I read this book, I was transported to the sun and the waves. Reid drew me in to her adeptly created setting and gave me a jaunt along the Malibu coast as I read the story of the Rivas.

People We Meet on Vacation
This one is all about vacations, and to me vacation and summer go hand in hand, even though the book doesn’t take place only in summer. The reason this book lands on my perfect summer read list isn’t because it’s a rom-com. It’s because it gave me the ideal escape from real life. It was funny and endearing. The witty banter, the easy to connect with characters, and plenty of opportunities to sigh with content. I enjoyed every minute of vacation I spent with Poppy and Alex.

So far, my summer picks all have a few things in common: the atmosphere and setting and their witty nature. These next few books I read during the summer. And they were perfect reads. But are they perfect <summer> reads? I think so. Here’s why…

The Last Thing He Told Me
I did not want to put this book down. It was captivating, suspenseful, and fast paced. The message of this book is that people are multi-layered. And often there is more grey than the hardline black and white (good and bad) we tend to prefer. It’s absolutely thought provoking and not a mindless read at all. This was exactly the right book for me at exactly the right time. I loved everything about it- the love, the mystery, the danger, the bratty teenager. This one may not have had summer vibes, but it was so compelling. I was lost in the story. And that is exactly what I want as I’m sitting on the beach.

We Are the Brennans
Family and summer go together. It’s the best time of the year to create memories together. And this book is all about family. The Brennans are a complex and flawed family. But they also love hard and have a beautiful bond. This story is based on a secret that slowly unravels as the book progresses. And while, again, this isn’t a mindless read, I was easily swept away by this family and their story. Lange’s writing is also masterful! This was a “finish in one sitting” book, and I loved everything about it. Definitely pool bag worthy!

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives
Utterly scrumptious. Full of gossip and drama. This is the ideal book to lose yourself in. Soap operas often get a bad rap, but nothing allows you to escape reality quite the same was as a dishy storyline portrayed by caddy women and unconscionable men living exorbitant lives. The soap opera greats (think Dynasty and Desperate Housewives) have tossed the baton to Miller’s trophy wives, and I was there for every over-the-top, drama filled moment. This guilty pleasure rates high on my “read this on the beach” recommendations.

Looks like my favorite summer reads hit a lot of different notes and cross several genres. I guess my idea of a great summer read is more about mindset than anything else.

To me, a great summer read is one that lets you fully forget real life.

  • Sometimes it’s the atmosphere and setting that sweeps me away.
  • Sometimes it’s the witty banter and the scenes that make me laugh out loud
  • Sometimes it’s those sigh worthy moments of utter contentment
  • Sometimes it’s the over-the-top gossip and drama

But always, it’s the escape.  A vacation via text.

So when my back patio is covered in snow later this year and the pools are long closed, I’ll reminisce over these wonderful summer reads, and maybe I’ll feel a little bit of that warm Malibu sun on my face.

What’s your favorite summer read?  Let me know in the comment section below!


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