Summer is a time for books, so put your toes in the sand (or the longue chair in your front yard) and your nose in a great book! All of these books are Smart Girls approved summer reads that will prepare yourself for a summer of fun(and books, which is pretty much the same thing.)
- Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.
“Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.” -Goodreads
Although this book doesn’t actually take place during the summer, it’s a great summer read, like almost all of Dessen’s book. Dessen is arguably the queen of contemporary Young Adult romance and this book might be her best yet. It goes deeper and darker than her other books and hooks you right away. With relatable characters and wonderfully adorable romance that blooms slowly throughout the book, it’s a must-read for this summer.
2) Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
“The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.
But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.
Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a Stranger? Um…
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Wait … what?” -Goodreads
This book is classic contemporary YA, and classic Morgan Matson. Complete with a road-trip, a swoon-woefully love interest, and amazing friends who help Emily complete the crazy list that Sloan, the disappearing best friend, leaves behind.
If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out the rest of Morgan Matson’s book, which have similar themes of roadtrips, friends, tomfoolery, and love.
3) The Island by Erin Hilderbrand
“Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess’s lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut backyard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she’s cancelled her engagement.
It’s only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she’s embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store – a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.
But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known.” -Goodreads
With vivid characters, an idyllic beach town, and a story that will keep you interested to the very last page, this book is perfect for an afternoon of bumming around the beach. If you find youself wanting more of Hildenbrand’s writing, she has numerous other books out that won’t disappoint!
4) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
“A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
The truth.” -Goodreads
This book is byfar the darkest on the list, but it’s also one of the best. The beautiful setting leaves you longing for a vacation and has a dizzying plot-twist that leaves you reeling long after the book is over.
5) Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things That Mend by Katie Finn
“Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.
Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.
Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?
Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.” -Goodreads
This lighthearted book resembles Meg Cabot’s writing, and Finn’s hilarious voice shines through it as it goes through a hilarious summer in the Hampton’s with a fast-paced plot and hilarious characters that leave you wanted more (For more, look for the newly released sequel, “Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold”)
6) Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine
“Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.
All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.” -Goodreads
This book is beautiful, full of raw emotions and hilarious situations told by both Levi and Pixie, alternating every chapter or so throughout the book. It’s a quick read, but definitely a good read. There are two other books in the “Finding Fate” series, but all of them can be read alone.
7) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
“Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?” -Goodreads
Another book that doesn’t technically take place in the summer, but it’s a good summer read. The story is adorable, the love-story relatable and the scenery of Paris a wonderful aspect to get you excited about your summer travels, or to help you live vicariously if you don’t have any.
8) The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank
“Beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank once again takes us deep in the heart of the magical Lowcountry–a sultry land of ancient magic, glorious sunsets, and soothing coastal breezes, where three generations of strong women wrestle with the expectations of family while struggling to understand their complicated relationships with each other.
Best friends since the first day of classes at The College of Charleston, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe, now 23 years old, live in Ashley’s parents’ beach house rent-free. Ashley is a gallery assistant who aspires to become an artist. Mary Beth, a gifted cook from Tennessee, works for a caterer while searching for a good teaching job. Though they both know what they want out of life, their parents barely support their dreams and worry for their precarious finances.
While they don’t make much money, the girls do have a million-dollar view that comes with living in that fabulous house on Sullivans Island. Sipping wine on the porch and watching a blood-red sunset, Ashley and Mary Beth hit on a brilliant and lucrative idea. With a new coat of paint, the first floor would be a perfect place for soirees for paying guests. Knowing her parents would be horrified at the idea of common strangers trampling through their home, Ashley won’t tell them. Besides, Clayton and Liz Waters have enough problems of their own.
A successful investment banker, Clayton is too often found in his pied-a-terre in Manhattan–which Liz is sure he uses to have an affair. And when will Ashley and her brother, Ivy, a gay man with a very wealthy and very Asian life partner–ever grow up? Then there is Maisie, Liz’s mother, the family matriarch who has just turned eighty, who never lets Liz forget that she’s not her perfect dead sister, Juliet.
For these Lowcountry women, an emotional hurricane is about to blow through their lives, wreaking havoc that will test them in unexpected ways, ultimately transforming the bonds they share.” –Goodreads
This book is sassy and heartwarming, with characters that you feel like you know and a backstory you want to know, with twists and turns and fast-paced drama that make this book one that you won’t be able to put down!
9) The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.
“Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.” -Goodreads
Sparks has done it again! This book is popular all around, it lives up to all of it’s expectations, and will remind the readers why they love him in the first place. The two love stories are equally amazing, and parallel in a way that every reader will not only appreciate, but also love. It’s the perfect book for a summer romance.
10) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
“Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins. “
This is a tried-and-true summer read. The girls four separate journeys throughout the summer leave you wanting your friends. It’s a wonderful beach read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end and ready for your own summer adventures