Every year, my boyfriend and I take a big, grand trip for our anniversary. First, it was Florence. Last year was Nice, France and Monaco and this year it’s Berlin and Munich, Germany! However, if and when we get married, I’m sure our honeymoon will be someplace tropical and relaxing like the Caribbean. I’ll need to negate all the wedding stress!
If you’re currently planning your honeymoon or your next trip and planning on relaxing with a good book, here are perfect beach reads.
10 Books to Read on Vacation
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, it should go to the very top of your list. Sure, you can watch all of the movies, but there’s nothing like reading the first book. I guarantee you’ll be so hooked that you’ll then need to pick up the rest of the books in the series!
Synopsis: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
While Jojo Moyes is best known for Me Before You, it might be a bit sad for vacation. (Although it is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it!) The Last Letter from Your Lover has romance and mystery and spans two generations. I guarantee you won’t be able to put this one down!
Synopsis: It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply “B”, asking her to leave her husband.
Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper’s archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie’s search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
A book about vacation while you’re on vacation is pretty much a no-brainer. The Vacationers must find its way into your luggage or onto your eReader. Even if you’re vacationing on a tropical island, this book about the island of Mallorca in Spain will certainly have you planning your next getaway.
Synopsis: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a young adult novel, which means it’s light on sex and language, but tells a great story of two teenagers going on a cross country road trip. The trip will force both Amy and Roger to confront some past issues, and as you might expect, there’s even a little bit of summer romance.
Check out my full Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour review.
Synopsis: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her dad recently died in a car accident, and her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut—just in time for Amy’s senior year. To escape from it all, Amy embarks on a road trip, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining her is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, but her feelings for Roger develop as the miles roll by….
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Ready to think about your first love? That’s exactly what will happen when you read Eleanor & Park… but in a good way. You’ll be reminded of both the beauty and agony of falling in love for the first time.
Check out my full Eleanor & Park review.
Synopsis: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
There are some heavy themes in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but the quirky cast of characters plus the mystery of whatever happened to Bernadette makes this a fun book to read. Honestly, it’s one of my favorites ever!
Check out my full Where’d You Go, Bernadette review.
Synopsis: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
If you love a good mystery then you are going to love We Were Liars. Honestly, I can’t say too much about this book because I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that once I picked this book up I found it nearly impossible to put down again. This is definitely one of my top picks for books to read on vacation!
Check out my We Were Liars review.
Synopsis: 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.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
It has been a long time since I last read Summer Sisters, but it is the epitome of a steamy summer beach read that’s the perfect book for vacation. Please note the “steamy.” This is not one of Judy Blume’s young adult novels — at all!
Synopsis: In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changes forever when Caitlin Somers chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomes Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.”
Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin begs Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—because she wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
There was a summer where I was binge reading books by Jennifer Crusie. They are a bit formulaic, perhaps, but all of her books offer a little mystery, a little humor, and a lot of romance. They’re the perfect beach reads and Bet Me is my all-time favorite book of hers.
Synopsis: Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet, even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs, even if she does wear great shoes and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
There’s a reason people haven’t been able to talk about Gone Girl since it was released. It’s a heck of a story and so compulsively readable that you may not be able to put it down until you come to the shocking conclusion. A few years ago my husband and I were both reading it at the same time on our Kindle, so this is a book both men and women will love… even if you already saw the movie.
Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
More suggestions for books to read on vacation: