Summer Plans

16 Novels To Slip Into Your Beach Bag This Summer

Because nothing is hotter than a summer reading list.

Scary Mommy; Book Photos Courtesy of Publisher
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Bookworms, it’s go time! Dust off the pool toys, shake out the beach blanket, stock up on your favorite canned cocktails, and while you’re at it, go ahead and splurge on a new bathing suit or pair of shades, too — it’s officially beach read season! The humidity may be making its comeback, but the heat is no match for the library’s A/C and our summer reading list.

Perhaps you’re challenging yourself this summer to try a genre outside of your literary comfort zone, or you can’t quit your book-buying addiction like the rest of us. Scary Mommy bookworms unite! Whether you’re in a reading kick, slump, or somewhere in between, these summer titles will help you meet all your reading goals... and then some. Prepare to fall in love, solve a murder or two, and tumble down a few social media rabbit holes.

Below, find the best 2024 summer releases to bring to the pool, beach, lake, and everywhere in between.

1. Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

For a third summer in a row, romance novelist Annabel Monaghan has earned a top spot on our beach reading lists. A grieving, recently single mom finds solace in someone from her past while trying to get her life in order, despite her career as a professional organizer. It’s summer — a spicy fling is just what the doctor ordered, right?

2. Summer Fridays by Suzanne Rindell

When their partners begin spending late hours at the office together, Sawyer and Nick meet to compare theories because, obviously, nothing good can come from this. But under the sweltering Manhattan sun, they fall into an unexpected routine in which they spend every summer Friday exploring a new part of the city, from Coney Island to Central Park. If you’ve dreamed of experiencing NYC in the summer, slip this novel into your beach bag immediately.

3. Such a Bad Influence by Olivia Muenter

During a live stream, mega-popular lifestyle influencer Evie goes missing. She’s gone in a blimp, with her millions of followers stalking the Internet, hashtags, Reddit threads, and more, trying to figure out #WhatHappenedToEvie? Hazel, being the protective big sister she is, bravely dives into Evie’s world to uncover her whereabouts.

4. Missing White Woman by Kellye Garrett

A romantic getaway weekend goes awry when Bree discovers a dead white woman’s body in their vacation rental — and coincidentally, her boyfriend is nowhere to be found either. A Black woman alone at the scene of the crime, Bree calls her ex-best friend, who’s a lawyer, for help. But there’s only so much they can do before the police and social media begin making assumptions of their own.

5. I Want You More by Swan Huntley

After suffering a tremendous family loss, Zara relocates to East Hampton to help ghostwrite celebrity chef Jane Bailey’s next cookbook. Long days in the kitchen result in Zara becoming eerily obsessed with her new client, and vice versa. Soon enough, the two women become one and the same, and the job description Zara originally agreed to is far out the window.

6. The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley

Everyone’s favorite guncle is back! This time, he’s shepherding Maisie and Grant to Europe for their father’s wedding. When they arrive in Italy for the nuptials, it’s clear Patrick has his hands full. There’s the competitive soon-to-be launt (lesbian aunt), his brother’s cold feet, his sister’s cringey flirting skills, and his young niece and nephew, who need him now more than ever.

7. Swiped by L.M. Chilton

Gwen Turner’s looks could kill, literally. Down on her luck, she throws herself into the dating pool, saying yes to every right swipe she can muster. But her love life hits an unexpected roadblock when she discovers that her dates aren’t ghosting her; they’re dead. There’s a serial killer in town, and their victim list eerily matches Gwen’s dating roster.

8. Margo’s Got Money Troubles by Rufi Thorpe

A brief affair with her English professor sends 20-year-old Margo into a twisted tailspin fueled by debt and an unplanned pregnancy. Oh, and she’s about to get evicted from her home, too. On top of that, her estranged father needs a place to stay, and in exchange for free childcare, Margo obliges. When her OnlyFans account begins raking in the dough, Margo’s financial situation shifts — and with it, everything else.

9. This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan

We had so much fun chit-chatting with author Kennedy Ryan last year and couldn't be more excited about book number two in the Skyland series: This Could Be Us. This go-round, we're diving into the world of Soledad Barnes, a badass mom who's busy trying to keep their house afloat while also mending a broken heart. When she finds herself canoodling with the "forbidden one," Soledad has to determine whether this time will be different.

10. One-Star Romance by Laura Hankin

Natalie hates Rob, and for good reason: He wrote a mean-spirited one-star review of her new novel. So, when they're assigned to walk down the aisle together at their mutual best friends' wedding, it's a worst-case scenario. It's only for one night, but fate has other plans.

Publishes June 18

11. Hot Summer by Elle Everhart

Sure to be one of the most talked about queer rom-coms of the summer, Hot Summer takes place on a Love Island-inspired reality show in which the emotionally unavailable Cas Morgan finds herself falling head-over-heels for fellow contestant and hopeless romantic Ada. Their connection is undeniable, but they both want different things — it’s ratings gold.

Publishes June 25

12. Slow Dance by Rainbow Rowell

It’s been 14 years since high school best friends Shiloh and Cary crossed paths. Despite her endeavors, Shiloh is back living in her childhood home as a single mother of two. Meanwhile, Cary followed his dreams of enlisting in the Navy. An old friend’s wedding brings the pair back together to where their love story first began, but can time heal all wounds... or is it too late?

Publishes July 30

13. We Love The Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

If you thought ending a human friendship was hard, imagine being immortal and having decades of history. Fifty years after becoming a vampire, Amber wants out of her best friend's circle — except it isn't so easy when your bestie has a habit of killing her former pals. When Nicola suggests they own their own nightclub, Amber views it as an opportunity to relinquish herself from Nicola. But you know what they say: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Publishes August 20

14. You Will Never Be Me by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Aspen Palmer is the successful mommy influencer she is because of Meredith Lee. So, when Aspen ditches Mer for the world of clicks, likes, swag bags, and big-paying sponsorships, Meredith is rightfully pissed. Aspen isn’t dumb. She knows Meredith is trying to take down her carefully crafted aesthetic once and for all, so why would she bat an eye when her dear friend Mer suddenly goes missing?

Publishes August 20

15. Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Debut author Ellie Palmer is poised to become one of the most beloved voices in the romance genre, mark my words. If you enjoy romance novels with a heavy dose of sarcasm, vulnerability, love scenes worthy of several spicy peppers, and lots of tension, you need to add Four Weekends and a Funeral to your TBR list. It’s one of the most unique yet authentic storylines I’ve read this year, and I can’t wait to devour Palmer’s next project!

Publishes August 6

16. Plays Well with Others by Sophie Brickman

Told through emails, advice columns, group texts, social media posts, newspaper profiles, and more, Plays Well with Others is an unflinching look at modern parenthood — including the ends one mother will go to ensure her young son gets a spot in one of NYC’s most premiere schools.

Publishes August 6