12 Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able to Stop Talking About

our picks for the best beach reads of 2022
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Those summer days may not be lazy for you, but if a vacation is on the horizon, you’re going to need something to read. And many of these are so compelling all you need is a day off in the sun to tear through them. From a gothic thriller to queer love to painfully honest memoirs, this collection of the best beach reads for summer has a book for all kinds of interests.

"Yerba Buena" is a best beach read for 2022
Flatiron Books

Yerba Buena: A Novel by Nina LaCour


An exquisitely written love story about two women who waver with both the pull of their mutual attraction and the burdens of their past. When a young bartender, Sara, and a flower arranger, Emile, meet for the first time at Yerba Buena—a glamorous Los Angeles restaurant where they both work—there are sparks. But Sara, who ran away from home at 16, gets a call that her brother is in trouble and has to resolve the mystery of what happened to her friend and face her troubled past. And Emile, who is Creole and left New Orleans to escape discrimination, is having an affair with the married owner of the restaurant. A star-crossed, will-they-stay-together, on-again-off-again relationship ensues between the two young women. It's queer literary fiction with a hint of a page-turning, complex romance novel.

Soho Crime

Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon


Fans of crime novels will be rooting for the resilient, gutsy young protagonist in this first of three novels written by award-winning author, playwright, and member of the White Earth Nation, Marcie Rendon. Set in the 1970s along the Red River (Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN), a Native man’s body turns up in a field, and the sheriff turns to Renee “Cash” Blackbear, a young Ojibwe woman whose dream visions help reveal the the the truth about what happened. Masterfully written, it’s not only a page-turner; it offers an Indigenous perspective on the reality of reservation life and what it’s like to be a Native woman in the not-too-distant past.

The Paris Apartment is a best beach read for 2022
William Morrow

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley


Lucy Foley is back with another thriller, this time set in an apartment complex in Paris full of mysterious tenants and even more secrets (right down to a secret passageway!). Fleeing her London job in a hurry, Jess arrives at her journalist brother Ben’s apartment late one night for a visit, but when Ben doesn’t show up, Jess starts to uncover what Ben knew about the creepy complex. It doesn’t take long for her to figure out that Ben is in danger, and now she is too.


Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So


This brilliant short story collection set in California is a portrait of Cambodian-American life told from the perspective of a generation of children born to refugees from the Khmer Rouge genocide. Written unapologetically with humor and truth, it’s honestly queer and true to the immigrant experience, with an intimacy on the page that is rare. Tragically, Anthony Veasna So died at just 28, so we will never know the future works of a truly unique and authentic author. Treasure this collection, but also share it with friends.

Ballantine Books

The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose


A quirky narrator discovers twists and turns she didn’t see coming in this can’t-put-down murder mystery beach read set in a grand old hotel. While the setting and basic plot points might be out of an Agatha Christie novel, the writing is unique. The narrator, Molly the Maid, is both gullible and steadfast in her love of cleaning. She’s also seemingly of another era, like the hotel itself. But when the friendships Molly thinks she’s made start to reveal a sinister secret inside the hotel, Molly is in trouble.

Riverhead Books

The Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique


Fly, a Black American musician, and Stela, a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, meet in 21st Century New York City, looking for the kind of love that is meant to be. By exploring their parents’ early loves, which takes readers back in time to both Ghana, the Virgin Islands, and the U.S., an entire landscape of love, trauma, identity, race, religion, and class, asking us all what are the many things—big and small—that have happened to bring us to one place, in one time.


Crying in H-Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner


Based on an essay of the same name in which the author finds herself in H Mart, an Asian grocery store, mourning her Korean mother and the loss of her connection to Korean culture. The memoir expands into Zauner’s life growing up as one of the few Asian American kids in Eugene, Oregon; her painful adolescence; her mother’s high expectations; and time spent in her grandmother’s apartment in Seoul, Korea, where the three generations of women bonded over food. As Zauner moves to the East Coast and college, she drifts further from her Korean identity. When her mother is diagnosed with, and then dies of, cancer, Zauner’s process of grief includes reclaiming her Korean identity. Zauner is a compelling writer, and you will find yourself laughing, smiling, and, yes, crying, right along with her.

Ballantine Books

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman


Take your “beach read” literally and pick up this New York Times bestselling psychological thriller from Catherine Steadman. Erin and Mark are on their honeymoon in Bora Bora to enjoy sand, sun, and their new life together. But the shocking discovery they make in the brilliant blue waters is something that changes their lives forever, and what they decide to do about it could make matters worse. Way worse. You will be sucked into the drama from the opening line about digging a grave. If you like Ruth Ware or Paula Hawkins, add this beach read to your cart right now.


Blackstone Publishing

Hotel Portofino by JP O’Connell


Set in the ‘Roaring 20s’, a British family opens a hotel in Portofino on the Italian Riviera, it's the cast of characters in this novel that will keep you reading. O'Connell's characters are well developed, from the struggling owner, Bella Ainsworth, whose marriage is in trouble, to the lavish hotel guest list, each of whom has a secret of their own, to the members of the staff and surrounding town. Mussolini’s Italy may not be the paradise Bella hoped for. Love Downton Abbey? This beach read novel is for you!

‎ Doubleday

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang


The Chinese word for America, Mei Guo, translates to “beautiful country.” But when Qian arrived in New York City in 1994 at just seven years old, she was faced with an entirely different world. Her parents, who were professors in China, take jobs working in sweatshops. Their life is stressful, full of scarcity, and riddled with racism, constant teasing, and a struggle to fit in. Qian finds a sanctuary in the library, where books help her to master the English language and begin to revel in the good things (pizza, for one). Qian fearlessly and with great vulnerability shares her life story giving perspective on what it really means to grow up in an immigrant family.


The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas


In this supernatural thriller, Beatriz finds herself married to Don Rodolfo Solorzano, whose wealth and estate provide her with the security she desperately needs after her own father's death. The hacienda is supposed to be a beautiful sanctuary in the countryside, but it's quick to see that it's anything but. A sinister house full of invisible eyes, mysterious servants, and a watchful, witchy priest, it's the perfect storm of horror, historical fiction, and a gothic plot you won't be able to put down. An ideal beach read!


Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson


When Eleanor Bennet dies, she leaves her two children, Byron and Benny, a black cake—a special kind of cake made to commemorate life changes—and a recorded message. This message unfolds a host of secrets about their mother, from suspected murder to a long-lost child. The story reveals the truth that we inherit not just possessions but our family’s past and how we can confront it. It’s stunning that this is Charmaine Wilkerson’s first novel, and we guarantee it won’t be her last.


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