13 Best Beach Reads of All Time | Summer Vacation Books

Marie Claire cover: Annie Murphy

Read the full Summer Escape Issue here

(Image credit: Marie Claire/Lelanie Foster)

If you couldn’t bear the thought of picking up a book over the past 15 months, you’re not alone. Like so many other pre-pandemic hobbies that previously brought us joy, our reading habits were disrupted as we traded subway commutes and Wi-Fi-free plane rides for daily doomscrolls on the couch. At last, it feels like we can breathe a collective sigh of relief as we return to some semblance of normalcy (whatever that means!) just in time for a very hot, very vaccinated summer oceanside with an excellent book. For a dose of much-needed escapism, Marie Claire asked 13 authors who reign supreme over The Beach Read—Jennifer Weiner, Jasmine Guillory, Elin Hilderbrand, etc.—to recommend their personal favorites. You know the ones: the light, introspective, thrilling page-turners that pair best with a cold drink, toes scrunched in the sand. Discover their picks then order them for yourself, below.


Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs

Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs

(Image credit: Morgan McMullen)

“My all-time favorite beach read is Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs. This book has something for everyone. Historical fiction fans will love the details of turn-of-the-century New York. Romance lovers will love the relationship between the two main characters—an actress-turned housewife and her Hollywood star husband, who come from very different families and circumstances, and who are meant for each other, but can’t always see it. There are unforgettable supporting characters, mother-daughter (and stepmother-daughter) drama, one of the all-time great fictional villains with one of the all-time best character names (Dorothy Heissenhuber!) and an ending that still makes me cry.”
—Jennifer Weiner, author of That Summer


Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

(Image credit: Morgan McMullen)

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