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Discover the best books about summer romance for seasonal beach reading this year. There are sweet and spicy books for both young adults and adults to devour. These love stories will make you feel whimsical in this lighthearted time of year when anything can happen, including sparks of love. Let’s get literary!

Top 3 Contemporary Books About Summer Romance for the Perfect Beach Reads

TOP 3 SUMMER ROMANCE BOOKS

The Summer I Turned Pretty: the perfect young adult summer aesthetic

Every Summer After: an emotional summer romance novel that spans from youth to adulthood

Beach Read: The title says it all!

Quick List: Best Summer Romance Books for Young Adults and Adults

This list of books about summer love is exactly that. It includes books about finding a passionate romance during the fleeting and fun season and seeing whether it can survive by fall.

It includes summer romance novels that offer escapism in beachy small towns and vacation spots, YA summer romance books about first loves that evoke a sense of nostalgia and the carefree spirit of youth, and even scandalous “same time next year” summertime romances.

For Young Adults

  1. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  2. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  3. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
  4. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

For Adults

  1. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
  2. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  3. The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
  4. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
  5. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  6. The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady
  7. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
  8. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
  9. Just For the Summer by Abby Jimenez
  10. Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan
  11. Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay
  12. A Summer to Remember by Erika Montgomery
  13. Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan
  14. The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey
  15. This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune
  16. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Details on All the Best Books About Summer Love for Beach Reading (In Alphabetical Order)

Read these books for The Literary Lifestyle’s Summer Reading Challenge

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

  • #1 New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of “same time next year” romances

28 Summers has it all: a preppy Nantucket setting. It’s light but still has substance. It has well-drawn-out characters and realistic (yet clever) dialogue. Lastly, it’s compulsively readable.

It’s about two people, Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud, who decide to have a “same time next year” meeting that lasts each Labor Day weekend over the course of, you guessed it, 28 Summers. Naturally, this becomes more complicated with age, marriage, and kids.

While I can normally be critical about books that glamorize affairs, this book did it in a really smart way. It showed that all relationships are different and complex.

Finally, my favorite part was that each “year” included a rundown of all the pop culture items we were talking about at the time. It was a really fun addition to a book set over a few decades.

28 Summers was a 5-star read for me. I read it during the beginning of the Coronavirus quarantine, and I honestly felt like it “saved” me during this dark experience.

Related Posts: Elin Hilderbrand Books Ranked | Elin Hilderbrand Books in Order


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

  • A New York Times bestseller and Netflix film

Best for fans of coming-of-age young adult summer romances

Along for the Ride is a popular YA summer romance book about a teen who can’t sleep at night. She meets an intriguing loner and fellow insomniac in a small beach town.

During the summer before college, she decides to stay with her father, his new wife, and their newborn baby, where she’s drawn into the loner’s world. Through their shared nights, she embarks on a quest to experience the carefree teenage life she’s missed out on, while he has his own regrets.

Their relationship helps both of them embark on a coming-of-age journey of self-discovery, healing, and an unforgettable summer romance.


Beach Read by Emily Henry

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of writer romances and sharp dialogue

Beach Read is easily one of the best books about summer romance. With this title, it’s fair to say it’s one of the best beach reads for a lazy day in the sand.

It’s the story of two different writers: January, a bestselling romance writer who has stopped believing in love, and Augustus, an acclaimed literary fiction author.

As they spend three summer months at neighboring beach houses, they challenge each other to beat their writer’s block by writing something different. Augustus will write something upbeat, and January will write a great American novel.

To help each other achieve their goals, January takes Augustus on romantic field trips, and he takes her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult.

Meanwhile, they both also must cope with painful pasts and the fact that they are falling for each other.

After a few years, this remains one of my favorite of all of Emily Henry’s books. I especially loved all the little “research” dates January and Augustus went on, and their story remains memorable to me.


The Beach Trap by Ali Brady

Best for those who like family drama mixed with their romance

The Beach Trap is a very satisfying summer story of friendship, love, and family.

Two childhood friends turned estranged half-sisters reunite after their father’s death. When they inherit their family beach house in Florida, they’re forced to cooperate to renovate it, despite their differing views and plans for the property.

Amidst these clashing renovation ideas are unexpected summer romances. This novel balances multiple themes and character arcs just right.


The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

Best for foodies

I was not expecting the emotional ride The Blue Bistro took me on! It begins with a simple sentence that ends up meaning so much:

“Adrienne needed a job.” 

After Adrienne lands an assistant manager position for the last summer the acclaimed Nantucket restaurant The Blue Bistro will be in business, she experiences the events of an entire lifetime in the span of three months.

She starts dating her boss and part-owner of the restaurant, Thatcher. But, there’s a third wheel in this relationship—Thatcher’s business partner and lifelong friend, Chef Fiona, who is reclusive and hiding a very big secret.

The descriptions of food in The Blue Bistro were nothing short of delectable and tantalizing.  The restaurant environment feels so real and alive that you can envision yourself actually working there, from the bustling bar to the melodic piano and the ocean views. 

I was fully immersed in The Blue Bistro. I also know that many avid Elin Hilderbrand fans consider it one of her best books.


Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of LGBTQIA+ stories

Call Me By Your Name is about a romance between an adolescent boy and a male summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. They are unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, as they move toward total intimacy.

Call Me By Your Name is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.


The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Best for fans of second-chance romances and self-actualization

What I loved about The Comeback Summer is that it wasn’t just your average steamy romance novel. Besides exploring second-chance romance and finding real love, it also tackled everything from self-actualization in your career to sister drama.

Hannah and Libby are running their grandmother’s PR agency. It’s about to close when a self-help guru / potential client challenges them to complete a challenge to crush their comfort zones.

This means Hannah must go out on dates, and Libby must compete in a race. Things get complicated when Hannah’s first love shows up, and when Libby pretends to be Hannah on a dating app.

Plus, there’s even more drama and romance to uncover in this witty, charming, and multi-layered summer romance novel.


Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of nostalgia and lake settings

Every Summer After has become one of the most popular summer love stories. It emotionally taps into the nostalgia of first love and second chances with characters you’ll root for.

Over the course of six Summers in Barry’s Bay, teenagers Persephone and Sam fall in love. Then, one Thanksgiving tears them apart. Years later, Persephone returns to Barry’s Bay for the funeral of Sam’s mother, and she must face how she feels about him after all this time.

This romance novel offers friendship, love, angst, conflict, family, and more. You’ll love it as much as everyone else does!

Related Post: Carley Fortune’s Books in Order | Every Summer After Summary


It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Best for fans of steamy romances

It Happened One Summer is one hot and steamy BookTok sensation! Fans of modern open-door romance authors like Lucy Score and Mia Sheridan will gravitate to this one on a hot summer day.

Piper is a wild socialite who lands in jail after a night of partying. Fed up, her stepfather cuts her off and sends her and her sister to manage their late father’s dive bar in Washington. There she meets a small-town sea captain named Brendan, who’s grieving his wife’s death.

Despite their differences, their attraction grows, particularly because he needs to be away at sea for long stretches, which leaves her worried and wanting him all the more.

She’s left to decide between the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles or her small-town romance.


Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Best for fans of the fake dating trope

Just For the Summer proves that Abby Jimenez can continue to deliver everything her readers love.

Justin feels cursed. Every woman he dates finds her soulmate just after breaking up with him. In a twist of fate, he meets, Emma, who is similarly “cursed.” Together, they create a plan to date each other and break up, so they can go on to live happily ever after with someone else.

Emma gets a nursing job and rents an adorable cottage on Lake Minnetonka near Justin to bring this plan to life. There, they connect deeper than expected over their “mommy” issues. (trigger warning) But, the chaos left by Emma’s mom just may be too complicated to make the plan work.

This summer romance novel features my favorite couple in Abby Jimenez’s books. They are quirky, loveable, have great chemistry, and support each other through difficult life issues. There is also one spicy scene for steamy romance lovers!

The quirky supporting cast rounds out this “slightly more complicated than normal” romance. It’s great for those who like a little bit of realistic drama in their escape reads.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

  • New York Times bestseller and Netflix movie

Best for fans of teen adventures

Love and Gelato follows a teenager’s road trip across Italy, which is filled with romance, mystery, and adventures with a cute Italian boy.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, as it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father there. Upon reading her mother’s journal, she discovers the magic of Italy and unearths a life-changing secret that has been kept from her.

To me, this book was a fun mix of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and My Girl 2. It’s a great light YA summer romance book filled with Italian inspiration.

Related Posts: Books Set in Italy | Books Set in Florence


Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

  • National bestseller

Best for fans of first love stories

Same Time Next Summer is a buzz-worthy novel about a woman whose seemingly perfect life is disrupted when she unexpectedly runs into her first love during a visit to her family’s Long Island beach house.

Despite being engaged to her doctor fiancé and having a career in Manhattan, her surprise encounter stirs up old feelings and memories, including why they parted ways.

She grapples with the undeniable connection and is forced to reassess her life. It’s a super satisfying seasonal read that captures the magic of first love.


The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

  • USA Today bestseller

Best for fans of Taylor Swift

The Summer of Broken Rules was inspired by Taylor Swift’s songs!

Meredith is a teen coping with the loss of her beloved sister when she visits the family’s Martha’s Vineyard island farm for a week that will culminate in her cousin’s wedding.

Prior to the wedding, the family plays a competitive game of Assassin and, in an attempt to win it all in memory of her sister, Meredith forms an alliance with a cute groomsman named Wit.

But it’s not all fun and games when their adventures around the island stir up romantic feelings. At issue are whether Meredith can still focus on the game, and what will become of this whirlwind romance when the week concludes.

It’s filled with all those warm and fuzzy feelings of lighthearted young summer love. It left me with a huge smile on my face.

Related Posts: Books Set on Martha’s Vineyard | Taylor Swift Book Recommendations


Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

Best for book lovers

Besides having the absolute perfect title, Summer Reading is a romantic comedy in which a chef with dyslexia (who dislikes reading) has an unexpected summer on Martha’s Vineyard.

While overseeing her half-brother’s participation in a library-based robotics competition, she crosses paths with the library’s interim director, who is searching for his unknown father. A surprising mutual attraction leads her to create her dream cookbook and help him find his father.

Book lovers will appreciate how their relationship blossomed around books and reading. It feels light overall despite some heavier themes. It’s also fairly low on spice for closed-door romance readers.


A Summer to Remember by Erika Montgomery

Best for movie buffs and mystery lovers

In A Summer to Remember, Frankie is a young woman who sells movie memorabilia in the shop she opened in Hollywood with her late mother. When she receives a package containing a photograph of her mother and famous movie stars at a Cape Cod film festival the year before Frankie’s birth, she begins to question her past.

She travels to Cape Cod and uncovers buried secrets amongst friends and family, all while a New England romance heats up.

It really keeps the reader intrigued with a light mystery. It also has fun movie quotes at the beginning of each chapter.


Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Best for fans of seasonal reading

I would read just about anything Monaghan writes, but the title of this one says it all. Summer Romance? Yes, please!

Everything is going wrong in Ali’s life, as a single mom and divorcee whose mother had died, when her dog claims a man for her — by peeing on him.

Since summer romances are so light and non-committal, she takes a chance.


The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

  • Instant New York Times bestseller

Best for summer camp enthusiasts

The Summer of Songbirds is a delightful story with all those nostalgic summer camp vibes. It mixes the depth of real-life drama and conflict with the lightheartedness of a beach read.

Three decades prior, June developed Camp Holly Springs into a summer retreat for girls, including her beloved niece, Daphne, but now its future is at stake.

Meanwhile, Daphne and her old Summer camp friends Lanier and Mary Stuart are still in touch, navigating all of life’s “hard things” together as adults.

Lanier is engaged, but she is tempted by an old flame. Daphne is keen to a business secret about Lanier’s fiance that she can’t tell. At the same time, Daphne herself reignites the spark of an old flame (Lanier’s brother), which is a relationship Lanier has not been keen on.

These conflicts, along with the demons of addiction and the hardships of single parenthood, come to a head when the women unite to save the camp.

It’s not as dark as it may seem. The characters and their friendships feel both real and mature. These are women used to coping with “hard things” together, and they do so as they work on their love lives.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

  • New York Times bestseller and an Amazon Prime series

Best for fans of young adult dramas

The Summer I Turned Pretty begins a trilogy of summer love stories that follows teenage “Belly” as she, her single mom, and her brother visit their shared beach house with her mom’s friend and her two sons.

It’s about how a young teen starts to bloom from that awkward stage to that “getting noticed” by boys stage. But, as life in the beach house takes a difficult turn, the course of Belly’s teenage life forever changes.

If you like dramatic YA romance books, you are bound to enjoy it. I also very highly recommend the exceptionally executed adaptation.

Related Post: The Summer I Turned Pretty Books


This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

  • Instant #1 New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of steamy secret romances

This Summer Will Be Different transports the reader to Prince Edward Island for a picturesque love story with countless nods to Anne of Green Gables.

Years ago, while visiting her best friend Bridget’s beach house, Lucy had an electrifying rendezvous with Bridget’s brother, Felix. The problem? Bridget specifically forbade Lucy from falling in love with him. Over the years, their chemistry remains both palpable and secret.

Now, Bridget is getting married, and she frantically calls Lucy and Felix to the beach house just days before the wedding to help her cope with her own secret. Lucy and Felix must confront their feelings again.

This book made me want to jump on a plane! Beyond the perfect setting and lovable couple, there is also a good deal of spice for the steamy romance readers out there. It’s an excellent summer read.


Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Best for fans of the Gilmore Girls aesthetic

In Well Met, a young and single Emily’s sister becomes injured in an accident, she moves to her small town for the summer to help her recover.  

She ends up volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenage niece. There, she meets and falls for the leader, who has a complex history with the Faire. 

It’s cozy and sweet, yet also unique. I loved the quirky vibes of the Faire!

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is the Summer of Broken Rules for?

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther is a young adult summer romance novel suitable for high school teens.

What books are like The Summer of Broken Rules?

If you liked The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther, you’ll like the young adult summer romance books Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, and The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty book series spicy?

The Summer I Turned Pretty book series is a young adult romance trilogy that is somewhat spicy. It is suitable for mature teens.

Conclusion

From sweet young adult stories to spicy adult novels, the best books about Summer romance will heat up your season in the sun. To recap and help you decide what to read, my top 3 picks are:

SHOP THE TOP 3

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