Book Recommendations for Summer

Image of Person Laying on Grass, Wearing a Big Hat, Reading a Book. A Brown and White Dog is Laying Down Next to the Reader.

Romance, Thriller, Historical Fiction


The months of summer are unlike any other time of the year. Summertime is an era of warm weather, cool breezes, school breaks, and fun with family and friends.

Summer also provides the perfect opportunity for readers to catch up on their to-read list and discover new books.

Whenever I heard the phrase “summer read”, I wondered what that meant. Does this simply mean a book set during the months of summer? Or, does a “summer read” encapsulate much more than that? I concluded that, for me, the setting and themes of a summer read are unique to its characteristics. Warm and hot weather is iconic to a summer read. Descriptions of water and sunny days often are reminiscent of summer as well. Regarding themes, I noticed messages of adventure, friendship, love, and independence are also particularly present in so-called “summer reads”. I find that this combination of setting and theme go hand in hand to create the quintessential summer (or beach) read!

Summertime books are unique in their seasonal setting. Summer often provides not simply just the backdrop of the dog days but is also a character itself in books. Much like how the settings and themes of an autumnal read are representative of fall, the characteristics of a summer read are unique.

A singular genre does not define summer books. Rather, the themes and settings of a summer read transcend genre and are vividly present in thrillers, romances, fantasies, and more!

This two-part blog series will focus on summer reads across the genres of romance, thriller, historical fiction, science fiction, mystery, and fantasy. This week, I’ll offer book recommendations for romance, thriller, and historical fiction, while next week will focus on the latter three genres! 

If you are on the search for books containing the settings and themes of summer, consider adding the following book recommendations for summer to your to-read list! Across a wide range of genres, the following list includes a selection of diverse books united by their summer setting and nature. 


Whenever I think of a beach or summer read, romance is the genre my mind immediately goes to. There is something specific and universally recognizable to the storyline of falling in love while on vacation or the idea of a summer romance. Warm season settings and themes of love characterize the following romance book recommendations for summer.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

I had a delightful time reading A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow! Miami-born Lila finds herself, begrudgingly, sent to England for the summer following a series of devastating heartbreaks. This book addresses themes of grief, love, and friendship. Namey presents characters who are realistic and true as they process grief and find hope with others. Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’s Maia Reficco and Heartstopper’s Kit Connor will star as the main characters of this book’s upcoming film adaptation.

When in Rome by Sarah Adams

 If you are searching for a feel-good read with lovable characters, I would recommend any of Sarah Adams’ books! For a summer romance read, I think When in Rome is the perfect suggestion! A celebrity romance set in a small-town, this read is sure to deliver on the perfect summer vibes and on a beautiful romance! The sequel to this lovable read, Practice Makes Perfect, just came out last month as well, making now the perfect time to read these two books back to back! 

Book cover of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey


A “book recommendation for summer” and “thriller genre” may seem contradictory. Summer reads are books with sunny days and stories of love and friendship. Thrillers are stories of high stakes and shady characters. How can these opposing ideas work together in a book for summer? Worry not, it is possible! In fact, the hot summer months often are the backdrop to many suspenseful scenes. I find that the summer setting of a thriller often transforms into a character itself. The hot setting, where mosquitoes fill the air and the burning sun blisters upon the main characters, contributes to the intense themes of a thriller novel. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies is a classic novel that delves into themes of human nature and society. This book’s topic immediately unnerved me when I first read it in high school. Lord of the Flies is an intense and thought-provoking novel that finds our main characters, a group of young boys, stranded on a deserted island. The stakes become higher and more dangerous as time passes. This book, although set on an island, is not your typical beach read. 

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night is a thrilling novel filled with spies, suspense, and morally gray characters! I could not put this book down when I first read it. This book captivated me from the first line to the last line. This book is not only a crime-noir novel, but is also a historical novel. Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Dirty War, I learned a lot about the history of Mexico during this period. Moreno-Garcia’s colorful characters and plot-twist ending prominently showcase the author’s writing talents as well. 

Book cover of Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres! I love learning about people and places around the world and across time. The two book recommendations I list below are two of my favorite novels of all time. A summer setting and moments in history are present in each of these book recommendations for summer. Ruta Sepetys is my favorite author and I highly recommend all her books. I first read Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek last summer and, nearly one year later, I still think about this powerful read. 

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence is an important book set in 1950’s Spain. This book is beautifully written in Sepetys’ style. The amount of and dedication to the research in crafting this novel is evident. I learned a lot about this time in Spanish history from this book. Told from the perspectives of a few characters, all with different motivations and secrets, this book is both heartbreaking and hopeful. 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is an incredible book. I learned much about the WPA’s Pack Horse Library Project during the Great Depression and about the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky from this book. Richardson discusses important topics of racism, sexism, discrimination, hunger, and poverty. This book vividly describes the summer weather of eastern Kentucky and transports readers both to this location and time. A crucial read for all and whose story is further expanded on in the sequel, The Book Woman’s Daughter. 

Book cover of The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

I hope you enjoy these book recommendations for summer and I look forward to sharing with you next week more summer reading inspiration! Happy reading!

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