Best Beach Reads for Summer

This post is sponsored by Johnson County Library.

It is the dead of summer in Kansas City, which means we are sticky, hot, and wondering why we don’t live closer to a cool ocean breeze. But just because we don’t live on the beach, doesn’t mean we can’t pretend right? For me, one of the best ways to beat that heat-of-summer mentality, is to put my nose into a good book.

Whether you are looking for some books to enjoy on your upcoming vacation or if you are looking for some reads to transport you out of the humid Midwest and to a summer elsewhere, the Johnson County Library has you covered! (You don’t even have to be a Johnson County Resident, everyone is welcome!)

7 Beach Reads to Get In a Vacation Mindset

Beach read by Emily HenryBeach Read

By Emily Henry

Is there a more perfect title for a beach read than “Beach Read”?  Two rival authors with opposing styles end up summer neighbors and challenge each other to a write-off that will lead to great writing and delicious tension. 


Malibu RisingMalibu Rising

By Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Transport yourself to the California surf in August of 1983. You are invited to the party of the year at the home of famous model and surfer, Nina Riva. “By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.”

One Last StopOne Last Stop

By Casey McQuiston 

New York City in the summer? A love-weary 23 year old, a ragtag band of new roommates, a nod to true crime, and her love interest, Jane, who is inconveniently displaced in time from the 1970’s? “Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time”.

Seven Days in JuneSeven Days in June

By Tia Williams

Another NYC summer and another author on author romance, this has summer read written all over it. When bestselling erotica writer and single mom, Eva Mercy, runs into Shane hall, a literary author (and her former flame)  “sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati…Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart.”

Meant to BeMeant to Be

by Emily Giffin

Are you obsessed with the drama, elegance, and opulence of the British Royal family? If so, this book is for you. The Kingsley family may not technically be Royal but they are the closest thing to Royal that America has.  Set in 1967 and inspired by the public’s interest in the Kennedy family, Meant to Be is a delicious “fly on the wall” story that follows the lives of America’s golden boy Joseph S. Kingsley III and his complete opposite, Cate Cooper. “When Joe and Cate unexpectedly cross paths one afternoon, their connection is instant and intense. But can their relationship survive the glare of the spotlight and the so-called Kingsley curse?”

This Time Tomorrow This Time Tomorrow 

By Emma Straub 

Who doesn’t love a good time travel book?  And how about a time travel book that flips the script on time travel tropes AND focuses on the lifelong relationship between a parent and a child?  ” On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice wakes up the next morning somehow back in 1996, it isn’t her 16-year-old body that is the biggest shock, or the possibility of romance with her adolescent crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 49-year-old version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, is there anything that she should do differently this time around?”

The Hotel NantucketThe Hotel Nantucket

By Elin Hilderbrand 

Grace Hadley won’t rest until her murder is acknowledged, the problem is, the people she is haunting are a little too focused on renovating the 1922 gem, The Hotel Nantucket.  London billionaire, Xavier Darling, Nantucket sweetheart, Lizbet Keaton, and their  “charismatic, if inexperienced, staff” have their work cut out for them if they are going to turn “the fate of the hotel around” and solve a decades-old murder. 

The GuncleThe Guncle 

By Steven Rowley

If you are in the mood for witty banter and a warm and bubbly sitcom in book form, then The Guncle is the book for you! Patrick is a “once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.”


The SurvivorsThe Survivors 

By Jane Harper

Is a summer reading list complete with a thriller? Kieran Elliott has been filled with guilt ever since he made a mistake that led to death. During his return to the coastal hometown that haunts his memories a new nightmare begins to take shape.  “A body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away.”


Open BookOpen Book

By Jessica Simpson 

When Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational self-help book, she had to walk away because she knew it wouldn’t be authentic. Instead, she called upon the series of journals she had kept since adolescence and wrote this book. “America’s Sweetheart, preacher’s daughter, pop phenomenon, reality tv pioneer, and the billion-dollar fashion mogul invites readers on a remarkable journey, examining a life that blessed her with the compassion to help others but also burdened her with an almost crippling need to please. Open Book is Jessica Simpson using her voice, heart, soul, and humor to share things she’s never shared before.”

Whether you prefer books, ebooks, large print, or audiobooks, the Johnson County Library is there to help transport you to the summer of your dreams!

Kelsey Pomeroy
Kelsey was born and raised in Branson, Mo. It was there, in the town that boasts the “World’s Largest Banjo” that she met her husband, Samuel. It was his first day at a new high school and she was the only person to say “Hi” to him that day, so he married her! A decade later and now they take up residence in KC-adjacent-Suburbia, but tell out-of-state people they are from “Kansas City” because it is way easier. Kelsey taught high school English for 6 years, but now she stays home to hang out with her adorable toddler, Theodore. Her passions include traveling (34 countries and counting!), playing board games, writing murder mystery parties, reading, and talking to as many people as possible.