list of great beach read books

One of the best parts of summer is reading a handful of really great *beach read* books, whether or not said books are actually read with toes in the sand.  By beach read I mean totally delicious, no heavy philosophical burden required.

Here’s my list of Top 4 Beach Reads this summer:

1. Envy, by Anna Godberson

historical fiction

Anna Godberson is a promising young author who’s written The Luxe Series, Envy being the 3rd in the series.  It’s scandal and intrigue centered around high society at the turn of the century in New York.  I love each book in the series: The LuxeRumors,  Envy, and the most recent and final installment in the series, Splendor.  I haven’t gotten my hands on Splendor yet, but I can’t wait for it.

Totally fulfills the delicious quotient.

2. Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot

meg cabot

I love Meg Cabot, will until the end of my days.  I consume her books like popcorn, just can’t stop at one.  In fact, if I were ever to meet Meg Cabot in person I’d geek out much in the same way I did when I met Ree Drummond.  It wouldn’t be pretty.

Being Nikki is a great popcorn read about a pop star, a la Britney, who gets her brain transplanted into the body of a super smart, average Jane teenage girl from New York.  There are conspiracy theories about big corporate giant Stark Industries, teenage love triangles, and page after page of Meg’s brilliant writing.


3. When You Are Engulfed In Flames, by David Sedaris

collection of short stories

David Sedaris is probably in my top 3 of favorite writers.  He’s a master storyteller, in real life and on the page, and whatever he writes, I read.  When You Are Engulfed in Flames is one of his most recent collections of short stories and I devoured it in an afternoon.  His books always make me sad when they come to a close which I think speaks volumes about him as an author.

Warning:  hysterical, but some offensive language + references might make the feint of heart a little squeamish.

4. Runaway, by Meg Cabot

newest meg cabot

See what I mean about loving Meg Cabot?  Her books are quintessential beach reads.  Runaway is the latest, and final installment in the Being Nikki series.  Teenage hi-jinks, crushes, overcoming odds, self acceptance, and triumph ensue.  More popcorn-y than Being Nikki, but still a totally enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

What are you reading this summer?  Any authors I need to know about?

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Alecia :

    Love love David Sedaris. When I read his stuff, I just laugh out loud. You are right, he can be rauncy, direct and not politically correct. However, the stories are so fantastical, you over look all of that.

    • Allison :

      And frankly, half the time, that’s what’s amusing.

  2. Alicia W. :

    For some reason I told myself no novels until the last installment of Hunger Games comes out (end of August). So I am being incredibly disciplined reading Malcolm Gladwell books and 1776 by David McCullough. Very educational and thought provoking…totally not beach reads.

    • Allison :


      Malcolm Gladwell, well yes, not very beachy at all. And I’m DYING waiting for Hunger Games, so good!

  3. Krista :

    I big puffy heart love David Sedaris. His sister Amy is hysterical too! I’m totally going to run out and read the Luxe series. Sounds totally up my alley! Finishing up Eat, Pray, Love, then onto Water for Elephants. I think between those two books and the Luxe series, it will get me through the summer! ; )

    • Allison :


      Amy is hysterical, she’s fabulous. i want to know what was in the water at their house.

  4. Kirsten :

    I recently read Katherine Center’s two books, The Bright Side of Disaster and Everyone is Beautiful. Recommended them to my best friend and she liked them too. I think she has a new book out, but I haven’t read it yet. I also like Emily Giffin’s books. Just a few recommendations! Always like to have a book on hand – especially in the summer!

    • Allison :

      Emily Griffin’s books are totally summer reading, and I love Everyone is Beautiful!

  5. Jenny :

    I’m all about YA lit for beach reads.

    Fallen is kind of a hot YA novel where angles are the new vampires. I really, really recommend it for the Twilight crowd. I read the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief) on vacation and loved it. I also just read Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm, who does Babymouse, and she is an incredible storyteller.

    • Allison :


      Thank you! I think some of the best writing is in the YA section. I just always need recommendations so I don’t wander around the YA section in the middle of lame romances.

  6. Rachael :

    I finished a great book yesterday called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrows. Takes place in the 40’s in London and a little Island, Guernsey, in the English Channel. Very Enjoyable!

    • Allison :

      Guernsey Literary is one of my favorite books of all time. Ever. I loved every single page.

      • Alicia W. :

        Ooh! I love that one too! That was my summer read last year!

  7. Michelle :

    I don’t know if they’d count as beach reads but I’m addicted to the series of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo…they’re a little violent at times but I flew through the first two books during my 10 day vacation and I am hooked!

    I also love anything by Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner (new book out I think!), Jane Green (new book out!) and Elin Hilderbrand.

    Now if only I could find myself a beach!

    • Allison :

      I’ve heard good things about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I’ll have to check them out.

      Love Jodi Picoult, and Jane Green.

      Thank you!

  8. Stacey :

    I recently read Eat, Pray, Love and absolutely loved it! Made me laugh, cry and think. I actually did read it in a day on the beach in Hawaii. It was my favorite day there!

    • Allison :


      Good to know. I have it on my bookshelf but I have yet to read it. Thanks!

  9. Katrina Babic :

    I have heard David on NPR. Do you listen to NPR at all? Anyway, I have been meaning to go out and read this book. I just picked up Eat. Pray. Love. today at the library… any opinions on this one?

    • Allison :


      NPR is pretty much the ONLY thing I do listen to! :) I love David and his books are exactly the same as he is on the radio, you should definitely read it.

      Stacey has read Eat Pray Love and enjoyed it, so maybe you should read it too.

  10. Heather :

    For YA, you should totally try Joan Bauer (Hope Was Here is the best), and John Green (An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska). For grownup beach reads, I’d go with Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews or Charming Grace by Deborah Smith!
    Both authors are funny and interesting while still maintaining a beautiful writing style. Have you read Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells series or She Went All The Way?

    • Allison :

      Thanks for such a great list! I hadn’t heard of the first two authors so I need to look them up.

      I have literally read everything Meg Cabot has ever written, I love her that much.

  11. Alix from Modern Kiddo :

    Oh, I TOTALLY meant to recommend to you Sloppy Firsts by Meagan McCafferty. It’s the Jessica Darling series. The main character is a a very Meg Cabot style heroine. Loved it!

    • Petit Elefant :

      Oh, Alix, I hadn’t heard of that! I’m absolutely going to look it up the next time I’m at the library, thank you!