Whether you're hitting a local pool or heading on an exotic vacation, there's nothing like an arsenal of great books to make the most of summer. A-listers like Kate Hudson (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr) and James Franco (Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin) have found and shared their warm-weather page turners.
"It was the most non-stop nail-biting crazy train of a book with one of the most intriguing characters I have read in a long time!" Reese Witherspoon gushed over Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive, while Sarah Gadon is preparing for her next film role with The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.
To keep your summer reading strong, we've rounded up the 10 best beach reads we know you won't want to put down:
DEBUT FICTION: Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan
The Canadian first-time novelist tackles weighty issues such as forbidden romance, family tradition and blackmail with a light hand and laugh-out-loud humour, setting her star-crossed lovers in a rural Trinidadian village in the mid-1970s. When news of her tryst reaches town gossips, Vimla’s reputation is ruined and she’s deemed unfit for Krishna, the son of the village’s holy man. Unfolding with delicious descriptions of the island backdrop, Nothing Like Love makes for a colourful and touching debut.
For fans of: Romeo and Juliet
IN THE HEADLINES: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
For decades, many of us have wanted to spend more time with Scout Finch, the precocious six-year-old narrator of the classroom classic To Kill a Mockingbird, but while Harper never published another novel after her debut became a bestseller and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961, it turns out she wrote a manuscript before Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman features Scout as a 26-year-old educated young woman who returns from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. (It was shelved at the behest of Harper’s editor, who wanted a revision focused on the flashbacks of Scout as a young girl.) The unearthed manuscript is an eye-opener about Scout coming to terms with the fact that her father – whom she (like so many of us) idolized for defending a black man accused of rape during the Great Depression – isn’t the hero she thought he was.
For fans of: To Kill a Mockingbird
REAL-WORLD DRAMA: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
The author of so many beloved books for young people now mines her own past – specifically 1952, when three planes crashed in her Elizabeth, N.J., hometown – for her first adult novel in 17 years. This coming-of-age tale takes place in a suburb reeling from the aftermath of the tragedy, with its citizens, including 15-year-old Miri, trying to navigate the rocky terrain of boys and friendships. Told from multiple viewpoints and with Judy’s signature warmth, the story summons a past – and present – rich in meaning.
For fans of: Judy’s oeuvre
PAGE-TURNER: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
This captivating debut novel introduces a series of flawed and lessthan- trustworthy characters, each with their own story to tell (and axe to grind). Guiding the tale is 30-something divorcée Rachel, who takes a daily commuter train and becomes infatuated with a couple she sees on her daily travels. She believes they have the perfect life, but when the wife goes missing, Rachel finds herself too close to the investigation, unintentionally becoming the prime suspect.
For fans of: Gone Girl and The Silent Wife
EBOOK SENSATION: Love & Decay by Rachel Higginson
The zombie narrative is alive and well in Rachel’s fast-paced e-book sensation about two friends struggling to survive after a vaccine turns much of the world’s population into ravenous monsters. Served up every few weeks in bite-size novellas – and then packaged into “volumes” or books – each tale will leave you longing for the next instalment. Chapters for Volume 4 in the series are expected in December.
For fans of: Twilight
ROMAN A CLEF: Killing Monica by Candice Bushnell
Novelist Pandy Wallis is sick of her fictional creation, Monica, but ever since an actress brought the single-woman-in- New York City character to life onscreen, she’s inescapable. Desperate, she hatches a plan to “off” her heroine. Knowing that Candace created Sex and the City (and watched Sarah Jessica Parker play her on TV) makes this delicious fun.
For fans of: Sex and the City
ROYAL FICTION: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
Princess Diaries fans, rejoice! The 11th instalment in the bestselling series is in stores, but it’s no longer just for teens. The first adult book sees Princess Mia and her beloved Michael planning nuptials amid meddling from her grandmother and a threat to her father’s reign.
For fans of: The Last Summer (Of You and Me)
NAIL-BITER: Finders Keepers by Stephen King
His novel Misery gave us a great villain – a crazed fan (played by Kathy Bates in the film). Now, 28 years later, Stephen revisits fandom with a thriller about a man who’ll stop at nothing to secure the unpublished manuscripts of his favourite writer. Retired Det. Bill Hodge (a character from Stephen’s last novel, Mr. Mercedes) tries to stop him.
For fans of: Misery
FANTASY FUN: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
A lip-smacking followup to 2013’s Crazy Rich Asians, this good-humoured sequel follows the richest old families from China as they spend their mind-boggling fortunes with abandon. Sit back and enjoy the view as our protagonist, NYU professor Nick Young, and his girlfriend Rachel Chu discover what it means to be, to borrow from the book’s title, “China rich.”
For fans of: Prequel Crazy Rich Asians
CHICK LIT: I Take You by Eliza Kennedy
This is not your classic love story. In fact, in I Take You, no one can understand why free-spirited Lily, a New York lawyer, even wants to tie the knot. Despite having a handsome fiancé and a looming wedding date, Lily wants her final kicks as a singleton, all while mourning the carefree life (and men!) she’s not so sure she wants to give up. Brimming with wit, this is a modern-day fairytale for single ladies who aren’t so keen to put a ring on it.
For fans of: Bridget Jones’s Diary