It’s been getting hotter, and that means only one thing. Summer’s just around the corner. And what’s the best activity to pass by time? Why reading, of course!
As a university student trying desperately to avoid acknowledging her exams and getting any work done, I’ve been going through Pinterest with the sole goal of creating a vision board for the perfect summer. I’d stare mindlessly at empty word documents, the blinking cursor almost begging me to type even one letter down, while my head would play images of me lying on a beach somewhere in the south of France. But there would always be something missing in these dream scenarios that I conjure up (aside from the actual plan I would need to make of how to get there and the bank I would need to rob to make those images true). I’d experience a feeling of almost emptiness as I watch myself listen to the ocean waves.
It took me a while to figure it out, but one look at my bookcase lit a lightbulb in my mind. Books. What I was missing were books! Consequently, I decided to create a summer reading list, one compiled of romance novels where the characters also fall in love (or maybe not; this is a spoiler-free zone) during summer. So, without further ado, I present you my five favorite summer rom-com novels that will be a great companion while you tan on the beach, lounge in front of the pool, or even relax in your bed, avoiding the sun altogether.
People You Meet on Vacation (2021)
First up, we have a heart-warming novel by New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry. The book revolves around Poppy and Alex, two polar opposites that miraculously become best friends, going on countless summer vacations through the years as milestone moments like graduations, proposals, breakups, and fantastic job opportunities pass by. They grow and evolve, but what remains the same year after year, trip after trip is their love for one another… until one vacation threatens it all. Now they’re forced to find out who they are outside their friendship while being given one last chance to decide whether or not their relationship can be saved. Will they be able to come out the other side together? Well, I suggest you read to find out.
Starry Eyes (2018)
This book is definitely for the adventure lovers out there, as author Jenn Bennett invites you to take a trip with Zorie and Lennon to the beautiful hiking trails of Northern California. But this trip is anything but peaceful. Things quickly go south, and you, along with the story’s protagonists, get stranded in the middle of nowhere, with only wilderness surrounding you.
Oh, and one important fact I forgot to mention, Zorie and Lennon have spent their entire ‘adulthood’ avoiding each other. Through their journey as they try to find their way back home, readers get to watch these two people discover who they are themselves and to one another. A must-read that explores love in all its forms and meanings, from friendships to relationships and family. If you’ve already read this one, I recommend reading Alex, Approximately, another touching summer flick also by Bennett.
Beach Read (2020)
Another bestseller by author Emily Henry, this book constantly popped up all over the internet book lovers’ communities. And while some tend to steer clear of hyped books fearing that they’re all similar, this novel is certainly worth your time. Two broken-hearted writers in a town not big enough for both of them is a recipe for disaster.
Now add in deadlines that must be met and writer’s block that only causes stress, and tensions are high as these two neighbors try to navigate how they’ll spend three months together. But they’re each determined to finish their projects, whether that’s killing each other or writing their novels. Perhaps a new project will form, one that surprises them both.
When We Collided (2016)
From the title, I knew I would get heartbroken by this book because when things collide, they get shattered. But what if you collide with someone at just the right time, each breaking into the other person’s life when they need you the most? Author Emery Lord manages to bring together beautiful characters, all flawed in their own way, to create a story that’ll somehow make you laugh while tears stream down your face. Jonah and Vivi, both hurting in different ways, form a surprising friendship. They don’t save each other but instead help one another grow, no matter how painful the process is. Who knew that colliding with a stranger one summer could change your life?
Since You’ve Been Gone (2014)
And last but not least, I decided to add a slightly older book that’s still somehow fitting to today’s world. Following a similar plotline to John Green’s Paper Towns, Emily readies herself for an eventful summer with her best friend Sloane. Everything with Sloane is eventful. But Sloane disappears, leaving only a 13-item bucket list behind for Emily. To try and understand what happened, Emily decided to take on the challenge, both unaware and unprepared for the insane tasks left by her friend. A quick and light read that dives into the meaning of friendship and encourages readers to go out of their own comfort zones. Author Morgan Matson certainly brings new significance to the saying “the journey is more important than the destination.”
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