Now, we all have different criteria when it comes to the perfect beach read...I'm going to break these books down by the things I look for in the perfect pool companion.
Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.
Summer Setting: High. This book takes place over an entire summer break at a lake house, and Taylor works at the beach snack bar. It doesn't get much more summer than that!
Swoon: Medium. The swoon isn't the focus of this story, but there are some very sweet scenes between Taylor and her first boyfriend Henry, with whom she is trying to reconcile.
In Honor - Jessi Kirby
Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.
Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
Summer Setting: Medium. This book takes place during the summer after Honor's senior year of high school, but the dusty desert roads between Texas and California don't exactly scream summer. Well, that's a lie. The high temps and sweaty drive in a car with no AC really do scream summer, but not the beachy, relaxing summer we like to dream about.
Swoon: Medium. There's a lot of chemistry between Honor and Rusty as they talk out their tricky past on this road trip.
Public Readability: High. This book would make a great pool or beach companion. There are some tender moments, but nothing that will cause embarrassing noises or leaking fluids. Read in public with confidence!
Unbreak My Heart - Melissa Walker
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.
Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.
Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?
Summer Setting: High. It takes place during summer break on a sailboat, for goodness sake. This is the summer setting we all dream about.
Swoon: High. Clem is dealing with two different relationships here. She flashes back to her developing feelings for her bff's boyfriend, which are all totally inappropriate, but that doesn't make them any less swoony. Then there is the amazing James, who is just the best thing ever. Two guys to have feelings over = lots of swoon.
Public Readability: High. Nothing to make you cry or blush inappropriately here. Bring this one to the beach with you...or even better, on a sailboat!
The One That I Want - Jennifer Echols
Gemma can’t believe her luck when the star football player starts flirting with her. Max is totally swoon-worthy, and even gets her quirky sense of humor. So when he asks out her so-called best friend Addison, Gemma’s heartbroken.
Then Addison pressures Gemma to join the date with one of Max’s friends. But the more time they all spend together, the harder Gemma falls for Max. She can’t help thinking that Max likes her back—it’s just too bad he’s already dating Addison. How can Gemma get the guy she wants without going after her best friend’s boyfriend?
Summer Setting: Low. The main action of this book gets going during summer, but it pretty quickly heads back to school. Ugh...who wants to think about school?
Swoon: HIGH. If you've read any of Jennifer Echols's books you know that she never lets you down when it comes to the swoon factor. She really brings it with this one...and Max is one of the sexiest YA guys I have read in awhile. Yum.
Public Readability: Medium - High. It all depends on how comfortable you feel reading those swoony scenes in public. If you blush easily, maybe you should save this one for nighttime reading.