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Escape to another world with 18 best summer reads of 2024

With a good book for company, any moment in summer can feel like a vacation.

Published May 23, 2024
9 min. reading time
love pamela, funny story, the three body problem, the murder inn and late bloomer on a colorful background

Reading is one of our favorite ways to pass the time, and on vacation, we can’t think of anything we like doing more.

Whether you’re heading on an exotic vacation or chilling in your backyard this summer, picking out a good book is the perfect way to escape to another world. 

Escape to 18th-century England for the social season, hunt down a serial killer, or discover the truth behind your favorite stars — all from the pages of a book. 

So, browse from our picks to find books you should add to your summer TBR list, and get reading!

Read more: Shop the best beach bags of the summer

UK cover of funny story by emily henry
“Funny Story” by Emily Henry
$18.99 at Amazon
just for the summer by abby jimenez
“Just For The Summer” by Abby Jimenez
$8.99 at Amazon
the murder inn by james patterson
“The Murder Inn” by James Patterson and Candice Fox
Uk cover of the secret history by donna tartt
“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt
$7.78 at Amazon

New releases

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UK cover of funny story by emily henry
UK cover. Photo: Phoebe Davenport

“Funny Story” by Emily Henry

You save $10.01 (34.52%)

Emily Henry returns this spring with Funny Story, and after the success of its predecessors like “Beach Read”, “Book Lovers” and “Happy Place”, it’s sure to scratch that literary itch in your brain. 

Daphne and Miles are both freshly single after their exes left them for each other. Now, with nowhere else to live, they become roommates as they come to terms with the end of their respective relationships, and grow closer in the process. 

Prepare to laugh out loud in this story full of quirky characters, twists and enough comedic charm and heart to leave you eagerly awaiting Henry’s next release.

just for the summer by abby jimenez
Photo: Amazon

“Just For The Summer” by Abby Jimenez

You save $9.00 (50.03%)
$16.19 at Barnes & Noble

B&N Exclusive Edition

Justin and Emma have a curse — everyone they meet goes on to meet their soulmate immediately after they break up. So, to cancel each other out, they agree to date each other and then break up. Should work a charm, right? 

However, real life (and growing feelings)  soon start to catch up on the pair, and they’re both forced to wonder whether they really want to break up at all. 

Set against the backdrop of sun-soaked beaches, Abby Jimenez has crafted a heartfelt and humorous tale we think you won’t regret picking up this summer.

Who doesn’t love a grimey crime book? If you do, then The Murder Inn by James Patterson and Candice Foxshould be at the top of your TBR list. 

In Patterson’s latest hit, follow ex-big city cop Bill Robinson as he takes over The Inn by the Sea, hoping to have a taste of the quiet life. This is soon disrupted when a crime boss moves to town, and trouble quickly follows. 

And it’s not too long before Bill must enlist the help of local friends and residents when people start turning up dead and the sanctity of his inn is threatened. This hair-raising novel is sure to leave your heart pumping as you read, while you enjoy your own quiet life.

For general fiction fanatics

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Uk cover of the secret history by donna tartt
UK cover. Photo: Phoebe Davenport

This classic novel by Donna Tartt is the pinnacle of the dark academia genre. It follows a group of students at an elite Vermont college who are amongst some of the brightest, and thus inducted into an exclusive Classical Studies class. 

The students soon find themselves entangled in a world of secrets, lies and obsessions. And as their obsession with ancient Greece deepens and their attempt at a fun ritual turns into a tragedy, the group find themselves unwilling to deal with the consequences, triggering even more disaster. 

This iconic novel, filled with questions about moral ambiguity and power, is an unmissable read this summer.

moonraker by ian fleming
Photo: Amazon

If you’re looking to get lost in a spy novel this summer, why not go with the OG? In Fleming’sMoonraker, join Bond as he faces a villain with the power to cause mass destruction. 

In this thrilling installment, Bond is tasked with investigating Sir Hugo Drax, a multimillionaire tycoon and war hero after M suspects him of cheating at a game of cards. As Bond infiltrates Drax’s world, he discovers a web of espionage, lies and danger that could threaten the world. 

With a pulse-pounding plot and the return of iconic characters, this is a must-read for all spy novel lovers.

UK cover of great circle by maggie shipstead
UK cover. Photo: Phoebe Davenport

In this stunning tale from Maggie Shipstead, follow the stories of two women; Marian Graves, a pioneering aviator on her journey to circumnavigate the globe, and Hadley Baxter, who is set to play Marion in a film adaption of her life a century later. 

Hadley, who is struggling to shake the weight of her fame and typecast as a romantic lead, becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind Marian's life and disappearance, and finds they might have more in common than she thought. 

If you’re looking for a novel about the ever-enduring nature of the human spirit, this tops our list for summer reading.

For romance lovers

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romancing mr bridgerton by julia quinn
Photo: Phoebe Davenport

With the release of the highly anticipated third season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton”, a read of the related book is an absolute must in our eyes. 

“Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” is the fourth in the book series, and follows third son, Colin.Penelope Featherington, who has long harbored a love for Colin, her best friend’s brother, encounters Colin when he returns to London from traveling around Europe. Since embracing her ‘spinster’ destiny, she has had a glow-up. 

He soon finds himself being drawn to her, and as the social season progresses,Penelope struggles to keep one very particular secret. They discover sometimes love can be found in the most unexpected of circumstances.

late bloomer by mazy eddings
Photo: Amazon

“Late Bloomer” by Mazey Eddings

You save $6.54 (36.33%)

For those who love a taste of the enemies-to-lovers trope, “Late Bloomer” by Mazey Eddings is the ideal book to pick up this summer. 

The novel follows Opal Devlin, who is fresh from winning the lottery and struggling to juggle all the people suddenly emerging from the cracks to get a share of the winnings. Wanting to escape, Opal pours the majority of her money into a failing flower farm, hoping to live the quiet life and paint. 

The only problem? Pepper Boden also claims she’s the farm’s rightful owner. As the two butt heads and co-habitate on the farm, they discover that sometimes hate can blossom into something more positive.

done and dusted by lyla
Photo: Amazon

“Done and Dusted” by Lyla Sage

You save $4.51 (25.07%)

The first in the "Rebel Blue Ranch” series by Lyla Sage, “Done and Dusted” follows Clementine as she returns home to her small town in Wyoming after suffering a catastrophic horse riding accident, feeling defeated. 

Her brother’s best friend, Luke, is the owner of the local bar and perpetual bachelor, and has spent his formative years terrorizing Clementine. So, he’s surprised when she walks into the bar and he’s captivated — and it’s not long before he’s feeling drawn to his best friend's little sister. 

Despite their internal pleas, they both soon realize they might just be what they didn’t know they were looking for.

For crime & mystery junkies

In this comic thriller from Joanna Wallace, you’ll meet Claire, who after her father’s funeral, meets Lucas in a bar — sounds cute right?

As it turns out, this meeting was not a coincidence — because part-time serial killer Claire carefully orchestrated the entire meeting. But what Claire quickly realizes is that someone is watching her, and they might know her little secret. 

However, Claire will soon prove that despite her attention in other areas of life, her dedication to keeping her secret safe and bodies buried is unwavering.

we solve murders by richard osman
Photo: Amazon

In another mind-boggling addition to Richard Osman’s collection of novels comes “We Solve Murders” — the detective novel you didn’t know you need to read this summer. 

Meet Steve, a happily retired man who enjoys his cat, the quiet life and is quite happy to leave the adventures to his daughter-in-law Amy. A private security officer, Amy is working on a remote island keeping a renowned author safe. 

But when a dead body turns up, and Amy discovers she may be the next target, she enlists the help of sleuthing Steve’ to help solve this mystery.

Pre-order this book new novel, and be one of the first to read on September 17th.

all the sinners bleed by s a crosby
Photo: Amazon

In this novel by S. A. Cosby, you’ll follow the first Black sheriff of Charon County, Virginia, Titus Crown. 

Only a year after Titus took on the role, a school teacher is killed by a former student, who is then shot by a deputy — and after investigating the deaths, Titus uncovers a serial killer.

Set amongst a backdrop of worsening racial relations in the county, when a far-right group seeks to hold a celebration for the town's Confederate history, Titus finds himself trying to juggle secrets of his and the town's past while hunting down a killer

For who want to escape into a sci-fi/fantasy world

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uk cover of emily wildes encylopedia of faeries by heather fawcett
UK special edition cover. Photo: Phoebe Davenport

Want to escape into the world of magic and faeries? 

If so, “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries” is the perfect book to add to your summer reading list. 

The book follows Cambridge professor Emily Wilde, the world’s leading expert on faeries. As she travels to the village of Hrafnsvik, to further her studies, she discovers secrets of the Hidden Ones and dark fae magic.

She may even find love along the way in the form of Wendell Bambleby — a rival academic who seeks to become the leading expert in their field, much to Emily’s chagrin.

the three body problem by cixin liu
Photo: Amazon

We can imagine “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu is on many people’s TBR lists this summer after the recent release of the Netflix series based on the book.

This breakthrough novel is set during China’s cultural revolution, when a secret military project sends signals into space to initiate contact with alternative forms of life. What they didn’t expect is for aliens to actually intercept the signal and form plans to invade the planet. 

The novel sees the people of Earth start to plan for their imminent arrival, whether they come in peace or not.

the familiar by leigh bardugo
Photo: Amazon

“The Familiar” by Leigh Bardugo

You save $15.00 (50.02%)

From the bestselling author of the “Shadow and Bone” series comes the new novel, “The Familiar” — and trust us, it’s not one to miss out on

In this captivating novel, scullery maid Luzia Cotado has a penchant for getting through the day by using wisps of magic to help her with her chores. 

When this is discovered by her employer, they force her to use her gifts to improve their social standing and wealth, which soon garners the attention of the secretary to the king — and Luzia soon finds herself on an unexpected journey to protect herself and her new friends. 

For those who need to fuel their celebrity obsession

From the Vanderpump Rules” alum and reality TV royalty, Stassi Schroeder comes her guide to surviving ‘rock-bottom’. 

No stranger to controversy, Schroeder details what happened in 2020 — the year she was finally supposed to have it all, before it quickly came tumbling down. 

She addresses getting well and truly ‘canceled’, an unexpected pregnancy and marrying her dream guy through a variety of anecdotes, illustrations, and plenty of her signature humor and self-deprecation. 

Giving tips and tricks on how to get over those moments where you think it couldn’t possibly ever get better, she reminds us that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with being basic.

the storyteller by dave grohl
Photo: Amazon

In this memoir written by Dave Grohl, you’ll get a unique insight into the life of the iconic musician

As the frontman of the Foo Fighters and drummer in Nirvana, it’s no surprise to us that Grohl has enough tantalizing stories and anecdotes to fill an entire book. Starting off with his life as a child in Springfield, Grohl walks us through his dreams and his career, jamming and working with some of the most iconic people in the business — from Sir Paul McCartney to Little Richard, and of course, Kurt Cobain. 

A light and easy to digest book, this is the perfect thing to read by the pool, and can entice even the most hesitant of readers.

Looking for a memoir that touches the soul and changes the narrative? If so, we recommend this one from Pamela Anderson.

In this book, Anderson takes us through her life, starting with her childhood on Vancouver Island. She discusses her rise to fame, being no stranger to the front cover of a magazine, and her time at the Playboy mansion. As well as when she found herself as the tabloids and paparazzi’s obsession and how she quickly lost control of life. 

With a thoughtful mix of anecdotes and original poetry, this is a truly unique memoir that will delight even non-Anderson fans. 

Our verdict: What are the best summer reads of 2024?

Whether you fancy a steamy romance, a quirky detective novel, or magical fantasy book, we’ve got something for everyone. Need it narrowed down a little more? Here are our top three:

  • “Funny Story” by Emily Henry: We might be a tad biased when it comes to Emily Henry novels, but we don’t think the wit, charm and most importantly, love in “Funny Story” will leave you feeling disappointed.

  • “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” by Julia Quinn: The love story on everyone’s mind this summer will undoubtedly be the one between Colin and Penelope. This endearing tale of the blossoming wallflower will tug on your heartstrings and leave you feeling all warm inside. 

  • “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu: Who doesn’t wonder what would happen if (or when?) aliens initiate contact? In this groundbreaking novel, you’ll get a glimpse at how humans, with all our flaws, would react to the impending threat. 

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Prices updated on 05/23/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Phoebe Davenport

A book aficionado, you will always be able to rely on Phoebe Davenport for the best book recommendations. On the weekend, you’ll probably find Phoebe at a bottomless brunch in London, at a museum, or chilling at home with her two cats.