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If you’re looking for the best light novels to read and not sure what to pick, these books are sure to make you feel good and quickly turn the pages as you smile and relax.

woman reading outside on a chair and smiling.

I have personally read each book recommended below, and I share exactly why they are the best light novels to read along with short summaries of each to help you pick the best book for you, whether you are headed to the beach or just need a mental breather.

I like to call these books palate cleansers!

Best Light Novels To Read

Read these books in my Summer Reading Challenge.

American Royals by Katharine McGee

New York Times Bestseller

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s a totally juicy, make-believe, escape book about royals ruling present-day America.

American Royals is the tabloid-like story of what could have happened if George Washington became King instead of President, and his descendants are ruling over modern-day America.

It’s filled with drama as Princess Beatrice inches closer to becoming America’s first queen. Meanwhile, Princess Samantha is dealing with boy problems. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson, adored across the country and more specifically, by two very different girls vying for his heart.

These made-up royals and relationship drama make American Royals about as light as it gets!

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s small-town book like Gilmore Girls, with an Inn, a baker, and a handsome local.

In The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, Livvy is a pastry chef with a tarnished reputation, who takes a small-town job in Vermont at the Sugar Maple Inn. She soon learns the real reason she has been hired is to help the Inn reclaim blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

Meanwhile, she meets Martin McCracken, the local who has returned to care for his ill father.

This charming rom-com centers around finding a place in the world and belonging in a tight-knit community.

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s a heartwarming family story about a wedding dress, reminiscent of a Hallmark movie. This is one book I am always recommending.

Grace Kelly’s royal wedding dress was a stunner, and its legacy has lived on, especially in this feel-good story. The Grace Kelly Dress is about that one dress and three generations of women.

Rose is a 1958 seamstress making a Grace Kelly lookalike dress while falling for the bride’s handsome brother. Rachel is a modern-day unconventional bride planning her wedding, and Joan is her mother, insisting that she wear an heirloom wedding dress.

The stories of these three women weave together beautifully, and they are sure to make you smile as you turn the pages.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

  • Good Morning America Buzz pick
  • A Can’t-Miss Beach Read For Summer 2021 from The Skimm

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s a Summer themed book that’s a mix of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, about two families who own a resort in the Catskills.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is the story of two families who come together to decide whether to sell their once-famed Catskills Summer resort. The generations collide as they attempt to modernize the facilities, and there’s lots of funny and light drama as they debate over things like goat yoga and CBD products.

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s light, sweet, endearing, engaging, and well-written! It makes for an easy-breezy, feel-good escape or beach read. I think most readers will enjoy this reading experience, especially since there’s a bit of a surprise at the end.

In The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise, Tanner is a 21-year-old video gamer who takes a job as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman, named Louise, who doesn’t want one.

They try to ignore each other, but Tanner can’t help but notice on the news that the suspect in one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history looks a lot like Louise. When Louise then insists they leave town in the middle of the night, they must face their past mistakes in order to have future adventures.

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

  • Named one of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2022 by The Washington Post, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Southern Living, Country Living, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Book Riot, and The Augusta Chronicle

Not only does Nora Goes Off Script feel as light as a Hallmark movie, but it’s also actually about a Hallmark movie writer.

After Nora’s unemployed husband leaves her and their two children, she writes a sensational script that’s picked up and set to film at her historic home in small-town New York, starring the hottest actor out there.

After filming wraps, he stays the week… and things get hot and heavy between them. He promises to return, but when he doesn’t, she’s left thinking about what was and what could have been. Time moves on, but can Nora’s heart?

This novel was quick, light, and escapist, and I totally felt like I knew the characters — an easy, breezy read I definitely recommend.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman London

National bestseller

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s based on the guilty pleasure show The Bachelorette, with a plus-sized lead.

One to Watch is a satisfying rom-com, in which Bea becomes the first plus-sized lead of a tv show just like The Bachelorette. It’s filled with all the reality tv drama you would expect, plus some real heart. It’s both razor-sharp and unforgettable.

Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s a humorous family story filled with strong women and Southern charm from an author similar to Elin Hilderbrand. It’s as sweet as a fresh peach! It’s also a book I often think about and smile when I do.

Holly is a Southern beekeeper living with her strong-willed mother, the “Queen Bee” and crushing on the handsome widowed next-door neighbor and his adorable young sons. When her exuberant sister moves back in, they fixate all their attention on the neighbor, to the point where some slapstick moments unfurl.

At the end of the day, family remains.

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: It’s a book set in luxurious locations in Italy and New York that’s totally about “rich people problems.”

The author of Crazy Rich Asians returns in this adaptation of the classic A Room With a View. In Sex and Vanity, Lucie meets George in Capri, and they share a kiss. When he later appears in her life in New York years later, when she is engaged to another man, she is left to navigate the snobberies of her family and her own desires for happiness.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

National bestseller

Why this book is one of the best light novels to read: Bernadette is one of the most quirky and funny characters I’ve read in this slapstick novel about an exhausted mother finding her creativity again.

Bernadette has lost it. Or, so her family and neighbors think after a series of events go hilariously wrong in Where’d You Go, Bernadette? In one final theatrical event, she disappears, on a quest to regain the creativity and purpose she once had but lost over the years as a mother and wife.


Those are the best light novels to read when you are in the mood for a lighthearted book. To recap and help you decide what to read first or next, while all loved all of these books, my top picks are:

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One Comment

  1. I’m so excited to read Last Summer At The Golden Hotel this summer! It sounds like a great light & fun read. 🙂