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Discover the best books about summer romance for seasonal beach reading this year. There are sweet and spicy books for both young adults and adults to devour. These love stories will make you feel whimsical in this lighthearted time of year when anything can happen, including sparks of love. Let’s get literary!

Quick List of the Best Summer Romance Books for Young Adults and Adults

Top 3 Summer Romance Books

The Summer I Turned Pretty: the perfect young adult summer aesthetic

Every Summer After: an emotional summer romance novel that spans from youth to adulthood

Beach Read: The title says it all!

This list of books about summer love is exactly that. It includes books about finding a passionate romance during the fleeting and fun season and seeing whether it can survive by fall.

It includes summer romance novels that offer escapism in beachy small towns and vacation spots, YA summer romance books about first loves that evoke a sense of nostalgia and the carefree spirit of youth, and even scandalous “same time next year” summertime romances.

For Young Adults

  1. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  2. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

For Adults

  1. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
  2. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  3. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
  4. The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady
  5. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
  6. Just For the Summer by Abby Jimenez
  7. Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan
  8. Summer Fridays by Suzanne Rindell
  9. Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan
  10. The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey
  11. This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune
  12. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Reviews of the Best Books About Summer Love for Beach Reading (In Alphabetical Order)

Read these books for The Literary Lifestyle’s Summer Reading Challenge

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

  • #1 New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of “same time next year” romances

My Review: ★★★★★

28 Summers has it all: a preppy Nantucket setting. It’s light but still has substance. It has well-drawn-out characters and realistic (yet clever) dialogue. Lastly, it’s compulsively readable.

It’s about two people, Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud, who decide to have a “same time next year” meeting that lasts each Labor Day weekend over the course of, you guessed it, 28 Summers. Naturally, this becomes more complicated with age, marriage, and kids.

While I can normally be critical about books that glamorize affairs, this book did it in a really smart way. It showed that all relationships are different and complex.

Finally, my favorite part was that each “year” included a rundown of all the pop culture items we discussed at the time. It was a really fun addition to a book set over a few decades.

28 Summers was a 5-star read for me. I read it during the beginning of the Coronavirus quarantine, and I honestly felt like it “saved” me during this dark experience.

Related Posts: Elin Hilderbrand Books Ranked | Elin Hilderbrand Books in Order


Beach Read by Emily Henry

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of writer romances and sharp dialogue

My Review: ★★★★☆

Beach Read is easily one of the best books about summer romance. With this title, it’s fair to say it’s one of the best beach reads for a lazy day in the sand.

It’s the story of two different writers: January, a bestselling romance writer who has stopped believing in love, and Augustus, an acclaimed literary fiction author.

As they spend three summer months at neighboring beach houses, they challenge each other to beat their writer’s block by writing something different. Augustus will write something upbeat, and January will write a great American novel.

To help each other achieve their goals, January takes Augustus on romantic field trips, and he takes her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult.

Meanwhile, they both also must cope with painful pasts and the fact that they are falling for each other.

After a few years, this remains one of my favorite of all of Emily Henry’s books. I especially loved all the little “research” dates January and Augustus went on, and their story remains memorable to me.


The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

Best for foodies

My Review: ★★★★☆

I was not expecting the emotional ride The Blue Bistro took me on! It begins with a simple sentence that ends up meaning so much:

“Adrienne needed a job.” 

After Adrienne lands an assistant manager position for the last summer the acclaimed Nantucket restaurant The Blue Bistro will be in business, she experiences the events of an entire lifetime in the span of three months.

She starts dating her boss and part-owner of the restaurant, Thatcher. But, there’s a third wheel in this relationship—Thatcher’s business partner and lifelong friend, Chef Fiona, who is reclusive and hiding a very big secret.

The descriptions of food in The Blue Bistro were nothing short of delectable and tantalizing.  The restaurant environment feels so real and alive that you can envision yourself actually working there, from the bustling bar to the melodic piano and the ocean views. 

I was fully immersed in The Blue Bistro. I also know that many avid Elin Hilderbrand fans consider it one of her best books.


The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Best for fans of second-chance romances and self-actualization

My Review: ★★★☆☆

What I loved about The Comeback Summer is that it wasn’t just your average steamy romance novel. Besides exploring second-chance romance and finding real love, it also tackled everything from self-actualization in your career to sister drama.

Hannah and Libby are running their grandmother’s PR agency. It’s about to close when a self-help guru / potential client challenges them to complete a challenge to crush their comfort zones.

This means Hannah must go out on dates, and Libby must compete in a race. Things get complicated when Hannah’s first love shows up and when Libby pretends to be Hannah on a dating app.

Plus, this witty, charming, and multi-layered summer romance novel has even more drama and romance to uncover.


Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of nostalgia and lake settings

My Review: ★★★★☆

Every Summer After has become one of the most popular summer love stories. It emotionally taps into the nostalgia of first love and second chances with characters you’ll root for.

Over the course of six Summers in Barry’s Bay, teenagers Persephone and Sam fall in love. Then, one Thanksgiving tears them apart. Years later, Persephone returns to Barry’s Bay for the funeral of Sam’s mother, and she must face how she feels about him after all this time.

This romance novel offers friendship, love, angst, conflict, family, and more. You’ll love it as much as everyone else does!

Related Post: Carley Fortune’s Books in Order | Every Summer After Summary


Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Best for fans of the fake dating trope

My Review: ★★★★★

Just For the Summer proves that Abby Jimenez can continue to deliver everything her readers love.

Justin feels cursed. Every woman he dates finds her soulmate just after breaking up with him. In a twist of fate, he meets, Emma, who is similarly “cursed.” Together, they create a plan to date each other and break up, so they can go on to live happily ever after with someone else.

Emma gets a nursing job and rents an adorable cottage on Lake Minnetonka near Justin to bring this plan to life. There, they connect deeper than expected over their “mommy” issues. (trigger warning) But, the chaos left by Emma’s mom just may be too complicated to make the plan work.

This summer romance novel features my favorite couple in Abby Jimenez’s books. They are quirky, loveable, have great chemistry, and support each other through difficult life issues. There is also one spicy scene for steamy romance lovers!

The quirky supporting cast rounds out this “slightly more complicated than normal” romance. It’s great for those who like a little bit of realistic drama in their escape reads.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

  • New York Times bestseller and Netflix movie

Best for fans of teen adventures

My Review: ★★★☆☆

Love and Gelato follows a teenager’s road trip across Italy, which is filled with romance, mystery, and adventures with a cute Italian boy.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, as it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father there. Upon reading her mother’s journal, she discovers the magic of Italy and unearths a life-changing secret that has been kept from her.

To me, this book was a fun mix of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and My Girl 2. It’s a great light YA summer romance book filled with Italian inspiration.

Related Posts: Books Set in Italy | Books Set in Florence


Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

  • National bestseller

Best for fans of first love stories

My Review: ★★★☆☆

Same Time Next Summer is a buzz-worthy novel about a woman whose seemingly perfect life is disrupted when she unexpectedly runs into her first love during a visit to her family’s Long Island beach house.

Despite being engaged to her doctor fiancé and having a career in Manhattan, her surprise encounter stirs up old feelings and memories, including why they parted ways.

She grapples with the undeniable connection and is forced to reassess her life. It’s a super satisfying seasonal read that captures the magic of first love.


The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

  • USA Today bestseller

Best for fans of Taylor Swift

My Review: ★★★★☆

The Summer of Broken Rules was inspired by Taylor Swift’s songs!

Meredith is a teen coping with the loss of her beloved sister when she visits the family’s Martha’s Vineyard island farm for a week that will culminate in her cousin’s wedding.

Prior to the wedding, the family plays a competitive game of Assassin and, in an attempt to win it all in memory of her sister, Meredith forms an alliance with a cute groomsman named Wit.

But it’s not all fun and games when their adventures around the island stir up romantic feelings. At issue are whether Meredith can still focus on the game, and what will become of this whirlwind romance when the week concludes.

It’s filled with all those warm and fuzzy feelings of lighthearted young summer love. It left me with a huge smile on my face.

Related Posts: Books Set on Martha’s Vineyard | Taylor Swift Book Recommendations


Summer Fridays by Suzanne Rindell

Best for Fans of You’ve Got Mail

My Review: ★★★★☆

Summer Fridays takes the reader back to New York City in the early 2000s. Sawyer is an engaged aspiring writer who works in publishing. Her fiance has been spending long hours at work with his female colleague, which makes Sawyer and the colleague’s boyfriend, Nick, suspicious.

Over emails, Sawyer and Nick grow to like each other, and they begin spending their “Summer Fridays” around town. Not only do they have to figure out whether their spouses are cheating, but whether what they really want is each other.

It felt so refreshing to bookishly travel back to a time when people wrote back and forth to each other with so much meaning. And, of course, New York City was the perfect backdrop for this. The story remains light and engaging throughout, but you do need to be okay with reading about cheating.


Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Best for fans of second-chance romances after grief and divorce

My Review: ★★★☆☆

I would read just about anything Monaghan writes, but the title of this one says it all. Summer Romance? Yes, please!

Everything is going wrong in Ali’s life, as a single mom and divorcee whose mother had died, when her dog claims a man for her — by peeing on him.

Since summer romances are so light and non-committal, she takes a chance. As they each help each other through some “hard stuff,” though, she starts falling hard.

This book balances the light and heavy sides of life just right. The heavy stuff makes the couple feel real, and the light stuff makes the book feel romantic. It’s not spicy, and it’s super breezy to read. It’s a great choice for fans of Abby Jimenez.


The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

  • Instant New York Times bestseller

Best for summer camp enthusiasts

My Review: ★★★★☆

The Summer of Songbirds is a delightful story with all those nostalgic summer camp vibes. It mixes the depth of real-life drama and conflict with the lightheartedness of a beach read.

Three decades prior, June developed Camp Holly Springs into a summer retreat for girls, including her beloved niece, Daphne, but now its future is at stake.

Meanwhile, Daphne and her old Summer camp friends Lanier and Mary Stuart are still in touch, navigating all of life’s “hard things” together as adults.

Lanier is engaged, but she is tempted by an old flame. Daphne is keen to a business secret about Lanier’s fiance that she can’t tell. At the same time, Daphne herself reignites the spark of an old flame (Lanier’s brother), which is a relationship Lanier has not been keen on.

These conflicts, along with the demons of addiction and the hardships of single parenthood, come to a head when the women unite to save the camp.

It’s not as dark as it may seem. The characters and their friendships feel both real and mature. These are women used to coping with “hard things” together, and they do so as they work on their love lives.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

  • New York Times bestseller and an Amazon Prime series

Best for fans of young adult dramas

My Review: ★★★★☆

The Summer I Turned Pretty begins a trilogy of summer love stories that follows teenage “Belly” as she, her single mom, and her brother visit their shared beach house with her mom’s friend and her two sons.

It’s about how a young teen starts to bloom from that awkward stage to that “getting noticed” by boys stage. But, as life in the beach house takes a difficult turn, the course of Belly’s teenage life forever changes.

If you like dramatic YA romance books, you are bound to enjoy it. I also very highly recommend the exceptionally executed adaptation.

Related Post: The Summer I Turned Pretty Books


This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

  • Instant #1 New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of steamy secret romances

My Review: ★★★★☆

This Summer Will Be Different transports the reader to Prince Edward Island for a picturesque love story with countless nods to Anne of Green Gables.

Years ago, while visiting her best friend Bridget’s beach house, Lucy had an electrifying rendezvous with Bridget’s brother, Felix. The problem? Bridget specifically forbade Lucy from falling in love with him. Over the years, their chemistry remains both palpable and secret.

Now, Bridget is getting married, and she frantically calls Lucy and Felix to the beach house just days before the wedding to help her cope with her own secret. Lucy and Felix must confront their feelings again.

This book made me want to jump on a plane! Beyond the perfect setting and lovable couple, there is also a good deal of spice for the steamy romance readers out there. It’s an excellent summer read.


Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Best for fans of the Gilmore Girls aesthetic

My Review: ★★★☆☆

In Well Met, a young and single Emily’s sister becomes injured in an accident, she moves to her small town for the summer to help her recover.  

She ends up volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenage niece. There, she meets and falls for the leader, who has a complex history with the Faire. 

It’s cozy and sweet, yet also unique. I loved the quirky vibes of the Faire!

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is the Summer of Broken Rules for?

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther is a young adult summer romance novel suitable for high school teens.

What books are like The Summer of Broken Rules?

If you liked The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther, you’ll like the young adult summer romance books Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, and The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty book series spicy?

The Summer I Turned Pretty book series is a young adult romance trilogy that is somewhat spicy. It is suitable for mature teens.

Conclusion

From sweet young adult stories to spicy adult novels, the best books about Summer romance will heat up your season in the sun. To recap and help you decide what to read, my top 3 picks are:

SHOP THE TOP 3

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