They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but they also say not to meet men at bars and the best option is to meet through shared hobbies, and that’s gotten me about as far as the distance one can safely travel on one of those motorized scooters. Which is to say, about 5 feet before face planting! But I’m not here to gripe about my dating life (today). I’m here to help you judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you want to read a good beach reach (and for that, might I recommend my Summer Reading List?), and sometimes, you want to just Instagram your book cover on the beach. With this list, you can do both. I’ve rounded up the best summer reads that have a lot going on and are pretty to look at (aka what my dad says about me when asking why I’m still not dating anyone). Check out my favorite Instagrammable books that also happen to be good books.
‘We Came Here To Forget’ By Andrea Dunlop
This novel is quickly being hailed by the likes of Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Popsugar, and most importantly, Betches! Duh. First of all, the cover is a gorgeous cotton candy sunset, which will look great on your feed (no filter necessary). But the actual book itself has themes similar to The Act and a twist that will take you by surprise. I won’t say any more. I will say that this book has it all: sisters, a former Olympic athlete running away from her problems, a tropical locale with sexy strangers… you’ll love it.
‘Natalie Tan’s Book Of Luck & Fortune’ By Roselle Lim
Okay, definitely don’t read this book at the pool or beach unless you have plenty of snacks on hand, because it will make you hungry af. This one follows Natalie Tan, a young woman who returns home to San Francisco after her mother’s death (safe to say, Natalie’s relationship with her mom was complicated). With no real path in life (or formal training) but a love for cooking, Natalie decides to revive her grandmother’s legacy and reopen her family’s Chinese restaurant.
‘Ayesha At Last’ By Uzma Jalaluddin
This is a romance novel in the sense that it actually details a blossoming romance, and not in the sense that it’s a euphemism for a book with a lot of sex. It’s not! Ayesha At Last and the main characters, Khalid and Ayesha, explore issues like arranged marriage, what it means to be a good Muslim, how to deal with workplace discrimination, and a whole lot more! All while trying to find love, follow their dreams, and live up to their families’ expectations. I don’t want to spoil it because there’s so much that goes on in this book, but all of it fits together and none of the plot points feel random, despite there being sooo many subplots. This was a fun read, and a nuanced portrayal that is necessary in 2019.
‘The Perfect Son’ By Lauren North
Picture this: your husband dies suddenly in a tragic accident. You have your young son to take care of by yourself. You have an overzealous brother-in-law who’s pushing you to give him control of your deceased husband’s finances, plus a grief counselor-turned-best-friend who might have ulterior motives. Who do you trust? Where do you turn? That’s what the main character, Tess, is grappling with in The Perfect Son. The triller is told in two alternating time periods that come together at the very end, with a very big twist.
‘American Royals’ By Katharine McGee
You guys know I loved Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor series, and American Royals did not disappoint. Just in time for the 4th of July, American Royals is set in a world where the American Revolution never happened, and the U.S. is governed by a monarchy. There’s Beatrice, the next in line for the throne (and America’s soon-to-be first queen), who is perfectly composed and follows all the rules. Then you have troublemaker Samantha and her twin brother, Jeff. They all have to navigate typical young adult problems like falling love, deciding what to do with their future… oh yeah, and governing one of the most powerful countries in the world. All without f*cking it up.
‘What Red Was’ By Rosie Price
Is this a fun read? Absolutely not, but it’s a completely necessary read (and the cover is very photogenic). What Red Was follows the lives of Max and Kate, who become best friends at college (or, “uni”, as they say in England, where this novel takes place), despite growing up with very different backgrounds. But then, an act of violence changes Kate’s life, and her and Max’s friendship. I’m sure you can all guess what that act of violence is. Again, this book is a hard read, but it really is one you need to push through.
‘The Enlightenment of Bees’ By Rachel Linden
When Mia West is dumped by her boyfriend on their 6-year anniversary (the bastard) and she’s let go from her job (the bastards), the life she had envisioned for herself falls all the way apart. So what’s a girl to do? She joins her roommate on a humanitarian trip from Mumbai to Budapest to chase a long-forgotten dream she’d put on the backburner. But can her dream deferred become her new reality? (Check me out, a regular Langston Hughes over here.)
‘When We Left Cuba’ By Chanel Cleeton
First of all, the cover of this book is an actual portrait of how I’m trying to be all summer. If the name Chanel Cleeton sounds familiar, it’s because her 2018 novel, Next Year In Havana, was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. The highly anticipated follow-up takes place in 1960s Florida in the wake of Fidel Castro’s ascent to power. Protagonist Beatriz (a throwback to those of you who read Next Year In Havana) feels suffocated by Palm Beach’s snobby high society, and is determined to escape. So she’s recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle (naturally), which finally gives her the chance to be more than just a superficial debutante. Of course, with the stakes so high, Beatriz is going to fall in love with the wrong man…
‘The Wedding Party’ By Jasmine Guillory
Guillory’s third novel takes on the classic enemies-to-lovers romance that I’m honestly considering putting into practice in my real life (because if the guys I actually like are all assholes, maybe I should look towards the ones I hate?). ANYWAYYYY, in this romance novel, Maddie and Theo have two things in common: a mutual best friend, and a hatred of each other. That mutual friend’s wedding puts these two frenemies in close proximity, and you know how people get with weddings. Emotions run high, physical attraction runs higher. Will they get attached? I won’t tell you, but the answer is probably yes.
‘When’s Happy Hour’ By The Betches
Look, not to toot our own horn, but we make some pretty nice looking books. And they’re nice to read, too! Our third book is all about how to boss tf up in your career. But not in like, a boring self-help way. We’ll tell you what to do (and how not to f*ck up your life) in a funny way. And the color is sooo perfect for your feed, especially during the summer.
‘Dear Wife’ By Kimberly Belle
Beth is planning to leave her abusive husband, which means she’s at her most vulnerable. Every move has to be carefully planned out, because one slip could leave her in grave danger. At the same time, hundreds of miles away, a husband returns home to find his wife missing, leaving behind only her car, with no signs of foul play. The detective on this case is piecing things together. See if you can piece them together first.
Images: Amazon (10)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.