The 13 Best Poolside Reads for Summer 2023
While there are few things more fun than sitting poolside with a great book, we have taken a different spin on these poolside reads! Every one of these books has a pool on the cover!
So no matter what you are in the mood to read, these poolside reads have a little bit of something fun for everyone.
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The Best Fiction Poolside Reads
The Guncle by Steven Rowley
Steven Rowley is a writer who has mastered the art of storytelling. With his signature wit and humor, this book tackles love, loss, and growth.
When Patrick’s sister-in-law dies and Patrick’s brother needs to go to rehab, Patrick takes custody of his niece and nephew for 90 days. Patrick is basically David from Schitt’s Creek with snark and sass. He treats the kids like mini-adults in the most delightful way.
I am such a fan of Steven Rowley and each book provides depth and insight into people at their best and worst. While this is a book about grief, you will find yourself laughing out loud multiple times throughout. It’s a poignant reminder of the importance of family. If you have not read this contemporary fiction book yet, what are you waiting for?
The Lido by Libby Paige
I picked up this contemporary fiction book and couldn’t put it down. I loved it from start to finish. It was such a great read that is really in the spirit of “A Man Called Ove.”
This intergenerational story of friendship, love, and overcoming personal obstacles, touched my heart. Kate is a reporter whose dreams of becoming a star reporter have dissolved into writing fluff pieces for a small, local newspaper.
She is almost paralyzed by her own fears and loneliness. When she is assigned to write a piece about a local lido closing, she meets Rosemary Peterson. Rosemary is 86 years old and has been swimming at the lido her entire life. The unlikely friendship between these two women is heartwarming and you won’t want to put it down.
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
What can I say about this book other than the fact that it is non-stop fun? It is a book equivalent of a soap opera. Every character has secrets that will be exposed.
When Ruby decides that she is going to marry her boyfriend Gabe after living together in her parent’s house throughout the pandemic, secrets from the past will emerge and every single relationship is threatened. This book is perfect for the beach and is the perfect summer read.
Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer
I started the book at the beginning of the pandemic and was not in the headspace to read anything. I am glad that I was able to finish the book. It is fun, light, and filled with ridiculous antics.
This book is hilarious in a War of the Roses meets Real Housewives kind of way. This is one of the poolside reads that will have you laughing out loud. It is silly and predictable, but fun nonetheless.
Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin
This book is a fictionalized account of the TomKat relationship that was the talk of the town for quite a few years. The story is told from the perspective of the wife, Lizzie Pepper and we get a faux look at the world of Scientology and Hollywood. It’s over the top in the best way possible.
Perfect for a list of poolside reads, this book is pure entertainment.
Stay up with Hugo Best by Erin Somers
The book takes place over the Memorial Day weekend after the famed comedian, Hugo Best, retires from his late-night comedy show. June, a former writer’s assistant on the show (and a stranger) is invited by Hugo to stay with him for the weekend.
The book is told entirely from June’s perspective as she spends the weekend with the man she’s idolized since childhood. Despite the 30-year age difference, June is prepared to spend the weekend enjoying Hugo’s splendid mansion as well as his bed. But all doesn’t go to plan.
What could have been simply a fluff read, turned into a commentary on what the pursuit of fame does to a person, his family, and his values. Instead of a riotously fun weekend, June is at the epicenter of Hugo’s downfall. This book is fun but complicated, the characters are richly drawn, and the writing kept me flipping the pages and laughing out loud numerous times.
Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2023
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
The Best Thrilling Poolside Reads
The Fall Guy by James Lasdun
A married couple has a summer houseguest at their lovely seaside home, but when the three find themselves ensnared in a trap of secrets and hidden passions, the vacation takes a turn for the worst.
This is one thrilling poolside read you don’t want to miss.
The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman
Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought I was going into a family drama like The Vacationers by Emma Straub, but it opened with a murder. I literally sat up at that point and thought “well, well, what have we here?”
It was a dynamic family drama with secrets, lies, and tension…and the whole time I was trying to figure out who had committed the murder and why. I loved it! Truly a perfect summer read and a perfect pick for poolside reads or for anyone who lives Emily Henry books.
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
I was expecting a true thriller with this story, but it was more of a mystery. Diana is an aloof, strict parent and mother-in-law, but no one expected her to be murdered. Lucy, her daughter-in-law, struggles to understand why Diana acts the way she does, but the readers get a chance to see into Diana’s thoughts and we realize that her intentions aren’t quite what they seem on the outside. I fell in love with the story of Diana and Lucy’s relationship. The mystery of who killed Diana and why was the cherry on top of this delightful story.
Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis
Well, this book was such a treat! It takes place at a seaside resort over one fateful weekend. We get a glimpse into the lives of the various guests and what brought them to the resort.
Oh, and did I mention it opens with a woman falling to her death by the resort pool? Was it a murder? Was it a suicide? Was it an accident? And which of the guests is the victim?
The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda
I was a HUGE fan of Rouda’s debut novel, The Best Day Ever, so I eagerly dove into this novel. Jane was a total sociopath. I found this book to be more predictable than the last story, but I enjoyed it anyway.
Minor spoiler… but had the murderer of Jane’s daughter actually gotten away with it, I think it would have been a better book. This is one of the poolside reads that is on the creepier side.
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
Poolside Reads: Romances
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegmind Broka
This is an adorable romance about writers. What could be better for a book lover? Katrina and Nathan are cowriting literary darlings that have not spoken since the release of their last book, three years ago. It also happens to be their greatest success.
Now, they have one more book in their contract and they are forced to come together and write it. Stuck together in a small house and writing a romance with someone you never wanted to see again…that can be stressful enough without feelings getting involved. Poolside reads? Yes, please!
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
July 2020 GMA Book Club Pick
Kevin Kwan is such a fun writer. I loved Crazy Rich Asians and this book is just as witty. However, this book deals with some more serious topics as Lucie Churchill find herself torn between the world of her father’s family and their WASP ways and her American-born Chinese mother.
Lucie finds herself undeniably drawn to George Zao. When she meets him again 5 years later while with her fiance, things become more complicated. I love the way Kwan deals with the complex emotions in a story that is funny and completely engaging.
What poolside reads are you adding to your to-read list this summer?
Beach Read Hub
Get ready for your next vacation or moment relaxing in the sun with one of the books we recommend on our beach read hub! Your one-stop shop where summer and reading meet for relaxing fun.
Summer Reading Challenges, the yearly Ultimate Beach Reads list, poolside reads, and more book lists all in one place.