Ultimate Beach Reads 2022: The Hottest Summer Reads
*UPDATED Ultimate Beach Reads 2023 is HERE*
Ultimate Beach Reads 2022
The ultimate beach reads 2022 book list features all the books we’ve read since last April that we think are perfect for the beach. Each book features a quick review so you can pick your favorites. We have so many genres on this list, but they all have one thing in common: these books are hard to put down.
So, no matter what genre of books you love to read, you can navigate ultimate beach reads 2022, by using the links below. There are so many amazing books on this list, you better get a pen and paper ready.
*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.
Beach Reads 2022
Did you see our Summer Reading Bingo game last year? Be sure to check back because the new one will be coming in April. And you can look at the Beach Read Hub for all things related to summer reading. What beach read 2022 is at the top of your list?
Fiction / Historical Fiction / Women’s Fiction / Romance / Thrillers / Mysteries / Fantasy / Non-Fiction / Young Adult Fiction
Fiction Beach Reads 2022
The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
I want to scream from the rooftops about this family drama contemporary fiction set over the course of the lives of the Oppenheimer family. The Oppenheimer triplets have been averse to each other since they were born. On the brink of escaping to the freedom of college, their parents decide to have a fourth child.
Soon secrets are unraveling, choices are called into question, and sibling rivalry reaches a crescendo. This character-driven story is truly marvelous. Perfect for fans of Ann Patchett, Clare Lombardo, and family saga books.
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
This charming contemporary fiction story is about a 65-year-old British postman being forced to retire. As he takes stock of his life, he realizes he is lonely and he doesn’t want to be in the closet anymore.
As she sets about changing his life for the better, we are privy to flashbacks of his strict childhood. You’ll be rooting for Albert the same way you rooted for Ove. It’s such a wonderful feel-good book. You can find more books like this in our list of Books Like a Man Called Ove.
Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
I absolutely loved the GMA book club pick Oona Out of Order and it was on our list of the best of the year. I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint.
When the famous magician Violet Volk disappears without a trace, nobody can figure out where she went. Now, a decade later, her sister is wondering if Violet will finally reappear and if she can get some answers. Her fans still love and adore her but Sasha wants answers. Their relationship has left so many questions. As Sasha searches for answers, she will have to come to terms with the past.
I loved this book. It is so original and unlike anything that I have read. It is magical realism at its best which is not surprising coming from this author.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Don’t be fooled by the beachy vibe of this novel’s cover. Emezi has astounded once again with a searing novel about grief and the messy business of moving on after the death of a spouse.
Set against the lush backdrop of the Caribbean island, this contemporary fiction story finds Feyi traveling to stay with Nasir, whom she is sort-of dating while exhibiting her artwork. But when she meets his father, famed chef Alim, her interests are torn.
As she tries to heal away from her life in Brooklyn, her life becomes messier than she could have imagined. I loved Emezi’s raw prose about grief and was thoroughly entertained by the story they wove. I totally get why this Audie Awards 2023 nominee is considered one of the best audiobooks of 2022.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.
Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.
But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man who newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.
Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.
I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation because it’s my favorite book of 2022 and my pick as one of the best audiobooks of 2022. And if you are looking for more family drama books like this, check out the Ultimate List of Feel-Good Books to Brighten your Day. This contemporary fiction book is a 5-star read.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
Billed as Ocean’s 11 meets The Farewell, I found myself most closely comparing it to The Italian Job and I LOVED IT.
5 college students are hired by a Beijing art company to steal back relics stolen from the Old Summer Palace by colonists and now on display in famous museums the world over.
Each person brings their own talents (getaway driver, hacker, art historian, etc.) and their own dreams of what the life-changing sum they’ve been offered can mean for themselves and their immigrant families.
While it might sound frivolous, it’s actually a novel with a more emotional vein running beneath. One of longing to fit in, the struggle of straddling two worlds, and the quest for individual and collective identity as Chinese-Americans.
Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon
The mayor of the Italian town needs money to repair the town’s pipes, so he hatches a plot to drum up business in town by saying a famous movie star is coming to make a movie.
The next thing he knows, he’s having to make an actual movie starring the locals with no experience and the craziest script while keeping up the ruse that the celebrity is coming.
I laughed so hard at scenes in this comedic feel-good book that I woke up my sleeping husband. This was a charming book set in Italy and the perfect vacation read. It is a five star contemporary fiction book.
Vladimir by Julia May Jones
Vladimir is the hot new professor at a rural college. A recent literary success, he quickly becomes the obsession of a 58-year-old tenured female professor at the same school.
Said professor is our narrator and her inner dialogue was expertly crafted. She’s on the edge of scandal after her husband is accused of multiple affairs with students prior to those types of relationships being banned.
She knew about these affairs, had some of her own even, but she doesn’t want to be caught up in the fall-out. Instead, she fixates on Vladimir, a man 20 years her junior.
The subjects this dark academia novel explores are expertly navigated by Jonas, whose gifts as a writer shine in this debut. I would love to discuss this one with my book club!
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
A Read With Jenna Pick for February 2022
I absolutely loved this book that is a story about love, family and acceptance. It captured me from the first page with the story and the writing.
When Eleanor Bennett dies, she leaves a voice recording for her two children Benny and Byron. She wants to tell them things about her life that she could not say when she was alive.
While listening to their mother’s story, Byron and Benny learn about their mother, their family and about themselves. They try to piece their relationship back together. The novel looks at everyone’s life in the present and in the past.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Rebecca Serle has done it again with this book. Katy’s mother, Carol, has died and left Katy to take their trip to Positano alone. When Katy leaves she is uncertain about everything and whether she will retun to her marriage.
Then, the impossible happens, Carol appears at Katy’s hotel. She is in perfect health and thirty years old. She is not the woman Katy thought she new. As she gets to know her mother, she realizes more about herself. Beautifully written and a must read.
Love magical Realism? We have an amazing list of magical realism books for you to read.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
This is a beautifully written book about two women, their pasts, their stories, and their journey toward each other. Sara runs away from home at 16 after her best friend dies, leaving her brother behind. Emily is unable to find direction in her life as she jumps from major to major in school and from job to job.
This novel is a slow build that is very character driven. I enjoyed the writing and the last half of the book flew by.
With Love from London by Sarah Jio
I loved this book about a librarian who inherits a bookshop from her estranged mother. When Valentina was a teenager, her beloved mother left her to return home to her native London and never returned. Val was left heartbroken with her father.
Now, Val has returned to London to her mothers apartment and bookshop to try and understand her mother, her life and why she would leave. The change could not have come at a better time for Valentina who is going through a divorce of her own. This book was such an easy and wonderful read.
You can check out our other amazing books about bookstores!
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
I am so happy that I chose this book for the January Reading Challenge. It grabbed me from the first page.
Olga is a successful wedding planner for the elite in New York City who has been unsuccessful with finding love. Her brother, Pedro is a congressman who is hiding secrets. Both of them are running from their past and distancing themselves from their mother who has become a political militant.
As Hurricane season comes, the aftermath to their lives is more than they could have anticipated and causes them to face their deepest secrets and fears. This was my pick for the January reading challenge prompt to read a book being adapted to the screen.
We Are Not Like Them by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride
A book set in Philadelphia! This is the story of 2 local girls, who have been best friends since childhood. Riley is a black woman living her dreams of being a reporter, while Jen is a pregnant white woman married to a cop.
Their friendship is put to the test when Jen’s husband kills and innocent black boy while in pursuit of a thief and Riley is the lead reporter covering the case.
Told from the perspective of both women, this gripping story covers systemic racism in the police force while dealing with the nuances of navigating a bi-racial friendship.
This doozy of a book was enthralling and though-provoking. I was captivated from the first chapter.
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
February 2021 GMA Book Club Pick
Set in Barbados, this searing fiction story peels back the facade of paradise. Lala, the main protagonist in this story, felt alive to me as I read this powerful story.
A robbery gone wrong, a dead baby, a murder, drug smuggling, and more captivated me as I was consumed by the story within the pages of this book.
The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman
The quirky personality of Ava, the protagonist in The Very Nice Box, is reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant. Being inside Ava’s unique brain was a real treat.
Ava works as an engineer at a furniture company similar to Ikea. She has the same routine every day and is rather isolated socially until Mat Putnam bursts into her life.
As her backstory unfolds, this book goes from romance to thriller in the most delightful way. One of the most original vacation books of 2021. It’s a must-read for laughs and suspense.
Love Contemporary Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction carefully divided by genres.
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2022 Historical Fiction Beach Reads
Before the Crown by Flora Harding
After all the royal reads I’ve read over the years, I can’t believe this is my first story about The Queen’s romance with Prince Philip. With the Jubilee coming up now in England, this was a perfect read!
I was wondering about how Philip won the heart of then Princess Elizabeth, and this fictional story filled in some fun details. Think of it as a prequel to the first episode of The Crown in the best way!
Every royal-obsessed person needs to add pick from Books about Queen Elizabeth II to their TBR list and check out our list of books like the crown!
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
I loved this book set in a bookstore! Taking place just after WWII, the women of Bloomsbury Books are struggling to make their own way in the changing world.
We get to see alternating narrators, one of which was in Jenner’s first book, The Jane Austen Society. Each of the 3 females in the story are striving for their dreams and interacting with some of the most famous literary figures of their day!
I squealed with delight when Daphne Du Maurier appeared on the page, but you’ll see Peggy Guggenheim, Ellen Doubleday, and more scattered throughout this charming tale.
The Wedding Veil by Kirsty Woodson Harvey
Kirsty Woodson Harvey has done it again with this novel about 4 women and the wedding veil that has shaped their lives. I loved this book, the witty characters and their growth, as well as the mystery behind the wedding veil.
In Present day, Julia Baxter is engaged and feeling the pressure of wearing the wedding veil gifted by a stranger on a train in the 1930’s that has brought good luck to her family for three generations. She panics and with the help of her grandmother, she runs away from her wedding.
in 1914 Edith Vanderbilt is at a loss after her beloved husband died and is struggling to manage the massive Biltmore estate. She is torn between honoring the life and dreams of her husband and the huge financial burden of running the estate.
The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
I’ve been big on Gilded Age era books recently, so I knew I would love reading about the Frick family and their gorgeous mansion built in that time frame. The bonus was that this dual-timeline story also featured a missing pink diamond!
The story of Helen Frick and her assistant at a formative time in Helen’s life that coincides with Magnolia Diamond’s disappearance is riveting. As is the later timeline, told 50 years later, when a model and a Frick Museum intern are locked in the mansion overnight and on the hunt for the missing diamond.
I couldn’t put this story down. It might be my first Fiona Davis, but it won’t be my last!
The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull
I love stories about the Romanov Dynasty. Ever since I saw a collection of Faberge eggs when I was a child, the story of the last members of the Russian Imperial family has always fascinated me.
This historical fiction story revolves around the eldest daughter, Olga. Its dual timeline switches between the family’s life after the revolution and Olga’s childhood and the events that lead to the revolution in the first place.
We all know how this tragic story ends, so this book is all about the journey. I love that Turnbull focused on a sister other than Anastasia. It was quite well done and a great one for historical fiction fans!
Hotel Portofino by J. P. O’Connell
The newest Downton Abbey movie has the Crawleys headed to the south of France for a vacation! This makes me thrilled to have read this charming story of a Hotel in Portofino, Italy during the years just after WW1.
We get to see the new, British owners of the Hotel Portofino settle into running a hotel with their adult children. The guests are eccentric, there is a mystery around a piece of stolen art, and some romantic relationships coming together and falling apart.
In short, it’s a family drama perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, plus, it’s being turned into a show on PBS as well!
Our Kind of People by Carol Wallace
This is a family drama set in gilded age NYC. The family loses and then regains their fortune in transit speculation when their girls are becoming debutantes.
There are love stories but it’s really about how society was changing at the time with the old money vs. the newly rich. The author wrote a non-fiction book that was used for reference with Downton so she knows her stuff. I loved it! This book made me remember how much I love to read historical fiction books set in this era.
Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
Nell has always been different because of the birthmarks on her skin but she never expected that her father would use that difference to make a profit. When Jasper Juniper’s Circus of Wonder comes to town, Nell’s father sells her to Jasper as a leopard girl.
Jasper sees Nell and sets about making her into the star of his show and his ticket to stardom. When Nell starts to find friendship in her fellow performers and falls in love with Jasper’s brother Toby, the question is whether Toby can separate himself from Jasper and his past and whether Nell will take control of her story.
The Duchess by Wendy Holden
This intimate look at Wallis Simpson was wonderfully written. Never have I had compassion for the Duchess of Windsor in the way I did when I read this book.
Holden’s portrayal of this controversial historical figure focused on the time period when Wallis and King Edward fell in love, but also the time period after his death.
I actually felt bad for both the king, who clearly didn’t want the crown and the woman he both loved and used to get out of his royal duties.
Love royal reads? Check out the dozens we’ve rounded up here!
The Family by Naomi Krupitsky
I can see why this was chosen for the Read with Jenna Book Club. This historical fiction is unlike anything I’ve read before.
Set in the 30s and 40s in Red Hook, NY, this is the story of two girls born into the Italian Mafia. Sophia and Antonia are the best of friends, neighbors, and daughters of local mob members.
The story spans their childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood as they navigate their relationships with each other and “The Family.”
It was captivating and wonderful to learn about the lives of the women in the crime family.
A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe
I was interested to read this book about a housewife turned female informant for the FBI. I went in interested to learn about the government’s efforts to root out Communism in the 50s but stayed to understand Katharina’s story.
I can’t imagine being a wife in the 50s. The ideals that society put on women were just too much. Too many constraints, too many rules, and far too much judgment.
I loved seeing Katharina find herself through her undercover work, but sometimes those scenes of her life at home were hard to read about because I came to despise her husband.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters
Lady Emily and Lord Julian have come to an arrangement. He needs a wife to help his theater appear more legitimate in the eyes of society, she needs to escape the strain of living under her parent’s thumb.
So they decided on a quick wedding whilst staying with friends in the country. But when they get back to London, Julian realizes he might not want the perfect wife and Emily might just want to explore her freedom by finding her backbone.
Adorable and charming, this historical romance novel is perfect for our books like Bridgerton book list.
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
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Women’s Fiction Beach Reads 2022
Gilt by Jamie Brenner
Nothing says summer like a new book from Jewish writer, Jamie Brenner. Every book she writes keeps getting better and better. This story is told in dual timelines and will keep you turning the pages!
The Pavlin family is synonymous with the diamond engagement ring. When a publicity stunt pits the three daughters against each other, the winner will receive the Electric Rose- a massive pink diamond.
Now, 10 years later, Gemma Maybrook is devastated at the loss of her mother and is searching for the Electric Rose. The remaining two sisters are no longer speaking, the Pavlin name is in jeopardy, and Gemma is looking for answers.
An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan
Mure Island Series #5
Colgan takes us back to Mure, Scotland in the 5th (!!!) book of the cafe by the sea series. This time, Joel and Flora are FINALLY planning their wedding, but they aren’t on the same page about what it should look like.
Meanwhile, Olivia, Jan’s famous sister wants to throw an over-the-top wedding on the Rock that is making Flora just a wee jealous, while creating tons of drama around the island.
We see Jan become almost unhinged with jealousy, Lorna still nursing her secret passion, and Fintan trying to get over his recent loss too.
Please let us get a sixth book in this series!!! For more books by Jenny Colgan, we’ve got a list of all of her books ranked for your enjoyment.
The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
This is my favorite Elin Hilderbrand EVER. As usual, Elin’s storytelling revolves around a large cast of characters, this time employees of The Hotel Nantucket.
As we spend a summer with the staff and select hotel guests, we get to see what goes on behind the scenes of a luxury hotel. We see romances unfold and fall apart multiple scandals, demanding guests, and a ghost story!
I love how everyone’s stories folded together while revolving around the glorious hotel. If only I could visit this beach town resort this summer! This is one of the contemporary fiction books that is perfect to read this summer!
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.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
April 2022 GMA Book Club Pick
I don’t even know where to begin with this unique contemporary fiction story. Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 50s when women were expected to know their place in society — their place being the kitchen and the home.
Elizabeth struggles to be taken seriously in her field and as a single mother, in this amazing book. So when an offer to host a cooking show for women is put in her path, she reluctantly takes it.
She uses her no-nonsense attitude and chemistry principles to teach the women in America to not only cook but to follow their dreams outside of the home.
Zott is a quirky character like Eleanor Oliphant with a charming daughter and a dog whose inner monologue is as quirky as hers. An absolutely wonderful book about motherhood! You can find this book on our list of Books Like The Love Hypothesis as well.
The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews
The Homewreckers is basically HGTV with a dash of murder and I AM HERE FOR IT!!!
I adored this story about a fixer-upper reality TV series and its female lead contractor. From the dead body and subsequent murder mystery to the detailed home renovation discussions – this book has it all.
Throw in a beach setting and some renovation romances and it’s basically beach-read heaven. All hail Mary Kay Andrews and her amazing summer reads.
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Beth O’Leary has done it again with the No-show. The premise is simple. Three women are stood up on Valentine’s Day. As they try to overcome the embarrassment and stay in the relationship with their respective dates, secrets are told, love is tested, and not all is what it seems.
This may seem like a typical romance, but it’s really about each of the women finding themselves and what they need in a relationship. There is also a tragedy woven into the story that had me in tears at the end. The ways their lives interconnect is special and wrapped up beautifully at the end.
The Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector
I loved this charming tale about a famed emerald necklace found in the basement of a Parisian magazine. Soon, the writers from the magazine are trying to track down the origins of the gorgeous necklace.
As we learn about the necklace passing from one owner to the next, the mystery of the jewels unravels along with the lives of the writers looking for its secrets.
Compulsively readable, I adored all the various aspects of this debut novel. I look forward to finding out what else Amy Tector can do!
The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
March 2022 Good Morning America Book Club Pick
I was swept away by this marvelous story. Emma and Leo’s love story seems to be one of romantic legend. They have a charming daughter, Emma has just beaten cancer, and they have a wonderful life.
But soon Leo is discovering secrets from Emma’s past that don’t add up to the life Emma has described to him all these years. As readers, we see Leo trying to uncover who his wife really is and Emma trying to prevent him from doing just that.
This book was not what I was expecting but I can’t stop thinking about it. The twists and turns had me second-guessing so much of what I had read. It’s a story of love, strength, mystery, and secrets. An absolute must-read.
Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
This Bollywood retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma is a sweet and easy-to-read book that brings Emma to life in a whole new way. This book would be a perfect beach read for 2022.
Kamila Hussain lives with her dad and is trying to keep him healthy after a few health scares. She works with him at an accounting firm and spends her free time volunteering with animals and matchmaking.
When her secret nemesis comes back to town, her world is turned upside down.
The Liz Taylor Ring by Brenda Janowitz
This book has all the elements of the perfect beach read. Family drama, gorgeous jewelry, and a cast of characters you’ll adore!
Lizzie and Richie’s love story has its shares of ups and downs, but after a 9-month separation, Ritchie gives his wife an 11-carat Diamond ring styled after Elizabeth Taylor’s.
Decades after the ring was stolen, or missing, or gambled away (depending on which of their children you ask) and long after their parents have passed, it resurfaced in the Caymans. The ripple effects of the ring and the drama it created, threaten to tear the 3 grown siblings apart.
I adored every character in the book and loved watching their personal growth and the way it impacted their family relationships. If you love books like this, check out our list of family drama books.
The Husbands by Chandler Baker
Ladies, get your book clubs geared up for Chandler Baker’s newest novel. It’s part mystery, part social commentary, but it’s the latter that packs a punch.
Baker examines the mental load that women carry as wives and mothers, particularly working women, and how it differs from what society expects of men.
A murder in the desirable Dynasty Ranch neighborhood has lawyer, and prospective buyer, Nora looking into what happened. With all the step ford style husbands she is meeting, she’s starting to wonder what kind of place Dynasty Ranch is after all.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
June 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
Nina Riva is having her annual summer party that is famous for its epic scale and exclusivity. But this year, the party will end with devastation.
Nina and her siblings are famous children of one of the biggest rock stars of all time and they each have their secrets.
I have loved the last two books by Taylor Jenkins Reid so much that I often recommend them to friends for their universal appeal. I had high hopes for this book but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I enjoyed the book but I felt that it was a little drawn out at times.
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2022 Romance Beach Reads
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
I adored this romance. Nora is a mother of two kids who writes romance novels for television. When her husband leaves her, she writes it into a script that is being made into a movie.
Enter handsome movie star who asks if he can pay her to stay at her house. He needs to get away from the scene. The romance that takes place is sweet and doesn’t follow the usual formula.
I loved reading this book. It was hard to put down.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
As soon as I saw what this book was about, I knew I wanted to read it. I love Emily Henry books. Nora is a literary agent who is a shark for her clients. Her life is books and will stop and nothing for her job or her little sister, Libby.
When Libby begs Nora to take her to Sunshine Falls, the setting of one of her most famous books, she reluctantly agrees. When they get there, the town does not look anything like the book describes. In addition, her literary nemesis, book editor Charlie Lastra is in Sunshine Falls.
Now, Nora and Charlie find themselves together in a plot twist neither of them could see coming. This amazing romance about books is perfect for our list of Books Like The Love Hypothesis and is a must-read if you loved the book.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Olive Smith is a Ph.D. student who does not believe in her ability to be in love. When her best friend develops a crush on someone she dated briefly, she decides to kiss the first man she sees in order to prove she is over him.
That one kiss happens to be with THE Adam Carlsen, an academic genius. The two decide to fake-date and what starts out as pretend, becomes something more- for Olive. I loved this fake dating, office romance novel and it has a well-earned spot on its list of the best romance novels of all time. If you love this book as much as we did, check out our post: Books Like the Love Hypothesis to Obsess Over
The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall
When Freya is left a the altar by her fiance, she’s not sure how she’s going to get through the wedding season ahead of her. Soon her friends have a plan – Freya must perform a series of challenges at each of the 7 weddings she’s going to attend.
In the process, she tries to put her relationship behind her and get over the heartbreak while celebrating her friends and loved ones. This charming tale had me smiling and cheering for Freya and her heart.
Love a good wedding story? Check out these fiction books about wedding season!
The Suite Spot by Trish Dollar
This charming story was an absolute delight. I fell in love with Rachel and Mason and their friends-to-lovers story.
Rachel’s little girl is a delight too and I like that the conflict in the romance wasn’t about Mason and Rachel’s relationship so much as something that had to do with Rachel as a single mom.
This sweet story is perfect for a quiet moment of reading; preferably rocking on a swing in the backyard at dusk with twinkle lights overhead.
Hook, Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey
This is such a cute romance. Fox Thorton is a player who has never had a relationship. The last thing he needs is to fall for his best friend, Hannah, while trying to help her get her crush. And to make matters worse, she has moved into his spare room for the next few weeks while she is filming a movie.
I wish there was a soundtrack to go with this book. It was such a cute and quick read.
Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles
This story is so adorable! It’s Love Actually, Quarantine edition. It’s not a scary pandemic read AT ALL. Instead it’s an interwoven tale of various couples stuck together for a week long lock down.
There is a group of bachelorettes, a new couple who have only shown their good sides to each other, an established couple struggling, a man separated from his girlfriend, and my personal favorite – a one-night stand turned week long visit.
Charming and hysterical, this book lifted my spirits and had me laughing out loud.
By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate
What is there not to love about this book? Lanie is an editor and is given the chance to work with her idol- THE Noa Callaway. Noa is late on her next manuscript and Lanie has to help her with her writers block. That shouldn’t be a problem- even if nobody has met Noa in person.
This romance was so much fun to read. Any book about books gets extra points and this one check even more boxes with the light and fin story that was easy to read.
How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan
I’m a SUCKER for any fiction story that has a home renovation story in it. Add in a swoon-worthy neighbor, a charming best friend, and a second home renovation and I’m pretty sure this is the perfect romance for me.
I absolutely adore this book because their was no stupid break-up halfway through, just an enemies-to-lovers couple learning to communicate in their new relationship. A perfect romance for Valentine’s Day.
Resting Beach Face by Melanie Summers
Melanie Summers is back with the 4th book in her Paradise Bay series. These Rom-Coms are always laugh-out loud funny, which is why I read one every vacation!
This particular story tells the story of Hadley, the resort dance instructor, finding herself and reconnecting with her childhood best-friend Heath. Heath….who just happens to have been in love with Hadley for his entire life.
The Arc by Tory Henwood Horn
Ursula is a very successful VP of Strategic Audacity. She has everything that she could want in her personal life except a partner to share it with. When She hears about The Arc, she is intrigued. This very exclusive match making company uses science to match you with your perfect match using assessments from your sleeping habits to smells that attack you. The price tag is high but is it worth it?
When Ursula is paired with Rafael it seems to good to be true. Can love ever be guaranteed? This romance is so unique and fun. I loved it!
Flock by Kate Stewart
This steamy book is the first in The Ravenhood series by Kate Stewart about modern day Robin Hood type characters and the woman who falls for them.
Cecelia is spending the year with her ultra-rich, distant father in order to gain her inheritance and get her mother out of poverty. But when she falls in with the wrong crowd, she loses her head and her heart.
Immediately upon finishing, I jumped into book 2 which is even better. It’s gritty and dark and has lots of steamy sex scenes so this book is not for the faint of heart.
The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu
Jasmine has found herself in a ru working at her parents donut shop. She wants to do something else but, she is not sure what. When there is a rent hike and the business is threatened, Jasmine will do everything she can to save their livelihood.
When Jasmine’s college crush named Alex reappears, this adorable rom-com has all the ingredients for a great story. While I did put this on the list of beach reads for 2022, I should give a warning that it will make you very hungry, for donuts in particular!
Highland Games by Evie Alexander
I gushed about this on Instagram, but I’m gonna gush about it again here too. I love a good Scottish romance, which longterm readers know because of our Outlander book list.
This one has Zoe deciding to pack up her London life and move into the rustic, decrepit cabin on a castle estate her uncle left for her when he died. The problem is Rory, the castle’s caretaker, wanted the cabin for himself.
Rory starts messing with Zoe to get her to leave Scotland, but when he realizes he needs her help, sparks fly! This is the first in a new series about Rory and Zoe and their Scottish hometown.
It was charming, funny, STEAMY, and heartwarming. I personally can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
On Location by Sarah Smith
Alia has finally received the break that she has been waiting for: a chance to produce her own show about Utah’s national parks. Everything should be perfect until the new crew member turns out to be Drew.
Drew is the man that Alia met and had an amazing date with who then ghosted her. Now, they are together in the wilderness with nowhere to escape. To make matters worse, the host of the show is MIA most of the time which is leading to disaster.
I love that Alia is a strong women who is a problem solving powerhouse. This light romance was a fun read.
Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
Laura is a romantic who is a lifestyle reporter. She specializes in segments in which people tell the romantic ways they met. Unfortunately, she has never met the guy and it doesn’t help that her parents’ love story was epic.
When she goes on a work trip to Jersey and picks up the wrong suitcase, she is hoping that this may be the start of her own meet-cute. As she travels around the island simultaneously uncovering parts of her parents story and searching for the suitcase man, she begins to uncover secrets as well.
This book was a perfect, imperfect romance for beach reads 2022.
The Name Curse by Brooke Burroughs
Bernie is nothing like her great aunt Bernice. Bernice was adventurous and spontaneous while Bernie has not taken a vacation in years.
When her friends and family convince her to go on a hike to Alaska, Bernie can’t find an excuse not to go. When she meets Matthew on the trailhead and discovers that the two will be sharing a tent, he is clearly annoyed and she questions her choices.
This romance was such a fun read. Bernie and Matthew are funny and sweet and I loved every minute.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
I loved this romance that seems loosely based on the the tv series the Bachelor. Dev is a producer on the long-running television show Ever After where he crafts love stories to get people to fall in love.
When the show casts Charlie as the Prince Charming, Dev will have to put in more work than he bargained for. Charlie is only on the show to restore his image so he can go back to work and he certainly does not believe in true love. As Dev tires to coach Charlie in ways to connect with the contestants, Dev and Charlie realize they might have more chemistry than any of the contestants. This is such a great romance. It will leave you smiling.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
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Thriller Beach Reads 2022
The Change by Kirsten Miller
May 2022 Good Morning America Book Club Pick
Kirsten Miller delivers a killer magical realism novel about a trio of women who receive powers after going through menopause. The point of their powers is to bring to justice men who rape and kill women.
I was thoroughly entertained by this beach town mystery that pit the women against billionaire men around them. As usual, GMA delivers with its latest pick.
The Club by Ellery Lloyd
March 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
This book was a WILD ride and I loved every exhilarating twist and turn! The Home Club is clearly based on members-only celebrity clubs like SoHo House but the newest Home Club is opening on a private island and features an opening weekend to die for.
Literally, because it’s a murder mystery. Except we the readers don’t know who is murdered, how, or why at the beginning…but instead we are treated to various narrators telling the points of view of the weekend as it unfolds.
The layered approach to telling the story of the celebrity shenanigans and the murder of a key figure in the Home Group family had me flipping through the pages of this book. A truly enjoyable beach read!
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
This is the Ultimate Beach Read Thriller! It’s all about 2 girls who hire a couple to charter them a boat to a deserted island.
But the island isn’t so deserted after all. As their relaxing trip turns deadly, we learn about the back story that brought each person to their destination.
It’s a wonderfully addicting read that is great in audiobook format and a perfect read for beach reads 2022.
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
This incredible story about a trio of ballerinas in Paris is a thriller and a feminist commentary all in one. I could not put it down!!!
It’s all about the tolls dancing takes on the physical and mental well-being of Paris’s premiere ballerinas. With some #metoo moments in here as well, this is a great one for book clubs!
I loved it so much when I listened to it that I tried to steal Jackie’s copy in this funny Instagram reel.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
My favorite thriller writing duo did it AGAIN. LOVED this book about a couple in therapy for infidelity. But their therapist isn’t any therapist, she’s got an extreme method guaranteed to fix issues in 10 sessions.
The twists and turns of this story kept me on my toes, but the writing kept me HOOKED. I think I finished it in one sitting.
We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz
A thriller that had me on the edge of my seat! Two best friends, Emily and Kristen, commit an accidental murder on vacation in Cambodia when they try to stop Emily from being sexually assaulted.
But the following year in Chile, it happens again. As Emily begins to suspect something is off with her best friend, she starts trying to distance herself from Kristen. But Kristen wants to keep Emily close.
With a narrator that is unreliable because she can’t seem to trust her own instincts or memory, the twists and turns keep coming with this thriller.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
👏 👏 👏. Okay, Sandie, I see you! I loved this slow-building drama/thriller about an old group of college buddies gathered again for a wedding.
The story was a slow build but the final chapters were FIRE. I couldn’t put it down. I do not want to ruin anything by giving too many details about this book but, it is a must-read.
The Family Plot by Megan Collins
CREEPY THRILLER VIBES ALERT. The premise of this book is perfect for true-crime documentary fanatics.
The Lighthouse children are named after famous murder victims. They live in a creepy house, known as murder mansion to locals, and live an isolated life.
After their father dies, Dahlia and her two siblings return home for the first time since her twin, Andy, disappeared 9 years earlier. When they bury their father, they find Andy’s body already in his family plot.
Dahlia vows that she won’t leave again until she uncovers Andy’s murderer, but the family secrets she unearths might turn her into the next victim.
Love Thrillers? We created the Ultimate List Thrillers carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
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2022 Mystery Beach Reads
The Appeal by Janice Hallett
I was utterly charmed by this unique murder mystery! The premise is great – a detective duo has been given a stack of correspondence (text and emails) and asked to read through and determine who was murdered, why, and who was wrongly accused.
Of course we readers get to come along for the ride – reading their post-it notes or texts to each other as they try to solve the mystery. I was desperately trying to solve it along with them but I was stumped!
The ending was truly shocking and the many twists and turns had me flying through the story. I read part of it and listened to part. Both formats make for a wonderful experience! This is one I’ll be recommending for years to come!
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
Buckle up for a stunning story in Lisa Barr’s newest book, Woman on Fire. Jules, an ambitious investigative journalist, is working on a story about a piece of art that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
But she’s not the only one looking to track down Woman on Fire. Margaux, a gallerist and art thief, also wants to get her hands on the painting.
As we learn the origins of the painting and the many hands it switched to over the years, we also discover the dark underbelly of the art world.
I was ENTHRALLED with this novel about art. I’ll be putting this pick from mystery books on every must-read list we do this year. It was thrilling and informative. Buy it now, and thank me later.
Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price
I read the first book in Price’s mystery retelling of the Austen classics last month for our Austen retellings post.
As you can tell from the title, this particular book is a retelling of Sense and Sensibility – with the Dashwood sisters out to figure out who murdered their father!
I loved seeing how the well-known characters would play a role in this clever retelling. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. While a mystery is not always great for the beach, this retelling was a perfect pick for our list of beach reads for 2022.
Homicide and Halo-Halo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery) by Mia P. Manansala
In this second Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery, threats have been made at a beauty pageant and Lila Macapagal has her eyes open and sleuthing goggles on and ready to go.
This mystery is definitely not as light hearted as the first in the series as Lila is dealing with issues from PTSD to reliving her own past as a beauty pageant contestant.
When there is a murder and Lila’s cousin Bernadette is the primary suspect, Lila makes sure that family comes first. There is a lot of growth in the characters in this second book. It ends on a happy note which gives a nice balance to some of the heavier topics.
The Maid by Nita Prose
January 2022 Good Morning America Pick
Molly works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.
When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.
I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would live up to my expectations. I did that and more. I loved every minute of this book and closed the last page smiling.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
February 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
I adored this mystery set during the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. It’s told from the perspective of Christie’s husband’s mistress and it is utterly absorbing.
There are layers of mystery throughout, with a side of love story. I never felt I would be able to sympathize with a mistress but I was cheering for her by the end. If you love a good mystery, this is a must-read.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
I raved about this book when I read it earlier this month! Well-chosen, Reese! The story of a stepmother and her daughter as they try to find the girl’s father after his abrupt departure.
This mystery has so much heart as you see Hannah bond with and try to protect her new stepdaughter, Bailey. I did not see the ending of this book coming, but absolutely adored it.
Dial A for Aunties by Jessie Q Sutanto
I heard great things about this romantic comedy/ murder mystery mashup. It sounds like the weirdest combo, right? If you want a beach read for summer 2022 that will make you laugh, this is the one.
Meddelin Chen has an amazing, meddling Chinese-Indonesian family. Meddelin and her four Aunts run a wedding business together. When Meddelin accidentally kills her date and he ends up in a cooler at a wedding with two thousand people, what can go wrong?
This comedy of errors is being adapted by Netflix and if it is anything like the book, it will be amazing too.
Are mysteries your favorite genre? We created The Ultimate List of Mysteries carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
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Fantasy Beach Reads 2022
The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais
I am a huge fan of Ms. Marais’ writing. I read her previous two books and was so excited to read this one because fantasy is my favorite genre. This book did not disappoint. The writing is beautiful and very much Marais’ style and the witches in this book are hilarious. They are witty and funny and there is never a dull moment in the Manor.
The magic in this book is woven seamlessly into the story that has non-stop surprises. The book begins with the people of the town descending onto the manor with a wrecking ball to destroy it and the distillery and leave the witches homeless. They are left with less than two weeks to save their house but in order to do so, they must reveal long-kept secrets.
I do not want to give anything away. This family drama book made me laugh out loud often and shed a few tears as well. I absolutely loved this witch book and it is a definite must-read from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.
The Cartographers by Peng Sheperd
There is so much to this pick on our books about secret societies that I do not even know where to begin. Nell Young is a cartographer who has not talked to her father in seven years since he humiliated her, fired her, and ruined her reputation over a seemingly worthless map.
Now, he is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library with the worthless map he fired hidden in his desk. Now Nell is curious about the real meaning behind the map. When there is a break-in at the library the next day, Nell is in more danger than she thinks. I do not want to ruin anything but this mystery, dark academia, magical realism book has it all and I loved it.
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
It’s official. I will read anything that Jennifer Saint writes because she nails it every time!
Elektra is told from the perspective of three women linked to famed ruler Agamemnon. His wife, Clytemnestra, his daughter, Elektra, and the Troy princess, Cassandra.
Starting with the Agamemnon sacrificing one of his daughters to the gods of war, we see how these three women’s lives are impacted by his involvement in the Trojan War and how trauma can have a profound impact on those that experience it.
In Elektra, Saint once again weaves a masterful tale of greek mythology. She’s the modern-day Homer and I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next!
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
I love a good mythology retelling, but usually, I read Greek mythology. Kaikeyi is a retelling of a story well-known in the Hindu religion.
While I can’t attest to the accuracy of the tale, I can say that I was utterly captivated by the story of Kaikeyi’s life. I learned that she is a villain in Hindu but I found Patel’s narrative so compelling that I felt for Kaikeyi and supported all of her decisions.
If you are a fan of Ariadne, Circe, or other mythological retellings, you must pick up this book. It’s wonderful.
The Inheritance of Orquidé Divina by Zoraida Córoda
I do not know how to begin to describe this wonderful and complex adult fantasy. The characters are deep and the magic from this story seeps from the pages
The Montoya family is summoned to their grandmother’s house to collect their inheritance. They are hoping to obtain answers from her before she dies. They are used to living with secrets and unexplained phenomena.
But when Orquidea Divina is transformed into a tree before their eyes, they must seek the answers themselves.
Gilded by Marissa Meyer
I love Marissa Meyer’s ability to transport us into the world of fairy tales. This haunting Rumpelstiltskin re-telling left me wondering what happens next.
Serilda is very good and telling lies. Her stories make a wonderful pastime for a miller’s daughter even if they do get her into trouble most of the time. When her lies capture the attention of the Erlking, she must accompany him and his undead Hunters back to his home and complete an impossible task. You guess it- she must spin straw into gold.
This story is dark and creepy and also has no clear ending- be forwarded.
Do you love Marissa Meyer? Be sure to check out Books to Read Like the Lunar Chronicles!
The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I don’t know what took me so long to read this amazing book. I heard such great things and I did not want to be disappointed but, I was also afraid that it would be dark. Somehow, despite being about the god of Death, this was not a dark or heavy book.
Casiopea lives in her grandfather’s home with her mother where she is forced to clean. She dreams of leaving someday. When she accidentally frees the Mayan god of death, he attaches himself to her and she must go with him to free him from his brother’s curse.
I loved this book and its completely unique story.
The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Flora and her brother are pirates on the Dove. In order to protect her identity, she has become Florian and is tasked with protecting Lady Evelyn on the ship until the time she can be sold.
Flora does not intend to fall in love with Evelyn and when the two free a captured mermaid, they change the fate of more than just her.
I am so glad that someone recommended this book to me. It is one of those books that really did not get the visibility that it should have. This book is so well written and is filled with magic while also exploring the power of love.
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Just when I thought that nothing could top the Caraval series, Stephanie Garber writes this book. This YA fantasy will not disappoint her die-hard fans and for those that have never read Caraval, you can fall in love for the first time. I absolutely loved this book.
Evangeline Fox was raised in her father’s curiosity shop where she grew up learning about the legends. When Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry her stepsister, she offers the prince of hearts anything in exchange for stopping the wedding. This deal takes Evangeline to the North where the real adventure begins.
I cannot wait to read the next book in this series and I might be reading this one again because it is the perfect summer 2022 beach read.
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
I absolutely loved this take on the traditional greek stories surrounding the Trojan War. They are all told by the women in the mythology which is certainly a perspective that doesn’t get much play.
Penelope’s chapters in particular had me laughing out loud. I can’t recommend this one more to greek mythology lovers.
Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune
How many stars can I give? T.J Klune has done it again with the wonderful book. House on the Cerulean Sea was my favorite book last year and I am not sure that anything will top it. I read it in a day and loved every minute of this wonderful book.
Wallace is dead. When the reaper collects him at his funeral and brings him to a strange tea shop, Hugo is waiting with the promise of helping him cross over. This light fantasy will make you smile until the last page.
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2022 Non-Fiction Beach Reads
Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans
Maiden Voyages looks at the ladies who worked Ocean Liners like the Titanic and the unbelievable challenges they faced. I was in awe as I listened to this story of ships being sunk by icebergs and wartime submarines.
The stories of unruly passengers, hurricanes, and the sacrifices of leaving their families to help others were unbelievable. I was so engrossed that I kept forgetting the book was non-fiction.
If you love women’s history, the history of travel, or stories about the Titanic, this is the book for you!
Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (forward by Diana Gabaldon)
This hysterical book is part history and part comedy. Stars of the Outlander TV series, Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie Fraser) and Graham McTavish (AKA Dougal MacKenzie) go on a road trip with each other.
Along the way, they tell funny stories and experience Scotland’s rich heritage. I laughed out loud multiple times at their antics, and then promptly watched their show Men in Kilts on Starz. This is a hilarious choice for a beach read for summer 2022 and be sure to check out our other books for Outlander fans.
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton
This audiobook is performed by Dolly Parton as she weaves the story of her life with her music. She tells the stories behind her most famous songs and also gives insight into her history.
https://amzn.to/3NJGtASDolly Parton is an amazing woman who is a huge advocate for literacy. She talks a little bit about her Imagination Library which is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth through age 5. To date, this library, which started in 1995, has mailed more than one million books!
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Young Adult Beach Reads 2021
Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean
The sequel to Tokyo Ever After delivered the same rich details about Japanese history and customs, as well as covering the expectations of the royal family.
Izumi is learning all of these things thanks to her new tutor, Eriku, a handsome young man around her age. She’s desperately trying to be the perfect princess so that her parent’s wedding will be approved.
But should she be sacrificing who she is for their union? And what about her growing feelings for Eriku? This story was charming and delightful. I’m hopeful we will get another story in this series.
Reputation by Lex Croucher
Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice? YES, PLEASE! Georgianna is thrust into the world of the Regency elite in. Lower class Georgianna is thrust into the elite circle of regency society, and it might just be her downfall.
This bitchy, riotous take on the regency era had me gasping with shock and flipping the pages at the speed of light. I would love to see this story adapted to the big (or small) screen.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
Reese’s Bookclub YA pick for November 2020
This is an adorable YA romance that had my tea loving heart at the title but, the story was sweet and had me turning the pages. But fair warning, you will be hungry while reading this book.
Lila is leaving Miami to spend the summer in England with her mom’s best friend as a way to help Lila’s mental health. With the unexpected break up with her boyfriend, her best friend leaving after graduation and the death of her beloved abuela, Lila’s life is not where she thought it would be.
Slowly, with new friends and a new city, Lila starts to see a different side of life and maybe change is ok.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Tiffany Brooks
Although this book does not have magic, it does have a deadly game that gave me Hunger Games vibes the minute I read it.
When a group of high school students are brought to a deserted island for a reality show like survivor, nothing is at it seems. As the competitors search for a treasure that has been lost long ago, things start to go very wrong on the set. And local curse does say 7 will die before the treasure is found.
This book like the Hunger Games will keep you turning the pages until the last sentence and the setting is perfect for our ultimate list of beach reads for 2022.
Anna K by Jenny Lee
This modern day YA retelling of Anna Karenina was SO GOOD. It’s set in NYC at an elite prep school with total Gossip Girl vibes.
Manhattan’s teenage elite are partying, shopping, and hosting incredible parties. Anna K is torn between her long-term boyfriend and her attraction to Count Vronsky.
There are enough twists to make it interesting, but it was such a wonderful escapist read. I can’t wait to tackle the sequel!
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Hello Dark Academia. Centered around Devon and Chiamaka, the only black students at an elite private school, this is one wild thriller.
After being chosen by prefects on the first day of their senior year, Devon and Chiamaka quickly become the targets of the mysterious Aces – a dangerous gossip girl type character out to ruin their lives.
I was on pins and needles as this thriller unravelled, addressing systemic racism in private institutions in the process.