No sooner does July throw on her bikini and head for warmer temperatures do the ‘Beach Read’ lists emerge. Romance and tropical escapes are perfect for suitcase and sun-lounger. But what if you need a little darkness in your seasonal reading? Or a sprinkling of old-Hollywood glamour?
Our selection’s got you covered – 10 BookTok favorites to take you places, even if a staycation’s more your speed:
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – This lively romance features perhaps the most public meet-hate imaginable: after tabloid rivalry leads to an international incident, Henry and Alex find themselves on an enforced image rehabilitation tour. Read for: West Wing (Bartlet Era) feels, boys with enviable hair and ‘sponcon’.
@saxamophone The Harry Potter refernecs have been changed in #redwhiteandroyalblue #rwrb #harrypotter #hptiktok #drarry #booktok #fanfic ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: A YA crime novel that doesn’t patronize, calling all armchair detectives to a cold case in a small English town. Under the guise of a school summer project, Pippa sets out to clear the name of fellow student, Sal Singh, suspected of killing his missing girlfriend Andie. Read for: An update on the plucky-girl detective – Pippa’s a little Nancy Drew, Amy Santiago and a touch Lisa Simpson.
@its.gwen2 Reply to @bvymr this series is amazing! #booktok #booktokph #bookish #bookrecommendations #AGGGTM #agoodgirlsguidetomuder #fyp #foryou #foryoupage ♬ She Knows – J. Cole
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins: when a grande-dame of cinema chooses an unknown to write her biography, Jenkins creates an irresistible set-up. Imperious, pragmatic, and beautiful: Evelyn relates her escape from difficult childhood into success with wit, raunch and guile. Of course, the novel hints that Monique just needs the right vehicle for her talent and Evelyn’s choice isn’t mere caprice. Read for: that dress!
@cowboylikesel my brain was working in swifty mode while reading the seven husbands of evelyn hugo 💚 #thesevenhusbandsofevelynhugo #taylorswift #taylorjenkinsreid ♬ original sound – sel
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: A New York story as non-natives imagine it, told in grimy restaurants and apartments, in abrasive conversations and endless relationship dramas, A Little Life follows a tight-knit group of young creatives trying to make their way. The story coalesces around the gifted but troubled Jude St. Francis. Far less about plot than Jude’s pain, Yanagihara’s novel sometimes stretches credulity. Read for: friendship a universe away from Central Perk.
@kwehhhhhh can’t wait to regret this decision 😬 #booktok #booktokph #alittlelife #hanyayanagihara #traumabook #sadbook ♬ The Foundations of Decay – My Chemical Romance
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: Unlucky Olive and fastidious Ethan are last pair standing after a family wedding ends in gross-out, mass outbreak disaster. This highly convenient circumstances lead to the pair going on honeymoon in place of the ailing couple. The catch? Ethan and Olive loathe each other. No prizes for guessing what happens next… Read for: food for every mood.
@alexs.library what book are you currently reading? ✨ #bookchallenge #booktok #bookishthoughts #bookishtiktok #theunhoneymooners #christinalauren ♬ original sound – luttewrites
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: Sensuous and rooted in the physical, Miller’s revisionist myth follows Greek hero Achilles from ‘small, slight boy’ to man. Exploring the eternal cycle of disappointed fathers begetting unhappy sons, it grants both a richer inner life. Read for: tasting the blood, sweat and oil of the ancient world.
@_the.twilight.zone_ This is my magnum opus #songofachilles #achillesandpatroclus #soa #booktok #fyp #annotating #annotations #achilles #patroclus #madelinemiller #book ♬ soulmates – americab2004
Beach Read by Emily Henry: A meta-work that begs for a place on lists like this, Henry’s rom-com proves the genre’s conventions alive and well. January, a die-hard romantic and Gus, a cynical lit-bro, have writers’ block and need a shakeup. Cue a bet to see who can get a book done first, Gus trying his hand at romance, while January attempts literary ‘sad-boy angst’. Read for: repartee and dismantling of prejudices, as Gus and January find passion and publication.
@lauryns_library Beach Read by Emily Henry 📖☀️🧡 it’s amazing!! #books #booktok #bookrecommendations #nabooks #romance #enemiestolovers ♬ talking to the moon x play date xxtristanxo – xxtristanxo
How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie: Wickedly funny, with shades of Killing Eve’s Villanelle, Mackie’s anti-heroine is, clever, bored and incarcerated. She’s also serving a sentence for a crime not her own. The novel’s framed by her confession: to nothing less than the murder of 6 members of her own family. Read for: rollicking, amoral wish fulfillment and an almost incidental revenge plot.
@maisieandmarie Umm should I be concerned by Maisie’s new book?? 😳😹 #booktok #bookclub #blackcatsoftiktok #catsoftiktok #cats #foryou #bellamackie ♬ This family makes me want to murder people – Kai and Damon 🥃🩸
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley: Thick with menace from the first page, Foley’s twisty thriller centres on the exclusive apartment building of the title, where every resident harbours a secrets. None more than charming writer, Ben, who’s oddly unpopular. The head-hopping narrative teases with the opening mystery of just why Ben’s such a malign influence and why he seems to have vanished. Read for: a claustrophobic view on the City of Light.
@courtofgabi czytacie thrillery? #booktokpl #theparisapartment #lucyfoley #bookrecommendations #fypシ #foryoupage #bookclub #dlaciebie #booktokpolska #booktok #dc #wydawnictwofilia ♬ sonido original – 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒂[𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒂]⚯ ͛
No Longer Human by Osamu Danzai: While not a conventional summer read, Danzai’s melancholic novel evokes the decline of traditional Japanese civilization, as Western mores take an ever-greater hold. Considered Danzai’s seminal work in an influential career, it’s also a study in urban alienation which feels highly relevant. Read for: Donald Keane’s crystalline translation and a haunting, cathartic parallel to many modern lives.
@sammip123_ IM SORRY WHATS UP BOOKTOK #booktok #nolongerhuman #dazaiosamu #bungoustraydogs ♬ original sound – thatonedazaipfp