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There’s no single defining factor that determines a good beach read: it just has to be engaging enough that it’ll distract you from small children kicking sand on your towel and that one guy playing 2012 dubstep out of a UE Boom.

So, whether you’re into historical fiction, romance, memoir, sci-fi or modern fiction, here’s a collection of new and old beach reads that are perfect for a sweaty beach day (or for sheltering in the aircon).

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Bloomsbury

About the book:

Book two of fantasy-sexy-romance queen Sarah J. Maas’ new Crescent City series is out, and if you’ve haven’t read book one, pack them both for your ultimate sun bathing companion.

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar have made a pact. As they process the events of the Spring they will keep things – platonic – until the Solstice. But can they resist when the crackling tension between them is enough to set the whole of Crescent City aflame?

And they are not out of danger yet. Dragged into a rebel movement they want no part of, Bryce, Hunt and their friends find themselves pitted against the terrifying Asteri whose notice they must avoid at all costs. 

Category: New Adult Fantasy

Release date: February 15 2022

Price: $22.50 (down from $29.99)

Hot tip: Thanks to a partnership between Booktopia and FANE Events, if you order your copy before 5:30am, February 17 you can enjoy a special night-in with said faerie queen Sarah J. Maas via digital livestream. Check it out here.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson 

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin

About the book:

Wilkerson’s first book has been described as “2022’s most unforgettable debut” and is set to be turned into a Hulu series produced by the one and only Oprah Winfrey, so get on it now!

Black Cake is a moving and powerful debut which spans sixty years in the life of one Caribbean/American family

Eleanor Bennett won’t let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children – Byron and Benny – reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.

First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past.

Category: Fiction

Release date: February 15 2022

Price: $24.74 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin

About the book:

I know: it’s been on every book recommendation list since 1892. But if you’ve never cracked into it and you’re looking for the perfect enemies-friends-lovers romance, P&P can’t be beaten. Plus, it’s not too heavy to put in your beach bag.

If you’re too hot and sticky, the images of dew-covered English countryside and chilly downpours will definitely take you away.

When Elizabeth first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lovely mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

Category: Romance

Release date: 1813

Price: $12.25 (down from $12.99)

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin

About the book:

As you might’ve guessed this one’s set at the beach, so if you’re more of an aircon than an IRL sun exposure person let yourself be swept away by the romance while avoiding actual sand.

January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie. Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.

But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think, They’re both broke. They’ve got crippling writer’s block. And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.

The result? A bet to swap genres and see who gets published first.

Category: Romance

Release date: 2020

Price: $17.25 (down from $19.99)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin

About the book:

A favourite of both TikTok and Reese Witherspoon (solid recommendations there), this fictionalised oral history has a TV adaptation out soon! A good one for any Fleetwood Mac fans out there.

From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation. Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They sold out arenas from coast to coast.

This is the story of their incredible rise- the desire, the rivalry – and the music.

Then, on 12 July 1979, Daisy Jones and the Six split up.

Nobody knew why. Until now…

Category: Fiction

Release date: 2020

Price: $12.00 (down from $19.99)

The Beach by Alex Garland

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin

About the book:

This 1996 novel is a classic coming of age-r which, according to Booktopia, is about “paradise found – and lost”. Plus, it’s literally called The Beach. Can’t get more beach reads-y than that!

Backpacker Richard lands in East Asia in search of an earthly utopia. In Thailand, he is given a map promising an unknown island, a secluded beach – and a new way of life. What Richard finds when he gets there is breathtaking: more extraordinary, more frightening than his wildest dreams.

But how long can paradise survive here on Earth? And what lengths will Richard go to in order to save it?

Category: Fiction

Release date: 1998

Price: $22.25

Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin Random House

About the book:

One of the most anticipated books of 2022, this recently released publication traces the lives of two Taiwanese American women over two decades of friendship. So, if you’re planning a beach holiday with pals, bring them a copy too.

Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition–qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure.

When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.

Category: Fiction

Release date: January 4 2022

Price: $22.98

The Lonely Hunter by Aimée Lutkin

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Penguin Random House

About the book:

If you’re into non-fiction, here’s one for you to flick through on the sand. This one explores everything about love, specifically whether it’s possible to live contentedly alone.

‘So what’s going on in your love life?’ This seemingly innocent question at a dinner party prompted Aimee Lutkin to finally tell the truth: it had been six years since her last relationship, and she was starting to suspect that it would be better to accept the life she had as a single woman – a life she liked very much – rather than keep searching for a partner. But Lutkin’s answer was met with uproar; surely she couldn’t give up on love? So she threw herself into dating, going on two dates every week over a number of months.

Lutkin explores the reality of sexual relationships today and reveals how the cultural messages we receive shape our expectations of love. From weird Tinder hookups to the way the self care industry capitalises on our fear of being alone, and from the complexities of queer dating to the truth about the ‘loneliness epidemic’, she uses her experiences to fearlessly tell a wider story about how we love now.

Category: Non-Fiction/Memoir

Release date: February 10 2022

Price: $29.40

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
HarperCollins

About the book:

From the author of best-selling YA dystopian novel Shatter Me comes this new fantasy epic inspired by Persian mythology.

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
 
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom – and the world.

Category: YA Fantasy

Release date: February 2 2022

Price: $15.47 (down from $17.99)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Pan MacMillan

About the book:

Set in Sydney’s Northern Beaches (not California like the TV show), glittering wealth makes this a perfect compulsive read for lazy days in the sun – aka, the ultimate beach reads material.

Parents behaving badly … a tragic accident … or murder? What isn’t in doubt is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with: witty, noisy and passionate. She remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. But perfection is often an illusion. Jane is a single mum with a mysterious past who carries a sadness beyond her years.

These three women, all with children starting at the same school, are about to tell the little lies that can turn lethal. 

Category:  Mystery/Fiction

Release date: 2015

Price: $18.75 (RRP $19.99)

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang 

Litty Committee’s Hot Summer Reads Cos It’s Somehow Both Beach *And* Staying Inside Weather
Faber Factory

About the book:

Everybody loves a good mystery, and this one was voted by Goodreads readers as the most anticipated mystery of 2022.

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. But when the brothers reunite in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last.

Before long, brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo is found dead―presumed murdered―and his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers. As the spotlight on the brothers tightens Dagou, Ming, and James must reckon with the legacy of their father’s outsized appetites and their own future survival.

Category: Fiction/Mystery

Release date: February 1 2022

Price: $39.40