Summer reading season is the best time of my reading year. The slower paced summer season encourages me to savor books. It’s also when I read the most non-middle-grade fiction. If you’re building your list of summer books for 2023, this list has some great options.
Everyone defines vacation reads differently. For some people, it’s a book set on the beach or at least in the summer. For others, it’s anything propulsive they can speed through on a plane, by the sea or in late night binge read session. Whatever your flavor, there’s something for you on this list!
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Fun Summer Reads for 2023
Here are 15+ great summer books for 2023:
The Mona Lisa Vanishes
This is a fun middle grade non-fiction book about the history of the Mona Lisa and how it became a celebrity after a failed heist. I’m about 20% into this already and it’s super intriguing. History and art lovers will enjoy this one.
If you haven’t seen this book yet, you might be living under a rock! This Oprah’s Book Club pick is reminiscent of Little Women and chronicles four sisters’ lives and their relationship with William, a young man who comes into their lives. I’ve heard it’s a tearjerker!
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club
I’ve never read anything by this author but I love food books and he seems to do them very well. I have his debut novel waiting on audio and I’m excited to dig into this one over the summer. It’s a saga following a couple from two restaurant families and how they get through the ups and downs of life.
There Goes the Neighborhood
This debut young adult novel is about a girl who, worried about her neighborhood’s gentrification, starts a pretend gang with her friends. But the plan goes south when their pretense leads to fatality.
The Happy Traveler
Besides reading, one of my other hobbies is traveling! My husband and I are taking a long-ish trip this summer, so when I saw this book I was intrigued. I’m already a few pages in and it’s an interesting psychology-based look at why vacations may be unsatisfying for some people and what they can do about it.
I read every book Elly Swartz writes (Smart Cookie, Finding Perfect, and Dear Student) but this one seems like her best yet. It’s a dual perspective story about two friends and the summer/lie/accident that changes everything between them.
I started this one today and I’m enjoying it! It’s a story following three Asian Americans — a man, his daughter, and a lawyer who lives in the building where the man is a doorman — and an event that causes their life paths to intersect. So far, it’s very character-driven but still engaging.
When the Vibe Is Right
I LOVED Sarah Dass’s debut YA novel (especially on audio) so I’m looking forward to this enemies-to-lovers novel also set in her hometown of Trinidad and Tobago. It seems to also be more lighthearted than her debut which had a light grief theme.
When a father goes missing after an outing with his mute son (who returns unscathed), a family is thrown into chaos. I’m so excited about this family-mystery release.
Make a Move, Sunny Park!
This is another sophomore release from Jessica Kim, whose debut I loved. It’s about a socially anxious girl stepping out on her own from a frenemy/toxic friendship and finding belonging in dance and K-Pop fandom.
The Secret Book of Flora Lea
I saw this on the Modern Mrs. Darcy summer reading guide and was intrigued! It’s about a woman who receives a book with personal connections only her dead sister knew about.
You Could Make This Place Beautiful
This memoir has received rave reviews from my network of readers. I couldn’t get into it on audio so I’ve gotten a hard copy and I’m looking forward to cozying up with it this summer.
This is another family drama (do you see a theme?) about a wealthy family in Brooklyn. I’ve heard it’s fun, lighthearted and sometimes far-removed from the lives of the everyday people? I can’t wait to find out.
You Bet Your Heart
This is another debut YA title — romance this time — about two competing overachievers, fighting for the title of high school valedictorian. It’s out May 30, but I have an ARC and I’m hoping to read it soon.
I Have Some Questions for You
Here’s another buzzy title that I’m hoping to get to this summer. It’s a murder mystery and coming of age story whose synopsis reminds me a bit of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, but for adults.
Bomb (The Graphic Novel)
I started reading this graphic novel adaptation, about how the first bomb was built, a few weeks ago, but got distracted during summer reading guide season. I’m hoping to return to it soon.
The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels
I’ve heard great things about this middle grade mystery for Knives Out! fans.
This book is another family drama about a Vietnamese-Canadian family and their battle to protect their nail salon when a new high-end option opens up. Of course, there are plenty of family secrets to go around too. I started this last week and so far, it’s funny and insightful.
Hope in the Valley
Mitali Perkins is a popular YA author so I was excited to see her middle grade debut. I would’ve loved to feature this book in the Summer Reading Guide, but only got approved for the ARC this weekend. It’s about gentrification, friendship, and growing up.
There they are: 15+ of the best vacation reads for 2023! Which of these books have you read? Which ones are you hoping to read? I’d love to know!
More Summer Book Lists
- 2023 summer reading guide for middle schoolers
- 5 books with senior protagonists
- Great graphic novel adaptations for kids and adults
What do you think? Leave a comment