Editor’s Note: It’s the last day of July, but we’ve still got plenty of summer days ahead of us. And if reading hasn’t topped your family’s list this summer, check out this summer beach reading list, curated by teen bookstore owner Annabelle Chang. We wrote about Chang’s Studio City bookstore, Annabelle’s Book Club LA, earlier this year, and we’re delighted to share her book recommendations with our readers.
“Bad Summer People” by Emma Rosenblum
Set in an exclusive beach town in Fire Island, Emma Rosenblum’s captivating murder mystery follows five friends who all have something to hide on this seemingly perfect vacation. Despite the impending drama, the summer begins the same way it always does until a dead body is discovered. As the group’s secrets, betrayals and lies are exposed, it is quickly revealed that none of the friends are particularly good people — and there may even be a murderer among them. Glamorous and darkly entertaining, Rosenblum’s debut is the perfect summer read, especially if you love “The White Lotus” and “Big Little Lies” as much as I do.
“Getting Clean with Stevie Green” by Swan Huntley
Swan Huntley’s unforgettable novel follows 37-year-old Stevie Green who, despite being a complete mess in every way, moves home to La Jolla to start a booming decluttering business with her sister. In turns laugh-out-loud hilarious and deeply poignant, “Getting Clean with Stevie Green” is a thoughtful and wholly original story about healing, the unbreakable bonds of friendship and family and the teenage selves we always carry with us. Swan’s book, which was one of our book club picks this year, is sure to inspire thought-provoking discussions, lots of laughs and a sudden urge to organize everything in your life.
“Loveboat, Taipei” by Abigail Hing Wen
Whenever Wong’s parents encourage her to join her cousins for a cultural immersion program in Taiwan, she expects her summer to be filled with strict supervisors and boring classes. Instead, she is shocked and delighted to discover that the renowned program, called Loveboat, is secretly a non-stop party where romance abounds, nightlife thrives and adults turn a blind eye to the chaos. I am so excited to see the book’s lively setting and compelling characters come to life in Paramount+’s film adaptation “Love in Taipei,” which you can watch on Aug. 10.
“Sunshine Nails” by Mai Nguyen
“Sunshine Nails,” a family-run salon in Toronto, is the pride and joy of Vietnamese refugees Debbie and Phil Tran. With many years of hard work and tireless perseverance, Debbie and Phil have created comfortable lives for themselves and their children. But when a glamorous chain salon opens across the street, their livelihoods are suddenly at stake. Desperate to save the business that supports them and means so much to their family, Debbie and Phil enlist the help of their daughter, son and niece to sabotage the rival salon. But soon, as relationships are strained and their morals are called into question, Debbie and Phil must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to save their salon. A thought-provoking celebration of resilience, community and the unmatched power of family, Nguyen’s debut is an absolute must-read this summer and all year round.
“Same Time Next Summer” by Annabel Monaghan
From the author of “Nora Goes Off Script” comes a charming, nostalgic romance about a newly engaged woman whose summer trip to Long Island goes completely awry when she accidentally reunites with her first love. Even worse, the place she is visiting with her fiancé — where they are supposed to be looking at wedding venues — is the same town that she and her ex-boyfriend, Wyatt, spent nearly every summer as kids. Filled with Monaghan’s signature humor and romance, “Same Time Next Summer” is the perfect addition to your beach bag this August.
“Vacationland” by Meg Mitchell Moore
A shocking page-turner about family secrets, motherhood and privilege, Vacationland follows two half sisters – an NYU professor and a waitress – who have an unforgettable summer when they meet for the first time at their parents’ beach house in Maine. If you love “Vacationland” as much as I did, you will be equally obsessed with Moore’s other bestselling books, “Two Truths and a Lie” and “The Islanders,” which are just as compelling and completely unpredictable.