Judging books by their covers: Vacation reads

For most of us, it’s bitter cold this time of year, and the perfect time to get away for probably a much-needed vacation. We’re focusing on books about vacation in this edition of judging books by their covers, bringing you some of our favorite books that evoke a touch of wanderlust. If you can’t get away to enjoy some sunshine and sea, take a dive into these books. These are our favorite books that conjure up vacation vibes!

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

What’s better than a two-week family vacation to the island of Mallorca? Franny and Jim are celebrating 35 years of wedded bliss, and Sylvia has just graduated high school so there are many reasons to celebrate. But during the vacation, there will be humiliation, rivalry and secrets revealed – the perfect recipe for a family vacation!


Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Nantucket summers were the norm for the Levin family, at least until 1969 when everything changes. Thirteen-year-old Jessica is stuck at the summer home with her grandmother and mother as her older siblings are unable to get away for the annual beach retreat. When some pretty big secrets come to light, the whole family is affected, and summer is not what it used to be.


The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

Couples struggling in their marriage can find hope at The Harmony Resort, run by Drs. Miles and Grace Markell. With intensive therapy at the luxurious setting, things can only get better. But when a storm hits and everyone is trapped, it is more than marriages that might need to be saved.


On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

On their wedding night, expectations and marital duties become overwhelming for newlyweds Florence and Edward. A decision they make that night will affect them throughout their lives. Beautifully written, this bestselling book touches on the sexual expectations, fears, fantasies and romantic ideals of one young couple.


The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

Briggs is working as a personal assistant the summer before college where he will live on Lake Michigan in a Victorian home. His new boss is an eccentric 84-year-old woman, and the next-door neighbor is a mysterious girl who doesn’t succumb to Briggs’s charm. A summer filled with nothing he anticipated or expected, it is also a summer Briggs won’t soon forget.


Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

When three generations of Kelleher women come together at the family beach house, it will be an unforgettable summer in Maine. Maggie is pregnant – unbeknownst to her boyfriend; Kathleen is the black sheep who wants nothing to do with the family or the cottage; and Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is domestically frustrated. Matriarch Alice struggles with the memory of an event that happened long ago while the four women navigate through the summer with one another.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

A would-be love affair that starts in Italy is rekindled 50 years later in Hollywood. Funny and romantic, reading Beautiful Ruins is like taking a literary vacation.


The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

When Annette books a cruise for her entire family to celebrate her 70th birthday, she hopes that everyone will actually behave like a normal family. But that’s not what happens. Sibling rivalry and secrets, mixed in with two teenagers, will make for a disaster of a trip on the open seas. The Feldmans will have to learn to come together as a family and realize that they need each other to stay afloat.

*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

Stephanie Elliot

Stephanie Elliot writes for a variety of websites and magazines on topics such as parenting, mental health issues, relationships, and of course, books. She is an editor and book reviewer. Stephanie is also the author of the young adult novel, Sad Perfect, which was inspired by her own daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband and their three children. For more info, visit www.stephanieelliot.com.

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