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What to read while lying on the beach
The sun is out, it’s cracked thirty degrees for the first time in months and Pentatonix have dropped a new Christmas album: I am officially ready for summer. Even though Melbourne weather probably has at least one more cold spell in store, I can’t wait any longer. I am getting out my sundresses and prepping my reading list for when I’m lying on the beach.
Here are some of my top recommendations for relaxing summer reading.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Belly loves spending her summers at Cousins Beach with Susannah and her sons Jeremiah and Conrad. Everything good happens between the months of June and August. Jeremiah and Conrad are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, things start to really change in Belly’s life for the first time.
The summer beach holiday vibes in this book are so immaculate, I honestly find it really easy to forget that this is supposed to be a love triangle romance instead of an atmospheric scene setter. This novel captures the essence of how brilliant summers feel when you’re in your teenage years: untouchable spaces where you are in control of your life for once. Jenny Han sends Belly off on the beginning of her coming of age journey to learn new things about herself and the world.
I haven’t read the two sequels It’s Not Summer Without You and We’ll Always Have Summer yet so I suspect all three books will be coming to the beach with me this summer for a big reading session.
It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood
When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.
There’s something magical about the way that Nina Kenwood writes. Natalie is an anxious teenager trying to navigate the summer after graduating high school, between family and friend drama (or lack thereof) and figuring out who she is. It Sounded Better in My Head is touching, funny and heartfelt.
We Who Hunt the Hollow by Kate Murray
Seventeen-year-old Priscilla Daalman’s entire family are Hollow Warriors: legendary monster hunters charged with killing evil beasts from beyond our universe. Unsatisfied with her particular power, Priscilla attempts a desperate ritual to enhance her abilities and she accidentally triggers a frightening new power: the power to summon monsters from the Hollow itself. Now, Priscilla must protect her loved ones – her heartbroken ex-girlfriend, her mysterious new boyfriend, even her fierce warrior family – from supernatural monsters, and also from herself. Because if her power gets out, all hell will break loose and Priscilla will risk losing everything.
I always find that holidays are the perfect time to get stuck into a good fantasy book. Devoid of my usual responsibilities and distractions, I have the headspace to dive into a new, complex and fascinating world. We Who Hunt the Hollow is an exciting and thrilling fantasy story. I’ll definitely be picking up the new sequel We Who Are Forged in Fire to find out how Priscilla’s story ends!
Here for the Right Reasons by Jodi McAlister
When Cece James agrees to be cast as a ‘Juliet’ on the next season of the hit television show Marry Me, Juliet, it’s certainly not for the right reasons. She’s knee deep in debt and desperate for the associated paycheck. The last thing on her mind is the hunky ‘Romeo’ waiting for her at the end of the gravel driveway, Olympic gold medallist Dylan Jayasinghe Mellor.
When Cece gets eliminated on the first night, it seems like her and Dylan’s awkward first meeting will be their last conversation. But when the TV set is shut down unexpectedly, Cece and Dylan suddenly get a little more time together than they’d expected.
Author extraordinaire and Australia’s resident Bachelor expert Jodi McAlister nails it with this reality TV-inspired romance. If you’ve ever been curious about the behind the scenes of reality TV, Here for the Right Reasons is a fun, imaginary glimpse into falling in love while the cameras aren’t rolling.
The Ballad of Cauldron Bay by Elizabeth Honey
The Stella Street gang – Henni, Danielle, Zev, Frank, May and Briquette – pack up their stuff for the summer and head off to Cauldron Bay for a holiday in an old beach house. When a new girl, Tara, intrudes on the trip, reveling in boys and trendy fashions, the friendships begin to unravel with new social challenges and pressures.
The Street Stella books are childhood favourites of mine and The Ballad of Cauldron Bay is the gang’s tale of beach adventure. Elizabeth Honey does a wonderful joy of painting beautiful and complicated friendships amidst the struggle of growing up and growing apart.
The Deep End by Jenna Guillaume
After Rosie humiliates herself in front of the whole school at the swimming carnival, she vows she’ll never step foot in the water again. Well, until Jake Tran, the best swimmer (and hottest boy) in her year, offers to give her swimming lessons. Against all the voices in her head screaming that it’s a bad idea to go near the water, she takes him up on his offer.
If you’re not looking to make too big of a reading commitment on a holiday and you’re in need of something short and sweet, then The Deep End is the perfect fit. This novella is packed full of teen angst and romantic tension. Australian YA romance queen Jenna Guillaume delivers on an emotional and entertaining story.