The Five Best Summer Beach Reads.


I am (and always have been) a voracious reader. My favorite way to spend a lazy Saturday is under a blanket, with a big mug of tea and whatever book I’m binge reading. When I was home on Cape Cod for a week, I went through four books, which is pretty standard for me. When I pack for vacation, I’ll always pack at least three or four books (and I refuse to buy a kindle, it has to be a real book that I can hold in my hand.) I’ll read anything… my taste spans from classics to business books, to downright embarrassing and lowbrow (I love YA.) Today I’m rounding up my five favorite beach reads… I devoured each one of these!

1) Everybody Rise, by Stephanie Clifford. I’ve always been fascinated by New York society and the social-climbing that (I would imagine) comes with it. This was juicy. You find yourself loving and hating the main character all at once as she tries to pass herself off as old money… making some really terrible decisions along the way. Clifford has been called a modern day Edith Wharton and I can totally see why. It’s set in Manhattan in 2006 and provides an inside look at the Upper East Side, designer wardrobes, debutante balls, society etiquette, and so much more. I was transfixed, and couldn’t put it down.

2) The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. You know a book is really good when you are late to dinner because you got out of the shower, sat down in your towel, and thought to yourself… “I’ll just read a few more pages…” only to finish the entire book. This happened. As someone who spent the last four years working in fashion/tech, I really enjoyed this one. If you work in the industry you’ll find yourself nodding your head and laughing as you pick up on uncanny resemblances for some of the characters. It’s like The Devil Wears Prada, but better.

3) The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. If the authors of this book sound familiar, it’s because they’re the Fug Girls! I’d been a big fan of their site for a long time but I wasn’t sure if I’d love reading a whole book about the royals. (I’m just not an obsessive royals person.) But it was so, so good. It’s basically (very imaginative, awesome) Kate Middleton fan fiction. The character development here is great. It’s bad because I see Kate & Will and think that they are Nick and Bex (the two main characters). You really feel like you know the characters, inside and out. It’s a bit longer, but I wished it could go on forever.

4) Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave. I read this one while in Sonoma, which was fun as the book is actually set there. Do you know when something goes wrong in your life, and then you expect things to get better and they just keep getting worse? That’s what happens here. The author has a life changing event, and returns home only to find secret after secret unraveling at her family’s winery. I thought it was very real and raw and managed to perfectly capture the complexity of relationships. That being said, I still managed to finish it within an afternoon.

5) Summer Secrets, by Jane Green. I’ve been a big Jane Green fan for years now, ever since reading Jemima J, and was excited that she had a new book coming out. I read it in one day. It follows the main character from her late twenties into her forties, dealing with her battle with alcoholism + single motherhood…  after a shocking family secret is revealed. Similar to Everybody Rise, she makes a lot of mistakes… but you really come to root for her. I fell in love with both of the main characters.

What are you reading this summer? I always love reading all of your recommendations!

Leave a Comment


  1. Anne says 8.21.15

    Everybody Rise went on my to read list recently… I agree that The Royal We is a great beach read, but the one I absolutely couldn’t put down and am recommending to everyone this summer is Station Eleven.

  2. Lisa H says 8.21.15

    Last summer I adored Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. He’s back with China Rich Girlfriend. It’s a modern glimpse into super rich society in Asia. Name & brand dropping snobs abound! Fascinating & juicy read.

  3. Amy @ Girl for Granted says 8.21.15

    I’m a huge reader and I absolutely devoured The Royal We. Other recommendations if you like chick lit or beach reads: anything by Zoe Foster, but The Younger Man is my fave. I’ve also loved Unsticky by Sara Manning, This is Where I Leave You, Lone Star by Paullina Simons (author of the Bronze Horseman trilogy). I’ve always had this thing about having to read Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners but recently I’ve really come round to the idea of just reading what makes you happy. It’s such a good escape, and you should really escape into a world and connect with characters you actually like. The right book shouldn’t feel like work. Happy reading!

  4. Emily says 8.21.15

    Your voracious reading really shows in your writing–you write so clearly and intelligently while still showing your personality! I always look forward to reading what you’ve written (as well as seeing your gorgeous photos)! I’ll be on a 12 hour transatlantic flight next week, and I might just have to pick up one of these books to read on the way. The Royal We sounds like a perfect one to unwind with!

    • graceatwood says 8.21.15

      that’s so nice of you to say. i don’t think of myself as a particularly great writer (my grammar is not always on point!) but i work hard at it. you’re going to love the royal we! xx

  5. Monica says 8.21.15

    Grace, I love these book posts! I am a voracious reader like you and I’m now anxious to pick up a few of the titles you mentioned. I just finished Jennifer Weiner’s new book, Who Do You Love, and I could not put it down. Although it’s a beach read, I feel into the plot and had it finished within just a couple of days. Happy Friday!

  6. Casey says 8.21.15

    I was disappointed by the end of 800 grapes! Have you read Luckiest Girl Alive? Was my favorite read this summer 🙂 You won’t be able to put it down.

    • graceatwood says 8.21.15

      Oh that is so funny as I really loved the ending!! I just ordered Luckiest Girl Alive and I think that’s what I’m going to read next. Excited as I’ve heard great things.

      • Theodora says 8.21.15

        The beginning is sort of terrible but then PLOT TWIST! and it’s awesome after that.

  7. Shae says 8.21.15

    I have a couple of these on my book list already, but I might have to add the others too! Thanks for sharing!

    Shae @ Current Habits

  8. Jamie says 8.21.15

    Everybody Rise and The Knockoff are currently on my list. I have too many books to get through right now as it is, but maybe adding one or two more (especially those two) wouldn’t hurt.

    Jamie // Hello There, Lady!

  9. Sarah Lagen says 8.21.15

    I share your same thoughts about real books vs kindle, I just can’t get on board with reading via a tablet. I haven’t read any of the books on your list but The Royals is on my short list to read. I recently picked up the new Harper Lee book Go Set A Watchman, I’m only a chapter in and would recommend it so far!

    xo, Sarah

  10. jillian says 8.21.15

    great list! i read the Vactioners the other week and I really liked it.

  11. JT says 8.21.15

    I ordered 8 books from Amazon a couple of weeks ago and I am glad to see you enjoyed some of the ones I ordered – I basically ordered the books on everyone’s must read list, plus a couple of self-improvement books. To me, there’s nothing better than reading on vacation (especially at the beach or by the pool)! My best friend and I travel together a lot, and we always bring at least 3 books each and trade off during the vacation.

  12. Lisa says 8.21.15

    Adding these to my list! I was a slow convert to Kindle, but nothing beats being able to lay in bed with a book above your head and never tire your arms out. And being able to get books anytime, anywhere.

    P.S. I love YA too! My latest favorite is Red Queen. I also loved the Shatter Me trilogy.

  13. Sam says 8.21.15

    Thanks for the suggestions! A few faves: The Castaways, The Nightingale and The Last Letter from Your Lover.

    • graceatwood says 8.21.15

      I LOVED The Last Letter from Your Lover! Will check out the others.. thanks for the recommendations!

      • Amy says 9.13.15

        You should read The Girl You Left Behind – I loved it even more than The Last Letter From Your Lover! x

  14. Cathleen says 8.21.15

    These sound fun. Thanks for sharing. I agree, I need a real book in my hands, same for magazines.

  15. Stephanie says 8.21.15

    I’ve been fighting the kindle for years, too! Everyone rolls their eyes at me when I’m constantly lugging 2-3 books everywhere, but I just love the experience of holding a real book in my hands.

    I just finished The Knockoff yesterday and loved it. As for a suggestion, you have to read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (if you haven’t already!) and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter!

  16. Catherine says 8.21.15

    Yes! I love reading book recommendations 🙂 I’ve been reading a ton lately, and it would actually just be easier to share my latest blog post about my book recommendations than to type it all out:

    I’ll definitely be adding a few of these that you shared to my list!


  17. Kayla says 8.21.15

    looks like we have similar book tastes! read the knock-off early this summer and LOVED it. Currently reading 800 grapes, glad to hear you enjoyed it too!

  18. Sharon says 8.21.15

    Try reading anything by author Chevy Stevens, they are suspense books, but lighter than a lot of what is out there. perfect summer reading. I finished three of her books within two weeks.

  19. erica says 8.21.15

    I also read and loved The Royal We and The Knockoff. I’ll have to try your other recommendations! I read The Rosie Project last year and thought it was cute. The sequel is next up on my reading list.

  20. Kristiana says 8.22.15

    I totally devoured The Knockoff while on vacation and was gutted when it ended. It was hilarious! Moving right on to the Royal We now, and so far so good!

    Kris | Love. Loft. Life.

  21. Rebecca {at} Preppy Panache says 8.22.15

    Just won Everybody Rise from York Avenue and can’t wait to dig in.

  22. Sophie says 8.22.15

    I have read, loved, and reviewed many of these books, including a number in the comments section; I just got Everybody Rise in the mail and am very excited to start today! I absolutely loved My Paris Dream, The Rocks, The Bone Clocks [a bit heavier and different from the rest, but certainly a fascinating read], and Renee Knight’s Disclaimer, a highly underrated thriller. I have A Window Opens and Joan Didion’s Biography, The Last Love Song, on pre-order!

  23. Jill says 8.22.15

    i just finished 800 grapes, loved it! Don’t make fun but “the perfect letter” by Chris Harrison was actually really good!

  24. Wire Up says 8.23.15

    I am going for holiday soon and I am gonna finally relax and read. Which one did you like the most?
    (everybody rise was an my to read list)

    • graceatwood says 8.23.15

      Haha I’m really not sure! I loved them all so much!

  25. Mariel says 8.24.15

    Hi Grace! I too have held off on Kindles in favour of books in print, I find they really can’t compare.
    On that note, you might like this article I just stumbled upon!

  26. Lindsey says 8.25.15

    I definitely have to read the Royal We next! This summer I loved China Rich Girlfriend so much that I basically did not put it down for two days until I finished.

  27. Autumn says 8.26.15

    I just finished reading “My grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry” and it is precious, heartwarming, enchanting, and so fun. Just absolutely everything you could want in a book =) It’s about a granddaughter who learns that the fairy tales her grandma told her are more fact than fiction, and the adventure that follows. I also loved “the last letter from your lover” by jojo moyes.

  28. Ann says 2.14.19

    I’m scouring your website for good books to order! Just added four. (We already have The Royal We–which I thought was just ok.)

    I adore all your book recommendations! I’m listening to Becoming right now. I just finished Circe–I can’t remember if you’ve read that one yet, but I highly, highly recommend it.

    Your friendly high school librarian in Hong Kong!

    Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    • grace at the stripe says 2.14.19

      Oh good, I’m so happy to hear that!!!