Beach Bag Books: What I’ve Read in 2020 & 2021 Edition

It’s no secret that summer is my favorite reading season, as I spend a ton of time reading on the beach & while floating in the pool. This summer reading recommendations list is based on books that I’ve read so far this year and books that I read during summer 2020. I’ve also tried to avoid books I might’ve recommended in past summer recommendation posts – last year, I shared some must read YA books for summertime & then books based on what I read in 2019. In my opinion, here’s what makes a good summer/ beach/pool read: 

  • An ‘un-put-downable’ read – a plot/story that makes you want to stay in your pool float and keep reading
  • Usually on the lighter and fun side, typically a contemporary (romance) book
  • Paperbacks preferred

Since you’ve likely seen me talk about these books before, I’m going to keep my summaries/why you should read these books on the shorter side — aka just read them. 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord – If you’re nostalgic for summer camp or find yourself watching The Parent Trap on repeat on rainy summer days, pick this YA contemporary about two sisters who find out they’re even sisters through a DNA test & then go to the same summer camp up. 

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl – Have a Little Faith in Me is such an underrated YA summer camp read that contains so many elements that I love in a contemporary read – the lead protagonist goes to a Christian summer camp to win back her boyfriend only to soon become her cabin’s sex educator and falling for her best friend. I’m so exited to read Sonia Hartl’s contemporary romance debut, Heartbreak for Hire, this summer! 

Beach Read by Emily Henry – Please don’t roll your eyes at this rec, but how could I 1) not recommend Emily Henry’s amazing adult contemporary romance and 2) not recommend a book that is literally called ‘Beach Read’ in general? I know so many of my fellow contemporary romance readers have already read this one, but this is another reminder to not hesitate picking this book following two rival writers with beach houses next to each other up…unlike me who has been overwhelmed with other books and hasn’t yet picked up Emily Henry’s latest amazing contemporary romance, People We Meet on Vacation.

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Valentine’s Day Book Recs Based on My Recent Reads

I know not everyone celebrates or even wants to think about Valentine’s Day, regardless if you have a significant other or not. I’ll personally be spending this Valentine’s Day weekend seeing a few close friends, working on some big grad school assignments, and then binge-watching as many movies as I can. You all know I’ll be for sure watching Always and Forever, Lara Jean this weekend, and I recently subscribed to HBO Max and I want to watch ALL the movies on there (sidenote that I’ve been really impressed by HBO Max so much so that I may share a post in in the near future about what I watched and what I want to watch so far??).

Whether or not you’re spending Valentine’s this weekend – I guess I’m sort’ve celebrating Galentine’s Day since I’ll be seeing one of my best girl friends – we could all use a cozy contemporary or romance book this time of year. In the past, I’ve shared Galentine’s Day and contemporary & romance recs posts based on all the books I’ve read overall, but I’ll be focusing today’s Valentine’s Day recs on some more recent reads of mine from 2021 so far and the end of 2020.

Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon – If you love a book that explores the feelings of friends who have more-than-friends feels for one another, Our Year of Maybe is the PERFECT read. The book follows best friends Sophie and Peter and the evolution of their relationship & lives after Sophie donates one of her kidneys to Peter.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – If you need a good cry this weekend, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is the way to go. This actually might be my favorite book that alternates between the present and alternate reality, as the main character grieves over the death of her fiancé IRL but her life with him continues in her dreams.Read More »