13 Killer Beach Reads


I’ve moved twice in the past ten months, and I’m afraid that in the chaos, blogging had to go on the backburner. Actually, blogging wasn’t really on the stove at all—it was in storage, along with half my stuff. But the boxes are (sort of) unpacked now, and I’m gradually rediscovering my brain and rekindling my creativity. And so I thought it would be fun to refocus the Lizzylit Blog for the next few months. In honor of The Thirteenth Summer, I’m going to start posting Lists of Thirteen Things. What kinds of things, you ask? Well . . . a lot of them will have to do with books (as in, Thirteen Book Villains You Never Want to Meet in a Dark Alley, that kind of thing); some will have to do with Rage and Crystal and their Thirteenth Summer world; and some will be ridiculously random (as in, Thirteen Songs That I Would Dance to, if Only I Knew How to Dance), just for kicks.

And now to introduce the first list: Thirteen Killer Beach Reads.

We’re going on our summer vacation soon, and I always want to have, not just A book to read, but a KILLER book to read—one that transforms me into a horribly neglectful wife and mother, incapable of speaking in more than grunts and monosyllables as I give myself paper cuts from feverishly flipping the pages. (I know, I know—I really should jump on the digital bandwagon.) I always crave a good mystery on vacation, something to set my scalp to tingling. And I don’t particularly like to cry my eyes out on vacation, so I usually don’t go for depressing books about mothers dying of cancer and such—although I don’t mind a meaningful story, or a dark, Gothic yarn.

So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite beach reads—it’s an eclectic list that spans many genres and age ranges, but they’re all fun books in their own way. (Disclaimer: Some of these books may not be appropriate for younger readers.)

Thirteen Killer Beach Reads

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—Hands down, my favorite Sherlock Holmes tale. Ghost stories don’t get any better than this. Or is it a ghost story?

2. A Great and Terrible Beauty (first in the Gemma Doyle trilogy), by Libba Bray—A spine-tingling, Gothic thriller that’s also beautifully written.

3. Delirium, by Lauren Oliver—Lose yourself in gorgeous poetry, a loveless dystopian society, and a romance that makes you ache.

4. Clockwork Angel (first in the Infernal Devices series), by Cassandra Clare—A mind-bending mystery, complete with demon-slayers and vampires and the like (not usually my thing, but I guess they work better for me in an old-fashioned setting), and the start of a fascinating love triangle.

5. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner—A shout-out to guy readers here . . . Fast-paced, fascinating scenario set in an awesome labyrinth with some truly disgusting monsters. (I actually convinced my husband, aka Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome, to read the sequel to this novel—The Scorch Trials—and he is loving it.)

6. The City of Ember (first in the Books of Ember series), by Jeanne DuPrau—This one’s for younger readers. I loved the way the mystery unfolded and I felt like I got to analyze the clues along with the characters.

7. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan—Another one for younger readers. This one made me laugh out loud many, many times. I recommend reading it privately, so you don’t embarrass yourself.

8. Juliet, by Anne Fortier—This one’s an adult novel (I hardly ever read Big Girl books, but this is one that the young at heart like me can connect to). It’s a dual twist on the story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers: One storyline is set in 1340, and one is interpreted in a sassy, modern framework, with a compelling mystery tying both together.

9. Holes, by Louis Sachar—This is one of those amazing books where everything means something, and all the pieces and storylines eventually tie together in one of those tingly moments where you sit back and just go, “Now THAT was cool.”

10. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte—The most epic of epic novels. Be prepared not to sleep at all until you’re done.

11. Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier—This is a classic novel I missed out on until recently. It’s dark and brooding, but—wow. Haunting.

12. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares—On friendship, boys, mothers, and the best pair of jeans ever. It will make you laugh and cry, sometimes both at the same time.

13. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins—If you’re the last holdout in America who hasn’t read this book, it really is the ultimate adrenaline read.

Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.


  • Katie sawhill July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Elizabeth, I love reading your blog. Your style makes me smile- and now I have some great suggestions for the reading list, so thank you. I’m actually about to start the Hunger Games- finally! A friend from Hello Dolly is lending it to me. And let’s see… I’m going to have to check out 1-3 especially. 🙂 Have a wonderful vacation!! Do you know yet which book you’ll be taking with you?

  • Lizzylit July 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks, Katie! I’m going to take “Matched,” and probably a few more . . . I’m open to suggestions! 🙂

    • Nicbaker829 July 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Loved Matched and Crossed 🙂 you should definitely read Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

      • Anonymous July 25, 2012 at 12:43 am

        Ooh, I will put them on my list! We always like the same books, so I’m sure I’ll love them! Can’t wait…

  • Jonathan L November 6, 2013 at 5:43 am

    One of my favorite childhood memories is riding to summer vacation in the old Toyota Previa (which was probably new at the time) and you reading us The Hound of the Baskervilles on the entire 9+ hour drive. The suspense made me relish the hours. What a great big sister.

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