I don’t know if it’s the humidity, the lifting of my seasonal depression, or the fact that it’s bright out until after 9 pm, but there’s something electric about the summer. There’s something about the soupy humidity, and the potential for sunburns, and the bright blue skies that has me craving easy, breezy summer beach reads.

While I do love playing mermaids, one of my favourite things to do beside a large body of water is read an unputdownable book. I love the feeling of the sun on my face, the smell of the water, the condensation on the side of a cold beverage, and a delicious read.

So read on, and find your next favourite summer read… And don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen!

How To End A Love Story by Yulin Kuang

Yulin Kuang’s How To End A Love Story is heartfelt, beautiful, tender, and laugh-out-loud funny. It made me laugh, cry, and giggle and kick my feet. The concept is a tough one to wrap your head around — Helen hasn’t seen Grant in thirteen years, since the tragic accident that took her sister’s life…the accident she blames Grant for. Now a bestselling author, Helen’s star is on the rise, and she’s thrilled to have scored a coveted spot in the writer’s room of the TV adaptation of her popular young adult novels. She’s looking forward to starting over in LA, after all, no one knows her there… hat is, until, she steps into the writer’s room, only to be faced with Grant. Grant has been doing anything he can to move on from the past and, despite the panic attacks, he’s made quite a life for himself in LA. Grant is just like Helen remembers him — a charming, funny golden retriever, lovable in a way that she’s never been. And Helen is exactly as Grant remembers too — brilliant, beautiful, and closed off. But working together is messy, and maybe whatever is between them is more than just history…

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Abby JimenezJust for the Summer is the delightful summer escapist romance you need. Justin has a curse, and thanks to Reddit, it’s all over the internet. Every woman Justin’s dated goes on to find their soulmate the second they break up. When Emma slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with the perfect plan: They’ll date each other and break up — their curses will cancel each other’s out and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. The idea is so bonkers it just might work. It’s supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer, but soon they find themselves navigating more than they expected… including what might be some real feelings.

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley’s How To Age Disgracefully is a hilarious and charming read about a senior’s center and a daycare that collide, with hilarious results. When Lydia takes a job running the Senior Citizens’ Social Club three afternoons a week, she assumes she’ll have an easy time, drinking tea and playing cards. However, the members of the Social Club aren’t what Lydia was expecting. There’s failed actor turned kleptomaniac, Art; There’s Daphne, who’s been hiding from her dark past; There’s Ruby, the Banksy-style knitter who gets revenge in yarn. When the city council threatens to sell the doomed community center building, the Social Club joins with their tiny friends in the daycare next door, along with an unlikely group of allies — all in order to save the building. Together, their unorthodox methods may actually work, as long as the police don’t catch up with them first. 

The Murder After The Night Before by Katy Brent

 Katy Brent’s The Murder After the Night Before is a fast-paced, compelling thriller/comedy, for fans of Fleabag, Killing Eve, and Promising Young Woman. Something bad happened last night. Molly woke up with the hangover from hell, with a stranger in her bed, after having gone viral (for the worst reasons). Her best friend is dead, and she can’t remember a thing…the police think it was a tragic accident, but she knows she was murdered… And she needs to find her killer.

How To Kill A Guy In Ten Ways by Eve Kellman

Eve Kellman’s How To Kill A Guy In Ten Ways is a delicious, dark, and twisted serial killer thriller for fans of You, and My Sister, the Serial Killer. After one too many terrifying encounters, Millie sets up a hotline for women who feel unsafe walking home alone at night. However, she soon realizes that just helping the women who call in may not be enough, because the men they call about might do it again the next night, and the next, and the next. When her own sister is assaulted on a night out, the temptation to take the law into her own hands becomes too much to resist…this is a killer story, you won’t be able to put down.

Collide by Bal Khabra

Collide by Bal Khabra thrusts together hockey captain Aiden Crawford with aspiring sports psychologist Summer Preston in an unexpected collision, thanks to an ultimatum from a professor. Aiden has long enjoyed the perks of being captain of the college hockey team, but a reckless mistake threatens his team and their season. As a consequence, Aiden is nominated to be the subject of a research paper, one written by the uptight Summer Preston. They can’t stand each other, and things are off to a bumpy start, but perhaps the heat between them can thaw the ice…

The Coin by Yasmin Zaher

Yasmin Zaher’s The Coin is a bold and quirky story about a young Palestinian woman’s unraveling. She teaches at a school for underprivileged boys in New York, where she crosses boundaries due to her eccentric methods. She soon befriends a homeless swindler, and the two participate in a pyramid scheme reselling Birkin bags. Soon, she becomes consumed by the juxtaposition of luxury and lack, as she cons her way to bag after bag, while she’s still preoccupied by the suffering going on around the world. Enthralling, uncanny, and fascinating, The Coin is a thoughtful exploration of class, sexuality, materiality, and the ways that oppression and trauma manifest in our lives. 

This Summer Will Be Different By Carley Fortune

Carley Fortune’s This Summer Will Be Different is a delightful summer romance. Lucy is a tourist, vacationing in Prince Edward Island, where she runs into Felix, the local who shows her a very good time. The only problem: Lucy doesn’t know he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Their chemistry is unreal, but the list of reasons why they need to stay away from each other is long, so they promise to never repeat that night again…unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Each year, Lucy escapes to PEI for the ocean air and the fresh oysters with her best friend Bridget. Each visit Lucy promises she won’t wind up in Felix’s bed… again. When Bridget suddenly flees Toronto a week before her wedding, Lucy drops everything to follow her to the island. She has two goals: to help Bridget through her crisis, and to resist Felix… 

Something More by Jackie Khalilieh

Something More by Jackie Khalilieh is sweet, charming, and ACTUALLY funny. It’s a beautiful, messy, and complicated story that will bring you back to high school. The contemporary young adult novel features a Palestinian-Canadian girl trying to hide her autism diagnosis, all the while navigating her first year of high school. Fifteen-year-old Jessie is a quirky loner, obsessed with the nineties. When she’s diagnosed with autism just weeks before she starts high school, she’s determined to keep her diagnosis a secret, and make a fresh start. To get this start, she creates a list of goals to help her get through high school, from getting a magical first kiss, to landing a spot in the school play. She finds she’s enjoying living life in full colour, but soon realizes she’s getting more than she bargained for, when she’s caught between two very different boys who are both trying to steal her heart.

Funny Story by Emily Henry

Emily Henry’s Funny Story is a joyful novel about a pair of opposites with the wrong thing in common. Daphne always loved the ways her fiancé Peter told their story… right up until the moment she realizes he was actually in love with his childhood best friend. This is how this new story begins, Daphne is stranded in Michigan without friends or family, but with a dream job (that barely pays the bills). She decides to become roommates with the only other person who could possibly understand what she’s going through… Peter’s ex, Miles. The roommates are polar opposites, and they mostly avoid each other, until one day, they’re drowning their sorrows, and they form a tenuous friendship, as well as a plan. If this plan also involves posting deliberately misleading photos of their summer adventures together, well… who can blame them? But it’s all for show, because there’s no way they would actually start their new chapter by falling in love… right?

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Kaliane Bradley’s The Ministry of Time is a bold, immersive, and exciting read full of powerful prose, a butterfly-inducing romance, and a compelling and unforgettable concept. This book was sad, curious, romantic, tense, funny, messy, and brilliant. In the near future, a civil servant is offered her dream salary to work in a recently established government ministry, which gathers “expats” from across history, in order to establish whether or not time travel is feasible, either for the body, or for the fabric of space and time. Her job is to be a “bridge” assisting, living with, and monitoring the expat known as “1847”, who, as far as history was concerned, died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic. He’s a little disoriented to be living with an unmarried woman who shows her ankles, uses a washing machine, and Spotify, but he adjusts quickly. Over the next year, their uncomfortable roommate dynamic soon turns into something deeper, as they fall in love… changing everything they once thought they knew.

The Love of My Afterlife by Kirsty Greenwood

Kirsty Greenwood’s The Love of My Afterlife is a delightful and dreamy romance about a recently deceased woman who meets “the one” in the afterlife waiting room. She’s soon offered a great deal when she’s given the opportunity to return to earth and reconnect with the mysterious stranger she just met. He was initially sent to the afterlife by accident. But if she can find him on earth before ten days are up, maybe she’ll have a second chance at love.  

The Summer Pact by Emily Giffin

The Summer Pact by Emily Giffin is a tender and heartfelt portrayal of grief, love, and hope. Four freshmen arrive at college from completely different worlds. Soon after moving into their shared dorm, the seeds of friendship are planted. As their college years fly by, their bond intensifies, and the four become inseparable, but as graduation nears, their lives are changed forever, after a desperate act leads to tragic consequences. Stunned and heartbroken, they make a pact to be there for each other in their times of need, no matter how separated they are by circumstances or distance. Ten years later, as Hannah is anticipating what should be one of the happiest moments of her life, when everything is suddenly turned upside down. She calls upon her closest friends, in her time of need, and together, they embark on a journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, and acceptance. This book is sure to make you cry, and love, and text your best friends to tell them how much you love them.

The Lost Tarot by Sarah Henstra

Sarah Henstra’s The Lost Tarot is a dazzling story about a lost tarot card that may unravel decades of secrets. Theresa is a struggling junior art historian in Toronto. One day she receives a single tarot card in the mail, illustrated by the avant-garde artist Lark Ringold. Its discovery would mean a breakthrough for Theresa’s career, but the legendary Ringold Tarot doesn’t exist. Its paintings were lost in the implosion of a notorious cult called The Shown, in a fire that claimed the lives of dozens, including Lark’s, sixty years earlier. Why was the tarot card sent to Theresa? How can she prove its connection to Ringold when her art world superiors call it a fake? And who has been holding onto it for all of these years? This is a creative and exquisite story about love, creativity, and power.  

Evil Eye By Etaf Rum

Etaf Rums Evil Eye is a contemporary, literary story about a young woman named Yara who is placed on probation at work after fighting with a racist coworker. Her Palestinian mother claims that this is all a result of a family curse. While Yara doesn’t believe in old superstitions, as she reflects upon her life, she wonders if maybe there’s some truth to why she feels so unfulfilled. This is a complicated mother-daughter drama about the impacts of intergenerational trauma and cycles of abuse. This is a beautiful and compelling story that will have you raging and crying, and ruminating in equal measure.

Portrait of A Thief by Grace D. Li

Grace D. Li’s Portrait of A Thief is one of my favourite reads of the last few years. It’s a fast-paced and beautifully written heist novel, inspired by the true story of Chinese art disappearing from Western museums. This is a story about diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of Chinese American identity. Across the Western world, museums display the conquests of war and colonialism — priceless pieces of art looted from other countries. And Will Chen plans to steal them back. When a shadowy organization reaches out with an impossible and illegal job offer, Will finds himself the leader of a heist aiming to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago. This is a stunning book, full of gorgeous, lyrical, and breathtaking prose, as well as an incredibly charming cast of characters, fulfilling your dream heist archetypes. This is a story of being young and invincible, being fearless while simultaneously being burdened by the weight of expectations and pressures. I adored it.

The Blonde Dies First by Joelle Wellington

Joelle Wellington’s The Blonde Dies First is a young adult thriller that comes out at the end of July. It follows a group of friends fighting for their lives from a demonic force that acts according to horror movie rules. Devon is always being left behind by her twin sister Drew, and now that Drew is leaving for college a whole year early, Devon decides it’s time to have The Best Summer Ever. Unfortunately, the twins and their friends might have committed to the bit too hard, because after an unfortunate Ouija board encounter, they soon realize that they are being hunted down by… a demon? This is a campy and delightful queer horror thriller for fans of Bottoms and the Scream franchise.

Ameema Saeed (@ameemabackwards) is a storyteller, a Capricorn, an avid bookworm, and a curator of very specific playlists and customized book recommendations. She’s a book reviewer, a Sensitivity Reader, a book buyer at Indigo Books & Music, and the Books Editor for She Does the City, where she writes and curates bookish content, and book recommendations. She enjoys bad puns, good food, dancing, and talking about feelings. She writes about books, big feelings, unruly bodies, and her lived experiences, and hopes to write your next favourite book one day. When she’s not reading books, she likes to talk about books (especially diverse books, and books by diverse authors) on her bookstagram: @ReadWithMeemz