"Beach reads" are often considered a genre unto themselves: light, breezy fare that match the light breezes of the seaside. This narrow classification writes "beach reads" off as being unsophisticated when, in actuality, the best beach reads are anything but. We ask summer books to perform an Herculean task: Keep us entertained amid a million distractions — the beating sun, kids kicking up sand near your towel, Baywatch-esque lifeguards. They have to keep us turning the page.
Consequently, beach reads are more gripping, more powerful, and more fun than the average book. That's what we've gathered here: The books that will keep you so enthralled you'll accidentally miss the sunset view. In our round-up, you'll find psychological thrillers set in the age of Instagram, YA fantasies that take place in fictional African kingdoms, and books so funny your friends will ask to borrow them after you're done.
Here are the books you should read this summer, whether at the beach or in a chaise lounge (as you pretend to be at the beach).