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Summer is the perfect time to unwind and relax, and what better way to do that than with a feel-good book? If you're looking for some easy summer reads that will lift your spirits and warm your heart, I’ve got you covered.
For me, summertime reads need to be light-hearted – I don’t want to be brought down or reduced to tears (unless they’re happy tears!) while the sun is shining on my face. Bonus points if the plot is also adventurous or fantastical and sweeps me away to a new world!
Whether your summer plans include lounging on the beach, taking a road trip, or simply enjoying some downtime at home, you’ll love every moment spent within the pages of one of these joyful stories.
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Nothing screams easy summer read to me more than a middle-grade fantasy, and Percy Jackson is one of the best.
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but lately things have been a bit weird. Mainly, his teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him. When Percy’s mum finds out, she sends him to the safest place she can – Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods. There, Percy discovers the truth about his heritage and embarks on a modern odyssey across America worthy of mythology.
This book is faultless. It’s the ultimate childhood fantasy to discover that everything you thought was weird or negative about yourself is actually your superpower. Which, in all honesty, is a good message for kids and adults alike! Even if you’ve read The Lightning Thief before, it’s worth a reread this summer to remind yourself.
For those of you who adore coming-of-age tales, put City of Girls on your list immediately!
Now an old lady, Vivian Morris recalls her life as a young woman growing up in Manhattan during the 1940s. At 19, she is sent to live with her Aunt Peg in a crumbling midtown theatre called the Lily Playhouse where she meets a host of unconventional and exciting characters. But her life takes an unexpected turn when she makes a personal mistake that results in a professional scandal.
Vivian is a firecracker of a character and a brilliant storyteller – and her story is one to remember. It’s a no holds barred look into life as a young woman living through wartime NYC. The vivid descriptions and sparkling dialogue transport you straight into the period, making it the perfect summer holiday read (without actually having to go on holiday).
Admittedly, I haven’t yet read this one. However, it’s been on my TBR since release day and I’ve a few trusted bookish friends who have read it and found it absolutely charming.
This book is often quoted as ‘high fantasy with low stakes’. After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian decides to hang up her sword for good and embark on a new adventure: opening the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. The problem is that no one knows what coffee is and a few old enemies are trying to get in the way of her dream.
The general consensus is that this is a hot chocolate book – a cosy, warmhearted slice of fantasy that will wrap you up in a big bear hug. You’ll feel good and be grinning from ear to ear all the way through. It’s first on my summer reading list!
One doesn’t normally think of the Classics as easy summer reads, but if there’s one classic novel that most deserves the title it’s Austen’s Emma.
Austen’s comedic masterpiece centres around the spoiled, vain, and headstrong Emma Woodhouse, who gets it into her head that she’s a matchmaker extraordinaire. What follows is a hilariously engaging tale of Emma organising the lives of her sleepy village neighbours with devastating effect.
In my opinion, this is Austen at her wittiest and most clever. If you enjoy social commentary, romance, and sharp-tongued female MCs, Emma is your gal.
If you’re looking for lyrical writing, beautiful storytelling, and characters that leap off the page, you’ll love this rich and poignant tale.
The novel is split between three distinct narratives: two teenagers in 1970s Cyprus falling into a forbidden love; Kostas and his daughter Ada in 2000s London as they untangle their complicated relationship after loss; and the voice of the fig tree that ties all the threads together.
While at moments it might make you tear up, at its heart, this story is one of redemption, belonging, family, identity, and love. You won’t be able to put it down and this book will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
Crime fans will love this fun and witty story about the inhabitants of a peaceful retirement village in rural England, who meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
Calling themselves the Thursday Murder Club, friends Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case when a brutal killing takes place in their retirement home.
I don’t usually pick up crime novels, but I loved the playful banter between these quirky characters and enjoyed the slightly offbeat mystery. It’s an easy summer read that you can complete in a sitting or two and will make you giggle all the way through.
Set in Barcelona in 1945, the story begins with Daniel, an antiquarian bookseller’s son who finds solace in a mysterious book by a little known author. He soon discovers that someone has been destroying every copy of every book the author has written and Daniel may have the only one left in existence. But why?
It has everything you could want in a great novel: an engaging mystery, real characters that leap off the page and into your heart, doomed love and passion, secret forbidden libraries, murder, and madness.
The Shadow of the Wind is one of my favourite books of all time. If you consider yourself a bookish person, I’m convinced you’ll love it too. And with endless beautiful turns of phrase and strikingly eloquent ruminations in this novel, it’s an annotator’s delight.
If you’re in the mood for a mythological adventure set on the high seas with pirates, sorcerers, forbidden artifacts, ancient mysteries, and one heck of a badass older FMC, this is the feel-good book for you!
Amina al-Sirafi is retired. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s living a life of peace and piety with her family. But when she’s tracked down by the wealthy mother of a former crewman and offered an obscenely large sum to track down her kidnapped granddaughter, Amina finds herself on one last adventure.
Amina’s story is gripping, twisty, and really makes you question the price of ambition and legacy. A perfect ‘lose yourself in a new world’ book for summer. It’s a romp.
This beautiful, whimsical childrens’ classic is the perfect feel-good book for the summer months.
More a collection of lyrical short stories tied together through its characters than a novel, this book follows four friends – Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad – as they engage in life surrounding a bank on the River Thames.
With endearing animal protagonists, magical adventures, and comedic misadventures, you’ll be swept away by this enchanting tale.
One of my favourite themes for an easy summer read is that of found family. And I can think of no better feel-good book about found family than Klune’s masterful The House in the Cerulean Sea.
This heartwarming story begins with Linus Baker, a quiet, solitary case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. One day, management uproots his peaceful life by sending him on a classified assignment to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children and their enigmatic caretaker reside. Linus’ task: to suss out whether these kids might bring about the end of days.
It’s an enchanting tale, written beautifully and with such heart. It will make you laugh, weep with joy, and alongside Linus you’ll discover a second family within its pages.
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