Best Beach Reads

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

By Alexis Dorf

In 1974, Tully Hart became the new girl on Firefly Lane, and she couldn’t be any different from her neighbor, Kate Mularkey. Kate is an inexperienced, gawky teen with an overprotective mother, and Tully lives a life of abandonment from her drug-addicted mother. While Kate and Tully reside on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum, they become inseparable friends, making a pact to stay best friends forever. This heartfelt novel celebrates femininity and friendship, as it follows three decades of​ Tully and Kate. Perhaps the most charming aspect of this novel is the protagonists’ ever-present flaws that make the book equally human and heartbreaking. The years spent together—growing up and eventually apart—puts their friendship to the ultimate test. Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane provides the perfect summer read for those looking for a light beach read filled with adolescence, nostalgia, and friendship. It is an addicting story that will leave you wanting more time spent with Tully and Kate. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

By Madeleine Lennox

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is a satirical comedy and science fiction series with one bewildered main character—Arthur Dent. It is the perfect read for the summer, due to the extensive time needed to comprehend such a complicated, fascinating universe. The first novel begins with the Earth’s destruction, which allows for galactic highway construction. Arthur Dent and his guide and friend, Ford Perfect, escape the planet only to be captured by threatening aliens. From there, plot twists take the stage against the backdrop of intergalactic space travel as we follow crew members like Marvin, the depressed robot, as they seek to find Earth’s true purpose. Even with the sudden changes, Arthur is able to adjust and find meaning in his new life to uncover secrets about his planet. Upon completing the five novels (or one volume), one may finally understand why the answer to life, to the universe, and to your summer’s best pursuit, is 42.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

By Raymond Zhang

Like his highly acclaimed 2005 novel Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishigiro once again creates a frighteningly captivating dystopian/science fiction novel. Klara and the Sun follows Klara—an AF (artificial friend) who takes care of a sickly girl named Josie—and their relationship dynamic as Josie grows older. The novel picks up speed after the first 50 pages, which contained lagging descriptions of the AF store. The winding passages illustrate Klara’s highly analytic nature. As a result of these long passages, the book drags a bit but not enough to make you stop reading entirely. Klara and the Sun is certainly more accessible than most of Ishigiro’s other novels. The narration provides the needed suspense through vague clues that point towards the outcome of the novel, creating an ominous feel throughout. Although it can be slow at times, the novel uses its slow pace to provide in-depth imagery of Klara’s emotions and perception of the world, such as Klara’s pagan-like descriptions of the sun. Klara and the Sun is about a lot of things, but it is primarily about love–real deep love. And after you finish reading this novel, you will very likely tear up, contemplate your own relationships, and reminisce about your own non-artificial best friend.

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

By Elizabeth Chow 

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus is a fast-paced mystery that tells the tale of cousins who receive a letter inviting them to their grandmother’s remote island. Their grandmother, a wealthy business owner, hides decades of suppressed secrets within the island, keeping everyone quiet. The cousins, unsure of their grandmother’s intentions, follow small clues that have been covered by the sand and palm trees within the secluded paradise. As one secret after another unfolds, the cousins travel across the island searching for answers about their parents’ pasts. This adventure not only brings the cousins closer but also exposes the true identities of their family members.