5 Feel-Good Books of 2021 That Will Brighten Your Summer

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Michelle Regalado

Staff Writer

Michelle Regalado is a New York-based digital writer and editor. When she's not hunting down her next must-read book (recommendations are welcome!) or writing about all things pop culture, you can probably find her drinking iced coffee and hanging out with her dog, Lola. Follow her on Twitter: @mar8289

There’s no better way to shake off a reading slump than with an engrossing, feel-good read. These uplifting titles, including works from both favorite and first-time authors, hit shelves this year and are sure to brighten up your summer. Whether you’re looking for a steamy romance or an emotional debut, these releases are sure to keep you engrossed while you’re soaking up some sun. So grab a beach towel, and pick up one of these captivating new feel-good books to get the season off to a strong start.

This Close to Okay book cover

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith (February 2)

If you’re looking for an engaging read with some true emotional depth, look no further than Leesa Cross-Smith’s latest release. This heartfelt novel centers on a recently divorced therapist who stops a man from jumping off a bridge during a chance encounter and persuades him to return to her house. During an emotionally charged weekend together, the duo share stories and find some mutual healing and compassion, even while holding back certain secrets from each other.

This tender and poignant book reinforces the power of human connection and serves as a reminder that hope can be found, even in the unlikeliest of places. 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (March 9)

The third novel in Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters trilogy is just as charming and engaging as the previous installments. Eve, the flightiest and most unpredictable of the Brown sisters, wrangles herself a job at a B&B, working for the strict and uptight owner Jacob. With the two stuck in tight quarters, it’s not long before the simmering tension and animosity between them turns into something else. Like her previous books, Hibbert’s latest romance is sweet, steamy, and packed with snappy banter that will have you giggling out loud. 

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (May 11)

After falling head-over-heels for Emily Henry’s Beach Read last year, I couldn’t pick up her latest release fast enough — and thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. The book centers on best friends Poppy and Alex, who live far apart geographically but stay connected by taking a week-long trip together every summer. That is, until two years ago when they had a falling out and stopped speaking. Now, Poppy wants one more trip to make things right. 

Like her debut, People We Meet on Vacation is a true delight to read, full of wit, warmth, and laugh-out-loud funny banter.

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent (May 18)

With her life going less than smoothly, Birdy Finch can’t resist when an opportunity arises to go to Scotland. The catch: To go on the trip, she must pose as her best friend and professional sommelier, Heather — even though she knows nothing about wine. Endearing and funny but still packing a surprising emotional punch, this sparkling debut from Lizzy Dent is the perfect title to kick off the summer reading season. 

reading list book cover

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (August 3)

Aleisha is a bright and anxious teenager working at the library for the summer when she comes across a crumpled list of books she’s never heard of. Searching for solace from her difficult home life, she decides to them read them one by one. When widower Mukesh later shows up at the library desperately looking to connect with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes on the list, creating an unlikely connection between the two. This warm and heartfelt debut is a riveting read that is sure to resonate with anyone who believes in the magic of books.