Right now I can read exactly two kinds of books: historical fantasy (about which I am extremely picky) and romance. The weather is heating up, but many of us are still staying inside as much as possible due to the coronavirus. I don’t know about you, but I want to read about people enjoying summertime! These ten books are set in summer, and with one exception are summer romances I have personally read and adored. The romance is excellent, the settings are igniting my wanderlust, and they are well-written escapism at its finest. Get ready for some summer lovin’ with these ten romances set in summertime.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
The only book on this list I haven’t yet read, this much-anticipated read came out in May and is already much beloved by several of my romance-reading buddies (and a NYT bestseller). January Andrews is a romance novelist and Augustus Everett writes literary fiction. Neither of them has a high opinion of the other’s genre. They both have writer’s block. They meet on the beach and agree to swap genres for the summer. Romantic shenanigans ensue.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Esme is a hotel maid in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, when she meets Khai’s mom, who offers to bring her to the Bay Area in America for the summer in hopes that she will marry Khai. This story blends slow burn romance with immigration, single parenting, and autism, all with a deft hand and incredible sensitivity. When I recommend this book I typically say it’s literary fiction with a central romance.
A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian
This is the queer M/F historical romance of my HEART. Everyone in this book has both anxiety and agency. Amelia escaped London society for the Derbyshire countryside, where she can write novels without talking to anyone but her best friend Georgiana. The very large man she keeps meeting on her walks is getting in the way of her plans. For his part, Sydney is still grieving his brother’s death and trying to deal with his best friend—and former lover—Lex’s sudden reappearance in his life. Everyone is queer! Almost everyone is disabled! Everyone gets unconventional HEAs!
A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole
Do you like large Scottish men in kilts with swords? Of course you do. So does Portia, to her great annoyance. She is trying to start a whole new life after quitting drinking and partying, and for some reason thought an internship with a swordmaker was the way to do it. Oops, there’s feelings. Also the swordmaker might be a Duke? Oh, help.
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
Georgie, tired of being treated like a baby by her older siblings, works as a party clown instead of being part of the family building business. Travis is her brother’s best friend and her lifelong crush, and he just left his major league baseball career after an injury. He’s a mess and she is going to fix him. By being his fake girlfriend. What could go wrong? Other than, you know, lots of sex and also some feelings.
How To Be A Normal Person by TJ Klune
Gustavo is not normal. He is fine with this. He has a routine, a ferret named Harry S. Truman, and he is fine. Then Casey moves to his small town and Casey seems to like Gustavo. WHAT. This is a charming M/M love story interwoven with themes of grief, sexuality, and friendship.
Sugar Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
Do you love Dirty Dancing and wish it could be updated for modern times? And also extremely queer? Well, wish no more! This is the F/F retelling of your summer romance dreams. Sugar’s mom has dragged her and her younger sister Bekah to camp in the woods. Sugar is drawn to dance instructor Mara, whose dance partner is having top surgery and can’t perform—so Sugar volunteers.
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
Most of my favorite young adult romances are set during the school year, which is all well and good until I am trying to make this list. Amy Spalding to the rescue! Lucky for all of us, her F/F romance takes place during a summer internship. Plus-sized fashion blogger Abby gets her dream summer internship at a fashion boutique, but this year the owner chooses two interns, and there is only one job available at the end of summer. Complicating matters? Abbi falls for co-intern and photographer Jordi.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
When Alexa and Drew meet in an elevator during a power outage, he impulsively asks her to be his date to his ex’s wedding. She agrees, and the wedding night turns into a one night stand that turns into a summer fling that turns into feelings. This is the first in a series of connected romances by Guillory, whose most recent is Party of Two.
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Me last year: I wish there were summer romances set at a renaissance faire. Jen DeLuca, probably: I got you, boo. (Please note: I do not know Jen DeLuca.) Emily moves in with her older sister and teenage niece to help out after a car accident badly injured her sister. Niece Caitlin wants to volunteer for the town ren faire, and an adult is required to volunteer with her. So Emily does it, and she immediately clashes with Simon, who runs the faire. Shenanigans ensue. Kissing shenanigans. I loved this book! A sequel, Well Played, is out in September and focuses on Emily’s fellow tavern wench Stacey.