What to Read Next: Perfect Beach Books for July

Pass the sunscreen, and grab a bookmark -- when the wind kicks up, your kids won't want to lose their places in these fun and thrilling reads. By Regan McMahon
What to Read Next: Perfect Beach Books for July

"A good beach read" means different things to different people. For some, it's a summery romance. For others, it's a nail-biting thriller. Perhaps the best overall definition is a book you can't put down, perfect for a long afternoon in the sun. Even if your "beach" is only a spot by a backyard sprinkler, check out our suggestions for captivating page-turners.

  • For kids age 8 to 12, check out The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell (Handbook for Dragon Slayers). It's an enchanting fairy tale that has a gentle pace but is suspenseful enough to keep readers engaged. The scariness comes mainly from the creepy atmosphere in an abandoned castle where a 13-year-old boy and girl must find a way to survive. The thorns surrounding the castle act as though they're alive, reaching for and enveloping things that come close -- but there are lots of positive messages about family, forgiveness, and memory. Parents will enjoy reading this aloud as much as kids will like reading it on their own. 
  • For kids age 12 to 14, there's Pulled Under: Sixteenth Summer, Book 2 by Michelle Dalton, a sweet summer romance with a beach setting that features likable teens Ben and Izzy, plus Izzy's funny and loving parents. Izzy's new to love and doesn't want to blow it -- but ultimately learns to believe in herself and be brave, in both surfing and love. Tweens and teens will learn a lot about surfing along the way; the novel even includes a surf-school glossary.
  • For teens age 14 to 17, try The Taking by Kimberly Derting, a smart and involving science-fiction thriller about a high school student who loses five years of her life seemingly overnight. The premise is intriguing, there's a cast of interesting and sympathetic characters, and the romantic subplot is light and fun. Also, there's plenty of excitement as the main characters are chased by sinister government agents. 

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About Regan McMahon

Regan has been reviewing children's books for more than a decade. A journalist and former book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, she cites as one of her toughest assignments having to read and review the 784-page... Read more

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