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.
Regan McMahon Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two Categories: Reading, We Recommend
Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two

"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. 

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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