What makes a summer beach read?

    On Friday, I tried out the Atlantic City location of Amada, which is tucked inside Revel. I picked Amada so I could watch the construction of Revel Beach, which you can see from its windows. Instead, I buried my nose in Summerland, a new novel by Elin Hilderbrand coming out June 26.

    It is what I consider the ultimate beach book: a juicy novel that examines with the lives and loves and pain of a group of people that Hilderbrand has made me care deeply about. I read it in snatches between bites of cheesesteak, while sitting at a salt water jacuzzi waiting for my boyfriend to get dressed for dinner that night. Then, on Sunday, I carried the book with me to a cafe to read through my morning coffee. I had vowed to work last night. Instead, my dog napped on my leg while I finished the last 100 pages of the book.

    I’ve been reading beach book candidates with local ties for months (Hilderbrand writes about Nantucket, but she’s from the Philadelphia area, and gives a shout out to Avalon in Summerland). Some are mysteries, some are thrillers. There’s long biographies and funny memoirs. On Wednesday, I’m going to Book Expo America, the largest publishing conference in North America, to see if there’s anything I missed, and I’ll be writing up my beach reads recommendations on this blog sometime this summer.

    So, readers, let me know: what makes the ultimate beach book? Last year, that book was Rules of Civility by Amor Towles; in 2010, Admission by Jean Nahff Korlelitz and Rich Boy by Sharon Pomeranz. All juicy novels that I couldn’t put down.

    What about you? What has anchored your butt to a beach chair in summers past? Tell us in the comments below.

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