These are classics beach reads, with a twist: they're fun and they're fast and while they're seemingly lightweight, they address real issues—albeit in a very entertaining, easy-reading way.
Imagine a mashup of The Devil Wears Prada and In Good Company. The story is heavily inspired by All About Eve (which you must watch immediately if you never have): when 42-year-old Glossy magazine editor Imogen Tate returns from a 6-month sabbatical, she finds that her fill-in, a twenty-something Harvard Business School grad, is actively trying to usurp her position—permanently. (And worse—turn the magazine into an app!) Not great literature, but tons of fun. For fans of Lauren Weisberger and Karin Tanabe. Published May 19 2015. More info →
This is the fourth installment of the Jane Austen Project, which invites contemporary authors to rework Jane Austen's novels for modern times, and my hands-down favorite. Sittenfeld is no Jane Austen, but she's okay with that: her snappy writing and spirit of playfulness make this such good fun for Jane Austen fans, if you're willing to go with it. (Think what 10 Things I Hate About You did with The Taming of the Shrew.) Our modern tale is set in Cincinnati, where Lizzie is re-cast as an NYC-based magazine editor, Jane is a yoga instructor nearing 40, Darcy is a snooty brain surgeon, and Bingley is an ER doctor turned star of the reality show "Eligible," (which, in a running gag, all the characters watch but pretend not to). If you're revolted at the idea of on-screen sex in an Austen remake, or Darcy and Liz spewing profanity, this is NOT for you. The purists will need their smelling salts. Published April 19 2016. More info →
If you could repeat one year of your life, would you do it—and what would you do differently? That fun thought experiment becomes reality in this new novel. Thanks to a bit of Vegas birthday magic, three friends have the opportunity to go back ... to the year they turned 40, the year each woman made a mistake that may have ruined her life. If you have a hard time suspending belief or if you can't stand to watch characters sabotage themselves, keep moving. But if you're intrigued by this imaginative way to re-frame a life, and encouraged by watching fictional friends support each other through the tough and the crazy, this one's for you. A tad predictable at times, but charming and heartening. Pair this with What Alice Forgot and Maybe in Another Life for a fantastic book flight. Published April 26 2016. More info →
This family drama kicks into gear with a runaway almost-bride: when Georgia's fiance reveals a shocking secret, she flees her final dress fitting and drives hundreds of miles—in her wedding dress—to her family's boutique vineyard, The Last Straw. But when she gets home she discovers that she's not the only one who's been keeping secrets. I enjoyed this from page 1 (though it certainly gets a bit melodramatic at times), because Dave is an excellent storyteller, and she explores so many interesting aspects of loving—and messy—relationships. (But I have complicated feelings about how those relationships resolve—which would make this a fantastic book club novel.) Why 800 grapes? That's how many it takes to make a bottle of wine. If you've ever felt a pull towards home, this book is for you. Read this, then watch Bottle Shock for another fun look at wine country. Plus The Runaway Bride if you're feeling nostalgic. Published June 2, 2015. More info →
It's Cast Away, but in this version Tom Hanks comes home just before the wedding. Emma Blair married her high school sweetheart Jesse in her twenties: they traveled the world together and were blissfully happy—until Jesse's helicopter disappeared over the Pacific. Three years later, she's moved back home, made a new life for herself, and even found love again with a man she plans to marry. But then she gets a call that Jesse's been found, and she's suddenly forced to choose between the husband she thought was gone forever and the man who's helped her learn to live again. Reid deftly explores how our wrenching experiences shape us ... and then we have to live with the results. Until she ties it up with a bow, so if neat and tidy resolutions make you crazy, this isn't for you. A fun bonus for booklovers is the family bookstore that features prominently in the story. Publication date June 7 2016. More info →