Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Since I focused on a destination travel-type theme for the Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With list a couple of months ago, I decided to interpret this week’s theme in the literal sense. Unfortunately, it turns out that I haven’t actually read that many books set at the beach, but that didn’t stop me from following through on my idea even if I didn’t make it to ten books.

1. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Nearly any of Dessen’s books would be great beach reads material, but Along for the Ride has the added bonus of being set in a beach town and also featuring one of my favorite of Dessen’s male leads.

2. Rites of Spring (Break) by Diana Peterfreund
Okay, the bad news is that you will probably have to read the first two books in Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series before reading this third installment (set on a private beach island) in order to get the maximum effect of character development. The good news is that the entire series is fantastic, and you’ll likely want to run right out to find the fourth and final book as soon as you finish this one.

3. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Narrator Bria travels to some pretty interesting places during her time in Central America; it goes without saying that Wanderlove features descriptions of numerous beaches and, while the travel conditions don’t always sound ideal, Bria’s story is guaranteed to put a little bit of the wanderlust in you.

4. Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
An omnibus edition that combines The Boys Next Door with its sequel, Endless Summer is a lighthearted tale of flirting and fun. While the beach in this one is technically a lake, there’s enough wakeboarding and water antics to satisfy.

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This one doesn’t quite fit under the light and fluffy category, but it’s still a perfect beach read. Stiefvater’s mythology is captivating, and her descriptions of the ocean community where the story takes place offer up images of my favorite kind of beach: chilly and a little desolate.

6. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
While Cabot’s Princess Diaries series remains my favorite of those I’ve read, her Mediator series features a mainly likeable protagonist and a nice slow-burn romance. Since it’s set in California, our former New York-native main character must adapt to the sunny skies and shores of the West Coast all while trying to keep her little secret (she can see dead people) under wraps.

7. The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, as I found the characterizations and conflicts a bit too simplistic to be believable. However, it’s got some nice descriptions of a summer spent at a tiny beach resort and so serves as an excellent source of vicarious sand and surf.

Since I haven’t actually read the following books, I didn’t feel comfortable putting them on the main list. However, from what I’ve heard, if you’re craving a story set at the beach (preferably with a bit of romance thrown in), the Summer series by Jenny Han and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares are good bets.

And since I feel bad about not quite reaching ten books this week, here are a couple of my favorite beach films thrown in for good measure.

Mamma Mia
So liking Abba is pretty much a prerequisite for watching this film; otherwise I suspect the experience will be a bit akin to a root canal. As it is, Meryl Streep’s and Pierce Brosnan’s attempts at singing are nearly enough to send me running for the hills, but the cinematography of Grecian beaches is to die for (and there’s also Colin Firth; who can resist that?)

Shag
I may be a bit biased toward this film since I actually spent the greater part of my childhood growing up in Myrtle Beach and so can recognize many of the locations they used for filming. (Sadly, the Pavilion amusement park is no longer there.) However, even those who have never been to Myrtle will be able to relate to this story of young people taking a road trip for one last hurrah after graduating high school. Since it’s set in the sixties, it has the added bonus of a soundtrack filled with great beach tunes.