No summer truly is complete without a relaxing day (or multiple days) lounging by the pool or at the beach! As a proud Jersey girl, I’ve spent countless summer days relaxing on the beach for hours on end. If my friends and I ever had a day off from our summer jobs, the only place you’d be able to find us would be on the beach. There’s a weird protocol for behavior the beach (at least for locals in Jersey), we don’t do much talking. Instead, we lay on our towels (mine is always under an umbrella because I’m the palest person you will EVER meet), and just listen to the waves crashing on the shore. It’s a relaxing and soothing experience, until a kid kicks sand in your face or worse…ON YOUR BOOK!
Picking the perfect read for this atmosphere is weirdly challenging (for me, at least)! I can’t read high fantasy, mystery, or thrillers at the beach. I’m always eager to bring a light contemporary, preferably one with romance. Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson, and Jenny Han are some of my favorite beach-approved authors. Their books are light and fun, PLUS they all have perfect covers for a beach Instagram shot (which is super important). Another one of my favorite authors to bring to the beach is Jennifer E. Smith! She writes beautiful, relatable, and wonderfully fun contemporaries! This past weekend I brought You are Here with me, I finished it in a matter of hours. I just couldn’t stop reading! This light-hearted contemporary also touches on deeper issues, and is the perfect companion to Riveted’s Summer of Self-Discovery. Check out the description:
Sometimes to find out where you’re going, you have to discover what you’ve left behind: Two teens hit the road in this breathtaking novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Improbability of Love at First Sight.
Emma and her neighbor Peter are both lonely in a way that only bothers them occasionally. They both come from families they don’t quite understand. They both feel like something big is missing from their lives—and they’re both about to search for answers. When Emma makes a discovery that shakes the foundations of her identity, she convinces Peter to join her for a road trip. Each of them has something to find: For Emma, it is a grave—a grave that may be her only connection to her family. Peter is seeking something harder to define, but perhaps easier to navigate—a freedom, a sense of something more than what he has. Together, they take to the open road, engaging in a universal quest to make sense of who they are and where they come from…and learning a thing or two about love along the way.
Lucky for you, you can also read You are Here on the beach or by the pool because it’s available as a free read on Riveted until July 31st! If that summary didn’t convince you to read it ASAP, here are 8 reasons why you should pick it up right now!
1. It’s by Jennifer E. Smith
I’ll read anything and everything by Jennifer E. Smith. She has some of the best meet-cutes I have ever read! In the Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight they meet on a plane on the way to London. In This is What Happy Looks Like the love interests meet via email. And in The Geography of You and Me they meet in an elevator. In You are Here, the character are neighbors and have known each other for most of their lives. Jennifer E. Smith can do no wrong in my book. I love EVERYTHING she writes.
2. Road Trip!
Can you ever have too many road trip novels? NO! I want to read THEM ALL. There’s a special atmosphere added to a novel about galavanting across the country in a car, so much can go wrong, so much can go right. It’s AMAZING.
3. The DOG
Add an animal to any story and I’m sold! Emma and Peter pick up a stray dog at a rest stop and he becomes a key part of the story. I basically had heart eyes every time they mention the dog.
4. All the Maps
Peter is obsessed with maps and is basically a human GPS (seriously!). I’m extremely jealous of his navigation skills. Meanwhile, I need google maps to get down the street. His affection for maps becomes contagious, and you’ll find yourself fascinated right along with him.
5. Civil War Facts
Is my inner geek showing? I LOVED Peter’s random Civil War facts. I worked in a University Archive for a few years in college and the love of history and historical documents has stuck with me. If you’re the kind of person who can appreciate gaining random fact knowledge, this book’s for you.
6. Slow Burn Romance
This is a friends to romance story that didn’t happen instantly. Instead, Peter and Emma take time to get familiar with one another and learn about each other. I loved how relatable and realistic the romance is in You are Here! You’ll feel like you really understand why they’re falling for each other, and you’ll love every second of it.
7. Short & Sweet
You are Here is 251 pages long which is the perfect length to bring to the beach and finish in one sitting (even though I could have read SO MUCH more about Peter and Emma’s story easily). It’s a story that wraps up nicely, but also leaves you daydreaming about more.
8. My Last Name!
Peter’s last name is Finnegan AND SO IS MINE! I couldn’t help but smile every time Peter’s full name was used because, let’s be honest, Finnegan is the greatest last name (I’m not biased or anything). Pro Tip: ALWAYS read a book that stars a Finnegan. You’re in for a real treat.