Muse 2023: 8 Books You Should Read at the Beach

The Muse and the Marketplace 2023 July Publishing Summit is taking place Saturday, July 29 - Sunday, July 30, with the Manuscript Mart taking place Thursday, July 27 - Friday, July 28. 

Our July summit party theme is: beach reads! Join us on Friday, July 28, from 7-9:30pm ET to connect with fellow writers and book lovers at GrubStreet’s Center for Creative Writing. We’ll feature eight GrubStreet authors reading the beachiest 5 minutes of their latest books from the stage, fun ways to make new friends, free snacks, and wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase (with one complimentary drink ticket for all attendees). This event is free and open to anyone 21+. RSVP here.

As we count down to the Virtual Publishing Summit and Beach Reads Party, we’ve asked the featured GrubStreet authors to answer the following question: “In 100 words or less, please tell readers why your book is an awesome choice to take to the beach.”


Pedro and Daniel by Federico Erebia

Pedro and Daniel has short chapters, which is perfect for beach reading. You can become engrossed, and read for long periods, or you can take breaks to enjoy the other activities a day at the beach has to offer.”


The Long Answer by Anna Hogeland

The Long Answer has sad scenes, sex scenes, and it moves quickly through time. Those, to me, are the elements of a good beach read!”


The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly by Katherine Sherbrooke

“For me, a great beach read means a book that grabs hold of your imagination from the first page and whisks you into an escape pod from the 'regular' world. With the backdrop of 1940s Hollywood and 1970s Broadway, The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly is a timeless tale of good people trying to break new ground despite societal constraints and familial obligations, often with unexpected consequences. There's romance, friendship, art, LGBTQ+ love and plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing!”


Graceland by Nancy Crochiere

“What better summer read than a comic road trip with a single mom chasing her pink-haired teenager and Elvis-obsessed mother from Boston to Memphis? Graceland is the heartwarming and hilarious story of three generations of women at odds with one another as they each search to uncover secrets as well as hide them. Once you start this page-turner, you won’t leave your beach blanket until you finish.”


A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow

“If you’ve ever looked at the ocean and imagined what creatures might live beneath the waves, A Comb of Wishes is a book you’ll enjoy. Set on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Rita, the middle grade fantasy follows 12-year-old Kela who is grieving her mother’s recent death when she stumbles on an ancient box in a coral cave. Inside is a beautiful hair comb and when she touches it, she opens a magical connection to a dangerous mermaid named Ophidia. The mermaid offers Kela a wish in exchange for her comb’s return, so Kela wishes for the thing she wants more than anything else...for her mother to come back.”


Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter by E.B. Bartels

“A book about pet death may not seem like an obvious choice to read at the beach, but Good Grief is not just about losing pets but about loving pets as well, and where do we often love to spend time with our pets? At the beach! So in between splashing in the waves with your dog or lounging in a hammock with your cat, read some heartwarming stories about the ways people have loved and honored their beloved animals throughout history and today.”


The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

“Nothing says summer like the buzz of bees ... But wait! ... DON'T SWAT AT THOSE BEES! The Last Beekeeper is a near-future novel that imagines a world in which pollinators have gone extinct, launching the world into a food security crisis. But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. The Last Beekeeper is a story about a father and daughter's tenuous relationship. It's about found family, secrets, redemption, and unquenchable hope in the face of crisis. And there's a wee bit of smooching, making it the perfect book to read under a beach umbrella with a cold drink.”


Gold Mountain by Betty Yee

Gold Mountain is a YA historical novel that tells the tale of Ling Fan, a 15 year old Chinese girl who disguises herself as a boy to work on the American transcontinental railroad. In the novel, you'll find action, adventure, subterfuge, betrayal, danger, explosions and avalanches! You'll also read about a historical era that is not often discussed!”

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