Spring Break Reading: Top 10 Picks for College Students, Everyone!

Spring break is usually a much-needed break from college classes, essays, homework, and required reading. Finding yourself uninterrupted to read without the stress of the assigned reading looming over you is so freeing.

Here are my suggestions for spring break reading: books with great characters and plot lines but the ability to read without thinking too deeply. 

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best books for spring break

1. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Genre: Fiction


This is a recent book I read, and it took me a minute to get into it, after fifty or so pages I was in. Ann Patchett is a fabulous author and storyteller. Tom Lake follows Lara’s retelling to her three daughters of the life that she led before they were born.

This life also included dating a now celebrity, “Peter Duke.” The story switches between explaining the dynamics of “Tom Lake,” the theater production Lara worked on, and the present, where the girls understand the background of their lives.

This book is engaging and feels a bit fairy tale-like which makes it a great beach read. If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, Meryl Streep reads the novel, which makes listening to the audiobook enticing. 

2. I Didn’t Know I Needed This: The New Rules for Flirting, Feeling, and Finding Yourself by Eli Rallo

Genre: Non-Fiction

**A Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller**

Eli Rallo is a former journalist and TikTok star; her debut novel I Didn’t Know I Needed This: The New Rules for Flirting, Feeling, and Finding Yourself came out in December of 2023 and made waves by giving readers advice and rules for loving yourself and others.

Rallo’s narrative is a mix of advice for “dating, flirting, and finding yourself” with some memoiresque aspects sharing stories from her own life coming of age and falling in and out of love. It is a quick read, and a fun beach read.

Rallo is a talented writer, and the book is perfect for college-aged students looking for advice from a “big sister,” which Rallo truly is.

3. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson 

Genre: Fiction

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick

Jenny Jackson’s Pineapple Street was nominated for Best Debut Novel and Best Fiction Novel of 2023 by Good Reads Choice awards and was also selected as a Good Morning America Book Club book pick. The story follows the Stockton Family and the three daughters, each living lives in different socio-economic classes.

The Stockton Family is intensely wealthy, and each sister struggles with their inheritance and plans for the future. The book has an interesting critique of wealth in America but also gives readers a background behind the nuance of familial wealth. It may seem intense from this description, but it was one of my favorite books this year.

It was fun to read about the lavish life the Stocktons live and their juicy family dynamics. 

4. Happy Place by Emily Henry

Genre: Fiction


If there is one thing Emily Henry knows how to do, it is to write a beach read. Her previous books include The People We Meet on Vacation, Book Lovers, and Beach Read. Happy Place came out last summer and is the epitome of a beach read.

The novel follows a group of college friends who spend time together at a beach house each summer. The catch is that the main couple, college sweethearts Harriet and Wyn, have been broken up for six months and have yet to tell their friends; even worse, the cottage is for sale, so this will be their last summer there. Harriet and Wyn must fake their relationship to preserve the magic of the trip but end up revisiting lingering feelings.

Happy Place won Best Romance Novel by Good Reads Choice awards and is a speedy beach read that is also very well written. 

5. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

Genre: Fiction

Lauren Weisberger wrote arguably one of the best books to movie adaptations in the past ten years: The Devil Wears Prada.

When Life Gives You Lululemons is a follow-up novel centering around Emily Charleton, who has left Miranda Priestly and is now working in Greenwich, Connecticut, where her arrival is the talk of the town in this picture-perfect town. Emily is working in Hollywood as an image consultant but has had some trouble lately as one of her clients has been arrested; they both end up in Greenwich, navigating the social dynamics of the scene in Greenwich.

This is a perfect read to put yourself in this glamorous world and escape, all ingredients for an excellent spring break book. 

6. Romantic Comedy: A Novel  by Curtis Sittenfeld

Genre: Fiction


Curtis Sittenfeld’s most recent book, Romantic Comedy, follows the story of Sally Maltz, a comedy writer for “The Night Owl,” a show based on Saturday Night Live. Maltz has sworn off love to focus on her career when one of the guest hosts, Noah Brewster, a charismatic and charming actor, hosts the show, and they click.

Unfortunately, shortly after COVID hits, the two rekindle their connection via email and become pen pals. The book has the energy of 30 Rock and pokes fun at the many glamorous conquests a former SNL cast member has been dating lately. Sittenfeld is a fabulous writer, and it is an entertaining read.

7. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Genre: Fiction


This book differs from the others because it fits more into the mystery or thriller genre. Amber Patterson is tired of her dull life and doesn’t stand out. Enter Daphne Parrish, a socialite and philanthropist living in Bishop’s Harbor, Connecticut, with a wealthy husband. Amber and Daphne become fast friends, and Amber is quickly taken under Daphne’s wing and becomes more integrated into the scene in Bishops Harbor, Connecticut.

This book is full of twists and turns with a brilliant and shocking ending. I read this book in one sitting, and it was a fabulous read for lounging and escaping from your world. 

8. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Non-Fiction

It Happened One Summer is a true romance novel; it follows Piper Bellinger, an actress and model who, after a crazy bender that ended in a night in jail, Piper’s wealthy stepfather cuts her off and sends Piper as well as her sister to a rural town in Washington to go visit where their late father worked at a bar.

Almost immediately after getting to Westport, Washington, Piper meets Brendon, a sea captain who has little faith in Piper’s ability to make it in Westport. Piper, stubborn and set on proving her stepfather and Brendon wrong, decides to embrace her time in Westport, but not without facing roadblocks and unintentionally falling in love. 

It Happened One Summer is a light read and fun to pick up and live vicariously through Piper and her love life. 

9. The Last thing He Told Me by Laura Dave 

Genre: Fiction

#1 New York Times bestselling blockbuster and Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick that’s sold 3 million copies strong

The Last Thing He Told Me is a mystery thriller selected for Reese’s book club and was recently turned into a mini-series on Apple TV+ starring Jennifer Garner and Angourie Rice.

The book is a thriller set in Silicon Valley where Hannah, the girlfriend of tech mogul Owen Micheals, is suddenly forced to take care of his daughter Bailey when he disappears and leaves them a duffle bag of cash. Hannah and Bailey, who do not get along well, are forced to work together to unravel the trail of clues Owen has left him about his past and learning he is not who he claimed to be. 

10. The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Genre: Fiction


Writing duo Christina Lauren has written many excellent books, but The UnHoneymooners is a perfect summer read. Luck doesn’t fall upon Olive easily. This is not the case for her twin sister Ami, who has a thriving career and is engaged to a wonderful man. Olive is dreading the wedding because she isn’t excited about getting questioned about her career and love life for hours on end, but it also means she would have to spend 24 hours with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who is also the best man.

Unfortunately, all of the wedding parties except for Olive and Ethan end up with food poisoning and are offered an all-expenses-paid vacation to Hawaii as the bride and groom are too ill to take the trip. Neither of them wants to pass up a free vacation, so they decide to go and avoid each other. However, Olive runs into her future boss and accidentally tells him that she and Ethan are newlyweds; the book follows Olive and Ethan, keeping up with this lie and potentially falling for each other along the way. 

More Great Book Lists:

I’m a College Senior, Here are 10 Books I Wish I’d Read Before College

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