With so many great books to choose from, discovering your next favorite read isn’t always easy, but it should always be fun. Like when inspiration comes from considering your favorite plant, or even your favorite snack. Or — with the weather getting warmer, and with it visions of beach vacations and poolside reading — your go-to summer drink. After all, what better way to enjoy the heat than with a good book and a refreshing beverage? Whether you’re reaching for an iced matcha or a mint julep, allow us to suggest the right book to complement it.
If you love iced mochas, try reading… a buzzy romance
Fans of a decadent iced mocha love the rich, chocolaty flavor, in addition to the accompanying energy boost. If a mocha is your favorite summer drink pair it with an upbeat romance that will keep you buzzing with excitement.
In pop star Hayley Kiyoko’s brand-new novel Girls Like Girls, a companion to her music video of the same title, teen Coley moves to Oregon the summer after her mom dies. There she finds an unexpected romance with Sonya. But will both girls’ fears of their intense feelings and the risk of heartbreak pull them apart?
If you love umbrella drinks, try reading… a seaside novel
Imagine this: You’re on the beach, perhaps on vacation, basking in the rays and relaxing in a lounge chair with a tropical drink in hand. You lift a tall glass decorated with paper parasols and perhaps sprigs of mint and speared fruit and take a sip; you’re probably reading a seaside novel that is equally luxurious and transportive.
In Sunny Hostin’s new novel Summer on Sag Harbor, the residents of an elite, historically Black enclave in the Hamptons struggle to save their beachfront community from developers. Among them is Olivia, a businesswoman who feels like something is missing in her life. As she stays at Sag Harbor for the summer, she searches for the truth behind her biological father’s mysterious death and finds friendship and a community worth fighting for — as well as a spark of romance with gorgeous single father Garrett.
If you love lemonade, try reading… an edgy character-driven book
No summer is complete without a lemonade, preferably served in a glass dewy with condensation and ice cubes clinking together. Sweet yet tart, lemonade straddles the line between fun and edgy, and when it’s ice-cold, it satisfies our thirst in a way few drinks can.
If you know just what we mean, serve your lemonade with a novel like Jen Beagin’s Big Swiss. Greta, a transcriber for a sex therapist, soon becomes infatuated with the voice of one of the therapist’s clients, whom she nicknames Big Swiss. When she meets the woman in real life, they embark on an affair. The sweetness here is the passion between the two women, but, like lemonade, there are also sharp edges to this book, including plenty of secrets and tart humor. Read it before the HBO adaptation comes out.
If you love mint juleps, try reading… a Southern-set novel
If you choose to cool down with a cocktail, you can’t go wrong with a mint julep. A concoction of bourbon, mint leaves, simple syrup, and crushed ice, it’s both refreshing and a great way to unwind. It’s also unabashedly Southern.
In Jeannette Walls’s novel Hang the Moon, set in Prohibition-era Virginia, Sallie returns home after a checkered history with her family to seize control of her powerful father’s bootlegging business. You’ll admire Sallie’s pluck entering a dangerous world as a young woman in this book dripping in whiskey and written (and narrated) by the New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle.
If you love frozen slushies, try reading… a winter-set thriller
Let’s face it: Sometimes cold drinks are not cold enough. When the weather hits triple digits or you’re sweating through your tank top, only a frozen drink will do. However you like your slushie, you probably also need a book to help cool you down. Enter the winter-set thriller, a subgenre known for featuring untrustworthy characters and blizzards to make the story more claustrophobic and tense.
Julia Bartz’s New York Times bestseller The Writing Retreat offers an edge-of-your-seat thriller where a snowstorm ramps up the tension. When struggling writer Alex receives an invitation to attend a month-long retreat with a famous author, her dreams of publishing finally seem within reach. The catch is she’ll need to write a novel within a month, and her best friend-turned-enemy Wren is also in attendance. When a fellow writer disappears into a snowstorm, Alex will need her wits about her to keep writing — not to mention to stay alive.
If you love iced matchas, try reading… a transporting fantasy
Imagine that you’re talking to your best friend, and you’re trying to explain the language so clearly that they can turn around and repeat what you’ve told them.
About the Author: G.G. Andrew
G.G. is a freelance writer and author of romance and women's fiction, including the short story "Everything Left Unsaid" in the collection A Million Ways: Stories of Motherhood. A Texas transplant, she lives outside Houston with her husband and two sons, both of whom are on the autism spectrum. In her spare time, she enjoys browsing bookstores, yoga, paper crafts, cooking, genealogy, and anything related to Halloween. She's probably drinking tea right now.