By Stephan Lee
Updated June 04, 2014 at 08:23 PM EDT

This summer, take some time to relax by the pool, in a hammock, or at the beach with these ten must-reads. From major literary debuts to the latest Diana Gabaldon epic to the newest work by Rainbow Rowell, this list of summer’s beachiest books runs the gamut. So if you’re stuck trying to decide what to download on your Kindle or buy at the local bookstore, click on for our picks.

FIRST UP: A novel inspired by an unusual, real-life epidemic

The Fever

Megan Abbott

Two summers ago, Abbott brought adult insight to a bevy of in-fighting cheerleaders in Dare Me. Now, she’s returning to high school — this time, to explore what happens when a mysterious contagion wreaks havoc among adolescents in a suburban town. That may sound very YA, but expect Abbott to bring unexpected layers to the concept. The Fever is loosely inspired by real-life events that rocked Le Roy, NY in 2012. [to be published 6/17]

NEXT: A beautiful novel about a southern tragedy…

Flying Shoes

Lisa Howorth

This touching and disturbing novel about a horrific crime gone unsolved for 30 years is based on the murder of the author’s step-brother. But Flying Shoes isn’t exactly a crime novel; it’s a beautiful portrait of the South, complete with rich characters and humor. [6/17]

NEXT: A big-deal literary debut…

We Are Not Ourselves

Matthew Thomas

Thomas, a New York City schoolteacher, got a reported seven-figure deal for the debut novel he worked on for more than a decade. We Are Not Ourselves, a decades-spanning saga of an unforgettable Irish immigrant family from Queens, is truly worth the hype. Expect Thomas to be mentioned in the same breath as literary stars Franzen and Harbach. [8/19]

NEXT: A lovely novel about adult friendship…


Emily Gould

Fans of HBO’s Girls will find a lot to love in Gould’s immensely relatable first novel about a codependent friendship in crisis. Bev and Amy are like Hannah and Marnie with an extra five years’ worth of built-up resentment. [7/1]

NEXT: A mature love story from a YA superstar…


Rainbow Rowell

After making a big name for herself with widely beloved YA romances Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rowell returns to the adult world with a sweet story about modern marriage with a slight supernatural twist. [7/8]

NEXT: A devastating and complex page-turner…

Fourth of July Creek

Smith Henderson

This must-read prairie-Gothic stunner follows social worker Pete Snow as he rescues a troubled child while searching for his own lost daughter. [out now]

NEXT: A surefire hit…

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty

The Aussie author of last year’s runaway hit The Husband’s Secret comes back with another winning and wise novel that intertwines the lives of three women. [7/29]

NEXT: The conclusion to a magical trilogy…

Magician’s Land

Lev Grossman

The third and final installment in Grossman’s wildly popular fantasy series, which kicked off with The Magicians in 2009, promises an explosive conclusion to Quentin Coldwater’s adventures. [8/5]

NEXT: The epitome of a perfect beach read…

The Vacationers

Emma Straub

As you might guess from the title, Straub’s latest has all the hallmarks of a typical family vacation romp: marital strife, a sunny locale (Mallorca), long-held secrets exposed. But what sets it apart is the fine observation and poignant humor. An entirely guilt-free resort read. [out now]

NEXT: Perhaps the most anticipated novel of the summer…

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

Diana Gabaldon

You’ve been waiting patiently for the next Outlander novel since 2009′s An Echo in the Bone, and now you’ll have to wait just a little longer until the eighth installment, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. The novel will follow your favorite characters through revolutionary Philadelphia as Jamie makes a dramatic return to Claire’s side, a new army sweeps the city, and romance and violence brew once again. [6/10]