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06.25.104:38 PM ET

The 12 Best Books of Summer

From romantic trysts to Soviet espionage to a new Swedish sensation, Janice Kaplan picks the top novels and thrillers to bring with you to the beach or wherever your vacation takes you.

If you’ve been toting the newest translations of Russian novels all winter, publishers expect you to put them aside for lighter fare that will survive the summer heat. Sunshine shouldn’t be anathema to good literature, so you can read the following books on the beach without feeling like you’ve swallowed too much cotton candy. This season offers strong stories by writers both new and established. War and Peace can wait.

You can see video of Janice Kaplan’s appearance on Good Morning America.

View our gallery of the best summer fiction

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.

Janice Kaplan is a television producer and former Editor-in-Chief of Parade magazine. She is the author and co-author of 10 novels, including the bestselling Mine Are Spectacular and The Botox Diaries; her most recent is the mystery A Job To Kill For.

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