Six spring break book recommendations for a week of reading and relaxation

Whether you are vacationing or staying home this spring break, here are six book recommendations to make the most of your week off.


Matt Sindt

Photo illustration by Matt Sindt

Grace Westergaard, Arts Reporter

Whether students plan on traveling or staying home for spring break, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the free time and entertain yourselves with some great reading.

These book recommendations encapsulate the feelings of spring break, namely the return of warm weather and the possibility of travel within the bounds of your own home.

An alumnus from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop, Elin Hilderbrand was called “the queen of beach reads” by New York Magazine in 2019. Hilderbrand primarily writes historical romance novels with the setting of Nantucket Island, which is where she resides.

One of her most popular books is “28 Summers,” which follows a one-weekend affair over many decades, along with an inherited beach house and a bachelor party. The book is loosely based on the movie “Same Time Next Year,” and could be just the dramatic story to keep you entertained during Spring Break.

Staying within the genre of romance, another notable novel is “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry. The story follows Alex and Poppy, two friends who have nothing in common. Nonetheless, ever since a fateful car ride home from college, their friendship has grown.

They have taken a vacation together every summer for the past decade until a two-year hiatus proves that something went wrong between them.

“People We Meet on Vacation” won the Goodreads Choice Award title for “Best Romance” in 2021. This title is an exciting, alternating timeline story that kept me turning pages until the very end.

“Reckless Girls” by Rachel Hawkins turns our focus to the mystery and thriller genre and features scenes of a tropical vacation from Hawaii to Meroe Island. Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to the island with them.

The party of four becomes six when the group meets another couple already anchored to the island.

Rocky pasts are unveiled, one person goes missing, another turns up dead, and the balance of the group is disrupted — leaving the characters to wonder if they will even make it off Meroe Island alive. “Reckless Girls” is full of tension and suspense that will keep you hooked.

Similarly, another mystery title fit for Spring Break is “We Were Liars”, by E. Lockhart. This book is a young adult suspense novel that revolves around a distinguished family and the private island they own. Each summer, they return and spend the months together.

However, this is no typical story — the lies and twists of the book are ones I never saw coming. “We Were Liars” won the title of “Best Young Adult Fiction” in the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2014.

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For those physically going on vacation, an enticing book without a warm, tropical location may be what you’re looking for to keep you occupied. In the genre of contemporary fiction, Kiley Ried’s “Such a Fun Age” is a novel about race and privilege.

It follows a young Black babysitter, her employer, and a shocking occurrence that could change everything. “Such a Fun Age” was a nominee for “Best Fiction” and won the title of “Best Debut Novel” in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards. Ried is also a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus follows Elizabeth Zott, a female chemist in the early 1960s. Zott’s love interest Calvin Evans is another scientist. Coincidentally, Evans is a character who grew up in Iowa.

Themes of feminism, love, humor, and loss are persistent in this book. “Lessons in Chemistry” sits alongside notable titles like Michelle Obama’s “The Light We Carry” in Barnes and Noble’s Ten Best Books of 2022, ensuring it as an enjoyable read this spring break.