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Books Set on Islands

Updated: Jan 15

Looking for something beachy to read over spring break week? Get into the warm weather vibe with books set on islands that will transport you into a tropical paradise. Feel the sun shining on your face and hear the waves crashing at your feet as you leave the world behind.

Towel on a sandy beach with a straw hat and book
Blog Post - Books Set on Islands

Ideal to bring along on a trip or simply to enjoy during a #staycation at home, these books set on islands are a perfect read when you want to escape. Dive in to immerse yourself in an island experience or to be a part of an exciting cruise or delight in adventures sailing the ocean. Listed in order from light (#RomComs) to heavy (the last two are #thrillers) to aid in selection based on your preferred type of book :)

Books Set on Islands

Tropical Bird and flowers

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren had me in stitches right from the beginning! I laughed out loud at so many points in the story. Overall it was comedy gold about two enemies who end up being the last ones standing after a wedding dinner catastrophe that leaves everyone - including the bride and groom - with food poisoning. Olive and Ethan are talked into taking the bride and groom's all expenses paid honeymoon trip to Hawaii. Awkward moments aplenty!

Without giving the story away, I'm pleased to say that when choices were given, the high road / ethical choice was taken in the book. That doesn't mean that it is without pain or consequence, but glad to see it especially between Olive and her twin sister.

The reader also gets to see so many different relationships - between brothers, between twin sisters, the people they date and even family dynamics.

Shipped by Angie Hockman is a super cute, easy reading book that's perfect for vacations. Rivals at work, Graeme and Henley (female) are both up for the same promotion at a cruise line. They must come up with the best marketing idea after taking a cruise to the Galapagos Islands.

Walsh (Henley's sister) joins on the cruise and her personality is opposite Henley's, and she plays key character.

The weeklong cruise starts with much tension between Graeme and Henley, but they learn a lot about each other as they are out on their expeditions.

Woman in red swimsuit with straw hat on beach

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand was completely different than I imagined. I thought it would be light and airy, but it had quite a bit of depth and substance to it.

Irene gets a call that her husband has died on New Year's Day and she learns that he had a villa on an island. Seeking answers, Irene and her two grown sons (Baker and Cash) go to the island.

This quick story has family, love, friendship, and lies/deception all wrapped in one book. It's a part of a trilogy and definitely leaves you wanting to read the next one. Find out more about The Paradise Trilogy and other Binge Worthy Books here.

man and woman on a sailboat

Float Plan by Trish Doller is a book that hit me at the perfect time and was everything I needed the moment I opened the pages. It reminded me who I was in a prior life before kids (someone that sailed) and how much I enjoyed doing that with my husband. It renewed my energy and I'm excited now for more trips and experiences.

Anna is still grieving one year after fiance's death. She decides to take the sailing trip that her fiance had charted for the two of them all on her own. If you've never sailed, just know that it's very difficult to do with just one person. Fortunately for her, she found Keane and he was able to join her on the rest of her journey after a horribly close call on her first night out.

Close quarters, great descriptions of all of the Caribbean islands that they stopped at and some rough seas make for a great read!

Yellow bird on a rock

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult is a "ripped from the headlines" type of story that used COVID and the events surrounding it as it's premise. It showed how things varied dramatically during the height of lockdown for different places with the main character, Diana, getting 'stuck' in the Galápagos Islands due to quarantine while on her trip while her boyfriend, Finn, worked endless hours in the hospitals of NYC.

This also allowed her to portray the different stresses people felt. She swerved a bit political for my taste, but that was only a few sentences.

Part 1 had some plots that you could anticipate ... and I kept wanting to tell Diana "no, don't do it ..." and almost had me stop reading. But trust me when I say to keep reading. There is a reason for it and Part 2 made my jaw drop.

Two big plot twists with an ending that is unexpected.

Pink flowers on yellow background

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins is a great #thriller - don't be deceived by this cover! It starts out on Hawaii where Lux agrees to join her boyfriend Nico on a sailing trip. He is being paid handsomely by two very rich, young women to charter his boat to the remote Meroe Island.

The island is picturesque, but the history and tales of it are dark and haunted. The group encounters another boat once they arrive and initially hope that they will be leaving the island soon. However, this powerful and wealthy couple in the upscale catamaran are also incredible hosts and immediately make them feel welcome, the group immediately bonding.

I'm a lover of the ocean and adventure ... but can't say I'd be jumping at the opportunity to go to Meroe Island! This was a book that I just kept thinking "turn around and go home now, it's not too late!" After the first few days, the situations starting changing and it became clear that some of the horror stories had truth behind them.

Stormy, foreboding view of an island

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is another thriller, but this time set in an island near Ireland. This book jumped right in with an exciting first chapter and then went back in time to build the story.

Although the main event is Jules and Will's wedding, we get a snapshot into the backstory of a number of the guests. Will's school chums are at the wedding and they used to raise hell back in the day and are raising hell again on the island during the weekend as they let off some steam.

Charlie (Jules' best friend) and Hannah (the Plus One) are also primary characters. Since Charlie is involved in the wedding, Hannah is on her own for some of the week and is drawn to Olivia (brides sister) for conversation and drinks. Secrets, jealousy, and alcohol mix for a dangerous weekend.

The last 20% of the book was told in rapid fire and will keep you turning the pages with an unexpected ending.

I hope that this inspires you to find a fantastic vacation book!

More Book Recommendations!

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