If you’re into small-town romance, quaint communities, and neighborhoods small enough that everyone knows everything about everyone else… and a heavy dose of dramatic young love, then this list is definitely for you. Maybe the summer makes you desperate to spend some time with your nose in a contemporary, or you just generally love the charm of fictional tiny town and all of its inhabitants, Stars Hollow style; either way, these are the perfect books to add onto your TBR, especially if you’re looking for a quick read for a long weekend.
More importantly, though these books don’t shy away from looking at the dark side of small towns: fear of outsiders, not accepting of perceived differences, the pressure of small-town saviors in the form of high school sports stars, and more. That combination of real-to-life exploring the highs and lows of suburban and rural life makes these reads not only obsession-worthy page-turners, but ones that will both give you the feels and keep you thinking. So, if you’re looking for the ideal read to pack along on that road trip to that cute vacation spot or just need to escape from the comforts of your own couch, check out the 11 picks below.
1‘I’ll Meet You There’ by Heather Demetrios
If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, Skylar is heading to art school… until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach. Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.
2‘Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean…