Last year I read and loved Carley Fortune’s debut novel, Every Summer After. It was the perfect summer read with cozy lake vibes, dual narratives, and a second-chance romance. This year my most anticipated read was Fortune’s sophomore novel, Meet Me at the Lake. While it wasn’t quite the earth-shattering romance that Every Summer After was, I did love it too.
So the same way I did with Every Summer After, I pulled together a list of books that I think had similar vibes to Meet Me At The Lake. Some of the recommendations have beach/lake settings, some are second-chance romances between near strangers, and some have main characters that are grappling with what to do with their lives, much in the same way that Fern does. I’ve read and would recommend all of them! I hope you enjoy the books!
Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
Charlotte, a lost and drifting twentysomething, is searching for a spark in her life, but her dead-end job and aimless living with her best friend in Los Angeles aren’t cutting it. When she meets Adam, a soulful painter who seems just as lost, they share a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and deep conversations. But the next morning, Adam withdraws, leaving Charlotte confused. Months later, unable to shake her feelings for Adam, Charlotte decides to confront him about their night together. Her decision sets off a chain of events that rewrite their love story, revealing secrets and unexpected revelations. Little does Charlotte know, the ending has already been determined. Will she find the answers she seeks or have to let go of her preconceived notions of how her story should unfold?
Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
Twentysomething writer Chani Horowitz is struggling in her career while her former classmates are getting book deals. But when she’s hired to write a profile of her forever celebrity crush, movie star Gabe Parker, who’s also been cast as the new James Bond, it’s a thrilling opportunity. A whirlwind weekend with Gabe during the interview leads to a life-changing experience. Ten years later, after a divorce and therapy, Chani is focused on her work, but she’s constantly asked about her personal Gabe Parker profile. When Gabe’s PR team requests a reunion interview, Chani is torn. The novel alternates between their first meeting and their reunion, promising an irresistible story.
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Tate Jones is a successful Hollywood actress who meets her first love, Sam Brandis, while on vacation in London. However, their whirlwind romance ends abruptly when Sam betrays her in a way that shatters Tate’s heart. Fourteen years later, Tate is a renowned actress who reunites with Sam on the set of a film, but the past still haunts them both. As they confront their unresolved feelings and secrets, they must decide if they can forgive and trust each other again, and if love can truly have a second chance.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
Matt and Grace were college sweethearts who drifted apart after graduation. Fifteen years later, Matt sees Grace on a New York City subway platform and decides to reach out to her. As they reconnect, they reminisce about their past and the intense love they once shared. However, old wounds resurface, and they must confront the mistakes and missed opportunities that kept them apart. Told in alternating perspectives between past and present, “Before We Were Strangers” is a heartwarming tale of lost love, second chances, and the power of forgiveness.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Harriet and Wyn were once the perfect couple, but they broke up six months ago and kept it a secret from their best friends. Now, during their annual getaway to a Maine cottage with their friend group, Harriet and Wyn must pretend to be just friends while hiding their lingering feelings for each other. With the cottage up for sale, it’s their last chance to be together in this special place. As they navigate the week, Harriet plays the role of a driven surgical resident, while Wyn maintains his laid-back charm. But faking it in front of their closest friends proves to be more challenging than they anticipated.
In The Weeds by B.K. Borison
After a steamy weekend fling in Maine, Beckett Porter can’t get Evelyn St. James out of his mind. But when Evelyn unexpectedly shows up on his farm as part of a social media contest, Beckett is taken aback to learn that she’s a famous influencer. Despite their undeniable chemistry, Evelyn is searching for something real and returns to Lovelight Farms and the town of Inglewild, where she was once happy. Beckett tries to forget her, but fate keeps bringing them together. As they navigate their feelings and Evelyn’s online persona, they must decide if their connection is worth pursuing beyond the spotlight of social media.
A Photo Finish by Elsie Silver
When former soldier Logan moves to Ruby Creek, he’s forced to confront his past when he realizes that Violet Eaton, the woman he had anonymous online chats with, lives in the same small town. As they end up living under the same roof, Logan’s icy façade starts to crack as he’s drawn to Violet. But he believes he doesn’t deserve her and fears his hidden scars will ruin everything. Despite his best intentions to keep his secrets, Logan finds himself opening up to Violet and wanting to keep her in his life. Can they overcome their obstacles and find happiness together?
Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
Laura’s business trip to the Channel Islands takes a chaotic turn when she mistakenly grabs the wrong suitcase at the airport. However, she’s intrigued by the contents of the case – her favorite book, piano music, and a rugged fisherman sweater. Convinced that the owner of the suitcase is her dream man, Laura sets out to find him on the remote island where her parents fell in love. She enlists the help of Ted, a surly cab driver with a hidden wit, to track down the mystery owner and retrace her parents’ romance for an article. Along the way, Laura realizes that her idealized view of love may not be as perfect as she thought, and she must reconsider her outlook on relationships to discover what she truly desires. Will her journey lead her to find true love or uncover something unexpected?
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
After her mother’s death, Emma Saylor’s life becomes predictable with her father. However, when she spends a summer with her estranged mother’s family, Emma discovers the stark contrast between her mother’s working-class hometown of North Lake and her father’s wealthy Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends in North Lake, the more she feels like two different people: Emma to her father and Saylor to her mother’s family. Roo, her childhood best friend, helps Emma uncover the secrets of her family’s past, but his charming nature may also cloud her judgment. As she gets caught up in the magic of North Lake, Emma struggles to reconcile her dual identities and determine which side of her, Emma or Saylor, will ultimately prevail.
Kismet by Becky Chalsen
Amy, Jo, and Ben have been inseparable since childhood, but as they approach their thirtieth birthday, their dynamics start to change. Jo’s wedding overshadows the twins’ birthday celebration, while Amy’s marriage to Ben is strained. The arrival of a mysterious man in a best man suit during Jo’s wedding weekend further complicates things, as he has a familiar face that Amy hoped never to see again. Secrets will be revealed, and the trio’s bond will be tested in unexpected ways.
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