Tuesday, June 16, 2020 Reviewed by Laura

Summer has so many amazing things to look forward to—warm weather, food on the grill, time outdoors, and new beach reads. For me, the best beach reads are set in sunny locales with family drama, a little romance, and a dash of mystery. There is no beach read author I love more than Mary Kay Andrews. Her books always feature a spunky and flawed lead character, a fast-paced plot, southern charm, and of course, a coastal setting.

Mary Kay Andrew’s newest title, Hello Summer, does not disappoint.

Having grown up in the shadow of her family’s 4th generation small town newspaper, journalism runs in Conley’s blood. Conley is extremely focused on her career, advancing to bigger newspapers as she goes, including a new job in Washington D.C. Everything is going great until her going away party, when she learns her new job has disappeared. With no other options, Conley heads home to Silver Bay, a small town on the Florida panhandle coast, to work at the family’s struggling paper.

When Conley reluctantly returns home, she immediately becomes wrapped up with the people she has been distancing herself from—her unhappy older sister, her loving yet quirky grandmother, and an old childhood crush. Too add to the drama, Conley witnesses a suspicious fatal accident that ends the life of a local congressman. The accident sets off a chain reaction that turns the small town into the hot news spot of the summer, putting Conley right in the center of the action.

Admittedly, I struggled to like Conley at first. Her intense focus on her career and guarded personality made it hard to like her and understand her motives. As the story progresses, we get to see Conley open up, drop her guard, and turn into an enjoyable, feisty heroine. Mary Kay Andrews delivers a strong cast of flawed characters and small town drama, all wrapped up in a gripping beach mystery.