Attitude’s top five gay (or gay-friendly) summer reads

The sun is beating down, the waves are lapping at your feet, all you need now for the perfect summer holiday is something fun and carefree to while the days away with. Here we give you our top 5 summer read recommendations. 5. The Secrets We Keep by Jonathan Harvey As you’d expect from the writer of the sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme and the film Beautiful Thing, Jonathan Harvey’s novels are laugh-out-loud funny but also have masses of heart. The Secrets We Keep is a drama about family dysfunction built around a big mystery – and it’s his best yet. It has a cast of great characters, several of whom are gay and a brilliant subplot about the steamy affair between a 22 year old gay journalist and his mum’s best friend’s supposedly straight husband. A hoot! 4. Second Life by SJ Watson Not a gay novel as such but a tautly-plotted and gripping psychological thriller by a gay writer who’s brilliant at exploring the darker side of sexuality – and some of our most twisted sexual urges. SJ Watson’s first novel was the massive hit Before I Go To Sleep and this, his second, is just as good. It follows a woman who assumes a false identity and joins an online sex site to try and find out who murdered her sister. But to give anything else away would spoil a book that’s full of surprises – and keeps them coming right up until the final pages. 3. Villa America by Liza Klaussmann If you’re looking for a high-brow option to take to the beach this summer then this gorgeously-written book is the one for you. Set predominantly in the 1920s, it’s based on the true story of Sara Wiborg and Gerald Murphy, two social misfits who somehow find each other and create a new life for themselves in a beautiful house by the sea in the south of France. Here, they host debauched and flamboyant parties for guests that include artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter. But the couple’s idyll is shattered when a handsome stranger arrives and a gay love affair comes between them. 2. Mile High by Rebecca Chance Rebecca Chance describes her own novels as ‘Jackie Collins meets Sydney Sheldon in a gay bar in Saint Tropez’ – and they’re so camp you’re often left wondering if she’s actually a gay man writing under a pseudonym. This one is set in the first class cabin of an aeroplane flying from London to LA. It’s packed with spoiled celebrities as well as a starstruck crew fighting to impress them – not to mention a stalker pursuing an A-list singer and a lesbian actress who falls in love with her body double. Forget EL James, Rebecca Chance writes the hottest sex scenes you’ll ever read – and if you haven’t discovered her yet, it’s about time you joined the Mile High club! 1. Nothing But Trouble by Matt Cain Nothing But Trouble cover A glamorous, trashy thriller about a pop star going off the rails, Nothing But Trouble is the perfect summer beach read with a rip-roaring plot, a touching gay love story, some smoking hot sex scenes and possibly the campest, filthiest bitch you’ll read this year. Although it is very funny, it also has a dark undercurrent running through it; each of the characters is battling a compulsion to destroy themselves through either booze, drugs or bad boys. When they all come together the results are explosive and you’ll be on the edge of your seat as the novel races to its grand finale on the opening night of the pop star’s tour at the O2. It’s perfect for a holiday when you’ve got a stretch of free time as once you start reading you won’t be able to stop. Read more about how Matt Cain's struggles with alcohol, abuse and bullying helped inspire the plot of Nothing But Trouble here. Words by MATTHEW TODD