Summer Book Recommendations

Summer is nearly here and it’s time to make some plans.  Vacations, summer camps, extra classes, etc., summer is a great time to reload have fun.  Part of the fun for me includes being able to relax and read whatever I want.  As such, we thought it may be time for a summer reading recommendations list.  Whether you prefer audiobooks to listen to as you keep busy or simply a book to read as you lounge by the pool, here are a variety of options to get you started.

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

If you haven’t read this incredible American classic, you are missing out!  Little Women follows four sisters: Meg, the romantic motherly figure; Jo, the tomboy writer; Beth, the shy musician; and Amy, the proper artist.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each must learn to overcome trials in order to achieve their “castles in the air.”  It is such a sweet story full of incredible characters, heartbreak, and great joys.  Plus, a new movie starring Emma Watson as Meg and Saoirse Ronan as Jo, with Meryl Streep as Aunt March, will be in theaters this Christmas, 2019, so be sure to pick it up before it comes out!

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

If you’re starting college, this is the perfect read.  We follow Cath, an anxiety-ridden, fanfiction writer who is starting college for the first time.  She and her twin sister, Wren, have grown up doing everything together, but now Wren wants to experience college on her own, leaving Cath behind.  Fangirl is a great, coming-of-age story that explores the themes of family, getting out of your comfort zone, and even college majors.  Rainbow Rowell does an incredible job creating stories that many people can connect to.  Such a great read for those who are excited yet perhaps a bit unsure about entering the academic world of college.

  • Against Her Will by Serita Stevens and Jo Schaffer

If you prefer a darker contemporary, Against Her Will is a great read.  Based on true events, this book follows a teenage girl named Cassidy Connor.  Due to her rebellious nature, Cassidy’s parents place her in a psych ward for teens.  Through this experience Cassidy is able to develop a greater sense of independence, make new friends, and is able to better understand her relationship with her parents, which is very strained.  Trigger warnings for basically any mental illness or eating disorder.  Such a well written novel showing teenage mental illness in a realistic, yet respectful light.

  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Summer is a great time to binge read an addicting fantasy series.  If this is the genre for you, Three Dark Crowns is an incredible read.  This series follows an island which is ruled by a queen, chosen by the Goddess they worship.  Each generation the queen gives birth to a set of triplets, each gifted with a different power.  There are elementalists who control the four elements (air, water, fire, and earth), naturalists who have power over plants and animals, poisoners who have immunity to poison as well as skill in the development of both poisons and healing potions, war gifted who have skills in strategy and power over weapons, and oracles who have the gift of prophecy.  When these triplets reach the age of sixteen, they enter a fight to the death in which the winner becomes the next queen.  This is such a binge-able series with incredible world building and a fascinating magic system.  You won’t be able to put it down.

  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This is such a fun, whimsical adult novel.  The main character Clay has lost his job due to the Great Recession.  One day, he finds himself in a strange bookstore ran by a mysterious man, Mr. Penumbra, who gives him a job.  As Clay works, he begins to notice strange people who continually enter the store without buying anything.  Instead, they “check out” books from a special section of the bookstore, set apart by Mr. Penumbra himself.  Using friends and technology, Clay ends up knee deep in an ancient mystery which he can’t help but wish to solve.  A great read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Reading this is like living in a Star Trek movie, particularly if you listen to the audiobook.  This is the first book in a three-book series following multiple characters in a terrifying yet exciting space adventure.  Told in files (including interviews, online chats, videos, and more), we follow Kady Grant and her ex-boyfriend, Ezra Mason, as their home on the planet Kerenza is destroyed by an enemy megacorporation, BeiTech.  While they and many others were saved, they must travel for six months to get to the nearest Jump Gate.  In the meantime, one of the enemy ships has survived and is intent on destroying them in order to remove all witnesses of the attack.  A great sci-fi novel involving bio-weaponry, space ships, hackers, and an insane AI, you won’t be able to stop reading.  This is also a great choice if you prefer audiobooks as it involves a full cast with sound effects!  So fun!

  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Not much to say about this.  Summer is a great time to pick up a light-hearted, children’s classic.  Peter Pan’s adventures are full of mischief, imagination, and adventure.  If you haven’t read this before, try it out.  There’s nothing like flying through Neverland with Peter, Wendy, the lost boys, and, of course, Tinker Bell.  Such a fun, quick read that just about everyone can enjoy.

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

For those who prefer a good non-fiction book (or even if you enjoy a good thriller0, In Cold Blood is incredible.  Written in the 1960s, Truman Capote took six years following the investigation, trial, and later execution of the culprits behind the murders of a family of four living in a small town in Kansas.  During this time, Capote (already a well-known author at the time) decided he would like to write the first ever non-fiction novel.  After reading about the murder of the Clutter family, he decided to focus in on this story for his book.  This is a gripping read in which the author brings to life the experiences of all those involved, including the murderers themselves, in a real yet easy to read way.